Statements of Candidacy
SABA-DC 2018 Board of Directors
*Statements will be posted here as they are received*
President ElectAmisha Patel
My name is Amisha Patel and I am running for President-Elect of the 2019 SABA-DC Board of Directors. I have served as a General Director of SABA-DC for the last three years, and have been a member since moving to DC for law school over ten years ago. I have been fortunate enough to benefit from SABA-DC’s mentorship program, substantive programming, and networking opportunities. As President-Elect, my goals are to grow our membership, strengthen our network, and hone our already excellent programming.
I have been in private practice for the last eight years here in DC since graduating from GW Law. I focus my practice on complex commercial litigation, class action defense, and a bit of sports-related law. I engage in significant pro bono work, with an emphasis on immigration and diversity issues. In 2017, I was part of SABA North America’s inaugural class of Rising Stars and honored for my achievements in my practice, leadership, community service, and commitment to diversity. I serve as co-chair of the South Asian Women’s Association Network (SAWAN), a section of SABA North America, implementing programming and highlighting issues affecting South Asian female attorneys.
For the past three years, I have served on the SABA-DC Board as a General Director. In this role, I helped plan and moderate events, served on the Endorsements Committee, and spearheaded the organization’s 2017 rebranding efforts. SABA-DC has been integral to my development in the time I have been a lawyer and practicing in DC, and I am running for President-Elect out of my desire to see the organization continue to thrive and grow.
In running for President-Elect, my hope is to SABA-DC be more impactful and to continue to serve as key resource for our membership. For example, my mentorship relationship from when I was a law student continues to support my professional success today. In the upcoming years, I’d like to enhance programming and member outreach spanning all sectors—private, in-house, non-profit/public interest, and government. I’d like to strengthen our already stellar programming from our various sections—health law, intellectual property, and in-house counsel—to facilitate professional development and to create opportunities for relationship building. I’d also like to facilitate discussions surrounding implicit bias and barriers to advancement. Lastly, I’d like to strengthen our relationships with other local minority bar associations, such as APABA-DC and HBA-DC, not only to share our common experiences but to coalition build so that diverse attorneys can feel more supported through expanded networks. At the end of the day, however, my goal as President-Elect will be to hear from you. I believe it is imperative to understand what types of programming is needed and what resources the organization can provide to be useful.
I have enjoyed my time thus far on the SABA-DC Board and if given the chance, I am eager to be your next President-Elect. Regardless of whether I am elected to the Board again, I remain committed to the success of SABA-DC. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Vice-President of Programming
Ever since I moved to DC in 2015 to start my career as a newly minted patent attorney, I have been grateful to SABA-DC for allowing me to meet, learn from, and exchange ideas with a network of legal professionals. SABA-DC has also provided a safe forum to discuss and increase awareness of legal issues concerning South Asian Americans, and to promote a greater understanding of the legal, political, economic, and cultural environment of South Asia.
As a prospective VP of Programming, I would like to continue the great work of SABA-DC of cultivating an environment for learning, discussion, and professional development. However, I would also like to expand the organization’s objectives in three new fronts – (1) Adapting to the rapidly changing legal industry, (2) Addressing the mental health crisis afflicting lawyers, and (3) Strengthening solidarity against divisive forces.
The legal industry is rapidly changing. We see artificial intelligence transform legal work, globalization blur jurisdictional lines, and cryptocurrency spawn entirely new practices. We have witnessed social media both embolden social change but also propagate bigotry. As a patent attorney at Banner & Witcoff Ltd., I strive to be up-to-date on the latest technology so that I can appropriately steer my clients’ inventive ideas. I would like to apply a similar mindset as a VP of Programming, staying abreast of industry-wide transformations so that our community is rightly poised to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. If elected, I would like to emphasize new skillsets in our mentorship programs, such as managing our online profile; invite legal technologists, and non-legal entities to our forums; and tap into global resources for our community of lawyers and law students to further their careers in this rapidly changing legal environment.
(2) Mental Health
It is well known that lawyers have a high prevalence of suicide, alcohol/drug abuse, depression, stress, and anxiety compared to other professionals, including doctors. Yet, this is rarely discussed, and seeking external counseling is often viewed with stigma. I would like to initiate programs, such as yoga and meditation exercises, that attempt to alleviate this crisis.
(3) Strengthening solidarity
In current times, we have witnessed a rise in hate crimes, divisive political rhetoric, and xenophobia, which have affected members of the South Asian American community. However, as lawyers and legal professionals, we can be agents of change. I would like to facilitate pro bono opportunities that help underserved victims of these divisive forces achieve justice. I would also like to build partnerships with affinity organizations who share our vision for an American society of tolerance, pluralism, and rule of law. Doing so will not only strengthen our ability to achieve our shared objectives, but will also increase our visibility, encourage member participation, and open leadership opportunities.
In view of these goals, I humbly ask for your support of my candidacy for the position of Vice-President of Programming. If elected, I will work diligently to help our organization grow and our members succeed. Thank you in advance for your support.
Vice-President of CommunicationsPriyanka Sundareshan
I served as a General Director in 2016 and rejoined the board in 2018 to assist the SABA-DC Board in the Communications and Membership role. I have learned so much about this role in the past year and hope to learn more about it in the coming year, building in past experience to be even better! Communications are what tie the members together. I feel confident that with my engineering and management consulting background, I'll be able to perform the upkeep and maintenance of the membership database, website, and associated coding as the job may require. Finally, I'm excited to assist my friends on the SABA-DC board with putting on great events and other member services!
I would be honored to continue serving as a member of the Board of Directors of SABA – DC (the “Board”) and continue serving as the organization’s Treasurer. SABA-DC did great work SABA – DC over the past year in addressing the needs and concerns, as well as promoting the interests, of South Asian lawyers in the DC area. I enjoyed serving on the Board in furthering the goals of the organization and playing an integral role in the organization’s efforts. Based on my experience serving as Treasurer last year and my prior background in accounting, I believe I am well positioned to continue serving as Treasurer. I thank you for your time and consideration in reviewing my candidacy to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of SABA – DC.
I want participate in the election as candidate for Vice-President of Finance.
My name is ARVIND SHARMA & was born in India but living in USA since 1992 and at present in the Maryland since 2005. I completed secondary and higher secondary education in Jaipur, India. Subsequently, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in science from the Maharaja College, Jaipur. I then decided to pursue further studies in law and received LL.B. (bachelor’s degree in law – a professional course) from the University School of Law in University of Rajasthan, Jaipur . I did 2 LL.M, from Washington College of LAW, American University, Washington DC. I passed New York Bar in the year 2010.
During my school, college, and university student period I was always interested in extra-curricular activities, and with a keen interest in debates, I participated in debates and general knowledge competitions about culture, education and economics. I received various awards and prizes in these forums and also contributed poetry and articles to local publications and News papers..
I am an attorney and my area of practice is Income Tax. I also doing accounting for my clients because I have experience of Audit. I was an auditor in India for 12 years. I worked as Manager Finance with government contractor 8(a) company. At present I am also financial advisor of government contractor company. I am working in finance and tax since 1981.
I participated in school student governments and employee associations. I was a class representative in the middle school and Cultural Secretary of school student government in 8th grade. I established an Association of Cooperative Auditors of Rajasthan in 1989 and I was first president . I also elected state president of Subordinate Service Association of Rajasthan Cooperative Department. I was Senior Vice President of Employee Coordination Committee of Cooperative Department, Rajasthan Government. I was secretary of LL,M. Board of WCL AU in the year 2006-2007 and organized lots of events.
As officer of these associations I did operation of membership drive, welcome and farewell functions, submitting demand charts to the authorities. I submitted representations to the governor and chief ministers. I opened bank accounts for these associations. I also represented national associations on behalf of state associations. I also participated in the national summits organized by SAALT and I mate Senators and Members of Congress at Capitol Hill.
In June 1990, I was appointed Personal Assistant to the Minister of Excise and Public Relations, for the state of Rajasthan. I assisted the minister in administration and related activities.
I also participated social associations. I organized one function for Dholpur Samaj (Association of natives of Dholpur ) in the year 1990. Ex Vice President of India late Mr. Bheron Singh Shekhawat was Chief Guest that function. I was announcer and organizer of that function.
I hope if I elected Vice-President of Finance I will use my experience in extension of SABA. I have lots of idea for extension of SABA.
Neaha RaolMy name is Neaha Raol, and I am running for Secretary for SABA-DC. This year, I had the pleasure of serving as Secretary, and I hope to continue my involvement with SABA-DC in this capacity. I have been a member of SABA-DC for the past several years, and I was fortunate to attend the SABA national conventions in Houston, Washington DC, and New York over the past three years. As a member and board member, I have met some incredible South Asian attorneys dedicated to furthering SABA-DC’s mission, and I am excited about the opportunity to continue to serve the members of SABA-DC.
I am a senior associate at Fried Frank, where I am a member of the firm’s litigation practice. I have worked at the firm since I graduated from law school in 2010. During this time, I have been an active member of my firm’s affinity groups, mentorship program, and committees involving various aspects of the firm, such as associate development and recruiting. I also have dedicated substantial time to pro bono matters, ranging from representation of individuals seeking asylum to representation of first generation immigrants in various federal court litigation (including two ongoing class actions).
I would be honored to continue serving as Secretary of SABA-DC, so that I can utilize my organizational skills to further support the Board and also continue to serve our community and advance SABA-DC’s mission. Thank you for your time and consideration.
My name is Deepika Ravi and I would be delighted to serve as a General Director for SABA-DC.
I moved to D.C. in 2012 after graduating from law school. I’ve passionately advocated for diversity in the legal profession since I was a law student, and in 2016 I joined SABA-DC, hoping to meet like-minded attorneys. I’ve been fortunate to meet dedicated advocates and to benefit from SABA's culture of inclusion at SABA's local events and at the conventions in D.C. and New York. I am excited by this opportunity to give back to the SABA community by serving on its Board.
I started my career at Hogan Lovells and am currently a senior associate at Harris, Wiltshire and Grannis, where I work in the firm’s legal ethics and litigation practices. My interests include advocacy on behalf of domestic violence survivors—as a legal intern in Bangalore during law school and throughout my time as a practicing attorney, it's been my privilege to help victims of domestic abuse receive protection orders and start to rebuild their lives. And, I have volunteered at Whitman-Walker Health’s name and gender change legal clinic over the past six years, helping transgender clients navigate the legal maze—which can be confusing and discouraging to many—to update their identity documents to reflect their preferred name and gender identity.
I have past experience serving on the boards of two D.C. legal organizations, and I hope to use my experience to be a helpful resource for SABA attorneys and to expand SABA-DC's programming. My goal is to plan events that reflect SABA-DC’s values and inspire us to advance our mission. I also seek to build up our partnerships, and to co-sponsor more events, with other local affinity organizations, to strengthen SABA’s role and visibility within the D.C. legal community.
Thank you for your consideration—I would be honored to have your vote for General Director.
My name is Nandu Machiraju, and I am running for General Director for SABA-DC. I have been a part of the D.C. community for nearly 15 years: attending college and law school at area schools; interning and working for various government agencies; practicing at a private law firm; and now serving as an attorney for the federal government. I attended the SABA-NA conventions in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York. I have participated in SABA-DC since 2009, and, as a law student, I was the SABA-DC liaison for my school.
Two years ago, I served as General Director on the Board, where I co-chaired the Membership Committee. As co-chair of the Membership Committee, I helped resurrect SABA-DC’s Mentorship Program and, along with my co-chair, Naomi Abraham, built a Program with approximately 90 participants. I also helped coordinate the Wone Clerkship Conference and organize a number of other events. This past year, I was the Vice President of Programming. In that capacity, I either was in charge of or helped organize a number of different programs relating to cryptocurrency, criminal enforcement, appellate advocacy, immigration, antitrust, intellectual property, and as well as other topics.
After taking on a more extensive role as the Vice President of Programming, I would like to take a more targeted role in building out SABA-DC’s role in serving our law student members and junior attorneys. I hope to develop a set of programming designed to help law students find and compete successfully for their preferred legal career paths. I would like to develop more networking opportunities for law students and junior attorneys to interact with each other and to become a part of the broader SABA-DC community. I plan to work with some of the other affinity bar associations to co-develop great programming that serves diverse attorneys. Last, I hope to develop programming relating to practice areas that have been historically underrepresented by SABA-DC.
I thank you for considering my candidacy, and I hope you will consider casting your vote for me in the coming election.
Armeen F. Mistry
I write to submit my candidacy for the following positions:
(1) General Director of the SABA Board of Directors
(2) Endorsements Committee
(3) Membership Committee
(4) Public Interest Committee
(5) Fundraising Committee
I am a fourth-year associate at Cozen O’Connor in Washington, DC, where I focus on employment, entertainment, and general business litigation. I have experience in all aspects of litigation, from initial pleadings through discovery, motions practice, negotiated resolution, trial, and appeals. I am one of a handful of associates selected to serve on my firm’s Diversity Committee. I also maintain an active pro bono practice, and was named as my firm’s DC Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year in 2017 and to the 2017 DC Capital Pro Bono High Honor Roll. I received my J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School and my B.A., magna cum laude, in Journalism and Economics from the University of Missouri.
I would bring a unique perspective to SABA’s Board. As a first generation immigrant and lawyer, my personal experience as an Indian-American Zoroastrian pushed me to find ways to relate to people. This skill, in turn, helps me relate to my clients and bring a fresh perspective to my work. I attended law school and began my career in the Midwest, where I was often the only woman and minority in a room at any given time. This continues, at times, in my practice in DC. During my work as president of my law school’s South Asian Law Student Association, I worked tirelessly to ensure our members made connections in the community and enriched their experience in law school. I would bring this same work ethic from my current job and past positions to work for SABA.
I am attaching my resume and photo as well. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about me, please do not hesitate to reach out.
My name is Avani Patel and I am running for a General Director position on the 2018 SABA-DC Board of Directors. I have had the pleasure of being a part of the board this past year and hope to continue to contribute to the organization as a board member.
I graduated law school in 2006 and spent the bulk of my career practicing law as a supervising attorney with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation. Here, I litigated complex civil law matters, recruited and trained attorneys to handle public interest law cases, and participated in the organization’s efforts to increase pro bono legal services. I relocated to DC three years ago for a legal recruiter opportunity at Major, Lindsey and Africa. I found this job very fulfilling as I was able to help many attorneys land their dream jobs while making the clients equally happy. I still hold an active license to practice; and currently, I utilize my legal degree and experience in a business development capacity at iDS.
I am passionate about promoting the professional development of attorneys, legal professionals, and law students and furthering the interests of the South Asian community. This year, I pursued this passion through SABA-DC by co-chairing our Women’s Committee, updating social media, raising funds for the annual Gala, and organizing events including an in-house counsel happy hour and a self-defense class networking event. In addition to SABA-DC I am also the Director of the DC chapter’s Women in eDiscovery and a co-chair for the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia’s career development committee.
My goals for the upcoming year include making SABA-DC a benefit for all its members, organizing volunteer opportunities, organizing events with other local bar associations, creating speaking opportunities for our members, and helping new members feel welcomed and engaged in the association.
My name is Namrata Loomba, and I am running for General Director for SABA-DC. Currently, I work as a real estate attorney in Leesburg, Virginia. I provide counsel on a wide array of issues including commercial and residential development, investing and property management.
I have been actively involved with SABA-DC for the past six years. Currently, I serve as General Director on the SABA-DC Board. As General Director this year, I co-organized the Women’s In-House: A Panel event. I brought together a panel of five distinguished In-House Counsel female attorneys to discuss their varied experiences on mentorship, work/life balance, networking and diversity. I hope to further develop panels and networking events for South Asian attorneys in the DMV area. Additionally, I will strive to enhance ties between SABA-DC and the numerous bar associations in the DMV.
I am extremely passionate about serving SABA-DC and the South Asian community of legal practitioners. It would be an honor to serve as SABA-DC General Director next year. Thank you for your consideration and support.Priya Bhanu:
My name is Priya Bhanu, and I’m running for a General Director position for the 2019 SABA-DC Board. I have greatly enjoyed serving the SABA-DC community in this position over the past year, and I look forward to building off of what we have accomplished in the coming year.
After graduating from Michigan Law in 2014 and clerking for the Honorable Paul Grewal in California, I moved back to DC and joined Cleary Gottlieb as a litigation and antitrust associate. Shortly after joining the firm, I established a Diverse Associates’ Group in the DC office, which has continued to grow over the last several years and has become central to the experience of diverse lawyers in our office. I also have an extensive pro bono practice at the firm, through which I have been able to serve clients from underrepresented communities, in particular through voting rights advocacy and engagement in criminal justice reform.
When I joined SABA-DC in November 2015 shortly after arriving in DC, I did so with the goal of establishing a new community of mentors and friends, and as an active member of that community, as well as through my experiences serving on the Board thus far, I have been successful. I joined the Board last year in order to continue to support the excellent programming and initiatives that SABA-DC offers each year. This year, I headed SABA-DC’s Public Interest Committee, through which we awarded public interest fellowships to five stellar DC-area law students doing important work in the DC community during their 1L and 2L summers. In the coming year, I’d like to establish a formal network for former and current fellowship grantees to open opportunities for further connections within the South Asian public interest community. I’d also like to continue to develop innovative methods for expanding our membership base by building from attendance at events and initiating strong recruitment of new lawyers in DC, whether they are at firms, in the government, or at public interest organizations.
In our profession, where diversity struggles constantly, I feel strongly that young attorneys must push for initiatives to help themselves and others advance. SABA-DC has given me the perfect vantage point from which to do this. As a general director, I will offer not only new ideas but also logistical support to ensure the continued success of the organization. I would appreciate your support!Anu Sharma
My name is Anu Sharma and I respectfully submit my candidacy for the General Director position of SABA-DC. I am a patent attorney at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. I believe that I am qualified for this position for at least the following reasons:
First, in addition to simultaneously attending law school at night and working full-time in Boston, I was significantly involved in the local SABA chapter and other law school organizations, including rebranding an alumni mentorship program. As of lately, and while working as an associate, I have committed to pro bono involvement with the Children’s Law Center, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, and NVLSP. Consequently, I have experienced and learned how to effectively manage time and communications between different stakeholders amongst often competing priorities in various inter and intra-teams, and am now in a position to collaborate and commit to successfully parlay these skills in tangible action items associated with SABA-DC objectives.
Second, over the past two years, I have been attending and participating in numerous SABA-DC events, and am now ready to make an impact as part of a team. For example, the panel discussions, annual conventions and interactions with the invited legal scholars have inspired me to take me a more meaningful role to get involved and spread awareness in the South Asian Bar. Building contacts and relationships is key, but sustaining them is even more critical, for which I would like to share access to.
I welcome the opportunity to further discuss my candidacy, and I look forward to continued, material involvement with SABA-DC. By working with the Board to ensure that an integrative approach is taken, I believe that many of the core principles by SABA-DC can be advanced to produce a productive and positive impact.
Saiba Kaur Kamal
Thank you for considering my candidacy for the position of General Director of the South Asian Bar Association of Washington, D.C. Since graduating from George Mason University School of Law, I have practiced in a variety of fields, including criminal defense, bankruptcy, and family law; I am currently an Attorney-Advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice, working in the Civil Division at the September 11th Victim’s Compensation Fund, a truly rewarding experience.During my time as a member of SABA, I have gained significant experience in leadership positions in several other South Asian organizations in the DC area. I served on the board of the Network of South Asian Professionals DC for four years, as Director of Membership and Vice President, as well as Internal Affairs Chair on the board of the parent organization, Network of Indian Professionals, North America. I also served on the Leadership Council of the American India Foundation – Young Professionals DC chapter, a charitable organization working to raise awareness and money for programs in India.
I began my service on the SABA DC board in 2015, when I was elected to a General Director position, and have continued to serve in that capacity ever since. In addition to helping with various tasks and events, I organized a Dinner Series entitled Lawyering on the Hill: A Discussion with the General Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives & Chief Investigative Counsel, U.S. Senate, as well as a panel discussion entitled “Insightsinto Federal Agency Practice” and a voter registration drive where we visited local South Asian houses of worship. For the past three years, I have also organized a very well attended event - a joint annual fundraising Happy Hour between with AIF and NetSAP that has a structured networking component. I hope to continue to plan and grow this event that brings together the preeminent South Asian organizations in order to raise money for a good cause.
I would appreciate the opportunity to continue my service on the SABA Board. In the coming year, I would like to organize introductory training seminars/CLEs in a variety of subjects—classes such as Immigration 101 or The Basics of Divorce. As many attorneys practice in specialized areas, I believe it would be a great benefit to our members to provide them practical training in other practice areas.
I am excited about the opportunity to continue serving the South Asian legal community, and I thank you for your consideration.
My name is Deven Parmar and I would be honored to serve for another year as a General Director for SABA-DC. SABA-DC has been a terrific platform to provide meaningful events and opportunities to our members, while enhancing the profile of the South Asian legal community in D.C. and nationally. This year, my work on the Endorsement Committee to identify and showcase candidates doing important work has been particularly rewarding, as has partnering with other local legal associations working for a common cause. For example, my efforts partnering with other affinity bar associations to organize an annual clerkship conference for minority law school students was a key highlight in boosting our reach.
As a litigation associate at O’Melveny & Myers with a background in international law, and having lived and worked abroad extensively, I hope to contribute to the diverse skills sets on our Board. My practice in complex litigation as well as a pro bono focus on D.C. housing law provides connections to lawyers and judges, working in both local and federal courts, that have deep insights on cutting-edge legal issues. This can be used to take full advantage of the substantial influence that our community possesses.
Looking forward, I hope to work to raise SABA-DC’s profile by empowering us to speak up on topics that touch our community, including the current pressing concerns we face on immigration, access to justice, and rule of law. I would also like to improve our connects and participation with the D.C. bar community by strengthening our endorsement process, so to better target and profile members and groups that are making a strong impact. Finally, diversifying our events to reflect a broader variety of interests and topics is a priority.
I am excited about the future of SABA-DC and would be honored to support the growth of our organization. Thank you for your consideration.