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Statements of Candidacy

SABA-DC 2021 Board of Directors

Nandu Machiraju - President-Elect

My name is Nandu Machiraju, and I am running for President-Elect of SABA-DC.  I have been a part of the D.C. community for nearly 20 years: attending college and law school at area schools; working for various government agencies; practicing at a private law firm; and now serving as a government attorney.  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. 

Four 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.  Three years ago, I was the Vice President of Programming, where I helped organize a number of different programs relating to cryptocurrency, criminal enforcement, appellate advocacy, immigration, antitrust, intellectual property, and other topics.  A couple years ago, I reprised my role as a General Director where I helped co-lead the mentorship program again and put on networking events. 

After taking a year-long hiatus from SABA-DC, I’m throwing my hat in the ring to serve as President-Elect.  I submit my candidacy in hopes of building a diverse, vibrant community of South Asian lawyers in the Washington, D.C. metro area.  I aim to create a vehicle to showcase and celebrate our community’s successes.  I would like to develop programs and opportunities to mentor our members to fulfill their career aspirations.  And I want to build an environment where we can learn about and discuss the issues that most significantly affect our community.  Here are a few areas where I would focus my efforts as President-Elect:

  • Get to Know Our Community Better.  We’re blessed with one of the most talented legal communities in the country with lawyers practicing at the very pinnacle of the bar.  But I worry that we are barely scratching the surface in terms getting to know all the potential members in this area.  We need to do more to get to know the South Asian lawyers practicing in the area and show them why there is significant value in joining SABA-DC.
  • Stronger Development.  SABA-DC provides a lot of support to our junior members.  We have a terrific Public Interest Fellows Program and a Mentorship Program.  But we can do more.  Whether it’s resume reviews, mock interviews, or other career development programs—we need to think holistically about how to help develop the next generation of leading lawyers. 
  • Broaden Our Reach.  We need to think more about how to broaden our community beyond the District limits.  Many area attorneys operate under different schedules and are looking for different things out of a diverse bar association.  We owe it to them to understand their interests better and develop programming that appeals to a wider audience.

I thank you for considering my candidacy, and I hope you will consider casting your vote for me in the coming election. 

Jyoti Kuvelker - Vice President of Communications

Dear SABA-DC members,

I am seeking your vote for Vice President of Communications!  I joined SABA-DC several years ago when I moved to DC to work for Hogan Lovells in the fund formation and private equity practice. At Hogan I was part of the Asian American attorneys affinity group and recruited several members for SABA-DC. Currently, I am an attorney at USAID working on international development and foreign assistance. 

I am excited to serve as the Vice President of Communications to keep SABA members and community members informed about the great events, opportunities and information available through SABA-DC. For example, I will create and send out the email newsletter and correspondingly update our public website. My favorite part of SABA-DC’s newsletters is the upcoming events section.  It’s through our newsletter, website, and social media that SABA-DC can attract new members and promote awareness about the organization, and I will continue to ensure that our current and potential membership stay well informed. 

You can count on me to be organized, positive, responsive, detailed and easy to work with. As a corporate transactional attorney, I have some ingrained habits about consistency, proofreading, formatting and timelines. I look forward to working with the President, the Board, SABA members and others to gather news and pass it on in an easy to read way. Previously I was the President of the South Asian Law Students Association at the University of Michigan Law School, so I have experience with communications and board leadership in a similar context. 

In April I was happy to deepen my engagement with SABA-DC by serving as a panelist for SABA-DC’s Advice for Job Seekers in the COVID-19 Era virtual event. I am impressed with how this year’s Board has adapted SABA-DC to the COVID-19 environment, and I hope to continue that work as a member of the 2021 Board of Directors.  I hope I can count on your support!

Rukku Singla - Vice President of Gala

My name is Rukku Singla and I am running for the position of Vice President of Gala for the 2021 SABA-DC Board. I served as the first Vice President of Gala in 2020, and I have been a member of SABA-DC since 2012. In 2020, we made an unprecedented shift to virtual programming as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While we still do not know what 2021 will hold in terms of our ability to gather in-person, this year demonstrated that the SABA-DC community is just as robust and vibrant online as it is in person. As Vice President of Gala in 2021, I will continue the excellent record of fundraising and community building that galas in years past have achieved, as well as expanding the reach of the event to a broader audience in the South Asian legal community – whether the event is virtual or in person. With this year’s virtual programming, we reached many South Asian attorneys in the DC area who had not been active in SABA-DC, and I hope to harness the potential of that broader community, as well as serving our loyal members who have long participated in SABA-DC events.

This year I gained valuable experience in coordinating virtual events, including facilitating Zoom events, as well as working with our expert team of videographers, coordinating purchase of SABA-DC mugs, and shepherding the second annual SABA-DC awards to talented members of our community. I was also glad to serve as a SABA-DC Board member generally.

Debodhonyaa Sengupta - Vice President of Membership

My name is Debodhonyaa (Deb) Sengupta.  I am a General Director of the 2020 SABA-DC Board, and I am running for the position of Vice President of Membership on the 2021 SABA-DC Board. 

This year has been anything but ordinary, and I am proud of SABA-DC’s seamless transition to a virtual platform through which we have continued to provide regular programing for our members.  This year, I co-organized SABA-DC’s Anti-Racism panel series, and I was honored to moderate the final panel in this series.  As chair of SABA-DC’s IP Section, I also organized an event this summer to discuss recent IP-related Supreme Court decisions.  In 2020, I served as a mentor through SABA-DC’s Public Interest Fellowship and Mentoring programs. 

As Vice President of Membership, I will strive to increase SABA-DC membership, while also continuing to engage with, and support the needs of, our existing members.  Here are selected ideas for the 2021 year:

  • Membership Events: When I joined SABA-DC, it was wonderful to meet other SABA-DC members.  However, sometimes it’s difficult to meet people when we are attending one of our panels or talks, especially in the virtual world.  These standalone social events will provide an opportunity to network and meet other members of the SABA-DC community.  I hope that we are able to return to in-person activities in 2021.  When that happens, I hope to continue to organize virtual networking events so that SABA-DC members who are unable to attend in-person events will have the opportunity to interact with other SABA-DC members, and continue to be an integral part of our community. 
  • Outreach to SABA-DC Members: I plan to reach out to the membership to gauge their interest in various activities, and solicit their feedback on how we can improve the membership experience. 
  • Community Building: I love to give back to the community that I live in.  We would organize more volunteer opportunities for members to interact and build relationships within the SABA-DC community while also making a difference to the DMV community. 
  • Supporting Existing Programming: SABA-DC offers great programming every year.  As VP of Membership, I will support other Board Members in organizing such events, including creating a database of members interested in serving on panels, connecting members with speaking opportunities and serving as a liaison between the Board and our members. 

Additionally, I hope to continue with the anti-racism panel series in 2021 to continue the discussion about how we can support racial equality.  I also plan to increase IP-related programming, including reaching out to the IP-practitioners in the SABA-DC community to solicit ideas for engagement. 

Thank you for considering my candidacy for Vice President of Membership for 2021.  I look forward to continuing my service to the SABA-DC community in 2021. 

Avni J. Amin - Vice President of Programming

My name is Avni Amin and I am running for the VP of Programming. I previously served as a General Director on the SABA DC Board and organized several successful events and panels, including a virtual panel on COVID-19 and burnout. I recruited professionals with backgrounds in psychology, nutrition, and wellness to share tips on how to manage the difficulties associated with quarantine and working from home. I also assisted in organizing a brunch for the International Woman’s Day, as well as a panel of local immigration experts. I also had the pleasure of interviewing candidates for our Public Interest Fellowship and mentoring one of our bright and talented fellows.

In the role of VP of Programming, I hope to continue to facilitate a wide variety of programming on issues of importance to the community, from issues of racial justice and systemic racism, to panels focused on career transitions and virtual networking. With many of us continuing to meet virtually for the better part of next year, I plan to work with the board to ensure we continue to bring our membership and community quality programming that is both timely and relevant. I also hope to expand our reach by partnering with other SABA chapters.

I am currently an associate with Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch, P.C., where I help employees with a variety of complex employment issues, including issues of discrimination and retaliation. I formerly served as the Community Relations Chair of SABA Greater Boston (SABA GB), where I had the opportunity to spearhead and support numerous pro bono and community outreach programs.

With my background and experience, I know I can help to increase SABA-DC’s public profile in the local community and thereby enrich the community. With your support, I would be honored to continue to serve on the board as the VP of Programming.

Avani Uppalapati - Secretary

Dear SABA-DC community,

I would love to serve as your Secretary on the 2021 SABA-DC Board of Directors. I am a third year in the Litigation and the International Trade practice groups at Fried Frank. I have been fortunate in my pro bono work to be part of impact litigation related to voting rights and immigration rights, and to advocate for domestic violence survivors.

Being part of SABA-DC has been a highlight of my career as a young lawyer. I have found an invaluable and supportive community that inspires me to aim high. The various events – from weekend yoga sessions to career development panels – have been welcome additions to my days. I want to support the Board in continuing to provide these activities and finding ways for people to connect.

I began serving as a Co-Chair of my firm’s Attorneys of Color group this year, and have learned a lot about the work that goes into putting on an event and building a community, especially in a virtual setting. I have collaborated with various stakeholders and discussed how to navigate difficult situations with peers. I have thought deeply about and engaged others on the steps we could take as a firm and as members of the legal profession to improve outcomes for diverse associates. All while taking excellent notes along the way – a skill that I would exercise with fervor as Secretary of the Board. I am also a big fan of institutional knowledge and would endeavor to contribute to that in my role.

I have engaged with these topics from my days as a law student and am grateful to be building on my experience in that area. As Co-President of the South Asian Law Students Association at Georgetown Law, I was focused on ensuring a sense of belonging and opportunities for South Asian students. My board and I organized public and private-sector oriented events, sometimes in partnership with other organizations, and coordinated with University administration on diversity efforts.

Diversity and representation is a topic that is close to my heart and I would put that passion to work for the Board. Serving as a mentor to other students and summer associates has helped me to appreciate how overwhelming a new endeavor can feel. Lately, most of us feel like we are undertaking new endeavors daily. My goal as Secretary would be to facilitate the smooth running of the Board and the events it puts on. I would make sure to communicate effectively with fellow Board members and help bring the team’s ideas to life.

As someone who has always been active in her communities, I would continue to do the same as a SABA-DC Secretary. I would seek out and listen to members’ feedback and work with the Board to ensure a positive experience for the SABA-DC community.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

Suparna Reddy - Treasurer

I would be honored to be re-elected as the Treasurer of SABA-DC. 

As Treasurer this past year, I have focused on overhauling our internal finance infrastructure and processes. This included reassessing how our finances are organized, closing extraneous accounts, and putting a new investment plan in place for the long-term financial health of the organization. Though it was a steep learning curve, I have now had a year to see the financial life-cycle of SABA-DC and I am eager to stay on the board for another year in this role to carry these plans to fruition. 

Reflecting on this past year, I am most proud of the ways in which SABA-DC stepped up to support our members and the community during an unexpected challenging year and the unequivocal stances we took on racial justice issues. We had the strength to take on 2020 without hesitation in part because of the strong financial foundation that the organization has built over decades. I am humbled to have been a part of that legacy building this year, and if re-elected as Treasurer, I will continue to make these efforts possible for decades to come by safeguarding our finances while investing in valuable programming for our community. 

Zain Jinnah - General Director

I would be honored to serve as a General Director for SABA-DC for the 2021 term.

I moved to DC in 2016 to work at White & Case LLP, where I practice international arbitration and litigation on behalf of foreign governments and multinational companies. My pro bono work also focuses on international and comparative law issues in developing and post-conflict countries, as I’m passionate about using international legal and policy frameworks to improve the quality of life for communities across the globe.

I feel that my strong international orientation would make me an excellent additional to SABA. Beyond my practice and extracurricular involvement, I have also worked and studied in several countries – I received my JD from Harvard Law School in the U.S., my MPP from Oxford University in the U.K., and my BA from the University of Calgary in Canada. I would love to contribute my global experience and perspective to SABA’s efforts.

I also have prior bar association leadership experience. From 2018 to 2020, I served on the board of directors of the Capital Area Muslim Bar Assocation – the DMV’s bar association for Muslim lawyers – including as the President of that organization. In that capacity I’ve built relationships with other bar associations both in the DMV area and across the country, and have organized a wide range of professional and social events for the DC legal community.

As a new board member of SABA, I believe that I’ll be able to contribute a fresh approach to SABA’s programming and community development. Some of the areas I’d like to help advance are:

  • Relationship-Building: SABA already does an excellent job of uniting the South Asian bar and working with other affinity bar associations. I feel that these efforts can be taken further by actively developing professional and social relations with South Asian affinity groups in DC representing different professions (let’s be honest – we all get tired of talking to lawyers at some point!).
  • Alternative Careers: Lawyers often contemplate changing course in their careers, whether to focus on different areas of the law or on different professions altogether. I feel that SABA can hold more events focusing on the intersections between the law and other professions, as well as on the varied career trajectories open to attorneys.
  • Mentorship: While SABA has already pioneered some mentorship opportunities, I don’t think there can ever be too much of this!
  • Novel Social Events: SABA is known for great social events, and I’d like to spearhead even more of these. For example, as a foodie and amateur chef, I’d love to organize SABA cooking classes and restaurant nights!

Having benefited greatly from SABA-DC’s many initiatives over the past several years, I would be humbled to have the opportunity to contribute to SABA’s programming. Thank you for taking the time to consider my candidacy!

Ravi Kambhampaty - General Director

Dear SABA-DC Members,

I am respectfully seeking your vote to serve as a General Director on the board of SABA-DC. I have been a proud SABA-DC t-shirt wearing member since 2016!

I hope to bring my experiences as a dedicated public service attorney to the leadership of this venerable organization. I currently serve as an attorney with the DOJ’s National Security Division, wherein I am counsel to the Division’s Records and FOIA unit and coordinate with various litigating sections of the DOJ as well different agencies of the U.S. Intelligence Community on a variety of matters that often involve sensitive national security equities. I am also a Judge Advocate in the U. S. Army Reserves. In my Military capacity, I worked on counter-terrorism cases of certain detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as a Prosecutor with the DOD’s Office of Military Commissions. As an army Judge Advocate, I previously deployed to Eastern Afghanistan and Bogota, Colombia where I worked on a variety of international legal issues with partners across the U.S. government and with the host nation(s). Prior to joining the government, I was a Senior Staff-Attorney at a small non-profit on Long Island, NY that provided legal services to indigent immigrants.

I hope to bring my passion for public service and my varied experiences to help advance SABA-DC’s critical work in the arena of public interest. I wish to work on public interest initiatives that will encourage the next generation of South Asian attorneys to seek opportunities in public service. I would like to do this by working with the rest of the SABA leadership team to offer meaningful programming about the varied forms of public service one can pursue. I also hope to work on strengthening the mentorship program so more junior attorneys will have a sounding board by which to navigate the complexities of career choices.

I also hope to work on projects that will provide meaningful assistance to members of the South Asian community who may be in need. I hope to work with both the SABA-DC leadership team as well as to coordinate with outside organizations to work in furtherance of the foundational mission of helping our community. As a former non-profit attorney and a current government attorney with extensive inter-agency experience, I am well poised to effectively build and sustain the relationships needed to effectively do this.

Most importantly, I would like to always be available to listen to fellow SABA-DC members and ensure that their interests are heard and brought to the attention of leadership.   I hope to ensure that to the extent practicable, SABA-DC programing meets the professional and social networking needs of all of its members.  In order to do this, I plan to stay engaged with as many events as possible and to seek feedback from fellow members on how such events can be improved.  Thank you for your support!

Snehal Massey - General Director

When I joined SABA-DC in the Fall 2019 I never expected to become so involved in the organization. Because of the practical logistics of working in Baltimore County, living in Anne Arundel County, and attending SABA-DC’s events in the DC-metro area, I did not anticipate being a very active member. But then 2020 brought about unique challenges that forced everyone to be more innovative. This organization quickly adapted to the changing landscape of our nation and offered robust programming to the members without missing a beat. The silver lining was I could participate in SABA-DC’s programs virtually which allowed me meet and get to know the members on a more personal level.

I'm seeking a position on the Board as a General Director, primarily, because I have observed the urgency and seriousness with which this organization reacted to our nation's racial strife and on-going fight for racial equality, and I want to be a part of continuing those efforts. Although the several other Bar associations in which I am involved state a desire to provide programming in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, so far not even one of the organizations I'm a part of, other than SABA-DC, has acted expeditiously on those desires. I was honored to be invited to moderate the panel in August, “Introspection within the South Asian Community: How Our Experiences Can Shape Our Support of Black Lives.” SABA-DC is leading the way with this impactful and necessary programming, and setting an example for our sister organizations of the conversations that bring awareness of inclusivity and justice in and for our community and profession. As a board member, I intend to continue those efforts with our programming in 2021. In this very difficult year, SABA-DC has shown up for all people of color, and I want to build on the important themes of inclusivity, being multi-cultural, and the role of the intersectionality of race, gender, and culture in the legal community.

I bring a fresh voice to SABA-DC. I’m currently a litigation associate at a small private firm in Maryland. Both my practice area as well as the type of firm environment in which I work set me apart from other members of the SABA-DC Board. Working in a setting other than that of government or a large-firm allows me to bring a different perspective to the Board. The diversity of experience that I can bring to the Board will improve our programming to appeal to a wider audience of attorneys in our South-Asian legal community. In addition, I bring to the position the experience of working within other Bar associations and anticipate taking my experience with SABA-DC in diversifying the local Bar associations. Lastly, as a mother of a bi-racial daughter (Indian and Black), it is important for me to show up and contribute to the active creation of a community that accepts the full range of her diversity rather than limits her to only one identification.

Thank you for your support.

Devika Persaud - General Director

My name is Devika Persaud.  After serving as a General Director on the SABA-DC Board in 2019 and as the VP of Programming in 2020, I am running for a General Director position in 2021.  I am thrilled to be considered for a position that would allow me to continue serving the DC-area South Asian legal community.  Next year, my goal is to continue coordinating premier events to allow our members to learn from and collaborate with each other.  I would specifically like to coordinate women-oriented networking events to create spaces for women attorneys to share their experiences and advice, as well as events for all to attend on ways to support and promote women attorneys to address gender imbalances in the legal profession.  I would also like to help facilitate mentorship and coordinate mentorship events for our members.  My most gratifying experiences on the SABA-DC Board have been through mentoring law students, one of whom I was proud to see graduate from law school and take the bar exam during a tumultuous 2020.  I will continue to serve in as many ways as I can and, if re-elected to the Board, would remain open to member feedback on how SABA-DC can help our community grow stronger and send the ladder back down for up-and-coming attorneys.  It has been a great privilege to serve on the SABA-DC Board.  Thank you for your time and best wishes to all for a safe and joyful holiday season.

Archith Ramkumar - General Director

I am seeking a position as a General Director on the SABA-DC Board for this upcoming term.

As a current Board member and General Director, I am the chair of the revitalized government section, and I have spent the past year focusing on organizing networking events catering to our members who are government employees, as well as panel events specifically geared towards assisting members who are looking to get government jobs.  I have also been part of SABA-DC’s mentorship efforts through its various initiatives.  If elected to a second term as General Director, my primary focus would be on making the government section more robust with additional programming focusing on how our members can make an impact on the judiciary, how our members can acquire the positions they want at federal government agencies, and, more generally, how our members can build the connections they need to pave the way for their success as government lawyers.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the dedicated and talented individuals that comprise this year’s Board and would also enjoy working for another year on behalf of SABA-DC’s members during these tumultuous times.  Thank you for your consideration. 

Neaha Raol - General Director

After having served on SABA-DC’s executive board as Secretary for two years and on the board of directors this year, I am seeking your support for my candidacy as General Director of SABA-DC in 2021.  Over the past three years, I have worked with other executive board members, general directors, and our members to ensure the smooth operation and continued success of SABA-DC.  I have enjoyed contributing to SABA-DC as a board member for three years – a period in which SABA-DC has continued to have extraordinary success and growth, even in the unique circumstances of this year – in many ways, including by co-chairing the mentorship committee this year; planning and participating in events on various issues and topics such as professional development and success and the importance of pro bono particularly for the South Asian community; helping with the planning, fundraising, and various other aspects of SABA-DC’s annual public interest galas; and regularly preparing board meeting agendas and minutes during my time as Secretary.

I am a senior associate at Morgan Lewis, where I am a member of the firm’s litigation practice group.  I also maintain an active pro bono practice, which includes representing immigrant U.S. Army soldiers in four federal court cases (including two class actions).

I look forward to utilizing my knowledge of the organization, building on my relationship with our membership and community leaders, and strengthening our partnerships with various law firms and companies in the DMV area.  I am particularly interested in continuing to grow and develop SABA-DC’s mentorship program, which had a record number of participants this year.  I would be honored to continue serving as General Director and to advance SABA-DC’s mission by carrying on the great work that our organization does for members and the South Asian community.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Amandeep Singh Sidhu - General Director

My name is Amandeep Singh Sidhu and I am running for reelection as a General Director on SABA-DC’s Board of Directors.  I was honored to be elected as a General Director in 2019 and have had pleasure of serving with an incredible Board, chairing the Endorsements Committee, and supporting a myriad of programs.  During an extraordinary year—one where we all endured a global pandemic, rallied behind the Black Lives Matter movement as it rose to the forefront of political discourse, and navigated an historic Presidential election—it was amazing to see SABA-DC not just persevere, but thrive.  I could not be more proud of SABA-DC’s powerful programming and messaging that responded to the moment at every turn in 2020.

I have been part of the Washington, DC community for over 20 years and am currently a partner in the healthcare and life sciences practice of Winston & Strawn.  I serve on Winston’s all-partner Diversity Committee and am actively involved in the firm’s efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession.  I am also a co-founder of the Sikh Coalition, a civil rights advocacy group formed in the wake of 9/11 to provide legal resources to combat religious discrimination.  I have been recognized as a “40 Under 40” by the Washington Business Journal, “DC Rising Star” by The National Law Journal, “Rising Star” by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and “Best Under 40” by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and one of the “Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business” by the Asian American Business Development Center.

Over the past two decades, I have worked closely with organizations across the South Asian and broader Asian & Pacific Islander community, including South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA), National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), and Muslim Advocates.  Throughout this work, it has been critically important to build strong bonds both within and among these various organizations to ensure that the South Asian community’s rights and interests are protected.  To that end, I have served as lead counsel in an 11+ year pro bono campaign with the Sikh Coalition to end the presumptive ban on turban-wearing Sikhs in the U.S. military.  Partnering with a myriad of organizations, this campaign has resulted in individual accommodations for dozens of clients, successful federal litigation in 2016, and an historic policy change in the U.S. Army in 2017.  Today, over 60 turban-wearing Sikhs serve in the U.S. Army, two Sikh cadets are attending West Point, and the first accommodations of Sikhs in the U.S. Air Force were granted last year.

If reelected, I will bring my personal experience and passion for the success of the South Asian bar to each and every day of my service to our membership, continue to support SABA-DC’s robust programming, and expand the quality and value of networking events to promote deep and meaningful connections.  Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy for reelection to the Board!   

Nina R. Tandon - General Director

My name is Nina R. Tandon and I am running to serve a second term in my position as General Director on SABA-DC’s 2021 Board. I am currently in-house as the Associate General Counsel for the American Psychological Association (APA), where I manage all intellectual property and privacy-related legal risk, contracts and litigation. Prior to my current role, I served as an associate for Hogan Lovells LLP in New York City for over three years, a law clerk in the Southern District of Ohio, and an associate for a boutique law firm for just over a year here in Washington D.C.

I served as a General Director on the SABA-DC Board for the past year in 2020 as well as the In-House Counsel Section Co-Chair. Over the course of the year, the In-House Counsel Section held numerous events, including a full day bootcamp workshop for in-house counsel with panels on ethics, recruitment and career growth, and a recent virtual chai chat featuring the new General Counsel of the D.C. Bar Association. I am running for General Director to continue the work we have done for our in-house counsel community members for 2021. The pandemic has called for creative programming to meet the needs of our members and I am looking forward to bringing networking and professional development opportunities to our in-house counsel safely and effectively in 2021.

Over the last nine years, I have not only been an enthusiastic member of geographically applicable SABA chapters but also served these chapters and SABA North America in various Board roles. Specifically, I served on the SABANY Board in 2013 and 2014 and as a Trustee of the SABA North America Foundation from 2015-2017. For SABANY in 2013 I was the VP of Sponsorship and Gala Chair. In 2014, I served as SABANY’s VP of Membership, charged with maintaining and increasing membership in addition to organizing panels, networking, and mentoring-focused events. As a SABA North America Foundation Trustee, I assisted with the Foundation’s mission to develop and fund programs supporting legal education, legal research, and public interest employment benefiting the South Asian legal community of North America and the South Asian community as a whole.

As a born and raised Washingtonian, I now wish to continue to serve SABA and the South Asian legal community by continuing on the SABA-DC Board as a General Director. If elected, in particular, I will continue to focus on reinvigorating the in-house membership numbers, programming and member engagement. I know I am well positioned to do so, as I have one year of experience under my belt as well as firsthand knowledge of in-house practice and professional concerns within nonprofits, associations, and revenue-driven corporations. I plan to continue to collaborate with our in-house members to create programming and to foster relationship building between our in-house and non-in-house members.

Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy. Please support me with your vote!

Pooja Tolani - General Director

I would like to introduce myself and seek your vote to serve as a General Director on the board.

I graduated from American University Washington College of Law in May 2019 and am currently a first year Attorney at Microsoft, where I focus on various tech issues that arise around the states, such as privacy, facial recognition, and cyber security. While in Law School, I was a regulatory intern at T-Mobile, USA, an intern at the Federal Communications Commission for Commissioner Clyburn, and a Corporate Legal intern at Discovery Communications, providing me with a diverse portfolio.

Additionally, I was a member of our South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA) and served as the President for two years. I worked to revive SALSA’s presence at the law school and worked with other affinity organizations to emphasize the importance of diversity and inclusion in the legal field. I led a mentorship program, organized panels with South Asian Lawyers, and hosted community fostering events.

As a young diverse lawyer, I know the importance of a community, especially during times like this. It is my hope that I am able to bring my previous experience in SALSA, my drive to foster community, and my willingness to help others to the SABA - DC Board.  

Over the next year, if I am elected to serve as a General director, I am willing to help in whatever capacity is necessary, however, I believe my experience would be most useful on the Membership and/or Communication committees. 

Membership Committee: I would Assist the VP of Membership in building and growing the SABA mentorship program, helping facilitate meaningful relationships, and making sure that we are connected with the local law schools. I know the value of having an engaged mentor and would work to build out SABA-DC’s current mentorship program, it is my vision that young lawyers and aspiring lawyers leave school having a diverse network and understanding of the legal field. 

Communications Committee: I will utilize my prior experience in Marketing and Communications to help build out our diverse network and make sure that members are connected to the work we do. I have experience in corporate marketing, mass communications (with a focus in social media), and graphic design. Additionally, I would collaborate with other committee members and the VP of programming to ensure our programming matches the interest of our members and is effectively communicated. 

I would also like to help organize events that are geared to those in-house or those looking to go in-house, especially young and/or entry level attorneys. If elected I would collaborate with my fellow board members to ensure that there is programing and resources available for members interested in all areas of the legal field.   

Diversity and Inclusion is a passion close to my heart and having the opportunity to be a part of a Board which fosters the sense of community that has been essential to my growth as a lawyer, is something that I hope to do. Thank you!


Our goal is to address the needs and concerns of the South Asian American legal community in Washington, D.C. while providing our members with the knowledge and support necessary to reach their personal and professional goals.

You can find us here:

South Asian Bar Association of Washington, D.C.

P.O. Box 65349
Washington, D.C. 20035

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