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  • Thursday, September 05, 2019 9:00 AM | SABA DC Communications (Administrator)

    2019 SABA-DC Gala Awards - Call for Nominations

    SABA-DC's 11th Annual Public Interest Benefit Gala is coming up on October 19, 2019. 

    For the first time, SABA-DC will be recognizing outstanding members of the South Asian legal community at the gala. We would love your nominations for any of the awards listed below. If you would like to nominate someone (or nominate yourself), please email our Awards Committee at sabadcgala@gmail.com by September 25, 2019.  Please include a short description of the nominee’s qualifications for the award, the nominee’s bio, and their contact information. Thank you!

    ·       Public Sector Trailblazer Award:  Recognizes an individual within the SABA-DC community who has demonstrated sustained excellence in public sector legal work or a specific extraordinary accomplishment in the public sector.  Public sector attorneys include those employed by the federal, state, or local governments, colleges and universities, and non-profit organizations.

    ·       Private Sector Trailblazer Award: Recognizes an individual within the SABA-DC community who has demonstrated sustained excellence in private sector legal work or a specific extraordinary accomplishment in the private sector.  Private sector attorneys include those employed by for-profit law firms or those working in-house at for-profit corporations.

    ·       Community Leader Award: Recognizes an individual or organization in the greater Washington or DMV area who, regardless of SABA-DC membership, has demonstrated strong support for SABA-DC, its members, and/or the South Asian community through pro bono work or community engagement.

    ·       Rising Star Award: Recognizes a talented individual within the SABA-DC community, who is under the age of 40 or has been practicing for fewer than 10 years, and has achieved prominence and distinction in their respective field while demonstrating a strong commitment to SABA-DC and the South Asian community.

  • Monday, April 17, 2017 2:46 PM | SABA DC Communications (Administrator)

    SABA-DC has endorsed A.J. Dhaliwal for DC Bar Treasurer.  Mr. Dhaliwal was nominated to run for the DC Bar Treasurer position for the 2017-2018 Board term. As an Associate with Buckley Sandler LLP, Dhaliwal represents clients in matters relating to consumer protection regulation and enforcement. He previously served on the DC Bar’s Voluntary Leadership Group and is a graduate of the DC Bar’s John Payton Leadership Academy, Class of 2014. 


    Dhaliwal is a former President of the South Asian Bar Association of Washington DC, where he worked to promote the professional development of South Asian American lawyers and law students, increase awareness and dialogue about legal issues of concern to South Asian Americans, and expand access to pro bono legal services. 


    Ballots and instructions for voting will be distributed to all active Bar members on April 24, and members can vote by mail or online at www.dcbar.org/elections. Candidates will be introduced at the D.C. Bar Candidates’ Forum on Wednesday, April 26.  The deadline to vote is May 19.

    More information is located on the Endorsements page.

  • Monday, March 06, 2017 7:18 PM | SABA DC Communications (Administrator)

    SABA-DC is kicking off the 2017 SABA-DC Mentorship Program. Mentors can be attorneys (at any level of experience) and Mentees can be law students and attorneys (at any level of experience).  SABA Membership is not required to join the program. The deadline to submit the Mentor or Mentee application is on March 26, 2017 at 11:59pm.  See instructions on the banner page on sabadc.org.  

  • Monday, February 27, 2017 10:29 PM | SABA DC Communications (Administrator)

    Every year SABA-DC provides financial assistance in the form of summer fellowships to law students working in the public interest sector for the benefit of the South Asian community and the metropolitan D.C. area.  SABA-DC is now accepting applications for its 2017 Public Interest Fellowship Program.

    Applicants must be current law students in good standing who will be employed or interning in the public interest sector in the D.C. area this coming summer.  Examples of qualified positions include: nonprofit organizations; legal services organizations; district attorneys'/public defenders' offices; federal, state, and local government; and public service law firms.

    SABA-DC considers all of the materials submitted by the applicant, with particular weight given to the applicant's essay and commitment to public service.  For students interested in applying, the application can be accessed here, and must be submitted tosabadcpifellowship@gmail.com by April 7, 2017.  

    More information can be found on our website.

  • Monday, July 27, 2015 11:01 PM | SABA DC Communications (Administrator)

    For immediate release July 27, 2015

    SABA-DC, NAPABA, and Korematsu Center file amicus brief in Federal Circuit case affecting trademark registration of disparaging marks

    WASHINGTON—The South Asian Bar Association of Washington, D.C. (SABA-DC), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), and the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality (Korematsu Center)  jointly filed an amicus brief to support the U.S. government’s denial of trademark registration to an Asian American rock band in a case before the Federal Circuit. Amici were represented by Charanjit (Charan) Brahma, Michael Hobbs and Daniel Sharpe at Troutman Sanders LLP.


    Simon Shiao Tam applied to register a federal trademark for his band, “The Slants.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied his application based on Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act that permits it to deny registration of disparaging marks. Though Tam’s appeal was rejected by a panel of the Federal Circuit, the en banc court on its own accord vacated that decision and ordered an en banc hearing on whether Section 2(a) violates the First Amendment.


    “Asian Pacific Americans are all too familiar with the harm, including violence, that often accompanies racial slurs and epithets,” said NAPABA President George C. Chen. “Although I recognize the band’s intent to reclaim a historically disparaging term, as an intellectual property attorney, I also am cognizant that changing the U.S. trademark regulations to allow the registration of ‘The Slants’ could result in the trademarking of offensive terms by individuals and groups without similarly positive intentions.”


    “SABA-DC deplores the use of racial slurs and epithets, and while the particular epithet involved in this case is not one that is usually directed to our South Asian constituency, we believe slurs against any racial or ethnic group are damaging to us all,” added SABA-DC President Habib F. Ilahi.  “The First Amendment protects free speech, but it does not entitle those who wish to use such derogatory terms for branding purposes to receive the stamp of government approval that comes with federal trademark registration.”


    The amicus brief urges the court to recognize that federal registration of a disparaging mark implicates the government. It argues that the federal registry can be compared to county deed recording systems, under which property owners were permitted to record racially restrictive covenants. Until the 1948 case of Shelley v. Kraemer, courts enforced these private acts of discrimination. The amicus brief urges the Federal Circuit to not make the federal trademark registry a place where racism is recorded and authorized, and to not require our government to perpetuate racism.

    Robert Chang, executive director of the Korematsu Center, commented, While Mr. Tam seeks to embrace a derogatory racial term and to subvert it, a laudatory goal, a ruling against the government in this case would leave the government powerless to deny federal registration of trademarks to hate groups.

    Troutman Sanders is pleased to be able to lend our experience in intellectual property and Federal Circuit appellate issues to aid NAPABA, SABA-DC and the Korematsu Center in this important case, added Charan Brahma, a partner in Troutman Sanders Intellectual Property practice in the San Francisco office, and former President-elect of SABA-DC. 

    The case, In re Tam, will be heard en banc by the Federal Circuit on Oct. 2, 2015.


    The amicus brief is available at http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.napaba.org/resource/resmgr/Amicus_Briefs/SABA-DC,_NAPABA,_Korematsu_C.pdf.


    Kaamil Khan (SABA-DC)




    Brett Schuster, Communications Manager (NAPABA)




    Robert S. Chang (Korematsu Center)



  • Monday, March 23, 2015 9:38 AM | SABA DC Communications (Administrator)

    See the Public Interest Fellowship page on the Home Page banner for more information and a link to the 2015 application. Completed applications must be emails no later than April 3, 2015, to sabadcsecretary@gmail.com.

    Each applicant must be a current law student in good standing, and must have received confirmation of employment or internship with a public interest organization during the summer of 2015.

    It is the policy of SABA-DC not to discriminate on the basis of age, gender, disability, race, color, creed, religion, ethnicity, national origin, veteran status, or sexual orientation.

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014 12:37 PM | SABA DC Communications (Administrator)

    For Immediate Release, December 17, 2014







    The South Asian Bar Association of Washington, D.C. (“SABA-DC”) applauds the United States Senate’s confirmation of Amit Priyavadan Mehta to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He will be the first South Asian American to serve on the federal District Court for the District of Columbia.



    Shuchi Batra, President of SABA-DC, added, “SABA-DC is thrilled that the Senate has confirmed our member Amit P. Mehta to the distinguished bench of the District Court for the District of Columbia. He will be an outstanding and fair-minded judge. SABA-DC previously endorsed Amit for this position.


    Amit has been a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP since 2010, where he represents clients in civil and criminal matters before state and federal courts. He rejoined the firm as counsel in 2007 after serving as a staff attorney for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia from 2002 to 2007. Prior to this, Amit worked as an associate at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP from 1999 to 2002, as a law clerk for Judge Susan P. Graber of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1998 to 1999, and as an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP from 1997 to 1998. He received his J.D. in 1997 from the University of Virginia School of Law and his B.A. in 1993 from Georgetown University.


    Amit’s experience is marked by high profile successes in difficult cases, including the civil and criminal defense of Dominique Strauss-Kahn against allegations of sexual abuse and the defense of the former president of the Salt Lake City Olympic bid committee against charges of fraud and racketeering. His years at the D.C. Public Defender Service gave him real-world insight into the daily challenges and disparities in economics, education, and opportunity experienced by disadvantaged communities, particularly for young minorities.



    Amit has also made community service a priority. He served as a Director of Facilitating Leadership in Youth, a non-profit organization dedicated to after-school activities and mentoring for at-risk youth. He also served as the Vice-President of the Board of Directors of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project.




    SABA-DC is a voluntary bar association dedicated to promoting the needs, concerns, and interests of the South Asian American legal community in the Washington, D.C. area. The organization reaches approximately 1,000 attorneys and jurists of South Asian origin in the Washington, D.C. area.

  • Monday, December 01, 2014 4:21 PM | SABA DC Communications (Administrator)


    We are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague, Ajay Ojha. Ajay was in Escuintla, Guatemala on November 12, 2014 while on a volunteer service mission helping build a secondary school there. He was 38.
    He worked as a consultant for the federal government in Washington, DC, primarily assisting the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security with Program Management and Strategic Communications. He was very active in his community, serving on several boards including the Upakar Foundation, the South Asian Bar Association of North America Foundation, and the DC Commission on Asian and Pacific Island Community Development.

    In lieu of flowers and to celebrate his life, an educational scholarship fund has been set up in his name through the Upakar Foundation and donations may be made at – http://www.upakarfoundation.org/named-scholarships/ajay-ojha-memorial


    A memorial service in Washington, DC, is tentatively set for Wednesday evening, December 10th. Please register here if you will be attending: 

  • Tuesday, November 18, 2014 11:04 AM | SABA DC Communications (Administrator)
    The SABA-DC Fall Newsletter is here! We've had some wonderfully exciting times and have many stories to share. Please follow this link link to catch up on happenings in the SABA-DC community over the past few months. 
  • Sunday, October 26, 2014 5:15 PM | SABA DC Communications (Administrator)


    SABA-DC believes Karl Racine is immensely qualified for the D.C Attorney General position because of the depth and range of his legal, management and leadership experience. Mr. Racine’s legal experience as a public defender in the District of Columbia, litigator of white-collar and commercial cases at Cacheris & Treanor, associate general counsel in the Clinton White House, and the first African-American managing partner of Venable LLP will serve him well.  His over ten years of management and leadership experience as managing partner of Venableundefineda top 100 firmundefinedhas particularly equipped him well to run the D.C. Office of Attorney General, which will require overseeing 300 attorneys and managing a $100 million budget.  SABA-DC is also impressed by Mr. Racine’s commitment to pro bono work exhibited through the over 1,000 hours he has spent defending victims in death penalty cases, and by his continued commitment to fostering greater diversity in the legal profession. 

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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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