For Immediate Release, July 21, 2017

SABA North America Celebrates Its 14th Annual Convention, Inaugural Lobby Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. – JULY 21, 2017 – The South Asian Bar Association (SABA) of North America celebrated its 14th Annual Convention, “Making Monumental Strides,” in Washington, D.C., July 13-16. In addition to our panels and networking events, this year we held the inaugural SABA Lobby Day to great success. SABA members spent the morning and afternoon on the Hill speaking with members of Congress and their staffers about issues of importance to the South Asian bar. We were gratified by the enthusiasm of our members and the warm reception we received by offices on both sides of the aisle and in both Houses of Congress.

Immediately following the Lobby Day, the Convention kicked off with a Welcome Reception, hosted by Covington and Burling, featuring Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA 27th District), Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY 14th District), Rep. Raja Krishanmoorthi (D-IL 8th District), and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL 9th District), as well as Patrick McGlone, President of Washington, D.C. Bar Association.

Our Convention marks the change in leadership, with a swearing in ceremony for our new President and Executive Committee. SABA’s 2017-2018 incoming President, Rishi Bagga, emphasized the role of lawyers in responding to an increase on crimes against the South Asian community. “Most of us are the first generation of lawyers in our family” Bagga stated. “And as such, we have a responsibility to serve our community. We have a responsibility to counsel our community. We have a responsibility to advocate for our community. We have a responsibility to lead our community. This is not an option – it is our duty. Because our community’s future depends on us, our community’s lawyers.”

This year’s panels featured personal insights and learnings from luminaries in the South Asian legal community including judges, law firm leaders, in-house counsel, and lawyers are making waves outside the profession. A major focus of SABA has been encouraging and assisting members who are interested in joining the judiciary at all levels. This year we were fortunate to welcome a record number of South Asian judges speak including Judges Justin Anand, Vince Chhabria, Jessy Lall, Amit Mehta, Raja Rajeswari, Ravi Sandill, Sri Srinivasan, Amul Thapar, and Sanjay Tailor.

A Chai Chat with Pioneer Award recipient Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells, hosted by Peter Karanjia of Davis Wright Tremaine, focused on Katyal’s career including State of Hawaii, et al. v. Trump, his time as Acting Solicitor General of the United States, and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

In another in-depth look, Walmart Director of Privacy Rebecca Davis spoke with Mayer Brown partner and former NSA general counsel Raj De about the latest challenges in cybersecurity, a hot-button topic in law firms and corporations.

The Convention closed with our Gala featuring keynote speakers Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the first South Asian woman elected to the US House of Representatives, and Cornerstone Awardee Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The SABA Foundation’s Annual Benefit a part of our annual Convention, and we were honored to have Gold Star father and South Asian attorney Khizr Khan as the night’s keynote. Additionally, the Foundation was able to provide grants for Heart Women & Girls, Saheli, Asha for Women, and SABA Washington.

“The Convention showcases the depth and breadth of the South Asian legal community,” said Vichal Kumar, Immediate Past President of SABA.  “While most Conventions are remembered for the keynote speakers, the true measure of success is this year’s attendance and engagement throughout the days of programming.”