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SABA North America Celebrates Its 16th  Annual Conference

Monday, July 8, 2019   (0 Comments)
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For Immediate Release,cJune28, 2019 


SABA North America Celebrates Its 16th Annual Conference 


ATLANTA, GA – JUNE 28, 2019 – The South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) celebrated its 16th Annual Conference, “Rise Up and Represent,” in  Atlanta June 20-23, 2019. 


The Conference kicked off with a Welcome Reception at the celebrated National Center for Civil and Human Rights, featuring remarks by Hon. Justin Anand, U.S. Magistrate Judge for Northern District of Georgia; BJay Pak, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; and Darrell Sutton, President of the State Bar of Georgia.  Judge Anand commended SABA for its growth over sixteen years, and noted that “my being [on the bench] today is a testament to this organization” and its members’ rise through the legal ranks.   


We were honored to be joined by United States Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL )for a Fireside Chat during our Friday lunch. His chat, with longtime friend and colleague Anil Mujumdar, covered Sen. Jones long career as a defender of civil rights, his plans for the future, the importance of bipartisanship and the benefits of diversity and inclusion. 


The Conference closed with our Annual Gala featuring keynote speaker Neal Katyal, who reflected on a history of injustices facing minorities in the United States, from Japanese internment during World War II to the current conditions of detention facilities holding migrants at the southern border. Mr. Katyal also recounted his experience successfully defending a Guantanamo detainee in his first Supreme Court argument in 2006; he has since gone on to argue before the Court more than any minority attorney, breaking a record held by Thurgood Marshall. When discussing his recent work challenging the travel ban in Trump v. Hawaii, Mr. Katyal emphasized, “I do think the fight is important, even if we lose sometimes.  We must fight for the Constitution.”   


As we continue to grow and provide services for our members and the larger South Asian community, we introduced SABA Wellness and SABACares. SABA Wellness is a set of programs that emphasize lawyer well-being. We began by introducing a Fun Run and Yoga on Saturday and included a plenary in which SABA members had an honest and open conversation about the realities of health and wellness in the profession. SABACares launched with a service event supporting two past SABA Foundation grantees.  Volunteers put together back-to-school bags for the children of clients of GAIN, and tea and spice packets for Raksha, a Georgia-based non-profit. 


The Conference panels featured luminaries in the South Asian legal community including judges, law firm leaders, in-house counsel, and lawyers making waves inside and outside the profession.  Now moderating, the Hon. Neomi Rao, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, “judged” her former SCOTUS Review co-panelists  Kannon Shanmugam of Paul Weiss;  Pratik Shah  of Akin Gump; Kirti Datla of Hogan Lovells; and Tejinder Singh of Goldstein & Russell as they discussed the Court’s eventful year.

This is also our time to recognize the achievement of our members and supporters. Our awardees include: Pioneer Award recipient Yasir Naqvi, CEO of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), Canada’s leading voice on citizenship and inclusion, and former Attorney General of Ontario; Public Interest Achievement Award Recipients Manohar “Mano” Raju, Public Defender for the City of San Francisco, and Shalini Swaroop, General Counsel and Director of Policy at Marin Clean Energy, California’s first local government agency focused on renewable energy and combating climate change; Corporate Counsel Achievement Award recipient Sedesh “Sedi” Doobay, Deputy General Counsel for the Global ISC and Operation Group at Honeywell Performance Materials & Technologies; Cornerstone Award winners, Amit Agarwal, Solicitor General of Florida, Shalini Goel Agarwal of Southern Legal Poverty Center, Habib Ilahi, trial attorney at the Department of Justice and Kirtan Patel, co-founder of KPPB Law; Diversity Champions Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and Nixon Peabody; Rising Stars Preetha Chakrabarti, law clerk for the Hon. Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson at the First Circuit Court of AppealsRajiv Parikh, partner at Genova Burns;  Viren Mascarenhas, partner at King & Spalding LLP; and Previn Warren, partner at Jenner Block; and Program Award Recipient the South Asian Women’s Attorney Network for their 2019 Bootcamps. 

While we are together celebrating the accomplishments of the South Asian legal community, we also welcome the new leadership of that community. The Hon. Neeti Pawar of the Colorado Court of Appeals swore in our new Executive Committee.  SABA’s 2019-2020 President, Aneesh Mehta reflected on the growth of SABA, “We are excited for what is going to be our busiest year ever, with a newly formed Calgary chapter, the launch of SABACares and SABA Wellness initiatives, our second Annual Naturalization Drive on November 16th, along with numerous new programs. And with the 2020 Elections and Census on the horizon, it is more important than ever for our growing South Asian community to be informed and involved."


The SABA Foundation, which supports organizations that provide critical services to the most vulnerable members of the South Asian Community, honored actor and activist, Maulik Pancholy, with its Hero Award for his work  on bullying prevention among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth through the non-profit Act to Change.  When it comes to the stories we tell on screen and in books, “representation matters,” Mr. Pancholy said, “even if it seems scary, now is the time to tell your story.” This year’s Foundation Grantees are  Sakhi  for South Asian Women who received a 2019 “Skills to Succeed” Grant (sponsored by Accenture) to support their Economic Empowerment Program, as well as General Grants to the South Asian Legal Clinic Society of British Columbia (SALCBC); Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF); and the Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network (GAIN).


And finally, we are pleased to welcome our newest chapter, SABA Calgary. Our 27thchapter is also our third in Canada. Please join in San Francisco next summer from June 25-28. 



SABA North America (formerly NASABA/North American South Asian Bar Association) is a voluntary bar organization and serves as an umbrella organization to 27 chapters in the United States and Canada. SABA North America is a recognized forum for professional growth and advancement for South Asian attorneys in North America and seeks to protect the rights and liberties of the South Asian community across the continent. Learn more at  


Dinesh Kumar 

Vice President of Public Relations 
South Asian Bar Association of North America