South Asian Bar
Association of Chicago

 

Serving Chicagoland's South Asian Community

SABA Chicago Board

Vani Vedam, President

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Debjani Dasgupta, President Elect

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Debjani Dasgupta serves as Assistant General Counsel for Litigation and Eligibility for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Prior to that, she was an Administrative Law Judge for the same agency, handling medical vendor appeals and fair hearings. Debjani also served as an Assistant State's Attorney for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in the Special Prosecutions Bureau’s Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit, Juvenile Justice Bureau, and Civil Actions Bureau. Debjani earned her J.D. from The John Marshall Law School and her B.B.A. in Finance from Loyola University of New Orleans.

Sameer Ghaznavi, Secretary

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Sameer Ghaznavi is Counsel in the Corporate and Securities Department at Chapman and Cutler.

Before joining Chapman in 2015, Sameer worked as Corporate Counsel for a retail power and natural gas affiliate of a Fortune 200 energy company. In that position, he prepared and negotiated retail electric purchase and sale agreements with various commercial, industrial, and municipal entities, as well as power purchase agreements for renewable energy. Sameer has also served as Legal Counsel for a publicly traded independent power producer based out of Alberta, Canada, where he assisted the company on US and Canadian operational matters, including structuring and negotiating engineering, procurement and construction agreements, professional services agreement, operations and maintenance agreements, turbine supply and leasing agreements, long term service agreements, and the sale of renewable assets. His additional experience includes commodity derivatives transactions, renewable energy credits and certificates transactions, and emissions allowance transactions.

Arsalan Nayani, Treasurer

Professional Portrait by Photographer, Dusty Holoubek - Arsalan

Arsalan Nayani is an associate in the Government practice group at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in Chicago.  Prior to attending law school, Arsalan worked for a financial services firm in California. He has taken the four required examinations to become a certified public accountant. 
 
Arsalan received his law degree from DePaul University College of Law in 2015. He graduated magna cum laude from Auburn University in 2010 where he earned his bachelor's degree in Economics. 

Nikki Bhargava, VP of Programming

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Monique (Nikki) Bhargava is an attorney in Winston & Strawn’s advertising, marketing, and privacy group. She advises clients in a broad spectrum of industries with respect to litigation and transactional issues concerning advertising, consumer promotions/marketing, trademark, copyright, data privacy, domain name, and other intellectual property matters.

Chirag Patel, VP Public Relations

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Chirag Patel is a commercial litigation associate at Williams, Bax & Saltzman P.C. Chirag's practice includes breach-contract, creditor's rights in bankruptcy, commercial foreclosure, and business torts. Chirag's practice also focuses on asset recovery litigation, including fraudulent transfer actions, veil piercing litigation, and post-judgment supplementary proceedings.

Nidhi Chaudhary, General Director

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Nidhi focuses on employee benefits and executive compensation matters within the People Advisory Services group at Ernst &Young, LLP. Prior to joining EY in April 2015, Nidhi worked at Deloitte Tax LLP, where she advised clients on the income tax implications of mergers and acquisitions and internal restructuring, and identified credits and incentives to decrease client tax liability. Nidhi has gained experience working with clients within a variety of industries including healthcare, manufacturing, energy, and financial services. Since joining EY, Nidhi has conducted research and drafted memos on a variety of executive compensation, tax, accounting, and employee benefits issues faced by clients. Outside of work, Nidhi has served on the Leadership Committee of the Advocacy Council at Women Employed, assisted in establishing the Chicago chapter of Wine to Water, and volunteered with South Asian American Policy & Research Institute.

Aon Hussain, General Director

Aon Hussain is an associate in the Insurance practice. Aon focuses his practice in the areas of insurance coverage analysis and insurance coverage litigation. He represents insurers in matters in connection with insurance issues, including claims related to commercial general liability coverage and first party property coverage. In addition, he advises insurers regarding a broad range of insurance coverage and litigation matters involving state and federal law throughout the country.

Abhinav Lohia, General Director

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Abhi is a dual qualified attorney licensed to practice law in the State of New York and the Republic of India. He is a Member of Davies & Associates, Global Investor & Business Practice, Chair’s Davies & Associate’s India & South Asia Practice Team. He is also the Deputy Managing Attorney of the firm’s Chicago Office and serves on the firm’s Global Advisory Board. He specializes in U.S. Immigration Law (Business & Investor Visa Practice).

Abhi got admitted in the Bar Council of Delhi, India in 2007. He practiced law at the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Delhi for five years before moving to the United States. He graduated from the Masters of Law (LL.M.) program at the George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C. in 2013. 

Abhi has been practicing U.S. Immigration law since 2013 and represents High Net Worth Individuals and Corporates from India and South East Asia. 

Priti Nemani Connor, General Director

Jinal Patel, General Director

Jinal Patel is an Associate with Leahy, Eisenberg & Fraenkel. Jinal specializes in the litigation of worker’s compensation defense matters including management of cases from assignment through arbitration and review; conducting settlement negotiations; conducting depositions; and presenting motions and oral arguments before Arbitrators and Commissioners.
Jinal is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Political Science and Psychology. She is also a graduate of the Chicago Kent College of Law, class of 2015. While in law school, Jinal was a Judicial Extern for the Domestic Relations division in the 12th Circuit and served as the President of the Child and Family Law Society of Chicago-Kent.

Ronak Patel, General Director

Ronak Patel is a patent attorney whose practice focuses on mechanical and electromechanical technologies. He received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and went on to receive a J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law with a certificate in Intellectual Property Law. While attending law school, Ronak held an externship with the Honorable Amy St. Eve at the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Prior to attending law school, Ronak worked as a Mechanical Engineer at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory where he designed and developed electromechanical structures for particle accelerators as well as oversaw their manufacture both domestically and abroad. Prior to that, he worked as a Mechanical/Propulsion Engineer for United Launch Alliance in Littleton, CO. There, he performed various analyses relating to electromechanical valves and pressure systems for the Delta IV Rocket.

Laxmi Sararhy, General Director

Payal Shah, General Director

Payal Shah is a health care attorney and works on compliance and contract issues at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. She has experience and knowledge in policy analysis, regulatory compliance, contract drafting and government relations. Prior to joining Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Payal worked as Assistant Counsel at the Illinois Office of Senate President, John J. Cullerton, in Springfield, Illinois where she researched, drafted and analyzed health care bills and collaborated with legislators at the Statehouse. She also clerked at the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Health Care Bureau and at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Payal also serves as Vice-Chair of the Chicago Bar Association, Alliance for Women Committee and as a Board Member on the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum and on the Board of Directors for the Natya Dance Theatre. Payal received her J.D. from Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis with a concentration in health care law and her B.S. in Finance from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is admitted to the bars in Illinois, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and District of Columbia.

Anni Singh, General Director

Sheetal Parikh, IAC Clinic Co-Director

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Sheetal has been an active member of SABA Chicago for over 5 years, including serving as the VP of Pro bono from 2011 to 2013.

She has been an in house attorney for the wealth management business of a large financial services firm for over 5 years.  Prior to that, Sheetal was an associate at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg.  She attended the University of Chicago for her undergraduate studies and obtained her law degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Sameen Zia, IAC Clinic Co-Director

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Sameen Zia earned her law degree from New England Law Boston in 2010.  She is a founding shareholder of Zia Ilic Ltd. and focuses her practice on litigation matters involving family law including divorces, child support, child custody, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and orders of protection.

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