Saranya Raghavan, President
Saranya Raghavan is an attorney in Winston & Strawn’s litigation group. She focuses her practice on intellectual property litigation, with an emphasis on patent litigation. She has experience representing clients in a wide variety of industries and technologies, including telecommunications, cable technologies, mobile devices, computer software, financial products and services, consumer products, and medical devices. In addition to her litigation focus, Saranya has experience prosecuting dozens of utility patent applications in the electronic and computer arts directed to computer software, Internet-based applications, graphical user interfaces, financial products and services, insurance products and services, and business methods. Saranya also has experience preparing validity, freedom-to-operate, and patentability opinions.
Before transitioning to the legal industry, Saranya was a lead software engineer at Orbitz Worldwide where she designed and developed consumer-facing Java applications for booking travel packages online. Saranya earned a B.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology, a M.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Purdue University, and a J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Avani Patel, President Elect
Avani is a Business Development Manager and Pro Bono Ambassador at iDiscovery Solutions and is responsible for all aspects of business development and managing the company’s pro bono program. Prior to joining iDS, she was a Director of Recruiting at Major, Lindsey and Africa, specializing in placing attorneys at AM Law 200 firms and Fortune 500 in-house departments. Prior to transitioning her career into nonpracticing roles, Avani was a Supervising Attorney with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation (CVLS). Here, she taught and supervised pro bono attorney volunteers and litigated tort defense, family law, eviction, bankruptcy, and contract dispute matters.
Avani served four years on the SABA-DC board and is currently on the Finance & Fund Development Standing Committee for NAPABA. She received her JD from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and is passionate about promoting the professional development of women and minorities in the legal community, pro bono, and community service.
Sarah Chowdhury, VP of Programming
Sarah Chowdhury is Legal Counsel for Susana Mendoza at the Illinois Office of Comptroller. Prior to joining the Comptroller's office, Sarah practiced disability law at a private law firm. She has personally taken cases ranging from political asylum to police brutality, and has worked on various political elections. She is a member of the Chicago Bar Association's Law and Debate Club and is an experienced National Speech and Debate Association Coach. Sarah currently serves on the Associate Board of Life Span, a nonprofit that provides services to women and children affected by domestic violence; and is a founding member of South Loop Mutual Aid.
Sarah graduated from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, where she served on the International and Comparative Law Review. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University in Political Science and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. Sarah has served on the boards of various organizations throughout her formal education.
Sarah spends most of her free time reading, practicing yoga, and frequenting museums and galleries around the city.
Neha Nigam, VP of Public Relations
Neha Nigam is a litigation associate at Winston & Strawn LLP. She focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation in state and federal courts, regulatory and internal investigations, and SEC enforcement actions. She has represented individuals and corporations in matters involving business torts, securities litigation, government investigations, and product liability.
Aside from the SABA Chicago Executive Board, Neha is on the Junior Leadership Board of the National Immigrant Justice Center and the Field Associates (an auxiliary board of the Field Museum). Neha received a B.S. in Political Science and History from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.
Shekar Jayaraman, Treasurer
Shekar Jayaraman is the founder of Jayaraman Law, LLC – with offices located in downtown Chicago and Oak Brook, IL. His practice focuses primarily on Estate Planning, Corporate Formation, Corporate Governance and Real Estate Law.
Prior to staring Jayaraman Law, Shekar was a Judicial Clerk for a United States Magistrate, focusing heavily on violent crimes. He earned an LL.M. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in Business and Corporate Governance, and has served under the Ohio Secretary of State as a Regional Director, handling Business Services and Elections. While
in law school, Shekar externed for a United States Magistrate for the summer after his first year, and was selected as a Fellow for the Janet D. Steiger Fellowship for the summer after his second year.
Outside of practicing law, Shekar enjoys spending time hiking, rock climbing, and teaching spin classes.
Stuti Murarka, Secretary
Stuti Murarka is an attorney in Cheng Cohen’s transactional practice group. She focuses her practice on franchise and licensing law. She represents franchisors on the structuring and operation of their franchise programs through all phases of domestic and international development. She also represents franchisors in negotiating and drafting commercial contracts, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate and organizational matters. Her clients include leaders in the restaurant, retail, fitness, hotels, and home services industries. Before Cheng Cohen, Stuti worked as an attorney in India where her practice focused on cross-border transactions, maritime disputes, and commercial dispute resolution.
Stuti received her LL.M. from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and her BSL.LLB (equivalent to JD) from University of Pune, India. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and India.
Abiman Rajadurai, General Director
Abiman serves as Senior Counsel in the Global Labor & Employment Law Department at McDonald’s Corporation. In this role, he provides insights and advice on a number of the company’s digital and technology initiatives. He also advises and counsels various business units, as well as human resources, on a host of employment law matters. Abiman is a member of the legal department’s Diversity Committee as well as its Pro Bono Committee.
Prior to joining McDonald’s, Abiman worked as an attorney in the Chicago office of Littler Mendelson, P.C., as well as in the Phoenix and Chicago offices of Perkins Coie LLP. He earned both his A.B. and J.D. from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!).
When not working or spending time with his family, Abiman enjoys exploring Chicago to find the best lattes in town, playing basketball and golf, and his Peloton.
Akash Vyas, General Director
Akash Vyas is Assistant State’s Attorney for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He has been a prosecutor for over 12 years. He is currently assigned to the Special Prosecutions Bureau where he works with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies on long term investigations to disrupt and dismantle drug and firearm trafficking organizations. Akash has has previously served in a number of assignments including criminal appeals, felony review, and the felony trial division. He received his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School and his B.S. in Management from Purdue University.
Heena Arora, General Director & IAC Clinic Coordinator
Heena Arora is an Assistant State’s Attorney at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Currently she is in the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau—Misdemeanor Division at Bridgeview. She has served in the Appeals division, where she responded to matters of jury waivers, ineffective assistance of counsel, extended sentencing, and reasonable doubt issues. Heena is on the board of the Chicago Bar Association-Young Lawyers Section as a special project coordinator, and a member the South Asian Bar Association of North America. Prior to joining the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Heena was an Assistant District Attorney for the Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorney’s Office in New York.
Heena received her J.D. from Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University in New York and was President of the Federal Bar Association—Hofstra Law Division and a Research Editor for the Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal. Heena received her B.A. in Political Science, magna cum laude, from Adelphi University. She is admitted to practice law in Illinois and New York.
Madhavi Seth, General Director
Madhavi Seth is an attorney at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff's LLP's litigation and class action practice groups. She represents and counsels domestic and multinational technology companies and service providers facing federal and state law claims, including defamation, data privacy, false advertising, consumer fraud, and breach of contract. She is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional and member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Prior to joining Benesch, Madhavi served as a summer associate and law clerk at a full-service international law firm in Chicago. Prior to law school, she served as a litigation case assistant at two law firms in Cleveland, Ohio.
Madhavi earned her J.D. from Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Indiana, where she served as a Research Assistant for Professor Michael Jenuwine. She earned her B.A.in Philosophy, summa cum laude, from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Before attending Emory, Madhavi grew up and attended high school in the Middle East and India. She is admitted to the Illinois bar and general bar for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Mita Shewakramani, General Director
Mita Nirmal Shewakramani graduated from the Pennsylvania State University's Dickenson School of Law and was sworn into the Illinois Bar Association in October of 2013. Since opening her solo practice in 2015, Regal Law Group LLC, Mita has assisted clients in numerous areas of the law, including real estate, commercial transactions, estate planning, and breach of contract. In addition to practicing law, Mita is a managing real estate broker. Her brokerage firm primarily focuses on commercial and residential leasing and investment sales. Mita is also actively involved in her family businesses Regal Jewels and Sari Sapne located in the heart of the South Asian community: Devon Avenue. As a showroom manager passionate about clothing and jewelry sales, Mita enjoys the bustle and hustle of retail, and being a part of the important celebrations South Asians love commemorating in gold. Having trained with the Gemologist Institute of America, Mita is certified to appraise diamonds, as well as her personal favorite gem-pearls! Some personal hobbies include scuba diving, archery, training for the next big race, and enjoying nature walks with her labradoodle Tony.
Novaira Paul, General Director
Novaira Paul is an attorney at Banner & Witcoff. She focuses her practice on intellectual property litigation and trademark prosecution and counseling. She has experience representing clients in a wide variety of industries, including consumer products, telecommunications, and entertainment services. Prior to practicing as a lawyer, Novaira owned and operated a photography company, focusing on engagement portraits and family portraits. She also worked as a paralegal at a boutique medical malpractice law firm in San Diego before making the decision to go to law school.
Novaira previously served on the SABA Chicago Executive Board as a General Director (2019). She received her J.D. from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and her B.A. in International Business from San Diego State University. She is admitted to practice law in Illinois and California.
Payal Shah, General Director
Payal Shah is a healthcare and corporate attorney and works as Associate General Counsel at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. She specializes in the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid legal issues. Prior to joining BCBSA, she worked as a healthcare attorney in the nursing home industry and at the Illinois Senate.
In prior years, she has served on the SABA Chicago Board as General Director and is happy to be back again this year to continue serving the South Asian legal community. She is looking forward to helping SABA create engaging programming during these remote and uncertain times and is excited to help grow SABA Chicago's In-House Counsel and Women's Committees.
Payal earned her J.D. from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, and B.S. from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She is admitted to the Illinois bar and general bar for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Sapna Khatri, General Director
Sapna Khatri is a Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. Sapna is a member of the ACLU’s Women’s and Reproductive Rights Project, and is involved in all aspects of the Project’s litigation, policy advocacy, public outreach and education. She has worked on a variety of issues within the Project, such as religious refusals, maternal mortality, telemedicine, access to reproductive care, employment discrimination, and HB-40 implementation.
Prior to joining the ACLU, Sapna was a litigation associate at Armstrong Teasdale in St. Louis, where she worked on data privacy, cybersecurity, advertising law, and a variety of commercial litigation matters. She received a J.D. from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and was managing editor of their Global Studies Law Review. Sapna was recognized as Public Service Student of the Year upon graduating from law school and is currently a Fellow at the ACLU of Illinois. Sapna received a B.A. in International Studies, cum laude, and B.J. in Journalism, magna cum laude, from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is admitted to practice law in Missouri.