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The South Asian Bar Association of Chicago

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President Sarah Chowdhury

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.  Sarah is also Co-Chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Racial Justice Coalition and serves on the Associate Board of the Chicago Public Library Foundation. 

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.

Contact: sarah.chowdhury@sabachicago.org


President Elect Maliha Siddiqui

Maliha Siddiqui focuses her practice in all areas of divorce and family law, including the allocation of parenting time and responsibilities, child support, maintenance, property division, and domestic violence litigation. In 2021, Maliha opened the doors to Siddiqui Family Law, LLC, a boutique family law practice focused on culturally competent legal services in the Chicagoland area. 

Ms. Siddiqui graduated with honors from the University of Illinois in Chicago and received a Juris Doctor from DePaul University. While in law school, she began her career as a law clerk in the domestic relations division at the Chicago Legal Clinic, a local non-profit organization, and advocated on behalf of clients in domestic violence and divorce proceedings.

Maliha serves as a member of the board of directors for the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago. Maliha is also a member of the Chicago Bar Association and Illinois State Bar Association. 


Co-Vice President of Public Relations Abiman Rajadurai 

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, tennis, and golf, and his Peloton.

Contact: pr@sabachicago.org

Co-Vice President of Public Relations Ronak Shah

Ronak Shah is in-house counsel at M1 Finance, a FinTech startup based in Chicago, working on everything that comes his way. He works on matters related to privacy and data security, banking, corporate, regulatory, cryptocurrency, and marketing.

Ronak is CIPP/US certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, and was selected as a Foundry Fellow by the Internet Law and Policy Foundry. He received his J.D. with honors from the University of Wisconsin Law School, and is licensed in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Outside of work, Ronak and his wife enjoy exploring all the great restaurants in Logan Square and taking their puppy Munni to dog parks. 



Contact: pr@sabachicago.org

Co-Vice President of Programming Laxmi Sarathy 

Laxmi has a wide spectrum of expertise in commercial and tax law. Laxmi draws from her extensive experience in bankruptcy practice involving consumer and corporations in resolving most litigation and tax issues - whether in state court or federal. She currently serves as a member of the ISBA’s Commercial Banking, Collections & Bankruptcy Section Council, ISBA’s Fed Tax Section Council, serves as the legal counsel to Suzy's Place, an organization devoted to providing shelter for victims of domestic abuse, as well as the legal counsel to the Hindu Temple of Great Chicago.  With overwhelming support, she was appointed as the third-time chairman of the Hindu Temple’s Constitution and Bylaws committee.  She serves as a moot court judge in the CBA moot court competitions and as a Speaker on CLE panels. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from India, where she focused on solid state physics and applied electronics.  She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from DePaul University.  While working for a law firm in Chicago, Laxmi got interested in bankruptcy law, which led to her obtaining a joint JD/LL.M. from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law.  A life-long learner, Laxmi, loves to learn - she is currently in the final steps of obtaining a CPA accreditation to assist her bankruptcy, guardianship, and general corporate law clients. 

Contact: programming@sabachicago.org

General Director Saman Haque

Saman is an Associate at Seyfarth Shaw, in their Labor and Employment Practice Group. Prior to joining Seyfarth, Saman was a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney in the Civil Action Bureau practicing in the Labor and Employment Section. She primarily handles Title VII (Age, Race, Religion, Gender, and National Origin); ADA; and FMLA discrimination claims, wrongful termination lawsuits, and retaliation matters. 

Saman serves as a Trial Advocacy Coach and an Adjunct Professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law, teaching Trial Advocacy to law students. She serves on the Association of Corporate Counsel Alumni Committee. 

She obtained her Bachelor’s from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Psychology with a minor in Biology in 2017 and her Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law with a certificate in Labor and Employment in 2020. While at Chicago-Kent, she served as the President for the Muslim Law Student Association, the Vice President for the Society for Women in Law, and participated in the Trial Adocacy Program as a student advocate for mock-trial competitions. She also received the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Diversity Scholarship Foundation Leaders and Achievers Award. 

Saman loves exploring the city through the food that makes Chicago a melting pot of flavors, enjoys painting, and spending time with her bengal kitten.

Contact: programming@sabachicago.org

Secretary Neha Khandhadia

Neha Khandhadia is a litigation associate at McDermott Will & Emery. She focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, arbitration, and government and internal investigation. She also maintains an active pro bono practice representing clients in a wide range of areas including civil rights, child abuse and neglect, and asylum. 

Neha holds her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science and her Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan. While in law school, she served as Managing Editor of the Michigan Journal of International Law. 

Neha enjoys trying new restaurants in the city, doing yoga, and watching soccer and college football. 

Contact: secretary@sabachicago.org

Treasurer Neha Nigam

Neha Nigam is a litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis 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. Prior to joining Kirkland, she clerked in the Northern District of Illinois and was a litigation associate at another law firm.

Aside from the SABA Chicago Executive Board, Neha is on 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.

Contact: treasurer@sabachicago.org

 

Immediate Past President Avani Patel

Avani is a Director of Business Development at KLDiscovery (KLD). Her responsibilities include maintaining new and existing relationships for clients that require eDiscovery, cybersecurity, and forensic vendor services. She practiced law for nine years, most of which was at Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation (CVLS). Here, she was a Supervising Attorney for the Economic Issues Program and was responsible for litigating bankruptcy, eviction, family law, probate, tort defense, and contract dispute matters. Avani also has experience as a legal recruiter and still enjoys helping attorneys with their resumes, interview prep, and negotiating salaries. Her most proud moment in her career thus far was spearheading and managing a formal pro bono program for an eDiscovery company.

Avani served four years on the SABA-DC board and is the immediate past Director of Women in eDiscovery Washington, DC chapter.  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.

Contact: avani.patel@sabachicago.org



General Director Amrith Kaur Aakre

Amrith Kaur Aakre joined the Sikh Coalition in August 2017 as Legal Director. In this role, she focuses on high-impact litigation and oversees all legal work while managing initiatives to protect the civil rights of all Americans in areas such as workplace discrimination, hate crimes, school bullying, racial and religious profiling, and general religious rights and policy issues. As a recognized expert on issues of racial and religious freedom, Amrith has represented the Sikh Coalition at multiple conferences and panels across the country. Prior to joining the Sikh Coalition, Amrith served as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney for 11 years. 

Amrith serves on the Board of Directors for the ACLU of Illinois and is on the leadership committee for the American Bar Association’s Religious Liberty Section. She is a 2021 recipient of SABA Chicago's Public Interest Attorney award, 2017 recipient of the Asian American Coalition’s Community Service of the year award, served as an Emerging Leaders Fellow for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs where she focused on implementing cultural competency training and policy initiatives for law enforcement agencies, and was recognized by Crain’s Business New York as a Leading Woman Lawyer.

Amrith holds her Bachelor of Arts in Applied Science & Technology Engineering and English Literature from The George Washington University and her Juris Doctor from The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Law School.


General Director  Madhavi Seth

Madhavi Seth is a corporate counsel with HubSpot, Inc.'s legal and compliance department, specializing in privacy and data protection. She advises and assists with and negotiating data privacy provisions in customer, vendor, and partner contracts, and mitigate third-party security and privacy risk. She also drives projects involving privacy analysis and compliance with business stakeholders, and stays up-to-date on relevant U.S. and international laws and regulations related to cybersecurity, privacy, and data governance. Before joining HubSpot, Madhavi served as a commercial and class action litigation associate at a full-service international law firm in Chicago.

Madhavi earned her J.D. from Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Indiana and earned her bachelor's degree 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. Outside of work, Madhavi enjoys hiking, running and cooking.



General Director Adnan Shafi

Adnan is an Assistant State's Attorney at the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. He is currently a prosecutor in the Juvenile Justice Bureau- Delinquency Division. He previously worked as a criminal prosecutor in the Criminal Appeals Division where he primarily drafted Appellee briefs on diverse criminal law issues. He also served as a prosecutor in the Child Support Division. 

Adnan received his Juris Doctor from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2019. During law school, he was a member of the nationally reputed Chicago-Kent trial team where he competed in various regional mock trial competitions. He also served as a secretary of the Student Bar Association.  In 2016, he graduated with a Masters in Law in Intellectual Property Law from IIT- Chicago-Kent College of Law. 

Before moving to the United States in 2015, Adnan worked as a criminal defense attorney in India. While in Law school in India, he clerked in a law firm where he worked on the famous Arushi Murder Case. A Bollywood movie was later made on the events in this case and you can find it on Netflix titled as "Talvar".  He earned a Bachelors in Law and a Bachelors in Commerce from Amity University, India. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and India. 

Outside of work, Adnan is a sports enthusiast. He enjoys his weekly soccer games, bike rides, and workout sessions. 



General Director Nasir Hussain

Nasir is a senior litigation associate at Winston & Strawn.  His primary areas of practice are antitrust, regulatory defense/government investigations, and complex commercial litigation.  Nasir represents and advises clients in a variety of industries in high-stakes disputes, with a particular focus on the health care sector.  Additionally, Nasir maintains an active pro bono practice, including representing a survivor of human trafficking in her efforts to clear her criminal record and litigating a significant religious freedom case. 


General Director Neil Vohra

Neil K. Vohra is a corporate partner in the private equity / M&A group Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. His practice focuses on negotiating and structuring complex business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, private equity investments, strategic investments, executive compensation and incentive equity arrangements and other general corporate matters for some of the world’s largest private equity firms. At Kirkland, Neil also serves as the co-chair of the Asian and South Asian Professional networks.

Neil received his J.D. from University of Chicago Law School and B.S. in Finance with Honors from the University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign. Outside of work, Neil also serves as a director on the board of Apna Ghar, a non-profit organization aimed at tackling gender violence issues relevant in our communities and enjoys spending time traveling to new places and trying new restaurants with his wife and their two sons.



General Director Payal Shah

Payal is Senior Counsel at Vituity, a multispecialty healthcare partnership, and has been practicing healthcare law for over 10 years. She focuses her practice on regulatory guidance, transactions, Medicare and Medicaid, and payor and provider relations.  Payal is deeply committed to DEI issues and chairs Vituity's Asian American and Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group.  Prior to joining Vituity, she was in-house counsel at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and prior to that, for a large nursing home company.  She started her career as an attorney in the Illinois Senate and has worked closely on matters dealing with the Affordable Care Act, EMTALA, and Anti-Kickback and Stark laws.  

A former board member of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum for many years, she currently volunteers at local community organizations and mentors law students and recent law school graduates.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling, baking, trying out new restaurants, and watching sports.  Payal received her B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and a J.D. from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.


General Director Sunil Bhave 

Sunil Bhave serves as an Assistant Attorney General with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, where he is a trial lawyer in the General Law Bureau. He has handled a wide range of cases in state and federal courts during his 15 years at the Attorney General’s Office, including representing Illinois’ Constitutional Officers in high stakes litigation having statewide impact. Prior to joining the General Law Bureau, Sunil served in the Civil Appeals Division at the Attorney General’s Office, where he argued in the state and federal appellate courts, as well as in the Illinois Supreme Court. He currently serves as the Unit Supervisor for the Civil Prosecutions Unit, which represents state agencies and employees in the Chancery Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. As a supervisor, Sunil mentors a dozen Assistant Attorneys General.  

At the start of his career, Sunil was an Assistant Public Defender in Poplar Bluff, Missouri and a law clerk to a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. From 2015-2019, Sunil served as an elected member of the Community Consolidated School District 59 Board of Education in Elk Grove Township. In 2021, Sunil was nominated as a finalist for the position of Associate Circuit Court Judge by the Chief Judge and the Presiding Judges of the Circuit Court of Cook County.  

Sunil received his J.D. from St. Louis University School of Law and his B.S. in Economics from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. At Truman State, Sunil was a NCAA cross country/indoor and outdoor track athlete. In his spare time, he enjoys running and spending time with family and friends.  



General Director Pam Sran 

Pam Sran is a complex commercial litigation associate at Gair Eberhard Nelson Dedinas Ltd.  She concentrates her practice on complex business litigation, with a focus on commercial disputes, class action defense, arbitrations, product liability, and securities litigation. 

Prior to joining Gair Eberhard Nelson Dedinas, Pam was a complex commercial litigation associate at a global law firm and was a member of an in-house commercial litigation practice group for a Fortune 200 company.

Pam currently serves as vice chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Business Law Litigation Committee.  She also maintains an active pro bono practice.  In the past, Pam has served as a volunteer attorney with a variety of local and national organizations and as a board member of various organizations.

In her free time, Pam enjoys hiking, taking her dog on walks around the city, cooking, traveling, and playing the piano


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