The South Asian Bar Association of Chicago

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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.


President Elect 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. She has personally taken cases ranging from political asylum to police brutality, and has worked on various political elections. 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.


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 and golf, and his Peloton.


Co-Vice President of Public Relations - 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.


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. 


Co-Vice President of Programming Maliha Siddiqui

Maliha Siddiqui is the Principal of Siddiqui Family Law, LLC, a firm that focuses in all areas of family law, including the allocation of parenting time and responsibilities, custody, child support, maintenance, property division, and domestic violence.

Maliha has volunteered at the Chicago Legal Clinic, a local non-profit organization, and advocated on behalf of clients in domestic violence and divorce proceedings, using her skill and experience to successfully resolve contested matters. Maliha is currently a volunteer Child Representative with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. 

Maliha previously served as SABA Chicago’s VP of Public Relations. She received her law degree from DePaul University College of Law with a concentration in Family Law and completed her undergraduate studies with honors from the University of Illinois in Chicago. 


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. 


Treasurer Arsalan Nayani

Arsalan Nayani is a trial attorney for the United States Department of Labor, where he  litigates enforcement actions on behalf of the Department’s sub-agencies. Prior to joining the Department, he was an associate at an AMLaw 200 law firm, where he represented companies and government entities in civil litigation involving contract disputes, insurance coverage actions, employment issues, negligence cases, and other matters. 

Arsalan previously served as SABA Chicago’s Treasurer from 2016 to 2018. He received his law degree from DePaul University College of Law and completed his undergraduate studies in Economics at Auburn University.


Immediate Past President Saranya Raghavan

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.


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 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.


General Director Heena Arora

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.


General Director Sakshi Jain

Sakshi is an Associate at Ice Miller LLP in the firm’s Business and Transactions Practice Group. She earned her Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law. While at law school, Sakshi was the Vice-President of the Chicago-Kent Moot Court Honor Society and earned the Mark Grinker Student Commitment Award for her involvement and dedication to the organization. She was also involved in leadership roles with the South Asian and Asian Pacific law student organizations at Chicago-Kent.

Sakshi is a first-generation immigrant to the United States. She is New Delhi raised and midwest made after spending several years in Illinois. Prior to immigrating, Sakshi worked as a tax associate for PepsiCo India at the company headquarters in New Delhi. When she is not working, Sakshi loves taking long walks in Chicago, trying new restaurants, travelling, reading, and experimenting with recipes. 


General Director Shekar Jayaraman

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.


General Director Shiva Kooragayala

Shiva is a Corporate Restructuring associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP.  In addition, Shiva maintains a robust pro bono practice, representing clients on a range of issues including asylum, housing law, and civil rights. Prior to becoming an attorney, Shiva was a research associate at the Urban Institute, a non-partisan think tank in Washington, D.C. where he managed a portfolio of research on poverty, affordable housing, food insecurity, and refugee resettlement. 

Shiva earned his B.A. in Sociology and Political Science from Emory University, his Masters in City and Regional Planning with a concentration in Housing, Community, and Economic Development from the University of Pennsylvania, and his J.D. from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.  At Northwestern, he served as the Editor in Chief of the Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy.  

Shiva currently serves on the Young Associates Board of Ascend Justice, a Chicago-based non-profit with a mission of empowering individuals and families affected by gender-based violence and the child welfare system. 


General Director 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.


General Director Anu Rao

Anu Rao is a Public Defender at the Will County Public Defender’s Office. She is currently working in the Criminal Misdemeanor division where she provides legal aid to indigent citizens in aggravated traffic offenses and petty crimes. Anu earned her Juris Doctorate from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2021. While in law school, Anu served as the President for South Asian Law Students Association and competed for Chicago-Kent’s nationally ranked Trial Advocacy team.

In her free time, Anu loves reading, playing video games, and serves as a coach for Chicago-Kent’s Trial Advocacy team.


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- Child Protection Division. Prior to working at the Child Protection Division, he 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. He earned a Bachelors in Law and a Bachelors in Commerce with a major in Finance 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 Ronak Shah

Ronak Shah is an Assistant Attorney General at the Illinois Attorney General’s office. He works in the Privacy and Data Security Unit within the Consumer Fraud Bureau, where he helps investigate and litigate privacy and data security issues affecting Illinois consumers. Ronak also researches and investigates Digital Assets and Fintech related issues and brings enforcement actions where appropriate. In addition, he helps draft legislation and rules in these areas.

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 practicing law, he practices yoga (not well) and experiments cooking new dishes (moderately well). Ronak and his wife have been training and enjoying their new puppy Munni. 


General Director Sunil Shenoi

Sunil Shenoi is a partner in the Government & Internal Investigations Group in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He focuses his practice on advising clients on data security and data privacy matters, with a particular focus on responding to data breaches and defending against data breach litigation. Sunil regularly advises clients on compliance with laws and regulatory guidance relating to data security and data privacy issues.

Sunil also represents multinational organizations and individuals in a wide variety of U.S. DOJ and SEC investigations, including many investigations for private equity, medical device, retail, and other clients involving the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, financial statement and disclosure issues, insider trading and other securities enforcement issues.

In addition to his work with SABA, Sunil is the Co-Chair of the Asian-Pacific Islander Affinity Group and the Chair of the South Asian Affinity Group in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis.

Sunil earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degrees in Computer Science from Cornell University, as well as a Juris Doctor from The University of Michigan Law School.


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