Statements of Purpose from Candidates for SABA-DC 2023 Board of Directors
Statements will be posted as they are received.
Candidate Statement of Ravi Kambhampaty
Dear SABA-DC Members,
I respectfully seek your vote to serve as the President-Elect of SABA-DC. If elected, I will dedicate myself to assisting the current President as her success is our success and supporting the broader South Asian Bar and our varied initiatives to serve the South Asian community. I had the privilege to serve on the board and for the past two years, where among others, I was on the mentorship and public interest committees. I was able to plan and collaboratively execute a diverse range of events and initiatives. These included some inaugural events such as panel discussions on Military and National Security Law, and a Veterans Day event focused on ways to serve our nation’s Veterans. In response to the India Travel Ban in 2021, I worked with my colleagues on the board to create a rapid-response panel featuring Attorneys with extensive India-based Immigration experience that the community was able to engage with during a stressful time.
I hope to continue to bring my passion for public service and my varied experience, from civilian government/ uniformed military service and time as a non-profit Attorney to advance SABA-DC’s critical work in the arena of public interest. I wish to work with the rest of the SABA leadership team to offer meaningful programming about the varied forms of public service one can pursue.
I also plan to further work on projects that will provide meaningful assistance to members of the South Asian community who may be in need. I hope to continue to work with the SABA-DC leadership team as well as to coordinate with outside organizations to work in furtherance of the foundational mission of helping our community.
I will also continue to utilize my experiences as a dedicated public service attorney to benefit the leadership of this venerable organization. I currently serve as an attorney with the DOJ’s National Security Division. I am also a Judge Advocate in the U. S. Army Reserves. I was fortunate to become a Co-Chair of SABA-North America’s Military Law Section. Additionally, I am a 2021 graduate of the SABA- leadership institute, wherein I was fortunate to learn to be a more empathetic and effective leader with a cohort of truly exceptional SABA Attorneys from across North America. I hope to continue to leverage my relationships with SABA-North America to provide meaningful programing that benefits SABA-DC and its members.
Most importantly, I would like to ensure that to the extent practicable, SABA-DC programing meets the professional and social networking needs of all its members. To do this, I plan to stay engaged with as many events as possible and to seek feedback from fellow members on how such events can be improved. Thank you for your support!
Vice President of Membership
Vice President of Programming
Vice President of Communications
Candidate Statement of Kirti Suri
My name is Kirti Suri and I am currently the SABA-DC VP of Communications. I would be honored to continue in this role in 2023.
This year, I put together the weekly newsletter, created social media posts promoting our events and celebrating our members, and managed communication with employers seeking to advertise job opportunities with our membership. I also served on the Women's Committee, the Government Committee, and the Mentorship Committee, and supported the Gala Committee by managing the event's catering.
In the coming year, I hope to enhance our social media presence further, strengthen communications with members to understand their needs and the type of programming they want to see, and support our various Committees in the events they sponsor.
I currently work as an Assistant Attorney General with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, and formerly worked as Legislative Counsel and Deputy Committee Director in the District's legislature, the D.C. Council. One of my goals this past year was to promote more engagement with local DC government, which I helped do by recruiting local government representatives as panelists, to provide the local governance perspective on various topics, including career opportunities and topical policy considerations. After learning the ropes in my first year on the Board, I hope to go a step further next year, by increasing SABA-DC's engagement in local policy proposals and adding a local component to the annual SABA North America Lobby Day with Congress. I hope to see SABA-DC expand its reach to add value, not just for SABA-DC members, but also for our surrounding community.
Another key area I hope to focus on in the next year is stress and mental health management. These topics are not discussed frequently enough among attorneys or among South Asians more broadly. I want to use my position on the Board to put together events and resources for our members who may be struggling with the challenges of becoming and being an attorney, along with all of the other intense pressures that life inevitably comes with. I think SABA-DC is uniquely positioned to offer our members support that takes into consideration some of the unique cultural and societal expectations, norms, and stigmas they face as South Asian attorneys.
I have enjoyed serving on the Board this past year and hope to continue to support the organization's work as VP of Communications. Thank you for your consideration.
Vice President of Gala
Candidate Statement of Aseem Chipalkatti
My name is Aseem Chipalkatti, and I hope to serve as your Vice-President of Gala for the SABA-DC 2023 Board of Directors.
In a city that loves to celebrate itself through annual galas and social events, I believe it is important and noteworthy that our slice of the legal community focuses its attention on public interest and racial justice causes at its annual gala. Doing this—while also fulfilling SABA-DC’s key objectives—is one of the many things that makes SABA-DC special.
I want to build on the success of past galas by broadening this focus. I believe that an annual event that gathers many of the D.C. area’s South Asian attorneys in one room is a powerful tool to leverage for public interest and racial justice causes. Looking outside the traditional “social event” paradigm, I propose pairing the annual gala with a Day of Service in coordination with local community organizations to deepen our impact in the D.C. area. I also believe that working with local community venues that may not be typical stops on the “Gala circuit” would be an easy way to positively benefit our local community.
Of course, I understand that the gala is also an important way to further SABA-DC’s key objectives; specifically, those focused on community-building and networking. I recognize that many are left out from events like our annual gala because of financial concerns or childcare obligations. To that end, I hope to raise additional funds to lower ticket prices, and to provide childcare at the gala for attorneys who otherwise would be unable to attend.
I believe I have the necessary experience to achieve these goals and recognize new ones as I learn from past SABA-DC boards and work with the incoming board. In 2020 (pre-pandemic), I organized my law school’s first-ever South Asian legal conference, raising tens of thousands of dollars and bringing students from around the country to campus for a full-day event focused on South Asian empowerment and excellence in the legal profession. As the Conference Chair, I set and exceeded a fundraising goal, found innovative ways to reduce costs without diminishing attendee experience, and navigated the myriad last-minute hiccups that inevitably haunt any social event. I would be proud to bring that experience to this position.
The South Asian legal community has been an invaluable part of my career growth and progression as a young lawyer, and I would be honored to serve my community as the 2023 Vice President of Gala for SABA-DC. Should you have any questions about my plans or qualifications, I would be happy to answer them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your consideration.
Candidate Statement of Anupma Sahay
Moving from Philadelphia to DC in 2020, I learned about the city in my first years here while remote. This year, I had the opportunity to meet SABA-DC members and experience DC’s incredible legal community in person. As a patent attorney in the mechanical arts, I strive to be a diverse voice. My personal goals align with the mission of SABA to promote inclusion in the legal field and our larger community. It would a my privilege to serve as a General Director in 2023.
As a patent attorney at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C., I draft patent applications and conduct all phases of patent prosecution, from meeting with inventors to sending the applicants their granted patents. One of my favorite aspects of patent practice is talking with smaller inventors who find inspiration in their daily lives and leverage their life experiences to invent. These inventors share stories about their families, neighborhoods, and work, expressing the hardships they endured or observed and the gaps in technology that led them to experiment and create. Their invention stories—personal and unique—highlight the value of inclusive innovation. Outside of the legal field, I write arts and events features for the Washington City Paper’s City Lights section, through which I can platform local artists to continue centering our community.
I will support inclusion as a SABA-DC board member by encouraging students and attorneys to listen to and share our stories. Part of this effort will include encouraging members to attend events so they can experience the camaraderie that exists fiercely in DC. I had the opportunity to attend the SABA National Conference in San Francisco this year with hundreds of fellow South Asian American attorneys, and will also promote participation nationally. Events that bring together green and practiced attorneys through panels, service, and social events will build bridges and bonds. I also appreciate SABA-DC’s programming related to topics outside of the legal field and creative discourse, such as discussions on financial management and book clubs, and will pitch additional spaces for collaboration with professionals outside of the legal field to facilitate development in business acumen and personal growth.
As South Asian Americans in the legal field, we can truly forge our own paths. We each have lessons learned along the way, but our presence alone can be a breakthrough for a colleague. My experience in mentorship through tutoring with the District of Columbia Public Schools and working with underrepresented students to develop foundational patent prosecution skills with Patent Pathways confirms to me that presence can yield confidence. As a SABA-DC board member, I will propose advancing mentorship opportunities through connecting with practitioners in similar practice areas, discussing career dynamics, and partnering cross-chapter to both introduce DC attorneys to different cities and welcome attorneys to DC. I would be excited to contribute these ideas and experiences as part of the 2023 SABA-DC board.
Candidate Statement of Amal Rafiq
Hello SABA-DC. My name is Amal Rafiq and I am applying for the Treasurer position on the SABA-DC Board of Directors. I have been involved in multiple different programs throughout my time as a member of the D.C. chapter, such as the mentorship program, the SABA-NA Conference in San Francisco, California, and numerous seminars and happy hours hosted by the D.C. chapter. As I have gotten to know the members, I have created lasting professional and personal relationships. If I am elected the Treasurer, I will welcome the opportunity to bring my ideas and experience to the Board, and give back to the community that welcomed me when I first moved to Washington, D.C.
While I was in law school, I had the pleasure of being elected President of the South Asian Law Students Association at Temple University. I was a member of the SABA-Philly chapter after graduation, and was elected to the SABA-Philly Board of Directors as Chair of the Women’s Committee in 2021. I was unable to finish my tenure in that role because I relocated to Washington, D.C.
As the Treasurer, I propose taking a forward-looking approach in identifying any areas of flexibility to help the organization grow and stay on top of changes in the industry. I also want to ensure we have the funds we need to execute the Board’s long-term ideas and investments in the organization, while providing additional opportunities for disadvantaged law students to help with their education expenses.
I look forward to contributing to pro bono initiatives sponsored by SABA-DC. In practice, I am an associate at Vedder Price P.C. in the employee benefits and executive compensation practice group. In addition to actively building my benefits practice, I have been intimately involved in several pro bono opportunities. Recently, I spearheaded an asylum project that involved preparing and filing multiple asylum applications for female Afghan soldiers who fled Afghanistan after the collapse of the government in August of 2021. This project involved coordinating with over a dozen attorneys to file asylum applications for soldiers and their family members. You can read more about the project at the following link: https://www.law360.com/articles/1528701. The leadership and organization skills gained through this experience can be applied to my duties as the Treasurer of SABA-DC and the Public Interest Committee. My focus on providing pro bono work is aligned with the mission of the association in improving access to legal services, specifically among lower socio-economic groups.
I look forward to the opportunity to utilize my skills and experience as the Treasurer, to advance the SABA-DC mission, and to explore new ideas with the SABA-DC Board of Directors in 2023. Thank you for your consideration.
General Directors (9 positions available)
Candidate Statement of Avni J. Amin
My name is Avni Amin, and I would be honored to serve as a General Director. This would be my fourth year on the SABA-DC board. Last year, I had the privilege of co-chairing the Public Interest Committee and Women’s Committee. Through these leadership roles, I was able to facilitate several engaging events, including an event focused on South Asian Attorneys in the Arts, a panel featuring non-profit leaders, as well several successful happy hours. The year before last, I served as the Vice President of Programming. In that role, I created social media graphics, maintained the organization’s calendar, organized events with other SABA chapters, and assisted in organizing numerous panels throughout the year on wide-ranging issues, from wellness to various career panels.
In the role of General Director, I hope to continue to facilitate a wide variety of programming on issues of importance to the community. I also plan to continue my work on the Women’s Committee, with the goal of facilitating events that focus on empowering South Asian women. One idea is to bring in a career coach to discuss issues such as making partner, how to move into leadership positions, and other similar challenges. With my background and experience on the board, I know I can help to increase SABA-DC’s public profile in the local community and thereby enrich the community. With your support, I would be honored to serve another year on the board as a General Director.
Candidate Statement of Asha Bhatiani Scielzo, JD
It has been a pleasure to serve on the SABA-DC Board as a General Director and as the Chair of the Health Law Section in 2022. I have worked to advance our association’s mission by: (i) contributing my skills, experiences, and strategic vision to Board discussions; (ii) planning and executing several successful educational and networking programs for our local community and nationally; and (iii) supporting membership and mentoring efforts across the association. I am seeking to continue as a General Director for the SABA-DC 2023 Board of Directors.
My skills and experiences with membership development and retention support SABA-DC’s mission. In my current professional position, I direct American University Washington College of Law’s (AUWCL’s) Health Law and Policy Program. I implement our program’s strategic goals to serve students, alumni, and the broader community. I am also privileged to serve on the Board of Directors of the American Health Law Association (AHLA) (the nation’s largest, 501(c)(3) educational organization devoted to legal issues in the health care field with 11,000+ members) and to have been selected as AHLA’s President-Elect Designate. I believe that 2023 is a pivotal year for SABA-DC as we grapple with a “new normal”. At this important juncture for SABA-DC, my experience with engaging AUWCL stakeholders (e.g., students and alumni) and AHLA members (stemming from my work to grow and retain our membership) will be valuable for SABA-DC.
My skills and experiences with developing meaningful and engaging events and programs support SABA-DC’s mission. In my day-to-day work at AUWCL, I organize national conferences and symposia, virtual speaker series, and panel events that bring together thought leaders to consider challenging and complex issues such as health inequities, the opioid crisis, and fraud and abuse. SABA-DC is very active in offering terrific educational programming and networking opportunities. SABA members are seeking both substantive content and professional development, as well as activities that are light and fun. One of SABA’s greatest strengths is its strong sense of community and emphasis on inclusion. My experiences planning numerous events for AUWCL and AHLA with the goal of creating an inclusive community through educational and engaging programs will be valuable for SABA-DC.
My skills and experiences with mentoring and career development support SABA-DC’s mission. In transitioning to academia after 15 years of private practice, I have focused my energies on bringing health law practice to the classroom with an emphasis on practical applications. I lead the development of an innovative curriculum and robust career programming to ensure that students graduate practice-ready and connected to opportunities. I am deeply committed to mentoring law students and early career professionals to support them in finding a path for career success. I especially enjoy my role as a faculty advisor for AUWCL’s South Asian Law Students Association. My experiences with mentoring and career development at AUWCL and AHLA will be valuable for SABA-DC.
Candidate Statement of Sohil Khurana
Dear SABA-DC community,
My name is Sohil Khurana, and I am running for the position of General Director for the 2023 SABA-DC Board of Directors. I am currently a Policy Advisor and Associate at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP where I focus on federal legislative and regulatory public policy matters, including developing and implementing advocacy strategies from Congressional and regulatory perspectives.
Having moved back to DC earlier this year, I have found SABA to be a welcoming and caring community. From attending a SABA-sponsored panel on lobbying and legislative careers in 2016 when I was a 1L student at Georgetown Law, to joining fireside chats and roundtables with various subject matter experts over the past few months, I have found SABA to be a wonderful opportunity for lawyers of all ages to get to know likeminded people on a social and professional basis. My goal will be to build on these efforts to implement additional opportunities for all SABA-DC members over the upcoming year.
As a General Director, I would focus on enhancing the number of opportunities hosted and/or sponsored by SABA. The last few years have demonstrated the benefits of virtual programming, particularly in broadening the scope of participants and experts involved in our events. As we emerge from the pandemic, I would plan to continue the balance of in-person and virtual programming so that SABA DC members can continue to benefit from developing personal connections that are more easily developed in-person, while also taking advantage of the benefits afforded via virtual programming. Examples of programming I would like to further develop are the mentorship program, practice or industry group happy hours and other social activities, as well as partnership opportunities with similarly situated groups in the DMV area.
Ultimately, I have been involved with these issues as they relate to advocacy for the South Asian community for several years. As Treasurer and a board member of the South Asian Law Students Association at Georgetown Law, I worked with fellow board members to organize several opportunities to build a sense of unity, further develop our mentorship program, and involve our organization with the broader local South Asian community. As a board member and mentor for 1L students, I was keenly aware of the uncertainty that is inherent in joining one of the least diverse professions in the country. Further, as someone who made a recent career shift from a different practice area at Latham & Watkins in New York to my current firm, I understand the challenges for attorneys who are new to the DMV area and are looking to get more involved with established organizations, like SABA.
Given these experiences and ideas, I believe that I can contribute to the benefits that SABA provides to the broader South Asian community in the DMV area. My goal will always be to gather member feedback to ensure that we are providing the best possible opportunities in an inclusive and effective manner.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Candidate Statement of Snehal Massey
I have had the opportunity to serve as a General Director on the SABA-DC board for the past two years. What began as a way to connect during the height of the pandemic turned into one of my most cherished involvement in a bar association.
During my tenure, I’ve had the privilege of serving as the chair and co-chair of the Racial Justice Committee. In the past two years, the RJC has awarded up to $30K in funds to local organizations committed to racial equity initiatives and collaborated in programming with our grantees. Additionally, I facilitated an impactful conversation with both international and local panelists on colorism that pervades our community. In addition, I have been honored to be part of the process of endorsing many highly qualified South Asian candidates for judicial and political appointments in the federal government as part of the Endorsements Committee and assisted in expanding our reach and growing our membership with our Membership Committee.
If I am elected to the board again, I hope to continue to expand the reach of the Racial Justice Committee by fostering meaningful and lasting relationships with our past grantees to support them in the communities they serve to expand SABA-DC’s reach beyond the legal community.
As a General Director, I intend to continue efforts in 2023 with programming that highlights, embraces and advances our diversity within the South Asian legal and local communities. With my experience on the board and my background as a law firm owner, I hope to continue to add to the diversity of our board and membership.
Thank you for your support.
Candidate Statement of Devika Persaud
My name is Devika Persaud. After serving as a General Director on the SABA-DC Board in 2019, 2021, and 2022, and as VP of Programming in 2020, I am running for a General Director position in 2023. I am thrilled to be considered for a position that would allow me to continue serving the DC-area South Asian legal community.
Next year, my goal is to continue coordinating premier events to allow our members to learn from and collaborate with each other. As Co-Chair of the IP Committee with Jomy Methipara this past year, I am proud of the NFTs & IP Law panel we coordinated featuring law firm and in-house counsel opining on the future of U.S. law governing applications of blockchain technology. As Co-Chair of the Women’s Committee with Avni Amin, I am also proud of our book club for She’s Unlikeable: And Other Lies That Bring Women Down co-hosted with several other SABA chapters and SABA North America that featured the author herself, Aparna Shewakramani, from the Netflix series Indian Matchmaking. And as a member of the Mentorship Committee, it was a thrill to review the deluge of applications we received this year and carefully pair mentees with mentors.
I will continue to serve in as many ways as I can and, if re-elected to the Board, would remain open to member feedback on how SABA-DC can help our community grow stronger and send the ladder back down for up-and-coming attorneys. It has been a great privilege to serve on the SABA-DC Board again this year. Thank you for your time and best wishes to all for a joyful and enriching holiday season.
Candidate Statement of Archith Ramkumar
My name is Archith Ramkumar and I am seeking a position as a General Director on the SABA-DC Board for this upcoming term. I am currently an appellate attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
I served on the SABA-DC Board for two years—from the beginning of 2020 to the end of 2021—and enjoyed my work with the Board as well as my involvement with the organization’s mentorship program and government section. I found the programming that I helped organize especially rewarding, as these events focused on giving members insights into how judges think and operate and how to obtain judicial clerkships. If elected, my goal is to cultivate programming and events that focus on all aspects of appellate litigation, with an eye towards hearing differing perspectives from both practitioners and judges. Thank you for your consideration.
Candidate Statement of Jomy J. Methipara
My name is Jomy J. Methipara and I am running for a second term as General Director on the 2023 SABA-DC Board. I believe that SABA-DC had a successful 2022 and I wish to continue this upward trend.
I was born and raised in the Chicagoland area and I moved to the DC area to begin my legal practice over ten years ago. My practice is focused on patent law, but I have expanded my practice to include all forms of intellectual property, as well as corporate and securities law. I enjoy learning new things and I believe my passion for continued personal development will be an asset to SABA-DC and its membership.
Next year, I hope to continue to network with the South Asian community in order to identify experts to conduct programming for the benefit of all our members. This past year, I co-chaired the IP Committee with Devika Persaud and hosted the NFTs & IP Law panel. It was a very exciting conversation to discuss this emerging market/technology. I hope to continue to solicit more ideas from our members to provide desired programming, as well as happy hours for networking.
I also plan to actively contribute to the partner’s circle. As a partner myself in a general practice firm, there are challenges to reach partnership, as well as how to practice as a partner successfully. I’d like to host various roundtable discussions on these issues and create a space for partners to network and support one another.
I believe my past mentoring experiences will also help me continue to contribute to the SABA-DC community. I have been a mentor with Seedspot, a DC accelerator, to guide entrepreneurs to grow a successful business. I have helped entrepreneurs prosper in a variety of different industries. I have conducted panel discussions at George Washington and Georgetown. Finally, I have also been a mentor to young attorneys in SABA-DC and AIPLA to help in their professional development. I believe these experiences will help me continue the excellent programing that SABA-DC provides, meet the needs and interests of its membership and contribute in various ways such as relationship building, business development and career advancement. Mentoring students and young attorneys is an important role of SABA-DC so that the next generation of professionals are actively contributing in a more effective way for the benefit of the South Asian community at large.
Thank you for considering my candidacy for General Director of the 2023 SABA-DC Board. If re-elected, I will continue to connect with our membership to find ways for our bar to improve and our community to strengthen. I really enjoyed my time on the 2022 Board and I’m excited for the opportunity to handle some unfinished business on the 2023 Board!!
Candidate Statement of Manasi Raveendran
Hi Fellow SABA-DC Members! My name is Manasi Raveendran, and I am running for a General Director position on the 2023 SABA-DC Board of Directors. I am currently the Director of Education Oversight and Counsel with the House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor, where I focus on government oversight. Since moving to DC a year and a half ago, SABA-DC has been such an important part of my DC community. As part of my professional and personal life, I have placed importance on giving back to my community. For example, as Counsel at IBM, I took on several pro bono matters, volunteered through the IBM Corporate Service Corps program, and ran the Department's pro bono program. I have also been dedicated to bar service with the American Bar Association and was appointed to and served on the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and the Commission on Immigration Advisory Committee. If selected to serve as General Director, I would like to capitalize on my previous experiences to coordinate events that focus on in-house lawyers, working as a lawyer abroad, government service, running a pro bono program, joining a non-profit board, and other professional development activities. I am also a proponent of making sure that we create a diverse attorney pipeline, so I would also like to help facilitate mentorship and coordinate events with the law schools and other affinity organizations in the DMV area. I hope to be able to give back to this important South Asian legal community as a General Director for SABA-DC. Thank you for your consideration!
Candidate Statement of Khatija Choudhry
My name is Khatija Choudhry and I am running for the position of General Director on the 2023 SABA-DC Board of Directors.
I have been a member of SABA since I moved to Washington, DC in October 2021 to be a Mergers and Acquisition Associate at Ballard Spahr LLC. Prior to joining SABA, I practiced in a small midwestern market with an even smaller South Asian community. This is exactly why I recognize how important our organization is. Members of SABA-DC warmly welcomed me into the DC legal community and offered me comradery, community, and mentorship in a way that I had not previously experienced. I would be grateful for the opportunity to give back and serve as a General Director to help further SABA’s mission of developing the South Asian legal community.
Outside of my practice, I have a variety of experiences that have fueled my ongoing passion for the professional development of diverse individuals. I currently participate in Ballard’s BASE Accelerator Program, where I provide pro bono legal advice and mentorship to student entrepreneurs. Prior to joining SABA-DC, I served as a member of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee of Winona State University’s Alumni Society Board. Much of my work on the Committee revolved around recruitment, retention, and mentorship of diverse students. Working in the mentorship and professional development space often calls for creative and collaborative solutions, and I hope to use my experiences to address concerns and further the goals of our members.
My experiences have also taught me the impact that the intersectionality of our own personal identities can have. If elected as a General Director of SABA-DC, I hope to highlight these intersectionalities not only within the SABA community, but also among bar associations in the DC-area to host programming that is meaningful to our mutual group of members.
I believe that the greatest way to foster a community is to become a more active part of it, and I look forward to engaging with each of you even more over the next year.
Thank you for your support.