Judge Amit P. Mehta is the first Asian Pacific American to serve as a federal district court judge in the District of Columbia. Judge Mehta was nominated by President Barack Obama and appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on December 22, 2014. From 1997-1998, Judge Mehta worked at Latham & Watkins LLP in San Francisco. He then clerked for the Honorable Susan P. Graber of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1998-1999. Afterwards, Judge Mehta worked in Washington, D.C. at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP from 1999 to 2002. In 2002, Judge Mehta joined the District of Columbia Public Defender Service as a staff attorney.
Panel: Public Interest, Government Interest and Human Rights
Sonali Shahi, Cornell Law School
Attorney, Federal Community Defender Office for Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Sonali works as an attorney at the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in the Capital Habeas Unit. The Unit represents death-sentenced persons in their capital habeas appeals. She joined the FCDO in 2014, from the Death Penalty Limitation Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri, where she provided direct representation to capital prisoners in state post-conviction and federal habeas review. She is a 2011 graduate of Cornell Law School, where she received the Freeman Award for Civil-Human Rights.
Avnish Nanda has represented hundreds of clients across Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. Avnish has a long history and strong interest in social justice issues. Most recently, Avnish co-founded and serves as Executive Director of JusticeFundr, the world’s first crowdfunding platform for public interest litigants. Avnish is also committed to ensuring accessibility to the legal profession, and has led efforts and assisted in raising approximately $500,000 towards low income bursaries and a back-end debt relief program at Osgoode Hall Law School. Avnish has worked in a variety of different legal settings, and has made appearances and submissions before some of the following courts and administrative bodies: the Alberta Court of Appeal, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Provincial Court of Alberta, Provincial Court of British Columbia (including First Nations Court), Ontario Court of Justice.
Simarroop (Roop) Dhillon is a student-at-law at the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO). SALCO is Canada’s only government funded legal aid clinic, which provides culturally and linguistically appropriate legal services to low-income South Asians, all across Ontario. Roop’s areas of practice include immigration law, income maintenance law (welfare and disability benefits), family law, employment law, human rights law and criminal law in particular she works with victims of domestic violence and forced marriages. Roop has represented SALCO at hearings before several courts and tribunals, and is currently observing a constitutional challenge at the Immigration Appeal Division. Additionally, Roop has led a number of public legal education initiatives in the communities which she serves. She has a particular interest in serving the Punjabi community across the greater Toronto area and Ontario, as she is fluent in the language herself. To learn more about SALCO, please visit http://salc.on.ca
Assistant General Counsel, D.C. Department of Health
Panel: Intellectual Property Law
Neil is an Associate at Volpe & Koenig and the practice focuses on the preparation and prosecution of domestic and foreign patents and includes includes counseling clients to develop customized global IP strategies. Neil enjoys working with clients of all sizes, large and small, to bring value to their intellectual property to meet their business needs. Neil’s clients range from large multinational corporations to entrepreneurial start-ups that seek to commercialize products in emerging technology fields. Neil focuses on building strong relationships with inventors and in-house counsel to understand the client’s strategic objectives. His clients rely on his expertise to protect their innovations, and appreciate his strategic insight, responsiveness, and methodical approach. Neil is currently the Vice President of Public Relations for the South Asian Bar Association of North America and President of the South Asian Bar Association of Philadelphia.
Joseph is a Senior Intellectual Property Counsel at INVISTA Company. He works with business leaders to create value and maximize profits by developing effective legal strategies and leveraging intellectual property assets. At INVISTA, he has also drafted and negotiated terms for US and international patent, technology and trademark licenses and reviewed commercial agreements and drafted and negotiated intellectual property terms. Joseph’s areas of expertise include patent and trademark prosecution and portfolio management, competitive intelligence, freedom to operate and patentability studies, marketing and false advertising analysis and litigation support. Since 2006, he has worked on various contract assignments doing substantive intellectual property work including all aspects of patent and trademark prosecution, patentability studies and litigation support.
Bhupinder is a partner with Bereskin & Parr LLP and Head of the Electrical & Computer Technology practice group. Bhupinder’s practice focuses on patent and technology law, particularly obtaining, evaluating and leveraging intellectual property rights for high technology clients. He has prepared and filed patent applications relating to telecommunication systems, wireless communication, computer-based controls systems, electronic circuits for various applications, digital signal processing, optics, robotics, power systems and power electronics, computer networks, integrated circuits, computer software, business methods and other technologies. Bhupinder also helps clients transfer technology into and out of their companies, and assists clients with developing licensing programs for widely licensed technologies, including patents relating to industry standards. He also advises clients and other lawyers on IP aspects of commercial transactions.
Shamita leads the 337 International Trade Practice in the Firm’s Washington, DC office. Her focus is technology, particularly telecommunications networks, semiconductor devices, and mobile computing for both technology companies and financial institutions. Her clients benefit from her exceptionally deep knowledge of this field, which is based on her previous work as an electrical engineer and program manager for GTE Corporation in the mobile telecommunications industry. Shamita designed and implemented wireless communication and satellite systems, and was responsible for the development, deployment and financial viability of various new communications products and services. Shamita understands how to balance the business needs and the legal obligations of her clients in order to achieve positive results, whether negotiating licenses or litigating in the ITC or federal courts across the US. She is an accomplished trial lawyer, and has served as co-lead and lead counsel on a range of cases. Shamita has also co-authored an amicus brief on behalf of the Patent and Trademark Section of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia in ‘Festo v. SMC’. In addition to her patent practice, Shamita is an adjunct professor of law at George Washington University School of Law in Washington, DC where she teaches a patent litigation practice course and has been recognized for her long service to the legal community.
Anjan Choudhury is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson. Prior to joining the firm, he practiced in Washington, D.C. Mr. Choudhury was named an “Up Next” rising star in entertainment litigation in Variety’s 2015 Legal Impact Report. Anjan practices in a wide variety of matters involving civil, administrative and appellate litigation, focusing primarily on matters for clients in the entertainment industry. He has represented clients in state and federal court as well as complex administrative proceedings, including before the Copyright Royalty Board, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. Anjan is the President of the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California. He also is a member of the Board of Governors for the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (APABA), the Executive Committee of the Fulfillment Fund Leadership Council, and past member of the Board of the South Asian Bar Association Public Interest Foundation. He has served as a clerk to the Honorable Marsha S. Berzon on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Choudhury received his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2004. While at Harvard, he served as an editor and supreme court chair of the Harvard Law Review, was elected First Class Marshal, was a semifinalist in the Ames Moot Court competition, where he earned the Best Oralist Prize, and was awarded the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership.
Panel: In-House and Transactional Careers
Khurram is General Counsel and Chief Strategy Officer to Personal BlackBox Company, and joined PBB from Reed Smith LLP where he was a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property and Data Security, Privacy and Management practice groups. Prior to Reed Smith, he was an engineer at Lockheed Martin for over six years. At Personal BlackBox, he build capabilities for companies to establish more trustworthy relationships with their customers. They believe that people have a “right to benefit” from their data assets without fear of losing privacy, control or value. This framework is called “Personal Data Independence” and it enables individuals to claim their personal data assets, establish more trustworthy relationships with the products and services that they use, and share in the benefits of the new data ecology – while maintaining privacy and control in unlocking its value. As a member of PBB’s Executive Team, he relies on his experience in both law and technology to collaboratively define and implement the company’s growth, technical and legal strategy. He is also a member of the NYU Alumni Association’s Board of Directors and the Minority Corporate Counsel’s Advisory Board.
Tejal is currently Senior Counsel for the TD Bank in Toronto. She represents companies and individuals in all aspects of complex criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings brought by government and regulatory agencies; conduct internal investigations for public and private companies and governmental entities in a variety of matters. Prior to that, she was an Associate at Ballard Spahr LLP were she was focused on white collar criminal defense, securities fraud, and complex civil litigation. Have defended companies and individuals in federal criminal investigations involving public corruption, securities fraud, health care fraud, environmental crimes, and other various business frauds. Has represented individuals and corporations in enforcement and regulatory matters before the Securities and Exchange Commission and securities industry self-regulating organizations.
Ritu is currently an Associate at WilmerHale. She has a general corporate practice, with a focus on technology transactions and licensing. She advises emerging and established companies on a variety of technology-related matters involving biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, software, outsourcing and entertainment. She has negotiated and drafted license, collaboration, clinical trial, material transfer, supply, quality, consulting, intellectual property assignment and master service agreements, as well as confidentiality agreements, privacy policies, terms and conditions, end user license agreements and open source policies. Ritu earned her Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, where she served as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. During law school, she was a student intern in the Cyberlaw Clinic, where she handled matters related to Internet privacy, access to justice, and international film financing and distribution.
Monica is currently a partner at White & Case New York office. She advises on all aspects of private investment and management account structures, from the formation of funds to matters arising from clients’ ongoing investment activities. Monica is the global head of the Firm’s investment funds group, a significant part of White & Case’s Capital Markets Practice, which is committed to counseling and supporting sponsors, investment managers, placement agents and other financial intermediaries from across the globe. Under Monica’s stewardship, the Group not only advises on the optimal organization and structuring of investment fund vehicles, but also on continuing activity, with a particular focus on M&A and distressed equity and debt investments. The Group also supports sovereign wealth funds, foundations, pension funds and other institutional investors in connection with their alternative asset investment programs. Drawing on her extensive experience, Monica is particularly well-placed to advise clients on management arrangements and secondary transactions involving interests in private investment funds.
Akshay is a Partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and he focuses his practice on the application of derivatives in trading, structured products, and capital markets. He represents hedge funds, banks, institutional investors, broker-dealers and other financial institutions in all aspects of their futures, derivatives and commodities trading. He has experience in futures, derivatives and commodities laws, and regulations affecting both buy- and sell-side market participants and is a frequent speaker and writer on topics related to the new global derivatives market structure (with an emphasis on Dodd-Frank).
Panel: Judicial Clerkships
Judge Sabita Singh, Boston University School of Law
District Circuit Court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Justice Singh is an alumna of Pennsylvania State University, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in the Administration of Justice in 1987, and of Boston University School of Law, where she received her law degree in 1990. She is a Judge of the District Circuit Court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Sabita is the first judge of South Asian descent in the history of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 2006, then Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney nominated Singh. Of the four nominees Romney appointed to the Massachusetts trial court that year, three, including Singh, were minority women. Among the high-profile cases she covered was the Eddie Brien juvenile murder case out of Somerville (which was tried by the District Attorney and covered by Court TV), and the Louise Woodward baby murder case. Prior to her judicial appointment, Judge Singh spent half of her career in criminal prosecution and the other half in civil litigation in private practice. She is a Past President of the North American South Asian Bar Association (NASABA).
Judge Sohail Mohammed, Seton Hall University School of Law
New Jersey Superior Court of Passaic County, New Jersey
Justice Mohammed earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering cum laude from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He worked full-time as an electrical engineer while pursuing a degree at Seton Hall University School of Law. While at Seton Hall, he founded the Science and Technology Law Society. He received his Juris Doctor in 1993. Before he was appointed to the bench in 2011, becoming the first Indian-American judge in the state, he was principally an immigration lawyer. He won the respect of fellow lawyers, law enforcement officials, and human rights advocates well beyond the state’s borders for defending immigrant Muslim clients detained by the FBI after Sept. 11. In March 2014, Justice Mohammed ruled on Plotnick v. DeLuccia, a precedential decision that has never been litigated in New Jersey or the United States prior to this case. The case involved a dispute between two unmarried biological parents over who can be present during the child’s birth. Justice Mohammed held that all patients, and pregnant women specifically, enjoy the privacy protections that allow them decide who can be at their hospital bedside.
Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto, Georgetown University Law Center United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of New York
Judge Matsumoto was appointed as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York in July 2008, after serving as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York since July 2004. Following her graduation from Georgetown University Law Center, Judge Matsumoto was a litigation associate at MacDonald, Hoague and Bayless in Seattle, Washington. Thereafter, she joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, where she served for over twenty years, as a Deputy Chief, First Deputy Chief and Chief of the Civil Division. Judge Matsumoto was an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School, where she taught legal research and writing, and at New York University School of Law, where she taught a government civil litigation clinic and seminar. She also has served as a trustee and vice chair of the board of the Federal Bar Council, a member of the Judiciary Committee, the Federal Courts Committee and the Nominating Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Vice Chair of the Mayor’s Committee on City Marshals, a member of the Asian American Bar Association of New York and National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and a member of the American Inn of Court, the American Bar Association Standards Review Committee and the National Conference of Bar Examiners Civil Procedure drafting committee. She is also the second Asian Pacific American woman ever to serve as a federal district court judge.
Asaad K. Siddiqi, Saint John’s University School of Law
Shareholder at Walder Hayden, P.A.,
Former Clerk to Magistrate Judge Madeline C. Arleo of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
Asaad represents clients seeking advice in the areas of business counseling & litigation, fraud prevention and recovery, insurance coverage, corporate compliance, false claims act and whistleblower litigation, employment law, government and internal investigations, and white-collar criminal defense. Prior to joining the firm, Asaad served as law clerk for the Honorable Madeline Cox Arleo, U.S.M.J., in the District of New Jersey. He is admitted to practice law in New Jersey, New York, the District of New Jersey, the Southern District of New York, and the Eastern District of New York. Asaad is also active in diversity initiatives in the legal profession and has served as an officer and board member of several bar associations. He was also a member of Leadership New Jersey’s Fellowship Class of 2012. Asaad has received several other peer recognitions and awards during his career, including New Jersey Super Lawyers Rising Stars for 2009 to 2014.
Rena Malik, New York Law School
Court Attorney, Hon. James E. d’Auguste at New York State Unified Court System
Former Clerk to Honorable Roger J. Miner in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals
Rena graduated cum laude in 2010 from New York Law School, where she was a Harlan Scholar, made the Dean’s List and Dean’s High Honors lists multiple semesters, and served as an Editor on the New York Law School Law Review. Rena has clerked for the Honorable Larry D. Martin, Justice of the Supreme Court of New York, Kings County. Prior to that, she served as a Volunteer Court Attorney to the Honorable James d’Auguste in New York City Civil Court, New York County. She also has law firm experience as defense litigation associate practicing in employment law, professional liability, and insurance coverage. She was also a clerk for the Hon. Roger J. Miner in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Arun Subramanian, Columbia Law School Partner, Susman Godfrey Former Clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court
Arun is a partner in Susman Godfrey’s New York office. He has successfully represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of high-stakes commercial cases, including intellectual property, breach of contract, life settlement, unfair competition, antitrust, bankruptcy, and fraud litigation. He joined the firm after completing judicial clerkships for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Dennis Jacobs on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Judge Gerard E. Lynch on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Arun graduated from Columbia Law School and served as Executive Articles Editor of the Columbia Law Review. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Review.
Panel: LLM Panel – Should You Get One & How do You Start a Career After an LLM
Lance Lindeen – JD (Indiana University Maurer School of Law) & Masters of Public Affairs (School of Public and Environmental Affairs) 2011; LL.M. in Trial Advocacy (Temple University Beasley School of Law) 2014 – Mr. Lindeen serves with distinction as an assistant district attorney at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s offices. Having tried over 3200 cases to verdict, Mr. Lindeen’s trial practice includes specialization in the prosecution of DUI and aggravated assault by vehicle/DUI; sex crimes against child victims; and forgeries.
In law school, Mr. Lindeen served on the Indiana Law Journal (ILJ) as Executive Articles Editor; published his third year Comment (“Keep Off the Grass!”) in the ILJ; served simultaneously as both the Chief Justice of the Sherman Minton Moot Court Competition and Captain of the national trial team for several semesters; and competed to achieve moot court Finalist (2010) and law school trial competition Champion (2011). While earning his LL.M., Mr. Lindeen competed in multiple trial simulations and served as a peer judge to provide feedback to fellow advocates.
Professor Poonam Puri is one of Canada’s most respected scholars and commentators on issues of corporate governance, corporate law, securities law and financial regulation. Appointed to Osgoode’s faculty in 1997, and a recipient of its Teaching Excellence Award in 1999 and 2009, Professor Puri is a prolific scholar who has co-authored/edited three books and written numerous articles, book chapters and reports. She has a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Toronto and a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from Harvard Law School. Professor Puri is a 2005 recipient of Canada’s Top 40 under 40™ award; the 2008 recipient of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce Female Professional of the Year Award; the 2010 recipient of the Professional Excellence Award from the Canadian Association of South Asian Lawyers; and the 2010 recipient of the Lawyer of the Year award from the South Asian Bar Association.
Adarsh is a corporate attorney in the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Prior to joining Kirkland, Adarsh worked as a corporate attorney in India for over five years and has represented a large number of clients investing into India. He earned his LLM from Harvard Law school in 2015. Prior to that he attended the University of Oxford where he earned a Bachelor of Civil Law and was awarded with the Felix Scholar. From Hidayatullah National Law University in India, he was awarded the Chancellor’s Gold Medal by the faculty as best graduating student and University Gold Medal for ranking first in the undergraduate law school.
Panel: Firm Life for Minorities
Partner, Shearman & Sterling LLP
Reena Sahni is a Partner at Shearman & Sterling LLP New York Office in the Global Financial Institutions Advisory & Financial Regulatory Group. She has written extensively on US financial regulatory matters and has been a speaker at a number of conferences. Reena’s extensive experience and knowledge includes advising on bank regulation, bank insolvency, recovery and resolution planning and bank capital markets transactions, including Dodd-Frank implementation for U.S. and non U.S. banks and other financial institutions. She was recognized in 2013 as a Rising Star by IFLR1000.
Counsel, Ropes & Gray LLP
Milap Patel is an attorney at Ropes & Gray LLP located in the Greater Boston Area. Milap has represented companies in public and private securities offerings and general corporate advisory matters. He advises private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies, public companies and lenders on leveraged finance transactions, including syndicated credit facilities, mezzanine and subordinated financings, high yield offerings and debt restructurings. In 2013 Milap was awarded the Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Star.
Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Day Pitney LLP
Asker A. Saeed is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Day Pitney where he is responsible for developing and implementing the firm’s strategic diversity and inclusion plan and serving as a key thought leader, ambassador and advocate on diversity, inclusion and equity. Asker began his legal career as an associate at two large northeast regional law firms based in Hartford, CT, where he practiced in the areas of debt finance, public finance, and general corporate matters and was an active member of the diversity and recruiting committees. He was recognized by the Connecticut Law Tribune in 2009 as “High Achiever” minority attorney practicing law in Connecticut.
Sheena is an Associate at Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer, LLP. Her practice focuses on commercial transactions, corporate organizing and restructuring, share and asset acquisitions and dispositions, mergers, acquisitions and other business combinations, and general corporate commercial matters. She earned her Juris Doctorate from York University, Osgood Hall Law School in Ontario, Canada. She is a member of the Canadian Bar Association, Calgary Bar Association and the Law Society of Alberta. Her piece titled “Countdown to Canada’s Comeback: What to Expect for Mergers & Acquisitions in 2016” was published in the BD&P Commercial Transactions Newsletter in January 2016.