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attorneys in the U.S. and Canada. Members are engaged in private prac- tice, corporate counsel, academia, public inter- est, and government. NASABA is primarily volunteer-based, with one full-time executive assistant and one part-time executive director. NASABA has a network of 10 sections dedicated to


various practice areas. T ese sections, which include busi- ness law, corporate counsel, employment law, intellectual property, international law, judges, legal education, litiga- tion, prosecutors, and a women’s attorney network, provide networking opportunities to members of local chapters, as well as educational opportunities. For example, last April the litigation section held a seminar on redistricting, which was set up to off er CLE credit for members. “NASABA is a global positioning system for South


Asian attorneys,” Sankaran says. “A number of our mem- bers have paved the way [to success]. T ey know what it takes and want to show younger attorneys how to do it. It’s not just a network, but an enthusiastic, supportive network where people have each other’s back.” Sankaran points to Sri Srinivasan, partner at O’Melveny


& Myers LLP, as the personifi cation of this system. Srinivasan has argued 16 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, worked in the Offi ce of the Solicitor General for fi ve years, and is a lecturer at Harvard Law School. He is also the recipient of a number of awards and recognitions, including NASABA’s Cornerstone Award. Srinivasan also exemplifi es the supportive nature of


NASABA. “He always lends his time and doesn’t hesitate to help. Younger members reach out to him and he responds, despite how much he has on his plate,” Sankaran says. Another important initiative of the organization is to


improve the representation of South Asians in government and in the judiciary. As the population of South Asian attorneys and the strength of NASABA’s pipeline continue to grow, NASABA is seeing this initiative yield results. Recently two of its National Advisory Council mem-


bers, Preeta Bansal and Neal Katyal, were appointed to senior positions in the Obama administration: Bansal


MCCA.COM


as general counsel and senior policy advisor at the Offi ce of Management and Budget, and Katyal as the principal deputy


solicitor general at the Department of Justice. Sankaran notes that NASABA has high representation within the Obama administration.


CHAPTER AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT T e organization also serves as general counsel for local chapters. “Some chapters were vibrant before us,” Sankaran explains. “We help them employ best prac- tices.” T is means assisting with the nuts and bolts of running a chapter, such as obtaining nonprofi t status and establishing corporate structure, as well as providing a national voice. “If they need to express an opinion, we can help,” she adds. Currently, NASABA is putting signifi cant eff ort into


spreading the word about its 2011 national convention, which will be held June 23-26 in Los Angeles. T e caliber of speakers has been increasing over the years, Sankaran says, and she hopes that this will attract greater numbers of attendees. Much of the organization’s strength is in its strong internal network. T e convention will provide ample opportunity to build on that asset. “What I admire so much about NASABA is the people


who started it,” Sankaran adds. “T ey had a vision, could see the big picture and went through extraordinary eff ort to use this vision and bring it to fruition. I’m thankful to them to be part of this process going forward and I hope to shape it in a way that others can benefi t from as well.” D&B


1According to the United Nations geographical classifi cation, the South Asian


population comprises the countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Afghanistan, Iran, and Sri Lanka.


Kara Mayer Robinson is a freelance writer based near New York City. For more information on NASABA, visit NASABA.com or email info@nasaba.com. To register for the 2011 convention, visit NASABAconvention.org.


MAY/JUNE 2011 DIVERSITY & THE BAR®


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