South Asian Bar Association of Southern California Celebrates its 15th Annual Public Interest Dinner

On March 29, members of MoFo’s Los Angeles office attended the 15th Annual South Asian Bar Association of Southern California (SABA-SC) Public Interest Dinner. More than a dozen partners and associates gathered to celebrate and acknowledge Los Angeles partner Purvi Patel’s recent appointment as co-president of the organization’s board.

Purvi has been an active member of the organization for more than six years, previously serving as a board member of the Public Interest Foundation. This year, Los Angeles associate Ruchika Verma will join Purvi on SABA-SC’s board of directors.

Los Angeles office members
Members of MoFo’s Los Angeles office gathered during the Annual SABA-SC Public Interest Dinner to celebrate partner Purvi Patel’s recent appointment as co-president of the organization’s board

“I am excited about leading the organization and the Public Interest Dinner was a wonderful kick-off to the year,” says Purvi, “but the main focus of the night was to honor three truly inspiring people.”

This year SABA-SC recognized the achievements of the following three individuals:

  • Judge Upinder Kalra of the Los Angeles Superior Court received the Judicial Appreciation Award;
  • Munmeeth Soni, Co-Legal Director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, received the Public Interest Award; and
  • Paul Grewal, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Facebook, Inc., received the Trailblazer Award.

“All three of the honorees gave incredibly personal remarks, reflecting on their career paths and the importance of serving others,” adds Purvi. “We all left the evening moved to be more and do more.”

The annual dinner is one of the most anticipated events in MoFo’s Los Angeles office. “We all get very excited about the event,” says associate Kelsey Stricker. “It is a great way to learn about South Asian culture, socialize with a diverse group of attorneys, and try delicious Indian food!”

Many of the attendees from the firm often borrow traditional attire from Purvi for the event, personalizing the occasion even more. “Several of us wore traditional dress,” says partner Tritia Murata. “It really adds to the fun, festivity, and beauty of the event.”

Kelsey and Tritia agreed the highlight of the evening was listening to the honorees speak. Munmeeth Soni’s speech, in particular, stood out for all of the attendees; her passionate speech about South Asians’ shared responsibility to stand up for immigrants and other minorities was met with a standing ovation from the packed room.

“The speeches given by the honorees each year leave me feeling inspired and humbled, and motivated to use my law degree to try to make a meaningful difference,” adds Tritia.

MoFo Attorneys and Alumni
MoFo attorneys (from left) Kelsey Stricker, Huilin Wang Cornell, Irv Hepner, Purvi Patel and MoFo Alum Giancarlo Urey enjoy a moment socializing during the SABA-PC event


Members of the SABA-SC Board of Directors gather alongside MoFo partner Purvi Patel (pictured in center)


SABA-SC is a bar organization dedicated to the development and advancement of South Asian attorneys. The organization focuses on promoting the development of attorneys and law students, providing networking opportunities for its members, and educating surrounding communities about relevant legal issues. More than 600 attorneys are currently members of the organization.

Established in 2003, the Public Interest Foundation is the nonprofit affiliate of SABA-SC. The foundation focuses on supporting and promoting public interest activities for the benefit of the South Asian community, as well as the Southern California community at large. To date, more than $250,000 has been donated in grants to organizations and individuals dedicated to serving the public interest.