Making a Positive Impact Together
April 02, 2019 - MoFo Diversity

Celebrating a Successful Year at the 16th Annual SABA Public Interest Dinner

Celebrating a Successful Year at the 16th Annual SABA Public Interest Dinner

 MoFo litigation partners Purvi Patel and Tritia Murata, joined by eight associates from the Los Angeles office, celebrated a year of successes with the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California (SABA-SC) during the 16th Annual Public Interest and Installation Dinner. SABA-SC is dedicated to the development of South Asian law students and attorneys through networking, education, and fellowship.

The annual gala is an event that attorneys in the firm’s Los Angeles office look forward to attending all year because of its lively atmosphere, food, and entertainment, as well as some very inspiring speakers. Some attendees even delight in the occasion to dress in colorful, traditional attire.

The support and turnout for this year’s sold-out event was record-setting, with the organization raising more than $77,500 in sponsorships. Over 300 guests came together to celebrate community service, welcome new board members, and honor the achievements and careers of three distinguished legal professionals.

This year’s honorees were:

Judicial Appreciation Award

The Honorable André Birotte, Jr. – U.S. District Court, Central District of California

Public Interest Award

Navneet Grewal – Senior Attorney, Western Center on Law & Poverty

Trailblazer Award

Rahul Ravipudi – Partner, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP

The evening program opened with a welcome address from SABA-SC’s Public Interest Foundation President, Sapna Singh, with further remarks from Purvi and fellow SABA-SC Co-President, Ashe Puri. During the award presentations, attendees heard from legal professionals at varying stages of their careers, whose uplifting words left them feeling inspired to do more.

“I really enjoyed hearing stories from such a diverse set of lawyers and speakers such as Judge Birotte, the son of Haitian immigrants, who went from being a public defender to becoming the first African-American appointed to the United States Attorney’s office for the Central District,” noted Zainab Ali, one of the associates who attended the event. “All of the speakers conveyed a strong sense of purpose and displayed how being in the legal profession can be a vessel for helping large numbers of people.”

“As a young, black, woman attorney, going to events like [this] are incredibly important for me in both a personal and professional sense. In a professional sense, it allows me to connect with attorneys of color and discuss similar experiences or challenges we may be facing. In a personal sense, it’s always inspiring to see people who look like me trailblazing spaces, which have not traditionally welcomed us,” stated associate Mia Akers, who added that “While there are of course many differences between the South Asian and Black communities, we share certain commonalities that we can use to build solidarity and advance important social justice issues.”

This year also marked the end of a successful term for Purvi, as Co-President of the organization’s board of directors. Over the last year, Purvi worked in close collaboration with Fox Rothschild LLP partner Ashe Puri, as well as officers and members of the board, the SABA-SC Steering Committee, and sponsors to drive a number of important initiatives forward for the organization.

“This has been quite the year for SABA, and I am so proud to have served as Co-President alongside Ashe and the rest of the board. Our goal was to leave an already strong organization even stronger than we found it, and we are thrilled about what we have been able to accomplish during our tenure,” noted Purvi.

During the celebration, guests gathered together to recognize the many key accomplishments made throughout the year, which included:

  • Developing a new merit-based scholarship for law students
  • Continuing to grow the mentorship program aimed at supporting law students and attorneys at all career stages
  • Organizing the Path to Partnership Program for associates
  • Participating in a nationwide Citizenship Informational Clinic in partnership with SABA
  • North America, SAN, and SAHARA
  • Organizing a “Seva” (service) Day to pack care packages for our troops and their families
  • Participating in roundtable discussions with U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and other local community engagements
  • Partnering with the Muslim Bar Association of Southern California (MBASC) and Asian Pacific American Bar Association (APABA) to celebrate Justice Halim Dhanidina’s historic appointment to the California Court of Appeal
  • Launching a new and improved website and newsletter to deliver content on upcoming events, community engagement opportunities, and job openings

Purvi has been an active member of the organization for over seven years. After moving to L.A., she was first introduced to SABA-SC by the Hon. Consuelo B. Marshall, the federal judge she was clerking for, who felt she could benefit from tapping into the South Asian community. Soon after, she joined SABA-SC’s Public Interest Foundation board, a role she continued for six years before joining the SABA-SC board.

The Public Interest Foundation is a nonprofit affiliate of SABA-SC, focused on supporting and promoting public interest activities that benefit the South Asian community and the Southern California community at large. In addition to recognizing the outstanding achievements of local South Asian lawyers and trailblazers, the Foundation awards grants to organizations and law students dedicated to serving the public interest. With the support of its members, the Foundation has awarded over $275,000 in grants.

Learn more about SABA-SC and the Public Interest Foundation here.


MoFo partners Tritia Murata and Purvi Patel dressed for the occasion

From left to right: MoFo associates Kelsey Stricker and Alex Ward, partners Tritia Murata and Purvi Patel, and associates Mia Akers and Zainab Ali

MoFo Los Angeles associates Mia Akers, Zainab Ali, and Huilin Cornell enjoying the festivities

From left to right: MoFo associates Zainab Ali and Heriberto Alvarez, partner Tritia Murata, associate Huilin Cornell, partner Purvi Patel, and associates Joseph Rosner, Alex Ward, Kelsey Stricker, and Mia Akers

*Photos courtesy of Tie it Up Photography