About

The South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey (SABA-NJ) is a voluntary association of attorneys and professionals in the New Jersey area. SABA-NJ is dedicated to the needs, concerns, and interests of the South Asian community in New Jersey.

We support the professional development and advancement of our members through networking opportunities, educational events, mentoring, and advocacy. Our objectives are to provide a networking forum for all South Asian attorneys and law students in the New Jersey area, and to educate and disseminate information to the South Asian community in New Jersey about legal access and relevant legal issues. SABA-NJ also collaborates with other bar associations and voluntary organizations to maximize diversity in professional networking opportunities and the organization’s visibility in the community.

SABA-NJ is a chapter of the South Asian Bar Association of North America which provides a vital link between South Asian lawyers and the South Asian community across North America. Learn more about SABANA here.

2019 EXECUTIVE BOARD AND TRUSTEES

Prema Roddam

President


Prema is an attorney with the New York office of Chugh, LLP practicing in the areas of Corporate Law, Immigration Law, Family Law and Commercial Litigation. Prema clerked for Judge Diane Clarke Streett in the Delaware Superior Court and for Judge Arnold New in the Philadelphia Commerce Court. She received her JD with pro-bono distinction from Widener University Delaware School of Law. She is actively involved with several philanthropic organizations and serves on the board of Manavi (www.manavi.org), a South-Asian Women’s Organization.

Rahil Darbar

President-Elect


Rahil Darbar is an associate in Porzio's Litigation Practice Group, where he focuses on representing individuals and business entities in commercial disputes, design and construction companies in complex construction defect lawsuits, and manufacturers in products liability and personal injury litigation. An experienced litigator, Rahil routinely appears in the State and Federal Courts of New York and New Jersey and has represented sole proprietorships, mid-size businesses, and Fortune 500 companies. He prides himself on approaching each matter with a primary focus on his client's overall goals and directing the litigation to achieve those specific goals. Rahil maintains strong ties to a diverse set of local organizations including the Justice Morris Pashman Inn of Court in Bergen County, the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, and the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey.

Sharmila D. Jaipersaud

Immediate Past President


Sharmila D. Jaipersaud is a member of Schenck, Price, Smith & King’s Health Care Law Practice Group and Corporate Practice Group. She practices primarily in health care transactional matters, working with hospitals, health care systems, physicians, practice groups and other health care professionals. She has extensive experience with general corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions, business succession planning, employment matters, real estate, software licensing, EMR agreements, day-to-day operations and other transactional matters. She advises healthcare practitioners, individual physicians, and practice groups on a variety of corporate health care transactions and regulatory matters such as: business structuring, leasing, contracting, regulatory compliance, Anti-Kickback laws, Stark law, HIPAA and the corporate practice of medicine. Sharmila has also lectured in the Tri-State area at various hospitals and to physicians and physician practice groups regarding contracting issues.

Sharmila graduated from Rutgers Law School- Camden and is licensed to practice in both New York and New Jersey. Sharmila has been in practice for almost 15 years. In addition to her role with SABA-NJ, she is a board member and co-chair of the Diversity Committee of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association and a board member of the Women in the Profession Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. She is also a member of Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP), the Health Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association, and the American Health Lawyers Association. In addition, Sharmila serves as a board member for the Cancer Support Community of Central New Jersey, a non-profit organization providing psychosocial support services to address the emotional and social impact of cancer.

Her areas of practice are: health care, general corporate matters, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, commercial transactions, real estate, compliance matters, vendor contracts, and business counseling on day-to-day matters.

Rachna B. Malkana

Vice President


Rachna B. Malkana is an attorney admitted to the State of New Jersey since 1998. Her area of practice is real estate law, both commercial and residential. Ms. Malkana obtained her B.S. degree from Rutgers University in 1994 with a major in Administration of Justice and a minor in Psychology. She obtained her Juris Doctorate from St. John’s University School of Law in 1997. She worked with a private law firm in New York and New Jersey in areas of litigation, class action suits and mediation/arbitration. She formed her own practice in 2003 as Law Offices of Rachna B. Malkana and served on the board of SABA-NJ in 2016 as Executive Liaison to Law Students. Rachna has served as Treasurer of SABA-NJ since 2017.

Mishita Jethi

Treasurer


Mishita Jethi is an attorney based out of the New Jersey office of Chugh, LLP. Mishita’s practice is centered around business immigration law and immigration compliance for corporations.

Mishita completed her LL.M from the University of Chicago Law school in 2014. She then worked as a consultant at an economic consulting firm in Washington DC, where her practice was centered around antirust and intellectual property laws in the US and EU. Prior to moving to the United States, Mishita worked as an associate at India’s leading law firm for over three years, where her practice centered around corporate litigation and arbitration. Mishita completed her B.A, LL.B (Hons) from National Law Institute University, India in 2010.

Sumana L. Murthy

Social Media Chair


Sumana L. Murthy is an associate in the Real Estate Practice Group of Phillips Nizer LLP in NYC. Sumana represents parties to commercial real estate sales and acquisitions, real estate financing, and commercial leasing transactions. Further, she represents parties involved in general business and land use transactions. She also sits on the Board of the South Asian Bar Association of New York. Sumana was a past Chair of the Wesleyan University Asian Pacific American Alumni Council.

Bhaveen R. Jani

Nominations Director


Bhaveen R. Jani, Esq. is an Associate in the Accident & Personal Injury Group at Stark & Stark. He focuses his practice in the areas of motor vehicle and tractor trailer personal injury, construction accidents, product defect cases, wrongful death and premises liability claims. Mr. Jani appears frequently in federal and state courts and appellate courts in New Jersey.

Prior to joining Stark & Stark, Mr. Jani practiced at a personal injury firm and a large national firm in Princeton. He also has experience representing physicians, dentists, and hospitals in medical malpractice and other general liability matters. Combined, this has enabled Mr. Jani to most effectively represent victims of personal injury. Mr. Jani is in a unique position because he is able to utilize his knowledge and experience as a defense attorney in his current role at the firm.

Before he earned his law degree from Villanova University, School of Law, Mr. Jani attended The George Washington University, School of Business down in Washington D.C. Mr. Jani has a degree in Finance and worked at a large investment firm in New York City prior to attending law school.

Mr. Jani has been a lifelong resident of New Jersey where he grew up in Edison. Additionally, Mr. Jani is a very active member of the bar and community. Mr. Jani has served as the President for this organization and has been on the Executive Board for the past 5 years in some capacity. Mr. Jani received SABA-NJ’s 2017 Professional Lawyer of the Year award granted by the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law.

Contact Bhaveen at 609-945-7602 or by email at bjani@stark-stark.com.

Tanya Y. Shah

Secretary


Tanya Shah is an associate of Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C. and a member of the firm's Litigation Practice Group. She is an experienced litigator who handles high exposure cases from pleadings to trial.

Prior to joining Porzio, Tanya served as Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Brooklyn Tort Division of the New York City Law Department. There she defended the City of New York in civil actions arising out of alleged false arrest and excessive force cases, civil rights violations, premises liability, trip/slip and fall accidents, and motor vehicle accidents.

Akshar U. Patel

Secretary


Akshar Patel is a member of the Shopping Center & Retail Development practice at the firm. He concentrates his practice in the areas of leasing and commercial litigation, focusing on commercial landlord disputes and secured transactions before state and federal courts. Mr. Patel is also an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (“ICSC”).

Prior to joining Stark & Stark, Mr. Patel was an intern at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey where he drafted trial motions, performed legal research, and contributed to trial preparation. Mr. Patel also interned in the Office of Public Engagement at the White House where he assisted in drafting and preparing research and public policy memorandums.

Mr. Patel speaks Gujarati intermediately, as well as some Arabic and Spanish. While attending Seton Hall University School of Law, he was an Associate Editor on the Seton Hall Legislative Journal during his second year. As a third year law student, Mr. Patel served as the Executive Editor of the Seton Hall Legislative Journal. While on the Editorial Board, Mr. Patel was responsible for overseeing the selection and editing of articles written by legal scholars and practitioners for publication.

Aneri R. Shah

Law Student Liaison


Aneri R. Shah is a law student at Seton Hall University School of Law. She is a graduate of Rutgers University at New Brunswick. Currently, she is a member of the Student Bar Association’s Community Outreach Committee responsible for organizing the annual toy drive and other community-specific events. Prior to law school, she was a paralegal for close to two years. Additionally, while at Rutgers, she was an intern to the Honorable Verna Leath at the Essex County Superior Court, Criminal Division where she assisted the judge and her law clerk with trial preparation by drafting memorandums, distributing jury instructions and collecting verdict sheets. Additionally, she interned for the NJ Superior Court, Appellate Division where she prepared a sample respondent’s brief for pro se litigants.

K. Raja Bhattacharya

Trustee At Large


K. Raja Bhattacharya is a partner with Bendit Weinstock in West Orange. He is a Certified Civil Trial Attorney. His practice areas are Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, and Commercial Litigation. Raja is a Past-President of SABA-NJ. He serves on the New Jersey Association of Justice (NJAJ) Executive Committee and Board of Governors and is NJAJ's Minority Caucus Representative to AAJ. He is a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court's Model Civil Jury Charge Committee and its Arbitration Committee. He's also a member of the District V-B Ethics Committee and is a Selective Service Board Member in the State of New Jersey.

Raja obtained his law degree from Seton Hall Law School. He obtained his B.A. in Economics and Government from the University of Texas at Austin. Raja has given numerous lectures on civil litigation to members of NJAJ and the New Jersey State Bar Association. He has been recognized for his achievements by Super Lawyers, the National Trial Lawyers, and other organizations. He was also a past winner of SABA-NJ's Solo/Small Law Firm Attorney of the Year award.

Ravin Patel

Trustee - North Jersey


Ravin is an attorney in the Newark office of McCarter & English, LLP, where he concentrates his practice in the areas of intellectual property and information technology litigation.

Born in Hoboken and a life long resident of Jersey City, Ravin received his Bachelors of Science in Accounting from Rutgers Business School in Newark and earned his J.D. from New York Law School.

Ravin represents clients in disputes involving patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and other technologies. In addition to Ravin’s federal litigation experience, he assists clients with investigations by government agencies and also assists clients with managing data breaches.

Rajiv D. Parikh

Trustee - North Jersey


Rajiv D. Parikh is a Partner at Genova Burns in Newark, NJ office. He is Chair of the Corporate Political Activity & Election Law Practice and Co-Chair of the Hotels & Restaurants Industry Group. He is a member of the Complex Commercial Litigation, Crisis Management, Intellectual Property & Information Technology and other Practice Groups as well as the Cannabis Industry Group. Mr. Parikh is a highly acclaimed litigator, strategist and counselor to his esteemed clientele. He served as Senior Counsel to Governor Phil Murphy for Transition 2018 and has worked closely with the Governor on issues of statewide importance.

Mr. Parikh has a proven track record in franchise-related matters. He is a lead Partner in the Intellectual Property and Information Technology Practice Group. He handles matters from the initial stages of disputes through trial, often involving complex technological questions. His trial experience encompasses all aspects of complex commercial disputes, intellectual property litigation, franchise disputes, cybersecurity and technology law, large-scale construction disputes and complex Constitutional and civil rights matters.

Mr. Parikh expertly defends clients on issues related to online reputation management, harassment and internet/social media defamation campaigns. In addition, he counsels candidates and potential candidates as well as campaign officials throughout the country.

In the political realm, Mr. Parikh is one of only a handful of lawyers in the nation to handle complex election-related litigation as well as advise candidates on strategic matters. His clients include the New Jersey Democratic National Committee and candidates for local, state and federal office. He has served as general counsel to the New Jersey Democratic State Committee for more than four years and is lead counsel on dozens of campaigns including those of New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, N.J. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman and N.J. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, among others.

Member, Board of Directors. New Jersey Needs You General Counsel, Share & Care Foundation General Counsel, Hindu American Seva Communities Board of Directors, New Leaders Council – New Jersey Parliamentarian, New Jersey Democratic State Committe<./p>

Rajat K. Gupta

Trustee - Central Jersey


Rajat K. Gupta is President and Counsel at Om Title Agency, LLC. He has over 25 years experience as a real estate Attorney and Title Insurance Agent and prior experience as a Certified Public Accountant. He is a graduate of Rutgers College and Rutgers Law School.

Mr. Gupta's specializes in larger transactions requiring experience and personalized service provided by a multi-licensed professional. He is also available as an Expert for real estate and title insurance related litigation.

Mr. Gupta's Past Service to the Bar: NJ Supreme Court Committee on Character; NJ Supreme Court Office of Attorney Ethics; NJ State Bar Assoc., Real Property, Trusts and Estates Section - Board of Consultors. He has served on the Boards of the Asian-Indian Chamber of Commerce, and the Asian Real Estate Assoc. of America - Central Jersey Chapter.

Reema Sethi Kareer

Trustee - Central Jersey


Reema Sethi Kareer is an Assistant Prosecutor with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. She is a Team Leader in the General Investigations Unit handling a wide variety of cases including attempted murder, endangering the welfare of children, narcotics, assault, burglaries, and robberies. In addition to her caseload, she also serves as a mentor for younger Assistant Prosecutors in their day to day functions. Reema approves all warrants and charges from local police departments during a regular on duty rotation. Additionally, she is responsible for drug court matters as well as the Veteran’s Diversionary Program (VDP). She also teaches law enforcement officers de-escalation techniques as well as search warrant preparation, search and seizure, and building a better prosecution at the Morris County Training Academy. She has served in her capacity in both the Domestic Violence Unit and the Appellate Unit, where she argued cases before the Appellate Division and the N.J. Supreme Court. Reema was also an Assistant Prosecutor at the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office where she was assigned to the Juvenile Unit and then Trial Team where she successfully brought seven cases before a jury in two years.

Reema attended New York University where she received her B.A. and then attended Seton Hall University where she received her J.D. At Seton Hall, she was awarded the Mary Franzese Humanitarian Award and the Pro Bono Service Award. She served as the Vice-President of the Asian Pacific Law Students Association (APALSA) and was Co-Founder of the Public Interest Network (PIN). Reema worked part-time while in law school for the Legal Aid Society in Morris County where she was a recipient of an IOLTA Fellowship. After graduating law school, she clerked for the Honorable Barbara Zucker-Zarett, J.S.C. in the Civil Division and she has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at Raritan Valley Community College teaching various courses including Torts, Criminology and Basic Litigation Procedure.

Reema is a member of the Morris County Bar Association and the New Jersey State Bar Association where she was selected for the Government, Public Interest and Public Sector Lawyers Special Committee and is a member of the Criminal Law Section and Women in the Profession Section. Reema grew up in Somerset County, NJ where she now resides with her husband and two children.

Rishi Desai

Trustee - South Jersey


Rishi K. Desai formed RKD Law, LLC, in 2017 to focus on closing commercial transactions for lenders, buyers, and sellers. Utilizing technology to enhance accuracy, efficiency, and responsiveness, Mr. Desai represents both lenders and business owners in a variety of commercial transactions, from conventional loans to SBA loans, as well as complex financial transactions with specialized loan facilities.

Additionally, Mr. Desai regularly counsels small- and mid-size business owners on the purchase, sale, lease, and finance of their businesses and commercial real estate. He brings an in-depth understanding of the law and business transactions to the practice, providing clients with enthusiastic support in various aspects of business, banking, and commercial law. Mr. Desai’s experience, knowledge, and understanding of both the law and the practical realities of the business world enable him to successfully close a diverse range of transactions in a thorough and efficient manner. He most enjoys working closely with clients as a partner in their business and is committed to the success of each organization he counsels.

Mr. Desai is licensed to practice in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

While in law school, Rishi realized that he wanted to work with business owners just as his grandfather did with the CPA practice he founded in 1978, which grew to over 500 South Asian clients. Rishi focused his law studies and, later, his practice, on representing the various needs of small business owners. Over time, he began to specialize in closing commercial transactions. His experience representing borrowers naturally extended to representing lenders in SBA and Conventional loan closings. In representing lenders, he brings his borrower-side experience to ensure deals close on time, and at a cost that makes both lender and borrower happy – a win-win.

Upon reflection, Rishi decided to start a firm focused exclusively on closing commercial transactions, but with a twist: embracing technology at the cutting edge to ensure effectiveness, efficiency, and the highest levels of customer service seen in the legal industry. In addition, RKD Law utilizes an alternative billing model that reflects our desire to do great work with the highest level of efficiency. Please contact us to close your deal!

Ehsan F. Chowdhry

Trustee - South Jersey


Ehsan F. Chowdhry, ESQ is the owner of EFC LAW PRACTICE, LLC, a law firm exclusively dedicated to Criminal Defense, Juvenile Law, Municipal Court and White Collar Crime. He is licensed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He has court admissions for the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. He is honored to have been named to the NJ Governor Elect, Philip (Phil) D. Murphy's Transition Team as a Co Chair for the Law & Justice Committee, Social Justice Subcommittee.

He attended Rutgers College of Rutgers the State University of New Jersey, graduated from Monmouth University, earned his J.D. from Widener University School of Law while attaining Dean's List, serving as a member of the Trial Advocacy Honor Society and as the President of the Minority Law Students Association (MLSA). He also was the recipient of the Most Promising Civil Litigator Award, The Center for Forensic Economic Studies Excellence in Litigation Award and a semi-finalist in the Hugh B. Pearce Trial Advocacy Competition. Thereafter, he earned his LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree in Trial Advocacy from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law.

After graduating from law school, he commenced a state judicial clerkship with the Honorable Vincent J. Grasso, A.J.S.C. (retired) in the New Jersey Superior Court, Law Division, Criminal Part. Thereafter, he became sworn in as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office in the Litigation Section of the Grand Jury Unit. From there he transferred to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office where he proudly served in the Megan’s Law Unit, Juvenile Investigations Unit, the Grand Jury Unit and the Trial Team. He has been fortunate to have done multiple trials, both bench and jury, with an overwhelming success rate. Moreover, all of his trial court cases that went to the Appellate Division were affirmed in the State's favor. He was temporarily sworn in as a Special Deputy Attorney General and has completed class forty-eight (48) at the Top Gun School Investigating and Prosecuting Gang, Gun and Drug cases.

As a result of his trial experience, Ehsan has been certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney. Moreover, he is only 1 of 5 attorneys in the state of New Jersey who is nationally certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Criminal Trial Advocate. He has also been designated by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy as a “Master Advocate” and "Advocate." Ehsan's awards and honors include receiving the New Jersey Law Journal's New Leader of the Bar Award for 2017 (previously 40 under 40), the Professional Lawyer of the Year Award for 2015 from the NJSBA in conjunction with a diversity bar and the NJ Commission on Professionalism in the Law, becoming the first government attorney to receive the Ten Leaders of Government Prosecutors Award, the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Award, the Lawyers of Distinction Top 10% Award and many others.

He is active in his legal community and was active in law enforcement community. He is currently appointed to the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Minority Concerns after serving his four years on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Criminal Practice Committee. He is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s (NJSBA) Diversity Committee, serves as the New Jersey Muslim Lawyer's Association (NJMLA) President, the New Jersey regional director for the National Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML), the Vice President of Membership for the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA NJ) and serves as the Executive Law Student Liaison for the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey (SABA-NJ). Ehsan is a member of the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey (ACDL-NJ), the Ocean County Bar Association (OCBA) serving on the Criminal Practice and Mock Trial Committee. He briefly served as the county liaison to the state for Fingerprinting and DNA, as a certified instructor at the Ocean County Police Academy and was a co liaison for the New Jersey Human Trafficking Task Force. Ehsan is an adjunct faculty member at Rutgers Law School and prior served as an adjunct faculty member Ocean County College's Business Law Department. He is on the faculty as a volunteer for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, served as faculty for Widener University School of Law's Intensive Trial Advocacy Program (ITAP), a mock judge for Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law's LL.M. program, served as a mock judge for the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) and the Vincent J. Apruzzese Mock Trial Competition. He has done trial advocacy CLE for Esquire LLC.

A New Yorker by birth, he has been a resident of the Garden State for 33 years. In his free time, he loves playing basketball, chess, poker, pool, taekwondo, tennis and loves stand up comedy. Ehsan is well traveled and multilingual, speaking Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi. He is married to his wife, a matrimonial attorney and they have two children together.