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.

2020 EXECUTIVE BOARD AND TRUSTEES

Rahil Darbar

President


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.

Bhaveen R. Jani

President-Elect


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 [email protected]

Prema Roddam

Immediate Past President


Prema is an attorney with the New York office of Chugh LLP. She focuses her practice in the areas of Corporate Law, Immigration and Commercial Litigation. She is admitted to practice in the State and Federal Courts in New York. Prema clerked for Judge Diane Clarke Street 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 Law School. Prema is a dedicated advocate, volunteering, assisting and advising several non-profit organizations. She serves on the board of Manavi (www.manavi.org), a New Jersey based South-Asian Women’s Organization with a mission to end all forms of violence against women.

Rachna B. Malkana

Vice President


Rachna B. Malkana is an attorney admitted to the State of New Jersey. Her area of practice is real estate law, both commercial and residential. Ms. Malkana obtained her B.S. degree from Rutgers University 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. 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 also served as Treasurer of SABA-NJ in 2017 and 2018 and as Vice-President since 2019.

Akshar U. Patel

Treasurer


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.

Sumana L. Murthy

Social Media Chair


Sumana L. Murthy is an associate in the Real Estate group in the New York City office of Phillips Nizer LLP. Her focus is commercial real estate sales and acquisitions, real estate financing, and commercial leasing in New York and New Jersey. She also represents parties to general business transactions including corporate organization, governance, and mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, she represents parties to New Jersey land use applications. She has sat on the Board of SABA-NJ since 2018. Previously she served as Vice-President of Public Relations for the South Asian Bar Association of New York and as Chair of the Wesleyan University Asian Pacific American Alumni Council. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Rutgers Law School – Newark.

Rippi Karda

Executive Liaison


As an Associate General Counsel in the Public Policy, Law and Security department at Verizon Communications Inc., Rippi handles contracts for Sourcing involving human resources benefits/plans, contact centers, contingent workforce, recruiting, collection services, advertising agencies and supplier diversity. In addition to being a part of the Legal team, Rippi works with the Diversity & Inclusion Council, SPICE and APEX organizations at Verizon.

Prior to entering the prominent Technology industry, Rippi worked at several Pharmaceutical and Biomedical companies such as Schering-Plough/Merck, Zimmer/Biomet, Mylan Laboratories, and Ferring Pharmaceuticals. In these various roles, she supported commercial as well as research and development contracts, reviewed multimedia-branded promotional materials, and participated in regulatory, medical and legal review boards for orthopedics, gastroenterology and oncology products. Also, Rippi has provided counsel and guidance on complex matters related to antitrust, fraud and abuse, FCPA, Medicare, Medicaid, PhRMA Code and physician agreements.

Rippi received her Honors Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto and Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law/Oxford University.

Rippi is involved with the Corporate Counsel Women of Color organization and attends their annual conference where she speaks on current and noteworthy corporate in house issues. As well, she is a member of the NAMWOLF organization that focuses on promoting diversity in the legal profession by fostering successful relationships among preeminent minority and women-owned law firms and private/public entities. Furthermore, Rippi is an integral member of WEN – Women in Excellence organization that is dedicated to increasing its collective power to positively impact women of excellence in the legal profession.

Additionally, within Verizon, Rippi is an active participant of the Summer Legal Intern Program from interviewing and selecting candidates to mentoring hires throughout and beyond the summer. At Verizon, she has received the prestigious Pro Bono Service Award for recognition of her meaningful legal contributions in domestic violence and corporate matters. Rippi speaks frequently on diversity and corporate matters, as well as, provides pro bono legal services to those affected by domestic violence.

Tanya Y. Shah

Secretary


Tanya Y. Shah will be joining the Litigation practice group of Morgan Lewis & Bockius’s Princeton office, representing clients in complex environmental, toxic tort, contract, and consumer fraud litigation matters. An experienced litigator, Tanya previously worked as an Associate at Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, and served as Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Brooklyn Tort Division of the New York City Law Department. She earned her JD from Fordham University School of Law, where she served as the President of the South Asian Law Student Association.

Nakul Y. Shah

Secretary


Nakul Y. Shah is an associate in the Princeton, NJ office of Hill Wallack LLP, where he is a member of the Complex Litigation practice group. Mr. Shah is a commercial litigator, and his practice covers a broad range of corporate disputes. Mr. Shah earned his J.D. from Rutgers Law School. He was an intern for the Honorable Eric N. Vitaliano, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York. He graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University, where he earned his B.A. in Political Science, Planning & Public Policy. Prior to joining Hill Wallack LLP, Mr. Shah was Assistant Corporation Counsel at the New York City Law Department, representing the City of New York in 42 U.S.C. 1983 civil litigation. Mr. Shah is admitted to practice in New Jersey (2017), New York (2018), and the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York (2018).

Nikita Shah

Law Student Liaison


Nikita Shah is a law student at Rutgers Law School in Newark, NJ. Before attending Rutgers Law School, she attended Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences at the New Brunswick campus, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics and minor in Business Administration. She is currently the Co-President of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA). Prior to law school, Nikita gained valuable experience in corporate law, immigration law, government, and communications. Most recently, she was a Legal Intern at Verizon where she had the opportunity to learn about both the legal and business sides of a corporation. Upon graduation from Rutgers Law School, Nikita plans to pursue a career in corporate law with a focus on Mergers & Acquisitions while also providing legal advice to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Sharmila D. Jaipersaud

Trustee-At-Large


Sharmila D. Jaipersaud is a Senior Counsel in the Legal Department of RWJBarnabas Health, Inc. She practices primarily in health care transactional matters. 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 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 graduated from Rutgers Law School-Camden and is licensed to practice in both New York and New Jersey. 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. She is also a member of the Health Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association and the American Health Lawyers Association. 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

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.

Ravin Patel

Trustee - North Jersey


Ravin is an attorney that practices in the areas of intellectual property and information technology litigation. He also operates small businesses in the areas of cannabidiol, beverages, wines, and other goods. Born in Hoboken and a lifelong 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 in 2011, where he was a Harlan Scholar and served on the editorial board for the New York Law School Law Review. Ravin has assisted as New Jersey counsel in over 200 New Jersey federal district court cases, including pharmaceutical, patent, trademark, and antitrust cases. He has represented almost every major brand name pharmaceutical company in the U.S. In addition to Ravin’s federal litigation experience, he assists clients with managing and protecting against 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>

Meghal Shah

Trustee – North Jersey


Meghal Shah is an associate in the Commercial and Criminal Litigation Group at Gibbons P.C. Her experience ranges from breach of contract disputes and construction litigation and dispute resolution to white collar criminal defense and internal investigations. Prior to joining Gibbons, Meghal clerked in the at the Supreme Court of New Jersey for the Honorable Anne M. Patterson, and at the Superior Court of New Jersey, Civil Division for the Honorable William Anklowitz.

K. Raja Bhattacharya

Trustee – Central Jersey


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.

Reema Sethi Kareer

Trustee - Central Jersey


Reema Sethi Kareer is an Assistant Prosecutor with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. She is currently assigned to the Sex Crimes/Child Endangerment Unit where she prosecutes and directs the investigations of allegations of sexual assaults against adult and child victims and cases involving child physical abuse and child endangerment. She was previously assigned to the General Investigations Unit where she was a Team Leader handling a wide variety of cases including attempted murder, endangering the welfare of children, narcotics, assault, burglaries, and robberies. She has taught 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 the 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 currently a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement. She is also a member of the Morris County Bar Association and the New Jersey State Bar Association where is Co-Chair of the Government, Public Interest and Public Sector Lawyers Special Committee and is a Trustee with the Criminal Law Section. Reema grew up in Somerset County, NJ where she now resides with her husband and two children.

Mahesh Rajan

Trustee – Central Jersey


Mahesh Rajan is the managing partner with Rajan & Rajan, LLP, with more than 16 years of legal experience serving as one of New Jersey’s established practitioners and an incredibly shrewd negotiator and litigator. Mahesh graduated from Boston University where he earned a B.A. in Business Administration with dual concentrations in Finance and Operations Management, and later received his Juris Doctorate and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Seton Hall University. Mahesh is admitted to the New Jersey and New York State Bars and District Court of New Jersey. He manages a general practice law firm with two locations in Middlesex County covering a wide range of legal practices including commercial transactions, family law, immigration, and civil litigation. Mahesh concentrates his practice in complex commercial transactions including franchise law, hospitality and large commercial closings throughout the United States. He also manages the firm’s family law practice including divorce, child custody, prenuptial agreements and domestic violence. During his early years, Mahesh realized the need for full transparency within the legal industry. His solution and approach is simple: No matter the size of a case, big or small, he always fights to defend the rights of his clients. Mahesh is the past founding Vice President of SABA-NJ and has served on the District VIII Ethics Committee for the Office of Attorney Ethics.

Supti Bhattacharya

Trustee – South Jersey


Supti Bhattacharya is Partner-in-Charge of the Family Law Practice Group at Hill Wallack LLP and handles cases throughout New Jersey primarily from the firm’s Princeton, N.J. office. Ms. Bhattacharya represents clients exclusively in the areas of family law and matrimonial law, including Divorce, Separation, Domestic Violence, Child Custody, International Custody, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), Relocation, Grandparent Rights, Child Support, Enforcement or Modification of Orders, Post-Judgment Motions and Litigation, Alimony and Spousal Support, Private Education Expense, College Tuition and College Expense Contribution, Child Emancipation, Name Changes, Equitable Distribution of Assets, Hidden Assets and Foreign Assets, High Asset or High Net-Worth and Complex Divorce, Property Settlement Agreements and Marital Settlement Agreements, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO’s), Pre-Nuptial Agreements, Mid-Marriage Agreements, and Appeals. Ms. Bhattacharya owned and managed several small firms prior to joining Hill Wallack. Hill Wallack’s mid-size allows Ms. Bhattacharya to handle complex divorce cases while maintaining the personal touch she developed during her years as a solo practitioner. She has successfully guided hundreds of individuals through the separation and divorce process with strong advocacy and thoughtful counsel. Ms. Bhattacharya has strong ties to New Jersey, and works with clients of various cultural backgrounds, with particular knowledge of divorce and family law as it applies to people of Indian and South Asian background. She is fluent in Bengali. Ms. Bhattacharya currently is Vice Chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, Trustee for the Southern Region for the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey, and a member of the NJSBA Bylaws Committee. She is a former Trustee of the New Jersey State Bar Association, past Chair of the NJSBA’s Minorities in the Profession Section, and past Trustee of the NJSBA’s Women in the Profession Section. Ms. Bhattacharya is admitted to practice in the State of New Jersey, the United States District Court for New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. She earned her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law-Newark and her B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, where she triple majored in Sociology, Urban Studies and South Asia Studies. Ms. Bhattacharya’s legal career began with a judicial clerkship with the Hon. Michelle C. Hollar-Gregory (Ret.) in Essex County’s Civil Division.

Rajat K. Gupta

Trustee – South 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.

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!