Solid Square

IRANIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION

Solid Square

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAPTER

The Iranian American Bar Association ("IABA") is the only national association of Iranian-American judges, attorneys, legal scholars, and law students in the U.S. with over 1,500 members and eight chapters nationwide. The IABA’s mission is threefold: (1) to educate our community about legal issues of interest and ensure that the public and our representatives are informed on such matters; (2) to protect and advance the legal rights of our community; and (3) to foster and promote the achievements of Iranian American legal professionals.


Formed in 2000 in the District of Columbia with one chapter and four founding members, IABA has quickly risen as a premier minority bar association and has been at the forefront of protecting the rights of Iranian-Americans and other minorities, whether in courtrooms or in meetings with our elected officials. Since formation, IABA, a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, has expanded to include eight chapters nationwide, including law students, prominent attorneys, and judges.

Solid Square

In 2013, IABA reorganized, forming the IABA Foundation as a charitable affiliation organization recognized as a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. IABA Foundation works closely with IABA to further IABA's objectives and to carry out various charitable and educational activities within the Iranian-American community.

IABA NORCAL

The Northern California Chapter of IABA ("IABA NorCal") was founded in 2007 by Ms. Niki Khoshzamir. It was the fourth chapter of IABA, formed with ten members who believed in the mission and aimed to bring that vision to the Northern California legal community. Since then, the Northern California Chapter has become one of the most active and prominent IABA chapters. In addition to holding networking events and community legal education clinics, it has contributed to four national presidents (Nema Milaninia, Nahal Iravani-Sani, Babak Yousefzadeh, and Yasmin Bigdeli), and was the first chapter to institute a formal local board with bylaws. The Northern California Chapter is also proud of partnerships it has formed with local minority bar associations and civil rights organizations in collaboration with whom it has successfully advocated on legal issues of interest and concern to the Iranian American community.

Rough Gray Texture

OUR OBJECTIVES

IABA NorCal is a fully volunteer nonprofit organization, comprised of attorneys and law students in the San Francisco Bay Area. IABA NorCal works with IABA National and IABA Foundation to serve the Iranian-American and other minority communities.


IABA NorCal's work falls into one of six general categories, as described on the pages below:


Legal Consultation Meeting

OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM

SOUGOL SHOOSHTARIAN

President ELECT

ROUJIN MOZAFFARIMEHR

VICE PRESIDENT

AMIR HASSANABADI

President EMERITUS

SHAYAN SAID

NATIONAL LIAISON

IDA MAHMOUDI

SCHOLARSHIPS CHAIR

Roshanne Arathoon

MENTORSHIP CHAIR

SHAIDA SHAHINFAR

SECRETARY

HESSAM GHARAVIRAM

MEMBERSHIPS CHAIR

NIMA MASJEDI ZADEH

PRO BONO CHAIR

PROTECTING LEGAL RIGHTS

"We educated, privileged lawyers, have a professional and moral duty to represent the underrepresented in our society, to ensure that justice exists for all, both legal and economic justice." - Sonia Sotomayor


IABA has filed and signed-on to multiple state and federal lawsuits, and issued letters to government officials to support the legal rights of Iranian-Americans and other minorities.


On March 30, 2018, IABA and its coalition partners filed an amicus brief before the United States Supreme Court in Trump v. Hawaii, a case that garnered significant national media attention. Justice Stephen Breyer referenced facts raised in IABA's brief at length during oral argument, and again in his dissent. Justice Sonya Sotomayor also cited to IABA's brief in her dissent. On June 26, 2018, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Trump Administration's Muslim Travel Ban.


In response, IABA and its coalition partners filed a class action lawsuit (Pars. v. Pompeo) challenging implementation of the waiver provisions of the Ban. In the lawsuit, IABA asserted that the Ban's waiver process was implemented inconsistently and arbitrarily, such that the waiver process became mere window dressing for the ban itself.


IABA stays abreast of the legal landscape, and works with coalition partners and pro bono counsels to protect civil and human rights when necessary.

HOSTING EVENTS

"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life."

- Omar Khayyam.

President Emeritus Nadine Ravani gives opening remarks at IABA NorCal's 2022 Annual Gala at the San Francisco War Memorial Building Green Room.

IABA NorCal hosts monthly events in the San Francisco Bay Area, including networking events for attorneys and students, continuing education seminars for practicing attorneys, informational workshops for Iranian-American lawyers and non-lawyers, and social events for local community members. IABA NorCal's Annual Gala is its flagship event and primary fundraiser.

Since 2008, IABA NorCal HAS HELD AN Annual Gala EVERY FALL. THE PREMIERE EVENT IS regularly ATTENDED BY PROMINENT Iranian-American judges, Government officials, and Executives.

Man hand holding graduation cap, education concept.

funding SCHOLARSHIPS

"The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated."

- James Baldwin


JUDGE IRAVANI-SANI PUBLIC INTEREST SCHOLARSHIP

The Honorable Judge Nahal Iravani-Sani of the Santa Clara Superior Court has been a close ally of IABA NorCal for years. Judge Iravani-Sani has established her own annual scholarship, which supports a law student of Iranian heritage who is pursuing public service law. Candidates from across the country are eligible to apply.

Solid Square

IABA NORCAL AND CALIFORNIA CHANGE LAWYERS SCHOLARSHIP

In partnership with California ChangeLawyers, IABA NorCal grants an annual scholarship to a law school graduate who will be taking the California bar exam. Scholarship recipients also receive access to programming from ChangeLawyers, including bar exam coaching and mentorship. Candidates must commit to practicing law in California upon passing the bar exam.

Solid Square

IABA NORCAL PUBLIC INTEREST SCHOLARSHIPs

IABA NorCal Public Interest Scholarships are awarded to law students who are pursuing summer internships, externships or clerkship in public interest. This includes positions at 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, government agencies, or judicial clerkships. Applicants must have a connection to Northern California (via employment, law school, or substantial prior residency).

Solid Square

IABA NORCAL General SCHOLARSHIPs

IABA NorCal General Scholarships are awarded to law students that have shown leadership or commitment to the advancement of the Iranian-American community. Applicants must have a connection to Northern California (via employment, law school, or substantial prior residency).

SUPPORTING LAW STUDENTS

"EDUCATION IS THE PASSPORT TO THE FUTURE, FOR TOMORROW BELONGS TO THOSE WHO PREPARE FOR IT TODAY."

- MALCOLM X


Each year, IABA NorCal hosts networking events, resume workshops, mock interviews, and other events to support local law students' professional development. IABA NorCal has also hired law students for paid summer internships in past years.


In 2020, amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, many legal employers rescinded students' summer and post-graduation jobs. In response, IABA NorCal hosted a series of six summer webinar workshops (the "Summer Six") with general counsels, law firm partners, professional career coaches, and community advocates, who shared career advice. The valuable webinar videos are available for free on YouTube and continue to serve law students today.


To further help those students whose jobs were rescinded, IABA NorCal created a job placement program in 2020, helping many law students land new summer or post-graduation jobs. The summer job placement program has since become a successful annual program. IABA NorCal facilitated the program again in 2023.

Male University Graduate
Male Hands Typing on a Wireless Computer Keyboard

EDUCATING THE PUBLIC

"KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. INFORMATION IS LIBERATING. EDUCATION IS THE PREMISE OF PROGRESS, in EVERY SOCIETY, IN EVERY FAMILy."

- KOFI ANNAN


All Americans have basic rights under the U.S. Constitution and civil rights laws. IABA NorCal helps educate the Iranian-American community about these rights by hosting webinars and continuing education seminars, and providing written guidance about legal rights.


In 2017, the Trump Administration issued the first of three discriminatory executive orders. The executive orders created significant confusion and uncertainty for all travelers to the United States from the targeted countries, some of whom were on flights to the United States when the first iteration of the travel ban went into effect. IABA issued a 40-page comprehensive travel ban report, advising travelers and their families of their legal rights. The report was widely regarded among impacted communities.

RECOGNIZING LEADERS

"A LEADER IS ONE WHO KNOWS THE WAY, GOES THE WAY, AND SHOWS THE WAY." - JOHN C MAXWELL

Ahsha Safaí, Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, presents Rosha Jones, Partner at Folger Levin, with a Certificate of Recognition from the City and County of San Francisco at the 2022 IABA NorCal Annual Gala. Rosha also received IABA NorCal's 2022 Trailblazer Award.

Every year, IABA NorCal issues awards in recognition of deserving individuals and entities. Since 2011, IABA NorCal has issued an annual Community Impact Award and Pro Bono Award. Beginning in 2017, IABA NorCal added a Distinguished Public Official Award, given to an elected official who has played a leadership role in advancing civil rights. In 2021, IABA added the Trailblazer Award, given to an individual who has made a considerable, positive contribution across cultures and communities.

FOR OVER A DECADE, IABA NoRCAL HAS RECOGNIZED OUTSTANDING AND AUTHENTIC LEADERS AND PUBLIC SERVANTS.

PHOTO GALLERY

Panel on the travel ban, civil rights, and solidarity, at IABA NorCal’s 12th Annual Gala in 2019.


(From left to right) Elica Vafaie, Former IABA NorCal President; Cecillia Wang, Deputy Legal Director, National American Civil Liberties Union; Karen Korematsu, Founder of Fred T. Korematsu Institute and daughter of civil rights icon, Fred T. Korematsu; and Babak Yousefzadeh, Former IABA President.

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu accepting IABA NorCal's 2022 Distinguished Elected Official Award at the IABA NorCal’s 15th Annual Gala.

Lawyers from IABA NorCal and its coalition partners outside the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, after prevailing on summary judgment in Pars. v. Pompeo, a lawsuit challenging the waiver provision of Presidential Proclamation No. 9645, which banned nationals of five Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Photograph taken on January 29, 2017 at the San Francisco International Airport by Elica Vafaie, IABA NorCal's President at the time.


IABA NorCal's board members spent many days and nights at SFO helping travelers in need of legal support following the signing of Executive Order 13769, the first iteration of the Trump Administration's travel ban.

Four Iranian American Superior Court Judges at IABA NorCal’s 16th Annual Gala in 2023.


(From left to right) The Honorable Leila Sayar, Judge, Santa Cruz County Superior Court; The Honorable Panteha Saban, Judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court; The Honorable Nahal Iravani-Sani, Judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court; The Honorable Susan Etezadi, Judge, San Mateo County Superior Court.

IABA NorCal board members and colleagues after a meet and greet with Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell (fourth from the left) in San Francisco, California. Purcell, who's wife is the daughter of Iranian immigrants who fled Iran in the 1970s, led Washington's successful challenge to Executive Order 13769, the first iteration of the Trump Administration's travel ban.

IABA NorCal community members at IABA NorCal's 2021 Boro Baba BBQ at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California.

IABA NorCal's female board members with The Honorable Nahal Iravani-Sani, Judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court (center), at the 2019 Iranian American Women's Foundation Conference in San Francisco, California.

The Honorable Daniel A. Flores, Judge, San Francisco Superior Court, presents IABA NorCal Vice President Sougol Shooshtarian with the 2022 Minority Bar Coalition Award.

Farshad Owji, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, accepting IABA NorCal’s 2023 Trailblazer Award at IABA NorCal’s 16th Annual Gala.

Persian rock group Nouhi's Nomad performs at IABA NorCal's 2021 Come Together Mixer in San Francisco, California.

IABA NorCal attorney member Sara Zamani speaks to law students, at IABA NorCal's 2022 speed networking event at The University of California College of the Law, San Francisco.

IABA NorCal board members discuss annual goals and objectives at the organization's 2022 board retreat in Marin County, California.