IMGL2134-X2SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Over 300 of the Bay Area’s best and brightest attorneys, judges, politicians and other guests sold out San Francisco’s Design Center for the South Asian Bar Association’s swanky gala.

This year’s was the 24th edition of the annual event, which honors deserved attorneys for their contributions in the community — this year, Nadia Aziz, Sasha Rao, Shaamini Babu and Sharan Dhanoa were the guests of honor.

Aziz, a senior attorney at the Fair Housing Law Project of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, received the association’s Public Interest Award, for her vigorous work to ensure that all people may freely choose a place to live, regardless of their race, color, religion, ancestry or sexual orientation. Her efforts were key in the defense of 400 Palo Alto mobile home residents who were facing eviction. Additionally, she has taken a stance against San Jose’s proposal of allowing property owners to evict tenants based on the involvement of criminal activity, and has opposed Santa Clara County’s reduction in Section 8 vouchers for some of the county’s most vulnerable residents.

Award recipients at the 2016 South Asian Bar Association's annual gala. Photo courtesy John Curley
Award recipients at the 2016 South Asian Bar Association’s annual gala. Photo courtesy John Curley

Rao, who serves as a partner at Maynard, Cooper & Gale, received the association’s Trailblazer Award in recognition of her decorations in the practice of intellectual property. Rao’s patent litigation has spanned across various arenas of district courts throughout the United States, and International Trade Commission investigations.

Babu, a shareholder and vice president at Saltzman & Johnson Law Corporation, was honored with this year’s Mentorship Award. She spent countless hours and dedicated her energy to the professional development of South Asian attorneys and South Asian law students throughout the Bay Area.

Dhanoa, coordinator for the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking, received the Imapct Award. Her efforts have been key in combating all forms of human trafficking, and she has worked diligently to focus on prevention, while at the same time ramping up efforts to increase the prosecution of traffickers, and the protection of survivors. Over the course of two years, Dhanoa led the development of No Traffick Ahead, the largest multi-county workgroup focused on combatting the issue. With over 65 agencies spanning eight counties, No Traffick Ahead has developed into a nationally recognized organization for its level of collaboration and focus on collective impact.

At the ceremony’s conclusion, the crowd welcomed its new president, Anant Pradhan, and honored the outgoing president, Vid Prabhakaran.