We are pleased to announce the candidates running for officer and director positions below. There are seven candidates running for five director positions. Get to know them by reading their candidate statements below or on the website.
Sania Khan My name is Sania Khan, and I am running for the position of President of MuBANY for the 2020-2022 term. I am an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Bureau at the New York State Attorney General’s Office, where my practice is focused on technology & civil rights, the prevention and prosecution of hate crimes, and impact litigation with respect to Federal initiatives in the civil rights context.
I believe my institutional knowledge of and vision for MuBANY make me the right candidate for President during this term.
First, my experience with MuBANY includes serving as Treasurer during the 2019-2020 term, Director for the previous two terms, and in 2015 leading the creation of a CLE on the Basics of Islam that was sponsored by MuBANY and held at the New York City Bar Association. In my capacity as both Director and Treasurer, I served as co-chair of MuBANY's 2019 and 2020 gala committees, and was a member of the 2018 gala committee. In 2019, alongside my co-chair Saira Khan, we oversaw a record-breaking amount of sponsorships, and were able to secure attendance of many members of the Federal and State judiciary at the gala, which diversified MuBANY's exposure and membership. This year, before postponement of the 2020 gala, Saira and I created a judiciary liaison position and committee housed within the gala committee, which led to commitment of attendance from over a dozen members of the Federal and State judiciary for our upcoming gala. The gala committee also raised a significant amount of sponsorships, in line with the previous year. We hope that when things return to some sense of normal, we are able to hold the gala in better times. In addition, most recently I led the development of MuBANY's COVID-19 Resource Page.I am running for President because I believe that MuBANY is uniquely situated to be a resource for our membership and the broader NY legal community, especially in this moment. I envision MuBANY's next term to include:
- IDENTIFICATION OF POST-COVID NEEDS FOR MUBANY MEMBERSHIP: I believe that knowing and understanding membership needs will be a first-step to vision setting for this term. One specific area in which I believe needs identification will be key is with respect to job searches, attorney referrals, and/or other similar resources. These needs could be identified through a survey to our membership. Answers to this survey will inform whether specific committees should be developed, and whether a job posting page would be useful to membership.
- INCREASE PROFILE OF MUBANY IN BROADER LEGAL COMMUNITY THROUGH STRATEGIC OUTREACH:
- Further collaborate with National, State, City, and minority bar associations on pro bono initiatives, as well as programming
- Deepen relationships with both the Federal and State Judiciary through continuation of MuBANY's judiciary liaison and committee
- Deepen relationships with affinity groups at sponsoring firms of MuBANY to ensure that MuBANY member attorneys feel supported, and opportunities are flagged for the membership
- Deepen MuBANY's relationships with Muslim Law Student Associations' in the tri-state area to collaborate both on programming, and to ensure law students have support if employed in NYC
- Broaden MuBANY's Partner Circle
- CONSISTENT PROGRAMMING AND COMMUNITY-BUILDING: First, I believe consistent programming for all levels of membership is critical. This includes programming for recent graduates who may be looking for internships/jobs in a post-COVID economy, mid-career attorneys looking for leadership roles or to deepen certain areas of practice, and opportunities for folks in the partner circle to discuss broader trends/issues faced at that level. Second, I believe we will have to find more creative ways to build community through virtual social events.
My name is Shabbir Chaudhury and I am asking for your support to become MuBANY’s next Vice President. I am currently Senior Counsel at MetLife, where I work on mergers and acquisitions and other transactional matters. Previously, I was in MetLife’s litigation department and have almost a decade of litigation experience. I have held various leadership positions with MuBANY, currently as Secretary, and previously as In House Counsel Chair and Director. MuBANY has been instrumental in my career development and I am honored to give back to the organization by continuing to serve in a leadership capacity.
Over the past years, MuBANY has made great strides in developing relationships with the judiciary, law firms, government officials, and local bar associations. These successes can be seen at our annual Gala, which hosts many people from these institutions. I am proud to see our organization grow as we build on these relationships. However, our work is not done. As Vice President, I hope to continue building on these relationships to help more Muslim attorneys ascend to the bench, partnership, and senior roles in profit and not-for-profit institutions. During the next term, the following are my priorities for MuBANY’s continued growth:
Address COVID-19 Employment Impact on Membership. Unfortunately, the pandemic is greatly impacting every person in the city, state, and country. MuBANY will assess the needs of its members and create programming to help. For example, MuBANY can arrange webinars or panels discussing topics like resume writing and improving LinkedIn profiles.Over the past decade, MuBANY has grown from an association for Muslim attorneys to a voice representing the legal needs of the Muslim-American community. I would like to continue building upon that growth and help MuBANY and its members progress further. I thank you for your consideration.
Assist Members with Career Advancement. MuBANY will continue supporting members seeking advancement in law firm, corporate and non-profit roles. MuBANY can connect members through intimate gatherings with individuals who have attained those professional advancements so we can learn from one another and grow.
Support the Advancement of Muslim Attorneys in the Judiciary. MuBANY will continue developing relationships with officials familiar with the judicial selections process and assist members interested in the judiciary with the process.
Strengthen Relationships with Bar Associations. MuBANY will continue developing strong relationships with local bar associations, and get members to be actively engaged with these associations by serving on committees and in leadership positions.
Build Coalitions to Take Civic and Legal Actions. MuBANY has worked with institutions to lead actions, including signing on to many amicus briefs. MuBANY will continue this and other strategies to stand up for what is right.
Saira Hasan Khan
I believe that my work with MuBANY over the years, in particular as the 2019 Annual Gala Committee Co-Chair (with Sania Khan) and then as a Director and the 2020 Annual Gala Committee Co-Chair (again with Sania Khan), has given me insight into the institution, familiarity with the organization, and a vision for the coming years that would be facilitated by my role as Treasurer for the coming term. My work both years as the Gala Committee Co-Chair involved liaising with sponsors (mostly firms in the private sector) to secure funding, and for the 2019 Annual Gala we raised a record-breaking amount of funding for the event. The majority of those same sponsors had committed again to the 2020 Annual Gala before it was postponed indefinitely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we hope that they will continue to support the event when rescheduled as well as future events.
Critical to the fundraising were many of the relationships with these firms that I have developed over the course of my legal career, both practicing at a law firm as well as in-house counsel. I hope to continue to be involved with the gala, and I believe the logistics of being involved with the gala lend themselves naturally to many of the responsibilities that the Treasurer would undertake for the organization.
During the course of our involvement with the gala, Sania and I also focused on increasing judiciary attendance (both from the Federal and State judiciary) at the event, raising the prominence of the event, and preserving information that will be helpful for future boards and gala committees.
Outside of the involvement with the gala, I was focused on building MuBANY’s relationship with law firms, including their affinity groups, encouraging membership enrollment, and volunteering with and participating in MuBANY sponsored events.
If I were to be elected as Treasurer, my hope is to build on all of the work that has been done to date and further institutionalize the knowledge and resources we currently have. I also want to focus on developing additional fundraising sources, increase community prominence through additional social events, and strengthen the organization’s links to the broader New York community.
Saima Zuberi Sheikh
I am Saima Sheikh, and I seek your vote for Secretary of MuBANY. I am an Employment Associate at Baker Hostetler and a current MuBANY Director. Prior to that, I was Co-Chair of MuBANY’s Women’s Committee.
As a MuBANY Director, it has been my pleasure to strengthen the social/networking and charitable efforts of the organization. I organized several social mixers for our members and larger community. These mixers brought new members to our organization, forged and strengthened relationships among existing members, and presented opportunities for our members to get to know local judges in a casual setting. I also spearheaded efforts to partner with a charitable community organization called Muslim Volunteers for New York.
I have also leveraged my experience as an employment lawyer to strengthen MuBANY’s professional and advocacy efforts. Last year, I helped to revise MuBANY’s Islam in the Workplace Guide. As a former Women’s Committee Co-Chair, I collaborated with leaders of local minority bar associations to organize a panel discussion for diverse female attorneys. I also hosted a networking mixer, connecting our junior and senior female members. These are all efforts I seek to continue.
As Secretary of MuBANY, I hope to guide its membership into the next term. I recognize that a post-COVID-19 world will present new challenges and our members will be interested in new issues. I have seen firsthand through my employment practice how the COVID-19 crisis has affected our communities. I am committed to understanding our membership’s unique needs during this time and providing relevant and resourceful content.
I also bring to MuBANY the perspective and resources of a senior associate in private practice. My firm supports my involvement in MuBANY and has hosted several MuBANY events in years past. On a personal level, I am highly organized, pay attention to detail, and possess strong social skills. It would be my privilege to serve as your next MuBANY Secretary.
Directors (in alphabetical order)
Now more than ever we are faced with an uncertain world and an unsteady path before us. During these difficult times leadership and advocacy must merge as one. They must be strong and compassionate. We must serve those that need us and we must put our constituency above ourselves. As a MuBANY board director I have been and will continue to be your advocate. I will serve to advance the position of legal professionals and the communities from which we hail. Thank you for participating in this voting process. Thank you for making your voice heard. I would be honored to serve as part of MuBANY's leadership once more.
Farhana Hassan ChoudhuryMy name is Farhana Hassan Choudhury and I am currently a Housing Fellow, rotating between the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC). As a Housing Fellow, I am learning firsthand about the City’s efforts to create and preserve affordable housing by working in divisions such as New Construction Finance, Capital Markets, Legal, Neighborhood Planning, and more. Upon completing this program, I plan to become a practicing real estate attorney with a concentration in affordable housing finance and community development.
With the weight of the bar exam behind me, I became more involved with MuBANY and I am so glad I did. My experiences thus far have been participating in MuBANY meetings, volunteering at the social mixers, and working with the Judiciary Committee to invite members of the judiciary to join us for the annual gala. During this time, I quickly grew to appreciate the hard work and dedication of MuBANY’s officers and directors to build partnerships across sectors and professional organizations and support Muslim lawyers and law students. It would be my privilege to take my involvement one step further and serve as a director engaged in developing and executing the vision for future events and initiatives.
If given the opportunity, I hope to use my professional experiences in community outreach and advocacy to help MuBANY build coalitions and introduce special initiatives on matters important to our members especially during these unprecedented times. I would also draw on my experiences as a recent law graduate and student leader, to help increase engagement with law students and support their professional development as they navigate the challenges created by COVID-19. Lastly, I would continue to work with the Judiciary Committee and take on responsibilities with the Annual Gala Committee and the Women’s Committee to help further diversify and strengthen MuBANY’s footprint in the New York area and beyond.
Thank you for considering my candidacy for a director position.
My name is Thamanna Hussain and I am a first year litigation associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. It has been a pleasure serving on the Board and working with such incredible attorneys. It would be an honor for me to serve as Director for the 2020-2021 term and continue my work with MuBANY.
I was first introduced to MuBANY as a law student volunteer in 2016. I immediately felt a sense of community and wanted to actively engage with the organization. Since then, I have served on both the 2019 and 2020 MuBANY Gala committees and have been deeply inspired by the board and gala committee members. This year, I increased our social media presence, designed promotional materials, and helped the committee with all aspects of the gala. Together, we surpassed the sponsorship record of prior years. As Director, I helped organize and promote social events and public service roundtables, assisted in drafting public statements, and helped create a COVID-19 resource page for legal practitioners.
If elected for the 2020-2021 term, I would like to build a mentorship program connecting law school students with experienced Muslim attorneys in the field. I have seen first-hand the importance of mentorship and have connected with legal professionals who have always given me valuable support. I believe our organization can increase its efforts to help first-generation law students of color, especially in these uncertain times. I would also like to build a strong partnership with law school Muslim student organizations and law firm affinity groups. Finally, I would like to continue increasing our social media and digital presence and build on our organization’s brand.
I look forward to the opportunity to serve MuBANY once again as a Director and would greatly appreciate your vote. Thank you in advance for your consideration!
I am interested in running as a Director for the Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY). I believe that MuBANY is one of the leading bar associations in the nation and it continues to play an important role in making sure that our communities are represented effectively especially as our civil liberties are continually being challenged. I believe that my legal and leadership experiences make me a strong candidate for this position.
For the past year, I have been actively involved with the MuBANY. I served as the Chair of the Judicial Committee and along with our team, helped recruit a group of federal district court and Circuit court judges for the annual gala. I also served on the annual gala committee and helped with organizing this event.
Prior to that, I served as the New York-Chapter President of the Iranian American Bar Association for four years. In this capacity, I oversaw various committees that helped organize galas, CLE events, represented community members on pro bono matters, and put together networking events.
I have a broad range of legal experiences. From clerking for a federal district court Judge, working at a large law firm (White & Case LLP), a small boutique civil rights law firm, and now as an Assistant Attorney General at the New York Office of the Attorney General, I have experience with a wide range of legal matters. I am passionate to use that experience in helping MuBANY better serve its membership.
My name is Sidra Mahfooz, and I am running for a Director position with MuBANY for the 2020-2021 term. Since graduating from NYU School of Law in 2018, I have worked as an associate at Debevoise & Plimption LLP, with an active pro bono docket.
Much of my pro bono work at the firm focuses on supporting Muslim American rights. Most recently, I worked on a lawsuit against the government’s use of the travel ban (“Muslim ban”) to retroactively deny visas to Yemeni Americans. I also worked on FOIA litigation related to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi to help increase transparency and accountability in the context of national security. Later this year, I plan to help organize a program with MuBANY relating to one of the firm’s pro bono cases on the FBI’s abuse of the No-Fly List against Muslim Americans.
During my final year at law school, I had the privilege of serving as the MuBANY law student liaison. I served on the MuBANY gala committee, interviewed MuBANY spotlight members for the MuBANY newsletter, and assisted in organizing events to further community engagement and activism. As Director, I hope to strengthen the MuBANY community by organizing events geared to our members interests and create spaces for networking and mentorship.
MuBANY helped support me during law school, not only through their generous scholarship program, but also by providing meaningful opportunities for growth and a network of amazing colleagues. I would be delighted to have the opportunity to give back to this organization through an active leadership role in a way that benefits our community. Thank you for your consideration.
I'm not one who loves to talk about myself or my accomplishments. Alhumdulillah, Allah has given me the ability and desire to work for our community. I have been honored to be apart of MuBANY for a few years, and have been the solo/small firm chair for the past 2 years.
This is a good time for me to pass the baton to someone else and to grow a bit more into MuBANY. I was always taught that the purpose of Islamic work is to attract more people to the cause and ultimately find a replacement for yourself while you find more issues that need to be addressed.
I look forward to being apart of MuBANY whether or not I'm a board member. We stand on the shoulders of giants who built our institutions and communities, now is our time to continue to build for the future generations of Muslim Lawyers in New York.
It has been my pleasure to serve MuBANY in an official capacity for the past three years: twice as a Director, for the 2019-2020 and 2018-2019 term, and once as Membership Chair for the term prior to that. I am now requesting your vote for Director for this upcoming 2020-2021 term.
During my tenure at MuBANY, I have concentrated my efforts on two closely related goals: (i) help position MuBANY as an impactful professional association in the wider NY legal and Muslim community; and (ii) be of service to our membership, including by exploring interesting networking and professional development opportunities.
In pursuit of the first goal, I have aimed to strengthen MuBANY’s partnership with other bar associations and Muslim community organizations. For example, I have served as MuBANY's liaison to the New York City Bar Association, where I serve on the diversity and inclusion award selection committee. In this position, I aim to help strengthen MuBANY's visibility and commitment to the values of diversity and inclusion by assisting the committee in selecting, interviewing, and awarding lawyers who have made remarkable efforts towards increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Similarly, as another example, I have co-led MuBANY’s efforts to coordinate with Turning Point for Women and Families, a non-profit organization that assists Muslim women and girls affected by domestic violence. In this role, I helped finalize a "Know Your Rights" panel event comprised of experts in the legal, medical, and social work fields for the benefit of the local Muslim community (the panel has been currently postponed due to COVID-19).
Correspondingly, in pursuit of the second goal, I helped organize professional development opportunities for MuBANY's membership. For example, I co-organized an informal networking event at a local tea restaurant for MuBANY members to discuss the successes and challenges of being a Muslim woman in the legal field. Prior to that, I led and managed MuBANY's participation at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, where select MuBANY members observed international legal and policy debates first-hand and had the opportunity to liaise with diplomats, subject matter experts, and other non-governmental organizations to explore issues relevant to MuBANY's membership and provide reports to MuBANY on their observances.
Finally, in addition to the above, I have also helped provide advice and support on MuBANY's wider strategic goals. For example, I helped liaise with the leadership of the New York City Bar Association by attending the association's monthly meeting for affinity bar associations. As a result of that participation, I helped advance MuBANY's goal of becoming involved in the judicial process by aligning with some of the association's efforts on promoting the judicial appointment process and access to justice.
In light of the above, I hope you will give me the chance to continue to serve MuBANY as a Director, and to help continue to advance the goals of making MuBANY both an impactful professional association in the wider NY legal and Muslim community and an organization committed to the professional advancement of its membership.