By Rob Abruzzese
The South Asian Bar Association of New York recently installed its new slate of officers, including President Ryan Budhu, a Queens native, during an installation ceremony at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Brooklyn on Jan. 30.
Budhu, a Queens native who graduated from St. John’s University and Hofstra University School of Law, worked as an assistant Corporation Counsel in the Bronx at the start of his legal career. Since Oct. he has served as a law clerk for Hon. Dora Irizarry, chief judge of the Eastern District of New York (EDNY).
Since Budhu now works in the Eastern District courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn, the group held its installation for the first time at that courthouse. Justice Irizarry delivered remarks, as did Judge Sanket Bulsara, who, for the second year in a row, performed the installation ceremony.
“It was our first ever formal event at the EDNY so it was appropriate and great having the chief judge greet us,” Budhu said. “Judge Irizarry talked a little bit about the nature of the district, the large immigrant pop, how it covers about eight million people, the variety of nationalities within it, and also the large volume of naturalization that occurs in that courtroom.”
In addition to Budhu, other new officers included Jayasri Ganapathy as the president-elect, Parth Jain as the treasurer, Poonam Sethi as the secretary, Amit Kumar as the vice president of events, Shawn Choudhury as VP of sponsorship, Gigio Ninan as VP of fellowships and law student relations and Sumana Murthy as VP of public relations.
Imran Ansari was also installed as the gala chair, Austin D'Souza as the VP of public relations, Nirupama Hegde as the VP of private sector and in-house lawyers, Malavika Rao as the women's committee chair and Roli Khare Rastogi as the pro bono clearinghouse coordinator.
Judge Bulsara, the first South Asian judge in the Second Circuit, presided over the installation.
“Before the installation, he talked about the nature of our democratic society and how laws are a byproduct of consensus within that society,” Budhu said. “He talked about the bar associations and the role they have in the administration of justice.”
In his speech, Budhu discussed the role of bar associations in building a community and increasing diversity and inclusion within the overall larger legal community.
“It's a humble feeling and I'm grateful,” Budhu said. “As a native New Yorker, I have a very strong tie towards the New York City legal community. To serve, give back and develop the community itself is something that I feel privileged to do and I recognize that this is a tremendous responsibility.”
Budhu said that he has already begun planning the annual gala that that draws nearly 1,000 attendees each fall. He's also focused on the association's public interest fellowship and law school student scholarship that the group awards each year to a student working an unpaid internship or who serves the public interest.
“What we'd like to do is reinvest in our members and make sure that the informal ties that we've developed over the years are continued,” Budhu said. “That means touching base with various different member groups and making sure that they're being provided the tools they need whether that's networking opportunities or a career development panel. A big part of that is developing the next generation of bar leaders, lawyers and law students.”