IABA NorCal 2023 Scholarship Recipients

 

Judge Iravani-Sani Scholarship Recipient: Tascha Shahriari-Parsa

Tascha Shahriari-Parsa is pursuing a joint-degree in Law and Public Policy at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government with an interest in labor, inequality, and social change. During college, he worked at an airline catering company near LAX making minimum wage, where he helped organize a union with his coworkers. After graduating, he represented airport workers in passenger service at San Francisco International Airport with SEIU-USWW.

 During law school, Tascha has continued fighting for workers as an intern with Unite Here Local 11, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board, and union-side labor law firms Altshuler Berzon LLP in San Francisco and Bredhoff & Kaiser PLLC in Washington, D.C. He is a contributor to the OnLabor Blog and research assistant for the Center for Labor and a Just Economy at Havard Law School. He has also served as President of the Labor and Employment Action Project (LEAP) at Harvard Law School and as Solidarity Committee chair for the Harvard Graduate Students Union.

Outside of his work on labor, Tascha serves as Online Chair of the Harvard Law Review and as research assistant for Chief Judge David Barron of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He was previously policy committee chair for the Tenant Advocacy Project, Treasurer for the JD/MPP Students Association, and Treasurer for the Canadian Law Students Association at Harvard Law School. Tascha is also a member of the People’s Parity Project and the Middle Eastern & North African Law Students Association.

 

IABA NorCal Public Interest Scholarship Recipient: Leila Hooshyar

Leila Hooshyar is a 2L at Berkeley Law. She was born and raised in Morgantown, West Virginia and moved to California in 2016 to attend U.C. Berkeley for undergrad. During her senior year at Cal, Leila graduated with High Distinction and wrote her senior honors thesis on Iranian women in STEM. During her 1L summer, Leila interned with the California Department of Justice in the Appeals, Writs, and Trials section of the Criminal Division.

As part of her internship, she authored an appellate brief on a complex resentencing issue under the Three Strikes law and also argued in the First District Court of Appeal regarding a victim's right to restitution. At Berkeley Law, Leila is an active member of the California Law Review, the Policy Advocacy Clinic, a leader of the Workers' Rights Clinic, and co-founder of the Diverse Iranian Students' Collective. In her free time, Leila enjoys biking through the Berkeley Hills, hosting dinner parties, and attending performing arts shows.

 

 

 

IABA NorCal General Scholarship Recipient: Kaumron Eidgahy

Kaumron Eidgahy is a 3L currently attending Berkeley Law. Kaumron is a second generation immigrant from San Diego, whose family immigrated from Tehran and has roots in Borujerd and Ahvaz. After completing his first two years at Harvard Law School, he returned to his home state for his last year via the Harvard-Berkeley Exchange Program. He is also currently a law clerk at the Family Violence Appellate Project's Oakland office and has trained as a domestic violence counselor. At Harvard, Kaumron was co-president of the Middle Eastern & North African Law Students Association, managing editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and judicial extern to the Honorable Chief Justice Kimberly Budd of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. He also worked extensively with undergraduate students from Harvard College as a first-year academic advisor and teaching fellow in the College's Program in General Education.

Prior to law school, Kaumron was an SEO Law Fellow at Debevoise & Plimpton's New York office, where he returned for his 1L summer and part of his 2L summer. He is excited to be joining Debevoise's San Francisco office after graduation. He has a B.A. from UCLA in Political Science & Communications with a Concentration in Race, Ethnicity & Politics and received highest honors from the Department of Political Science for his thesis on the racial identification of Middle Eastern and North African Americans as people of color. Kaumron is very grateful to IABA NorCal for their support, khayli mamnoon.

IABA NorCal 2022 Scholarship Recipients

 

IABA NorCal Public Interest Scholarship Recipients 

Nicholas Badal

Nicholas Badal is a second-year student currently attending the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Originally from Los Angeles, Nicholas also attended U.C. Berkeley to receive his bachelor’s degree in Political Science along with a minor in History. Nicholas spent this summer as a legal intern at Inland Counties Legal Services, a legal aid nonprofit organization serving low-income residents of the Inland Empire. Nicholas worked as a member of ICLS’ Small Business Legal Clinic, where he aided Inland Empire residents looking to establish and grow small businesses within their communities. He also assisted ICLS’ impact litigation group, conducting legal research and document review on public benefits and elder abuse cases. Upon graduation, Nicholas hopes to incorporate public interest into his long-term legal career.

 While in school, Nicholas stays busy as a member of the Berkeley Business Law Journal and Berkeley Journal of Entertainment and Sports Law. He is also an incoming Legal Research and Writing Tutor. Knowing his time in law school is brief, Nicholas strives to use his platform to advocate for both Iranian and broader Middle Eastern representation in the legal profession. As co-president of First Generation Professionals and a member of the Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association, he hopes to uplift Berkeley Law’s Iranian community by hosting networking events and professional workshops to increase opportunities for Middle Eastern students to succeed. Understanding how crucial a sense of community is to thriving at one’s work, Nicholas ultimately looks to foster an environment that affirms and validates Middle Eastern belonging in the legal industry.

Cirrus Jahangiri 

Cirrus Jahangiri is a 3L at UC Davis School of Law. At UC Davis, he has strived to work in meaningful roles to benefit the public interest. He was a counselor and director of the Workers’ Rights Clinic as well as the Gender and Name Change Clinic. He will be working with the Civil Rights Clinic this fall. He interned with the Center for Workers’ Rights in Sacramento, fighting for workers’ rights. He helped force the Employment Development Department to invest in resources to produce documents in various languages, including Farsi.

This summer, he is interning with Legal Aid at Work, helping fight gender and LGBTQ+ discrimination. He has also interned for the Honorable Thomas Goethals of the California Courts of Appeal, and will be interning full time for the Honorable Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California. Outside of law school, Cirrus loves hanging out with his cat, skiing, road biking, and learning ways to make vegetarian and vegan friendly Iranian food.

IABA NorCal General Scholarship Recipients

Sabine Dahi

Sabine Dahi is a 2L at University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She is a first-generation Iranian American, as her parents immigrated to the United States from Iran. She has a B.S. in Legal Studies and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. At Wisconsin, she interned with the WI Department of Justice in the Human Trafficking and Internet Crimes Against Children units. After graduating from Wisconsin and prior to attending law school, Sabine worked in business immigration law, where she assisted clients in obtaining permanent residency.

Sabine worked as a Summer Associate at Dechert LLP this summer, gaining experience in a variety of practice areas. This year at UC Hastings, she will be a Staff Editor on the Hastings Law Journal, a Student Associate in the Startup Legal Garage Clinic, and on the Executive Board of the Iranian Law Students Association. She is eager to gain more experience in business law, while pursuing her passions supporting human rights. In her free time, she loves to play tennis, try new restaurants, and learn to cook Persian food.

Payam Ahmadi 

Payam Ahmadi is a rising 3L at Santa Clara University School of Law.  Payam was born and raised in Reston, Virginia to immigrant parents from Iran.  In 2020, Payam earned a B.A. in Media at Indiana University (IU) where he played Division 1 tennis for the IU Men's Tennis team.  While at IU, he interned for a summer at the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in Washington, D.C.  At Santa Clara University School of Law, Payam serves as the President of the Middle Eastern Lawyers Student Association where he has moderated panel discussions and provided a platform for students to connect with Middle Eastern attorneys.  He has been honored with the CALI Excellence for the Future Award and recognized on the President Dean's List.  In addition, Payam is the Notes Editor for the Santa Clara Law Review and an Academic Success Program mentor for 1L students.  Payam spent his 1L summer working as a Judicial Intern for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and his 2L fall semester working as a Judicial Extern for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  This past summer, Payam worked as a Summer Associate for Fenwick & West LLP.  In his free time, Payam enjoys watching Friends, playing basketball, and traveling.

IABA Norcal 2021 Scholarship Recipients 

 

Judge Iravani-Sani Public  Interest  Scholarship Recipient

Arshan Barzani

Arshan Barzani is a JD student at Yale Law School, an officer in the United States Army Reserve, and the author of Chronicles of Caesar’s Wars, the first translation of Napoleon’s history of Julius Caesar. He has interned at the House of Representatives, the White House, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and spoken on foreign affairs at the Munich Security Conference and the Oxford Union. Barzani holds a BSFS from Georgetown University and an MSc from St. Antony’s College, Oxford.

 

 

 

IABA NorCal General Scholarship Recipients

Roxana Akbari

Roxana Akbari is a 1L at Berkeley Law. She was born in Tehran, Iran, and lived in Orange County, California after immigrating to the U.S. in 2010. In 2019, she earned B.A.’s in Political Science and Sociology from UC Irvine, where she was President of the Iranian Student Union, a Board Member of the College Democrats, and wrote a senior thesis titled, “Intersectional Invisibility: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and the Erasure of Sexual Minority Women in US Asylum Law,” recently published in Law & Social Inquiry. Prior to law school, Roxana worked as Legislative Deputy to Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan, where she drafted city regulations and ordinances, including the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Resolution, and organized community events, including an Iranian American Town Hall focused on hate crime/incident prevention. Roxana is passionate about empowering minority communities and creating just and inclusive sociolegal systems that promote human rights. At Berkeley Law, Roxana is a member of the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law and Justice, and the Afghanistan Project, where she provides pro-bono assistance with Humanitarian Parole applications and conducts human rights research.

 

Daniel Khalessi

Daniel Kourosh Khalessi is a 3L at Stanford Law School and the first Iranian-American President of the Stanford Law Review.  At Stanford, Daniel has worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Bernadette Meyler in constitutional law, received John Hart Ely Prizes for Outstanding Performance, and was selected for the Inaugural Class of Sallyanne Payton Fellows.  Before law school, he co-founded Fireside, a digital town hall, and worked at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where he analyzed U.S. foreign policy toward China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.  He earned an M.A. from Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and an M.A. in Economics from Peking University in China as a Yenching Scholar.  Daniel received his B.A. in International Relations from Stanford with Honors in International Security Studies and a Certificate in Iranian Studies in 2013.  While at Stanford, he interned at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Middle East North Africa Office, studied abroad at Oxford, and worked for former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry.  In his spare time, he loves to travel, watch Cobra Kai on Netflix, and work on his Kabob-making techniques.

IABA NorCal Public Interest Scholarship Recipients 

Nour Vakhshoury

While at UC Berkeley, Nour discovered a passion for immigration reform which sparked her interest in going to law school. Before starting law school at UC Davis, Nour gained experience in immigration law and worked at two different immigration law firms. One of her most memorable experiences was helping prepare a travel waiver for Iranian nationals impacted by the Muslim Ban. At UC Davis School of Law, Nour worked in the Workers’ Rights Clinic, Civil Rights Clinic, and she will be working in the Immigration Law Clinic during her upcoming 3L year. Nour also worked with a professor as a research assistant and helped develop a new course on voting rights law. Nour’s research, coupled with living through the 2020 presidential election and its aftermath, led her to develop a strong passion for voting rights. This past summer Nour interned with the Southern Poverty Law Center and worked in their Voting Rights Practice Group, primarily working on voting rights litigation in Georgia and Florida. Nour is humbled to receive this scholarship, she will be graduating law school in 2022 and looks forward to working in public service and civil rights.

 

Sam Hashemi

Sam Hashemi is a 2L at UC Hastings School of Law. At UC Hastings, he is the President of the Iranian Law Students Association. This summer, Sam is interning with CAIR-SFBA. He was born in Tehran and grew up in Southern California. As an immigrant himself, he hopes to use the law to advocate for immigrants and other people disadvantaged by the justice system.

Sam graduated from UC Riverside with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  In his free time, he enjoys watching basketball, reading books, and cooking for friends and family.

 

 

IABA NORCAL 2020 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS 

 

IABA NorCal Public Interest Scholarship Recipients

Yasmin Kouchesfahani (UC Hastings Law)

Yasmin Kouchesfahani (she/her) is a rising second-year law student at UC Hastings Law. Before attending law school, Yasmin was a paralegal at two immigration law firms where she worked on asylum cases and family-based immigration applications. In 2018, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of San Francisco with a B.A. in International Studies. Currently, Yasmin was a  summer law clerk at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) where she is working on civil rights cases and federal policy. Throughout her career, she has held various internships and positions across the public sector such as in non-profit organizations, city government, and community justice spaces. Yasmin is passionate about a law career in civil rights, specifically asylum law and LGBTQ issues. She is a proud Zoroastrian, and her commitment to justice is inspired by her community’s values and migration experiences. She is also serving as the 2020-2021 President of the Iranian Law Student Association at UC Hastings Law.

 

 

IABA NorCal Public Interest Scholarship Recipients

Sam Atabay Bidgoli  (UC Hastings Law)

Sam Atabay Bidgoli is a rising 3L at UC Hastings. He served as President of the Iranian Law Students Association (ILSA) at UC Hastings Law during the 2019-2020 academic year where he spearheaded ILSA’s efforts to ensure that its members were empowered with resources, connections, and guidance to excel academically and professionally. Thanks to his work with ILSA, both Sam and ILSA were recognized as leaders
in the community and each were recipients of Leadership Awards from UC Hastings Law this past year. Furthermore, Sam’s unwavering commitment to pursuing a career in the public sector is evident by his experience in the nonprofit field, in addition to all the various levels of government— federal, state, county, and city. This summer, Sam was an intern with the California Department of Justice where he worked on defending COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, amongst other matters. He hopes to use this wealth of professional experience to pursue a career in public service where he plans to serve both as a voice for the Iranian-American community, and other marginalized communities, and as a resource for the next generation of minority students.

 

IABA NorCal Public Interest Scholarship Recipients

Ariana Abedifard (UC Berkeley Law)

Ariana Abedifard is a 2L at UC Berkeley School of Law. She graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis & Planning. During her time at UC Davis, she interned at a farm, where she was able to glean and distribute produce to the community to advance food access. During her 1L summer, she interned at the Center for Food Safety, an environmental non-profit focusing on sustainable agriculture and pesticide use. As a 2L, she is currently a part of the Food Justice Project and Environmental Law Clinic at Berkeley Law, working towards an environmental public interest career.

 

 

 

 

Inaugural Judge Iravani-Sani Public Interest Scholarship Recipient 

Helia Bidad (Yale Law School)

Helia Bidad is a 2L at Yale Law School (YLS) who is passionate about using law and policy to advocate for environmental justice and human rights, particularly as they relate to the food system. She was born in Iran and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was four years old. She received a Bachelor of Science in Society and Environment and a minor in Geospatial Information Science and Technology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017. She conducted research for her honors thesis on “The Resilience of Saffron Farmers in the Khorasan Province of Iran to Climate Change and Technological Development” and conducted fieldwork in Iran. After graduating college, she worked as a Research Associate at California Environmental Associates, where she worked on issues ranging from biofuels policy to grassroots climate solutions. At YLS, Helia is part of the Peter Gruber Rule of Law Clinic’s climate team, helping write amicus briefs in various climate tort suits across the country. In the clinic, she also spearheaded projects related to the human rights of Iranians and Iranian Americans.

IABA would like to thank Judge Iravani-Sani for her generous contribution and for being a role model to Iranian-American law students.

 

 

IABA NorCal General Scholarship Recipient 

Paymaneh Parhami (UC Berkeley Law) 

Paymaneh Parhami is a 2020 graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law with a certificate in Law & Technology. She graduated cum laude from Barnard College of Columbia University, earning a B.A. with honors in Political Science and a minor in Chemistry. Between college and law school, she volunteered at the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa, Israel for a year. During Paymaneh’s time in law school, she focused on intellectual property law and participated in hands-on experiences such as working in the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, being a member of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, and conducting research for leading copyright scholar, Professor Pamela Samuelson. She recently published a Note in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal in April 2020, entitled Williams v. Gaye: Blurring the Lines of Copyright Infringement in Music. After the Bar Exam in October, Paymaneh will work as an associate at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP in San Francisco in the firm’s Trademark & Copyright group.