Introducing the IABA-NY Chapter's Newsletter
We are pleased to introduce the Iranian American Bar Association New York Chapter's Newsletter.  This periodical will inform you of the Chapter's programs and events, as well as developments in the careers and lives of your fellow members in the 'Member News' section.  

In this issue, we recap some of the highlights from a very busy 2011 at IABA-NY.  In future issues, we hope to be bringing you news of our upcoming events as well as professional announcements that you would care to share with our Chapter.  

We hope you like our Newsletter and look forward to receiving your feedback.
A Few Words About IABA-NY
As the name suggests, we are the section of the Iranian American Bar Association serving the New York metropolitan area.

At the New York Chapter of the Iranian American Bar Association (IABA-NY), we focus our efforts on serving the professional interests of the Iranian American legal professionals, whether attorneys, law students, professors, or judges.  The Chapter is governed by a Board of Directors that is open to any member who is willing to devote the time to help achieve our mission.

In the past year alone, we have sought to achieve our mission by: (1) establishing the IABA Network, an electronic network where client referrals and legal questions can easily flow; (2) sponsoring networking events where attorneys can meet fellow attorneys (and often, members of other professions); (3) holding free legal education seminars (CLEs); (4) mentoring attorneys and law students alike as they seek to navigate their professional careers; and (5) assisting members seeking employment in their job search.

And, no, we are not always about the law.  While our networking events are typically held in trendy bars and lounges, we have also taken time out for purely non-legal activities, such as a Nowruz Dinner, participation in the Persian Parade, and a summer picnic in Central Park

IABA-NY Members in the News

Iranian Now A Top Treasury Official
Our inaugural feature on our members happens to include historic news: an Iranian-American lawyer now serves as a top official in the Treasury Department.  

Congratulations to Cyrus Amir-Mokri, the new Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, Department of the Treasury, and as a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Consumer Cooperative Bank.  In November,  the Senate confirmed President Obama's nomination to these high level posts..

Cyrus most recently served as Senior Counsel to the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and as the agency's deputy representative to the Financial Stability Oversight Council. In that capacity, he played a key role in drafting the portion of the Dodd-Frank Act that focused on the regulation of derivatives and in the initial implementation of the law.  Prior to joining the Commission, Cyrus was a partner at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where his practice focused on complex securities and antitrust litigation. He clerked for the Honorable Bruce M. Selya of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Amir-Mokri received a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago, and an A.B. in Biochemistry from Harvard College.  

Cyrus was one of the founders of the New York Chapter of the IABA in 2001 and was instrumental in establishing the organization's mentorship program and in preparing an independent report that the IABA presented to a bipartisan panel on Capitol Hill in 2004.  This report detailed how the Immigration & Naturalization Service violated the civil rights of Iranian nationals during the implementation of the special registration program under the National Security Entry-Exit System.
Super Lawyers & More
At least two IABA-NY members, Natalie Sedaghati and Jacqueline Harounian,  were recently selected as Super Lawyers 2011.  The list of lawyers appeared in the Super Lawyers 2011 magazine as well as a special supplement to the New York Times Magazine on October 2, 2011. This honor is awarded to only the top 5% of all attorneys in New York.  Natalie is a partner at  Ogen & Sedaghati practicing in the field of plaintiff's personal injury law. A client of Natalie's firm, a victim of a car accident was recently awarded $2.5 Million against the MTA for her injuries after an initial offer of settlement by the defendant for a mere $2,500.  Jackie, a partner at Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, has now been selected as a Super Lawyer for two years in a row in recognition of  her practice in the areas of matrimonial and family law. Congratulations to both Jackie and Natalie.
Abdi Shayesteh, Deputy General Counsel of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. recently wrote an article concerning FCPA risks faced by financial institutions, published in November's International Financial Law Review. Congratulations to Abdi!
After five years of practice as a litigation associate and as in-house counsel, Farhid Sedaghatpour has recently opened her own practice  focusing on real estate transactions and related litigation ( She also provides per-diem appearances and conferences in New York City and Nassau County.  Good luck, Farhid!
IABA member Rahil Kamran-Rad, formerly of Rubinstein & Corozzo, has joined the firm of Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch as an associate. Recogonized for the past four years by Chambers USA as a leading law firm in New York for business, the firm practice areas include litigation, corporate, bankruptcy & restructuring, tax, and real estate Law. Congratulations to Rahil!  
Our Board's own Janet Nina Esagoff has joined the firm of Lawrence & Walshon Long Island as an Associate. Her practice specializes in real estate litigation including foreclosure and landlord-tenant law ( Her clients are mainly landlords and lenders, asset-managers and private portfolio investors.
Were you honored, quoted, or published?  Do you have other professional news to share?  If so, please email us at with the subject line "Member News."

Highlights of Our Busy 2011 

Networking Events
Over the past year, IABA-NY' has repeatedly brought together attorneys to network in various informal settings. These events are great opportunities to socialize, make new connections, and ultimately, strengthen the professional relationships within our community.  

Some of our more recent networking events included: Spring Networking Night at RoomFifty5 at the Dream Hotel in midtown. With 30 attorneys in attendance, it was an intimate yet lively evening;  Summer Long Island Networking Night at Sip City in Great Neck - an event that attracted 15 local professionals from various backgrounds and featured live jazz music; Fall Networking Night at Casa La Femme, a Middle Eastern-themed venue in the West Village. The event attracted 20 young professionals, both attorneys and non-attorneys.

IABA-NY Networking Nights are an excellent way to build your career and build our community. Look for details on our next networking night.
Connecting All Lawyers on the IABA Network

One of the highlights of the year was not an 'event' but a simple idea that has connected all of our members and resulted in numerous client referrals.  By sending their referrals and questions to a single email, IABA Network members can automatically reach all members of the network.  The IABA Network has made IABA-NY a tangible part of our member's every-day practice, because our Chapter's 250 lawyers is obviously a significant resource for potential new clients, forms, and answers to legal questions.

Please continue to keep the IABA Network in mind in 2012.  Not on the Network?  Email us at and ask to be added.
CLE on Iran Sanctions

On July 19, IABA NY and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) co-sponsored a Continuing Legal Education program entitled "Iran Sanctions: Legal Implications for Iranian Americans."    Thanks to Baker & Hostetler's Sammi Malek, the event was hosted by the international law firm, which provided free CLE credits to attorneys in attendance.  The program featured Iran sanctions experts Babak Hoghooghi o f the BHFA Law Group in Washington, D.C., and Erich C. Ferrari of Ferrari Legal law firm in Washington, D.C.  The room was packed with attorneys and non-attorneys alike, and the attendees were able to gain valuable information about the nature of scope of Iran sanctions and get answers to important questions regarding travel to and from Iran, business dealings with Iran, and purchases of Iranian goods in America.

Thanks to PAAIA, a video of the event is available online :

Be sure to look for information on our next CLE event. If you have any suggestions about a topic, please get in touch with us at with the subject line "Suggested CLE".
Nowruz Dinner
On April 3, IABA NY and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) held a Nowruz dinner, which was a huge success.  In fact, the event was sold out! Held downtown at the historic New York County Lawyer's Association building, and featuring a haft-seen spread, a catered Persian buffet, and live music by Piruz Partow and his ensemble, the event attracted over 150 Iranian professionals of all backgrounds from all over the metropolitan area.  

The evening featured a presentation and short documentary video by PAAIA on the efforts of the Iranian community to raise its profile on the national stage and its involvement in policy and public affairs.  The evening's keynote speaker was Sabrina Setareh-Kraus, an Iranian-American judge in the New York City Housing Court, who spoke about her experiences as a judge of Middle Eastern descent and her hopes for our increasingly diverse and vibrant legal community.

We are grateful to Raymond and Radni Davoodi of the Atlantis Organization for their generous support of the event.  
Persian Parade

Just one week after our Nowruz Dinner, several members of the IABA-NY Board  proudly marched down Madison Avenue for the 8th Annual New York Persian Parade on April 10, 2011.  Sporting official IABA t-shirts, big smiles, and carrying a large banner, IABA was greeted by enthusiastic cheers and applause from the many onlookers.  It appeared that many Iranians were pleased  to see a strong presence from the "Vakilateh Irani" at the Parade.  IABA NY was proud to be part of the Parade and establish its roots in New York's Iranian community.  We plan on making the parade an annual event and hope you will join us on our walk next year.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
One of the hardest tasks we face at IABA-NY is trying to lend a hand to those members looking for a job.  Our best resource in addressing this important task are leads, tips, and guidance offered by you, our valued members.  Please get in touch with us if you know of anyone who may be hiring or have any other information that may be helpful or relevant to our Mentoring Program.  Simply email us at with the subject line "Job Opportunities"

Join the IABA-NY Leadership
The Board of Directors of the New York Chapter of the Iranian American Bar Association welcomes and values your participation in governing the affairs of our chapter.  Whether you wish to join our Board or simply help with any number of our events and programs, we would be happy to help you find your desired role.  Our Board is open to any member who is willing to devote the significant time and effort required for our chapter to achieve its considerable goals.  For more information, or any questions, email us at  We look forward to hearing from you.