Public service

3 alumni to be honored for their careers in public service

Three University of Virginia Law School alumni — Sejal Jhaveri ’15, Nitin Shah ’09, and Thomas Silverstein ’13 — will be honored for their public service work at the sixth annual Shaping Justice Conference on Feb. 4.

Shah will receive the Shaping Justice Award for Extraordinary Achievement. He is general counsel for the United States General Services Administration.

Jhaveri and Silverstein will receive the Shaping Justice Rising Star Awards. Jhaveri is a litigator in the polling division of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and Silverstein is associate director of the Equitable Housing and Community Development Project at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the law.

Sejal Jhaveri ’15

In the polling division, Jhaveri investigates and litigates violations of suffrage laws such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Help America Vote Act and the National Voter Registration Act.

Prior to joining the polling division in August, Jhaveri was a litigator in the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division. While working at IER, she investigated and litigated cases where employers discriminated against individuals because of their citizenship status or national origin, in violation of immigration and nationality law. She joined the Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honors Program.

Jhaveri said she came to UVA Law with dreams of becoming a civil rights attorney because she wanted to fight the many forms of discrimination she witnessed during her years teaching in Baltimore. She said she was grateful to UVA Law’s public service community who helped make that dream a reality.

“There are many paths to a successful career in public service, including creating your own path, but you are still part of a community of people who have dedicated their careers to using the law to make this world a better place” , she said. “I always find it comforting to know that even though your path is unique, you are never alone on your journey or on this mission.”

The alumni who nominated Jhaveri said she had consistently contributed to the public service community throughout her time at UVA Law, including serving as president of the Public Interest Law Association led by students.

“Both while in law school and since graduating, Sejal has been a steadfast mentor and cheerleader to UVA alumni pursuing careers in public service,” they said in their letter of appointment. “And his own accolades speak for themselves.”

Nitin Shah ’09

Nitin Shah

As GSA’s Chief Legal Officer, Shah oversees all legal matters that come before the 12,000-employee agency and manages a nationwide office of 170 attorneys and staff. In September, President Joe Biden appointed Shah to the Board of the United States Administrative Conference. At ACUS, he serves on the board of directors of the federal agency responsible for recommending improvements to administrative processes.

Prior to his current government service, Shah was legal director of the Biden administration’s transition team, where he was responsible for the legal review of proposed executive actions and nominations for the incoming administration.

Shah said students interested in public service should think creatively about opportunities to serve and use a broad definition of public service. Students should also take full advantage of the faculty, alumni and other resources offered by the law school, he added.

“It’s a privilege to be able to stand up every day and try to make government work better – and more fairly – for everyone,” Shah said. “I am incredibly grateful to receive this recognition and honored by the incredible endeavor I am in as a recipient of the award.”

Sam Shirazi ’15, general counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice, praised Shah’s efforts to advance the careers of his colleagues and junior attorneys.

“He took the time to mentor young lawyers and genuinely cares about helping others,” Shirazi said in his appointment letter. “I have no doubt that Nitin will continue to have a bright future and do great things as his legal career continues.”

Thomas Silverstein ’13

Thomas Silverstein

On the Advocates Committee, Silverstein oversees the project’s impact litigation file, using the Fair Housing Act to help build inclusive communities, expand access to opportunity, and combat displacement. It also provides technical assistance to states, local governments, and public housing authorities seeking to comply with the duty to positively promote fair housing.

Prior to serving as associate director, Silverstein was an attorney with the Equitable Housing and Community Development Project. He began his legal career as the 2013-2014 George N. Lindsay Civil Rights Fellow of the Lawyers’ Committee.

Silverstein said UVA Law has been formative in his development as a lawyer and as an advocate for marginalized communities.

“The knowledge, skills and connections I have gained through my legal training have enabled me to use my privilege to work to dismantle white supremacy and institutional racism in housing and to assert the rights of black communities,” he said. “I urge law students interested in racial justice work to seek out experiential learning opportunities like clinics and internships, and to forge strong bonds with like-minded classmates and professors. ideas.”

Ryan Snow ’18, an associate attorney with the Lawyer’s Committee, said Silverstein has held mentorship positions with fellows and interns.

“He is a pleasure to work with and a model of how to do this work, and he is sure to continue to build a successful career as a litigator and civil rights advocate,” Snow wrote in his post. appointment letter.