Recognizing the 2019 Recipients of the Iranian American Bar Association Foundation Scholarship

A central tenet of the Iranian-American Chamber of Commerce is to engage with and recognize other Iranian-American organizations that serve and support the Iranian-American community. To that end, this month the Chamber is pleased to recognize this year’s recipients of the Iranian American Bar Association Foundation Scholarship.

By way of background, the Iranian American Bar Association (IABA) is a nationwide organization for Iranian Americans in the legal profession. The IABA Foundation is an affiliated, but separate, non-profit organization that oversees the scholarship process. The Chamber is pleased to recognize the 2019 Scholarship recipients, Daniel Barlava and Fatemah Shahkolahi, and took a moment to chat with both of them about their scholarship awards:

Daniel Barlava (pictured at left) is a third-year law student at Columbia University Law School. He received a B.A. in History and Economics from Northwestern University, and followed his graduation by working for the U.S. Treasury Department. There, he supported law enforcement agencies’ efforts to conduct complex financial investigations. During his time at Columbia University, Daniel has focused on immigration defense, criminal convictions, and environmental litigation. Following law school, he will be working as an associate at the Irell & Maniella law firm in Los Angeles, focusing on public services. Daniel is excited about his involvement with the IABA because he wants to become more involved with Iranian-American lawyers in the community. He is interested in continuing his career by working with the government. He said that this would give him “the opportunity in the role of building bridges and taking down the barriers between Iranians in the U.S. and Iranians in Iran.” Daniel is honored and very proud to accept the IABA Foundation Scholarship.

Fatemah Shahkolahi (picture on right) is a third-year law student at the George Washington University Law School. She earned a B.A. with honors in English from Notre Dame of Maryland University and an M.A. in International Communication from American University. After receiving her M.A., Fatemah worked at an international NGO on addressing the refugee crisis in Lebanon. Throughout her time at law school, she has worked as a judicial intern to Judge Robert McDonald in the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. On receiving the scholarship, Fatemah noted that she “felt very happy and very fortunate,” saying, “it’s definitely a privilege to be provided with resources to fund my legal education and so I feel very honored that I was provided this opportunity.” Overall, she is excited about her future in the legal profession, and plans to focus on helping underserved populations. She explained, “it is an honor to use my legal education and law degree to help serve Iranian-Americans…I want to use my legal skills to help serve Iranian-Americans and any other underserved communities in the U.S.”

by Ariane Sharifi

About the author: USIRCC