The 2023 SABA Toronto Gala

In the keynote address, Neal Katyal talked about his career as one of America’s top Supreme Court litigators

In July, more than 400 people filled the Palais Royale to maximum capacity for the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto’s annual awards gala. The evening began with a cocktail and networking reception on the venue’s two-tier deck. Partygoers enjoyed scenic views of Lake Ontario and live Hindi and Punjabi music before heading into the Palais Royale’s ballroom for a three-course South Asian fusion dinner.

The keynote speaker was Neal Katyal, the former acting United States solicitor general. The esteemed litigator has orally argued more cases before the U.S. Supreme Court than any other racialized lawyer. In a nod to the evening’s theme—“Breaking Barriers and Overcoming Obstacles”—Katyal reflected on his storied career and the importance of a fair and equitable justice system.

After Katyal’s remarks, six lawyers received SABA awards. Rajesh Dhir, assistant deputy attorney general at the Ministry of the Attorney General, received the Juriansz and Joachim Award for Excellence in Human Rights. The Legal Excellence Awards went to Ena Chadha, a respected human-rights lawyer; Sonu Dhanju-Dhillon, a partner at Torkin Manes LLP; and Amee Sandhu, senior legal counsel at Alstom. Finally, the Diversity Awards went to Bindu Cudjoe, executive vice-president and chief legal officer at Laurentian Bank of Canada; and Imran Kamal, counsel at the Ministry of the Attorney General. An after-ceremony celebration with live music and stone-fired pizza closed out the event.

“It was a magical evening,” says Devin Persaud, a senior associate at Goodmans LLP and SABA Toronto’s president. “SABA Toronto stands tall as a testament to the indomitable spirit of the South Asian legal community. We look forward to seeing everyone next year.”

The 2023 SABA Toronto Gala

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Photography by Matt Tibbo Photography.