Former Scholarship Recipient Gives Back With Invaluable Research

Manjari Chawla

Ike-kaludiThe Justice & Diversity Center’s Federal Pro Bono Project is pleased to recognize Ike Kaludi for his outstanding service in pro bono work.  The project places federal civil cases with volunteer counsel and provides legal assistance to pro se litigants with cases in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District. To be referred for placement with a pro bono attorney, a litigant must be in pro per, lack the resources to retain counsel, and have a case that warrants pro bono legal representation. By conducting critical legal research, allowing  the project to better assist clients, Kaludi exemplifies the impact that volunteers can make in a short time.

Kaludi heard about the project while serving as a judicial extern for Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James of the Northern District. When he volunteered, the project was evaluating how best to assist pro se defendants who had been sued for copyright infringement for airing sporting events.  The defendants, including individuals and minority small business owners, had no idea they had violated any laws.  In many cases, the defendants had either paid for the sporting event or were viewing it in their private home. Frightened by the suits, most defendants simply defaulted. Kaludi conducted critical research, including potential defenses and types of damages. Kaludi  also surveyed the cases in the Northern District to see how many had been filed and their outcomes.  This research has been invaluable to the project in guiding the litigants.

Kaludi finds it very rewarding to assist disadvantaged clients who might not otherwise have their day in court. “I found it tragic that they opted not to litigate even though they had meritorious claims,” he states. “Those who did seek out the project’s help benefited from the legal advice and were encouraged to defend themselves against the lawsuit.”

Kaludi recently graduated from UC Hastings College of the Law and is currently a post-bar law clerk for Chavez & Gertler in Mill Valley.

Kaludi has been involved with The Bar Association of San Francisco for a number of years and received BASF’s Justice & Diversity Center’s Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship in 2009. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife and son.

If you would like more information on the JDC’s Federal Pro Bono Project, please contact Manjari Chawla at 415-626-6917 or mchawla@sfbar.org.