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Salil Bali, Co-President

Salil Bali of NASALSA

The South Asian legal community is one of the fastest growing minority groups in the profession. In a response to an increasing number of South Asians taking on influential roles in the legal community, a non-profit organization was established in 1995. NASALSA is an organization dedicated to creating a strong network and community among South Asian law students and legal professionals. As the only international organization supporting South Asian law students in North America, NASALSA strives to foster the growth of the great South Asian attorneys of tomorrow. NASALSA has held eight successful conferences to date and their ninth one is just coming up around the corner. 2007 marks a momentous year for NASALSA because they joint launched the first annual Public Interest Fellowship, a program that promotes law students to engage in meaningful public interest work while elevating awareness of the South Asian community in North America. In essence, the Fellowship reflects the vision of the organization. With new SALSA chapters coming up across the nation, NASALSA has grown tremendously throughout the last eleven years. Learn more about Salil Bali’s involvement with the NALSALSA by reading the Non-Profit spotlight of The DesiConnect.


North American South Asian Law Student Association (NASALSA)





Name, Title

Salil Bali, Co-President




Orange, CA

Current residence

San Francisco, CA


University of San Francisco School of Law, Juris Doctorate Candidate, 2008;
University of California at Davis, BS – Microbiology, BA – English, 1999.

Work Experience

Hycor Biomedical, Western Regional Manager, 2002, 2006;
TimeLogic Corp., Regional Manager, 1999, 2002;
MediQuip, Account Representative, 1996, 1999.


Indian-American, Punjabi

About the non-profit

NASALSA is an organization dedicated to creating a strong network and community among South Asian law students and legal professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The South Asian legal community is one of the fastest growing minority groups in the profession. As such South Asians are rapidly gaining influential roles in the legal community. NASALSA is poised to take a leadership position in guiding the South Asian attorneys of the future.

Established in 1995, NASALSA has been promoting education, leadership and community service amongst South Asian law students as well as expanding the general legal community’s understanding and appreciation of South Asian political, legal and social issues. As an umbrella organization, NASALSA supports groups aimed at South Asian law students across the U.S. and Canada in hopes of providing those interested in South Asia and the South Asian experience a space to gather together, create support networks, and form communities that will last a lifetime.

Most notable milestones

This year NASALSA is proud to successfully launch, jointly with North American South Asian Bar Association (NASABA), our first annual public interest fellowship. The fellowship promotes law students engaging in meaningful public interest work while elevating the awareness of the South Asian community in North America. We will be providing one law student a $5,000 stipend to allow them to pursue unpaid public interest work, relating to the South Asian community over their summer break. This is a huge milestone allowing NASALSA to give back to the South Asian community through supporting the efforts of our membership.

We are currently preparing to host our 9th Annual Conference, in San Francisco. This year’s theme, Building a Bridge to Influence, focuses on ways that South Asians in the legal community can increase the influence of the larger South Asian community in North America. At this time in our community’s growth, increasing our influence is essential to correct commonly held misconceptions of South Asians, as well as educate others to combat the prevalent but often subtle racism our community encounters. The conference hopes to present students with a better understanding of some of the issues facing the South Asian community and ways to deal with those issues, as future attorneys.

The fact that we have had eight prior conferences, throughout the U.S., is note worthy alone. Yet the organization continues to grow, improve itself and support the formation of new SALSA chapters throughout North America. As we continue this trend, NASALSA is able to focus on the needs of our community and how we can use the law to give back to the South Asian community in North America.

What’s the niche?

We are the only international organization supporting South Asian law students in North America. Though there are several other groups to which South Asians might choose to align themselves, our cultural perspective is unique as are the challenges we face. Given the drastic changes in societal climate post 9/11 and the subsequent affects felt in our community, it is all the more important that South Asian law students have a resource to which they can turn to for support and mentorship.

What’s in store for the future?

On the immediate horizon, as previously mentioned, our 9th Annual Conference is coming up. It is being hosted February 16-18, in San Francisco. We are actively looking to maximize attendance, since more people attending translates into more people getting involved in the community. If you would like to attend or are interested in learning more please visit our website at www.nsalsa.org.

Who would you like to be contacted by?

We are looking for any South Asian law students or South Asian attorneys that are interested in being part of a fast-growing organization with major goals in mind. We encourage all students to attend the February Conference, and any attorneys that would like to help us lay the foundations of NASALSA.

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Best way to keep a competitive edge

Keep yourself open to learn from any and all sources. You will be surprised that sometimes the best ideas come from the most unlikely places.

Yardstick of success

Happiness and contentment. As long as you are happy everything else will fall in place.

Goal yet to be achieved

Increasing the tools that NASALSA has to support individual local SALSA chapters, thus becoming a greater resource.

Also soon NASALSA hopes to create a national system where work, particularly in regards to post 9/11 civil right violations, can be “farmed” out to students across the country. Allowing them to get involved in protecting targeted communities, like our own, and assisting attorneys who have devoted themselves to such civil service.

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

There is more than one way to the top of a building. Some take an elevator, others the stairs and others still climb the outer facade. However once you are there, the view is the same no matter how you got there. You are not always going to take the most direct path to your goals, but if you want them you can find another way of reaching those goals. – My Mother

Like best about what you do?

The ability to give back to our community while meeting and networking with new people

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

haha let’s see. Astronaut for about 5 or 10 minutes. Then an engineer but I think around then I got really fascinated with medicine. I wanted to be a “cardio vascular surgeon” for years stuck with that aspiration all the way till college. Then I got smart and decided against that.

What was your first job?

wow that was a little while ago. First paid job was, Sales clerk at a Men’s Retail store called Randy River I think I was 16 at the time.

Biggest pastime outside of work

Reading & cooking

Three characteristics that describe you

1. Outgoing
2. Encouraging
3. Energetic

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