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Northwestern’s Priya Harjani honored by South Asian Bar Association of North America

Northwestern University Deputy General Counsel Priya Harjani was recently honored by a national bar association with its Corporate Counsel Achievement Award.

She was given the award from the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA).  It gives one Corporate Counsel Achievement award every year at the annual conference. 

One of the most prominent Indian-Americans in the U.S. higher education legal sector—she was recognized for her leadership and her unique and challenging legal work at Northwestern, as well as a commitment to diversity. Her most notable recent cases, was a response to the attempt by college football players at Northwestern to unionize by declaring they were employees of the university. While the initial NLRB ruling in the case went against Northwestern, she and her legal team convinced the federal NLRB board that it has no jurisdiction in the matter. The ruling prevented the unionization, recognizing that students-athletes are not employees.

She also has worked to promote diversity both within the general counsel’s office through its hiring, and by encouraging outside counsel to staff matters with diverse attorneys and by allowing younger attorneys the opportunity to represent Northwestern in a meaningful role.

Moreover, she is a board member for the Indian-American Bar Association (IABA) of Chicago Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the IABA. Harjani has also worked on creating scholarships for Indian-American law students, and has participated in other fundraising initiatives that allow the foundation to assist other nonprofit organizations.

She also teaches a graduate course “Legal and Ethical Issues in Higher Education” at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy.

Harjani is a graduate of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

“Priya Harjani has developed and demonstrated exceptional team leadership and collaborative skills,” Philip Harris, Northwestern’s vice president and general counsel, said recently when naming her to the deputy general counsel’s post.

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Ed Silverstein

Ed Silverstein ( is a veteran freelance writer and and editor for magazines, websites and newspapers. He writes frequently for ALM Media's

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