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Neil K. Sawhney is an associate at the firm, based in the firm’s new San Francisco office, where he represents plaintiffs and public-interest clients in appellate, constitutional, and complex litigation. A Bay Area native, Neil was the firm’s first Fellow in Appellate and Constitutional Litigation in 2015 to 2016, between his clerkships with the Honorable Marsha Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Honorable Goodwin Liu, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California.
Before rejoining the firm, Neil was a Senior Staff Attorney in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Economic Justice Project in New Orleans, where he litigated impact cases on behalf of low-income communities throughout the Southeast. He was part of the legal team that successfully prevented the Trump Administration from allowing Arkansas and Kentucky to implement unprecedented Medicaid work requirements, preserving hundreds of thousands of individuals’ access to medical care. In addition, he worked on a groundbreaking federal class action representing New Orleans consumers against predatory for-profit bail companies and their underwriters, and he developed and filed litigation challenging the constitutionality of the federal government’s wealth-based detention of immigrants in Georgia. At SPLC, Neil also advocated outside of court for systemic policy reform to protect consumers and low-income communities, by testifying at the state legislature and submitting comments on behalf of SPLC to state and federal agencies.
In his prior stint at the firm, Neil was the principal author of numerous briefs filed at every level of the federal judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as California trial and appellate courts. Neil’s work involved a wide range of legal issues, including consumer class actions, the Federal Arbitration Act, the Second Amendment, California wage-and-hour laws, state administrative law, the Fair Debt Collection Protection Act, commercial speech, the Fourth Amendment, and qualified immunity.
Neil graduated from Stanford Law School, where he spent two quarters in Stanford’s Supreme Court Clinic and received the Thelton Henderson Prize for Outstanding Performance in Supreme Court Clinic Practice. During law school, Neil worked at the ACLU of Northern California, Arnold & Porter LLP, and the Office of the Prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the Hague. He also served as a senior editor of the Stanford Law Review, a board member of Stanford’s American Constitution Society chapter, and a co-founder of the Iraqi Legal Education Initiative.
Before law school, Neil worked at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. He received his B.A. in Social Studies and Near Eastern Languages & Civilization, magna cum laude, from Harvard University, where he was a John Harvard Scholar and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
* member of the bar in California and Louisiana; not admitted in the District of Columbia; practicing under supervision of members of the D.C. Bar.