Profile on Vince Chhabria
“A rigorous and independent thinker who can analyze complex information, facts and law, and cut through to critical issues very concisely.” – Burk E. “Buck” Delventhal, Government Team Chief Attorney, San Francisco City Attorney’s Office
“An incredible attorney who hit the ground running on day one. He is an intellectual and an amazing lawyer; it is incredible how his mind tirelessly works.” – Therese “Terry” Stewart, Chief Deputy City Attorney, San Francisco City Attorney’s Office
Who is Vince Girdhari Chhabria?
Mr. Chhabria is a Deputy City Attorney for Government Litigation and Co-Chief of Appellate Litigation at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. Since 2005, Mr. Chhabria has played a critical role in numerous high-profile cases, including San Francisco’s challenge to California’s ban on same-sex marriage, the successful defense of a city law requiring local employers to help pay for health insurance for their workers, the ban of tobacco sales in pharmacies, as well as the prosecution of a wage and hour case against a local car wash that illegally subjected their employees to unpaid waiting time in violation of employment laws. In 2008, Mr. Chhabria was named one of California’s top 20 lawyers under 40 by the Daily Journal. In the following year, Mr. Chhabria received one of the California Lawyers of the Year award from The Recorder.
Mr. Chhabria’s road to the Judge’s chair began with his father’s emigration from Delhi, India to attend college in Kentucky, and subsequently attaining his master’s degree in accounting from Golden Gate University. In pursuit of the American Dream, the San Francisco native graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz with a degree in political science. After a three-year stint on Capitol Hill, Mr. Chhabria took his intellectual curiosity and fervor for justice to U.C. Berkeley School of Law, where he graduated with honors and was named to the Order of the Coif. Thereafter, Mr. Chhabria clerked for U.S. District Court Judge, The Honorable Charles Breyer and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, The Honorable James Browning, before serving as a clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer for the 2001-2002 term. Immediately prior to joining the city attorney’s office, Mr. Chhabria gained invaluable litigation experience and legal prowess while defending white-collar cases as an associate at the law firm of Covington & Burling, LLP.
Despite his achievements, however, the recent buzz surrounding Mr. Chhabria is his nomination by President Obama in July 2013 for a judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Despite clearing the Senate Judiciary Committee in November 2013, Senate Republicans refused to allow a full floor vote on his nomination on December 20, 2013. As such, Mr. Chhabria will need to be renominated by President Obama in 2014. If he is renominated and confirmed, Mr. Chhabria would become the first South Asian Article III judge in California.
About the Author: Vincent Tong is an employment and business attorney based in Oakland, California. When not serving individuals and their businesses, Vincent volunteers with several non-profit legal services organizations. Vincent is also an avid rock climber and aspires to be a world traveler. You can find him online at www.tong-law.com.
Published: January 2014 Asian American Bar Association