Second in a series of spotlights of past SABA GB presidents
Saraa Basaria graduated from the University of Florida before earning her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law. She practiced criminal defense with the Committee for Public Counsel Services for three and a half years. She then joined the Boston office of Gordon & Rees, where her practice focused on general and construction-related litigation.
Since 2017, Saraa has been an associate at Todd & Weld LLP in Boston where she concentrates on employment counseling and litigation, commercial litigation, and criminal defense.
- You’re originally from Florida? What made you move to Boston and decide to stay?
I decided to move to Boston in 2009 to attend Northeastern University School of Law. I was drawn to NUSL because of their co-op program and focus in public interest. While at NUSL, I had the opportunity to intern at the Committee for Public Counsel Services. I stayed in Boston because I built a strong professional and personal network here.
- Your career path crosses the criminal/civil divide in the legal profession, which is unusual. How did you make that transition, and do you have any advice to other lawyers thinking of making a similar move?
The key to any career transition is having a strong network. When I decided to move into private practice, I reached out to my network to learn from their experiences and get their advice.
For other lawyers looking to make a similar transition, I would suggest figuring out if you have anyone in your network who has made a similar change and asking them for 15-30 minutes of their time. In my experience, people are happy to help by offering their advice and experiences.
- You’ve been quite active in bar associations. You were SABAGB’s president in 2016-17. You were part of the inaugural class of the Massachusetts Bar Association leadership academy. Currently you are on the Executive Committee of the SABA Foundation and the MBA Young Lawyers Division, in addition to being a member of the Women’s Leadership Initiative of Women’s Bar Association. In what way has your involvement in SABA GB and other bar organizations benefited you?
My involvement in bar associations has been invaluable. Through bar associations like SABA GB, I have expanded my network and fostered deep professional and personal connections in the Massachusetts legal community. This has led to professional opportunities, mentorship and, in many cases, wonderful friendships.
Most importantly, bar associations afford the opportunity to serve and uplift the community. I am grateful for that opportunity.
- Are there any experiences in your career that were particularly important or that offer lessons for newer lawyers?
The first few months as a new lawyer can be overwhelming in many ways. As new lawyers cope with the transition from law school to the practice of law, and perhaps begin to second-guess themselves, it is important to be mindful about taking moments to stop and reflect on their achievements. If a new lawyer is worrying whether they will succeed as a lawyer, it means they have already conquered college, law school, and the bar exam. I encourage new lawyers to remember that and trust in their own abilities. They will undoubtedly surprise themselves.
It is also important to remember to not be afraid to ask a question. When I first began practicing law, I was timid about asking questions. However, I quickly learned that I often regret not asking a question, but rarely regret asking a question, regardless of the answer.
- Any hobbies, extracurricular activities, pastimes you enjoy when you were not working?
I love cooking – it is such a fun and relaxing creative outlet. I also enjoy reading and spending as much time outside as possible while it is still warm.
- Any fun or curious fact about you that might surprise people?
I recently turned my cooking hobby into a cooking blog on Instagram called Buttermilk and Boards!