May 23, 2017
The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) congratulates Somnath Raj Chatterjee and Benjamin T. Reyes II on their respective appointments to judgeships in the Superior Court of California yesterday. Chatterjee will be the first judge of a South Asian background to serve on the Alameda County Superior Court, and Reyes will be the first Filipino-American judge to serve on the Contra Costa County Superior Court.
Chatterjee had been a partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP for twenty years, before recently leaving to start a litigation boutique, Antolin Agarwal and Chatterjee LLP. Chatterjee has defended high-profile clients, including former Hewlett Packard Chairwoman Patricia Dunn, and John Walker Lindh, one of the first U.S. citizens to be charged with aiding the Taliban after September 11th. Chatterjee also represented plaintiffs who sued the FBI in 2010 seeking the release of records regarding its investigation and surveillance of Muslim communities in the Bay Area.
Reyes is a principal at Meyers, Nave, Riback, Silver and Wilson PLC, a public agency law firm in Oakland where he is chair of the Public Contracts Practice Group. Reyes is the City Attorney for Pinole and Union City. He also serves as General Counsel for the Stege Sanitary District and Assistant General Counsel for the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee.
Both Chatterjee and Reyes are leaders in the Asian American legal community. Chatterjee served as President of the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California and as a member of the Board of Directors of Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Asian Law Caucus. Reyes has held leadership positions in the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California, serving as Vice-President and continuing to serve as a member of the advisory board.
“AABA applauds Governor Brown for appointing Raj Chatterjee and Benjamin Reyes to the bench. Their deep legal experience, sustained community leadership, and diverse backgrounds will be major assets to the communities they will serve,” said Miriam Kim, President of AABA. “Their historic appointments are also an important step in addressing the underrepresentation of Asian American judges.
AABA has a long history of active involvement in civil rights issues and community service, and is dedicated to fostering the exchange of ideas and information among its members and the public. AABA is one of the largest local Asian American bar associations in the country, and counts lawyers, judges, law students, and community leaders among its members, representing the entire spectrum of political, social, and legal concerns in the San Francisco Bay Area.