As Legal Director, Sara Haji is committed to developing the talent of SJLF’s attorneys and fellows to advance civil rights through high-impact litigation. She is responsible for all aspects of SJLF’s litigation strategy and for supervising its fellows as they gain the litigation skills to best represent the needs of their communities.
Sara comes to SJLF from Hueston Hennigan LLP, where she held a Counsel role. At Hueston Hennigan, Sara litigated complex business disputes for plaintiffs and defendants, managing cases from pre-trial mediation and investigation through trial and then serving as trial counsel. During her time in private practice, she was repeatedly named a Southern California Rising Star and was listed among “Women of Influence: Attorneys” by the Los Angeles Business Journal. She now applies her litigation and trial experience to propel SJLF’s docket of precedent-setting cases.
Sara also brings knowledge of state and federal decision-making from the other side of the bench, having served as a law clerk in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of California. She now serves as the Judicial Evaluations Co-Chair of the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California.
Raised in Canada, West Africa, and Texas, Sara is the child of immigrants. Her experiences with racial profiling and injustice in post-9/11 Texas inspired her first to begin a career in journalism, working for The Texas Observer and The Nation, and then to attend law school, where she focused on consumer and digital privacy and surveillance. During law school, Sara worked as a student advocate at the East Bay Workers’ Rights Clinic, held the Charles H. March Fellowship at the Federal Trade Commission, served on the executive board of the Consumer Advocacy and Protection Society, and developed research in privacy rights and the legacy of race discrimination in public education.
Outside of work, Sara cooks needlessly lavish meals for friends and reads too many romance novels. She enjoys learning languages, finding ways to update her very old house, and watching NBA basketball.