At the end of 2019 NLSLA welcome two dynamic board members to the NLSLA family. We are grateful for their commitment and dedication.
Hurwitz, Orihuela & Hayes, LLP
Nicolas Orihuela was first introduced to NLSLA’s work 20 years ago, when he was hired for a summer internship after his first year in law school.
He spent his mornings that summer helping to file temporary restraining orders, and his afternoons working with immigration attorneys helping the victims of domestic violence obtain special visas that would allow them to work in the U.S. The days were long but rewarding, and the work left a deep impression.
“I’ve been connected to NLSLA ever since,” he said.
Orihuela’s drive to help people living in poverty stems from his own family’s story. The son of Mexican immigrants, he grew up in South Los Angeles, where his parents rented out two bedrooms in their home to make ends meet.
“We weren’t impoverished, but it was still not a life of luxury,” he said. “The whole family slept in one bedroom. My mom was always working, my dad was always working.” It made him sensitive to those challenges that are often invisible to people who are not struggling financially.
After law school, Orihuela was hired by current NLSLA Board Member Bryan Sheldon at what is now LimNexus. After a few years, he opened his own employment law firm, and began contributing pro bono work to NLSLA. He joined the board because he believes everyone deserves access to a lawyer.
“Without a lawyer most people will be lost. It’s like telling people they have an illness but they don’t have access to health care,” he said. “You need that expertise from a lawyer to help you navigate and protect your rights and pursue justice.”
He also believes in the promise of the War on Poverty – the legislative package of anti-poverty measures that gave birth to legal aid in 1965.
“I want to live in a society like that – that doesn’t let people fall by the wayside because they can’t afford a lawyer.”
Head of Global Compliance & Senior VP, Employment Counsel
Universal Music Group
Saheli Datta’s parents moved to the U.S. from India when she was just a child, and her own immigrant experience has informed her work and her desire to give back to her community.
“NLSLA’s domestic violence work, and the immigration work as well, is particularly near and dear to me,” she said.
After finishing law school at Columbia, she joined the law firm of Morrison & Foerster as Employment Counsel. In 2000 she joined Universal Music Group, where today she serves as Head of Global Compliance & Senior VP.
Beyond her passion for immigration work, she shares another NLSLA connection with Orihuela – her next-door neighbor, Bryan Sheldon. When Saheli began expressing her desire to give back to her community, Sheldon suggested NLSLA.
“Given the state of the world and our country, it’s a particularly important time to be involved,” she said.