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Diversity & Inclusion 2021: Seema Chawla

Senior Counsel

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

As senior regional counsel for the self-regulatory organization that oversees securities firms doing business in the United States, Seema Chawla has spent nearly 10 years initiating disciplinary actions against wayward securities dealers.

chawlaBased in Kansas City, she previously was a senior associate with Bryan Cave, where she focused on commercial litigation and securities. Before joining Bryan Cave, she worked at Shook, Hardy & Bacon and what was then Berkowitz Oliver Williams Shaw & Eisenbrandt.

A board member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association and member of the Asian American Bar Association of Kansas City, Chawla says Missouri’s legal community must “commit itself to discomfort” to promote meaningful and long-term diversity.

What motivates you most in your work as an attorney and as an advocate for Diversity & Inclusion?

Seeing the progress that Missouri’s legal community has made in diversity and inclusion efforts. Though I know we have a long road ahead of us, I’m inspired by the work that has been done and our potential to make our legal community one in which diverse attorneys thrive and diverse perspectives are valued and celebrated.

What goal remains unfulfilled for you as an attorney and advocate for Diversity & Inclusion?

 I experienced real frustration when I began practicing law and encountered difficulties and barriers that I didn’t anticipate or fully understand. I would love to figure out a way to provide other diverse attorneys in similar situations with a resource to consult. I deeply appreciate all of the assistance I received from my mentors, but it took some time to find them and it would have been helpful to have some sort of help in the interim.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you:

I took up tap dancing several years ago. It is honestly the best stress relief!

2021 Diversity & Inclusion Awards