April 30, 2019
April 2019: Neal Sarkar
Neal Sarkar (he/him)
Chair, ACS Houston Lawyer Chapter
“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.” – Anatole French
I remembered this quote now because it animates the progressivism that brought me to ACS. The Constitution is a declaration of ideals, and it endures because the meaning and application of these ideals have been shaped over time by precedent, historical experience, practical consequences, and societal change. More so than any other organization, it is ACS that is the standard-bearer for this vision for the Constitution—a just Constitution. Whether the discussion is about race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration, wealth inequality, or a whole host of other issues, a law that applies “equally,” might not be equal at all: the law may lead to just outcomes, and it may not. ACS fills this gap and fights for that justice.
My name is Neal Sarkar, and I am a trial attorney at the complex commercial litigation boutique of Ahmad Zavitsanos Anaipakos Alavi & Mensing in Houston, Texas. My practice focuses on all types of high-stakes commercial litigation, for plaintiffs as well as defendants, in both state and federal court.
I began my legal career in private practice in Chicago, and, looking for an outlet for my progressive passions, I found my way to the board of the local ACS Lawyer Chapter in Chicago.
Ever since, the ACS community has educated me, strengthened me, and amazed me. ACS’s programs and publications give greater accuracy, precision, and clarity to my own policy positions and arguments. At ACS’s annual National Convention, I meet amazing lawyers, students, and academics. Moreover, ACS’s network is second to none; every day, I am secure knowing I can reach out to lawyers and intellectuals around the country on any type of issue.
I moved to Houston in March 2014, without any prior connection to the city, and I was looking for ways to engage with the City’s progressive community. A little over a year later, a few colleagues and I restarted the ACS Houston Lawyer Chapter. I am grateful that ACS afforded me the opportunity to find my place. A few major historical incidents have hit Houston acutely: the Muslim Ban, Hurricane Harvey, and Family Separation. In each case, ACS’s Houston Lawyer Chapter members were able to take a leading role to coordinate, organize, and mobilize the right response that embodied ACS’s values.
Texas is ground zero for many of the issues that are central to ACS’s mission: voting rights, reproductive rights, gerrymandering, the 2020 census, and the list goes on. ACS provides a needed platform to amplify progressive values here and has provided a progressive scaffolding that the Houston community can build upon. I count myself so fortunate to be a part of such a great organization at such a critical time.