Arwa Jabir Zakir Kakavand

An introduction

Meet Arwa

Arwa has worked at nonprofit organizations in Paris, France; New Jersey; and San Diego and San Francisco, California, for nearly a decade. 

She has spent the last eight years advocating for the human rights of noncitizens through litigation, resource development and training, and policy advocacy. Arwa brings an extensive knowledge of immigration law and procedure and has significant experience in providing high-quality representation in challenging cases before the Asylum Office, Immigration Courts, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. In addition, she provides distinctive and valuable mentorship and training to attorneys on discrete issues arising in claims for asylum and related protection.


Overview and Experience

Arwa has spent the last eight years advocating for the human rights of noncitizens through litigation, resource development and training, and policy advocacy.


Arwa began her law career as a women and migrant’s rights fellow at the International Federation for Human Rights in Paris, France. There, she wrote a pro se legal guide for women victims of gender discrimination, drafted position papers to the United Nations advocating for the creation of a committee on the accountability of discriminatory laws against women, served as of counsel to African community-based organizations before international and regional courts to advocate the use of international treaties as binding authority in protecting women’s rights, and co-authored a publication profiling 30 African nations’ violations of women’s rights in law and practice for the “Africa for Women’s Rights” campaign.

Upon returning to the United States, Arwa worked as an associate at a class action settlement firm in New York, predominantly supervising attorneys on the Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement.

After moving across the country to San Diego, Arwa spent seven years as the director of the litigation program at Casa Cornelia Law Center. In that capacity, she oversaw the functioning of the program, supervised the legal and support staff, provided high-caliber mentorship and training to pro bono attorneys, and prepared comprehensive training materials. She also maintained a caseload of complex litigation cases before the Immigration Court, Board of Immigration Appeals, and administrative agencies and participated in legal and community outreach to further positive collaboration and goodwill.

Most recently, Arwa worked at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) at UC Law San Francisco, and in her role as a Senior Staff Attorney, she focused on CGRS’s training and technical assistance programs, including attorney trainings, resource development, and providing technical assistance support and mentorship in the representation of noncitizens seeking asylum and related protections.

Arwa received her J.D. degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 2009 and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint John’s University in 2005.

Arwa is a member of the State Bars of California, New York, and New Jersey. She is admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Arwa is the Vice President of the South Asian Bar Association of San Diego and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Federal Bar Association, and Lawyers Club.


  • J.D., Seton Hall University School of Law, 2009
  • B.A., Saint John’s University, 2005

Bar Admissions

  • State Bar of California, New York, and New Jersey
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Civic Engagements

  • South Asian Bar Association of San Diego, Vice President
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association, Member
  • Federal Bar Association, Member
  • Lawyers Club, Member 
  • McKinley Elementary School Foundation, Board Member

Call or write us today

to set up a consultation to discuss your case