Nahal drafted and successfully litigated the emergency temporary restraining order application on behalf of the City of Costa Mesa that led the state and federal governments to abandon their plan to use a dilapidated and unsuitable former assisted living facility as a coronavirus isolation site. The case drew national media attention to the inadequate planning and lack of state and federal coordination with county and local authorities in addressing the coronavirus threat.
For five years, Nahal was an attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, where she litigated against the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of her client, a major engineering firm, on allegations it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; successfully defended a “Big Four” accounting firm in an investigation into derivatives and hedge accounting issues, among others; and successfully represented a major European bank in litigation involving its acquisition of a U.S. Bank in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
In her pro bono work, Nahal has obtained political asylum for numerous applicants fleeing persecution and political oppression, assisted holocaust survivors in claiming reparations, represented victims of domestic violence in obtaining orders of protection, successfully defended indigent tenants in unlawful detainer actions, and taught the Columbia University Immigration Law Clinic. She sits on the Board of Directors of WisePlace, Orange County’s only homeless shelter for unaccompanied women.
Nahal also served as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., Budapest, Hungary; Baghdad, Iraq; and Casablanca, Morocco. During her years with the State Department she developed a deep expertise in consular, political, and political-military affairs, including crisis management, democratization, human rights, countering violent extremism, multilateral diplomacy, U.S. security cooperation programs, emerging security challenges, and civil-military relations.
Nahal received her J.D. in 2004 from Harvard Law School, cum laude, where she was Executive Editor of the Harvard International Law Journal. She earned her A.B. in Government from Harvard College magna cum laude in 2001. As an undergraduate she won a John Harvard Scholarship for Academic Excellence and the Harvard College Scholarship for Academic Excellence. Nahal also was a member of the Women’s Varsity Water Polo team.
She teaches civil practice foundations as an adjunct professor at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law, speaks at conferences locally and nationally, and has authored several articles in business and legal publications.
Nahal speaks fluent Farsi, Arabic and Hungarian, and conversational Spanish and French.