Hi, I'm Priya
WHERE I COME FROM
I come from humble beginnings as a daughter of immigrant students from South India who came to this country looking for the American Dream. My grandparents were farmers and milk distributers, and my parents fought the odds to get an education in a time when only the eldest boy had the privilege of going to school. As the younger son, my father had to sneak to school and after getting caught repeatedly, his parents gave in and let him pursue an education. He had to do his homework while doing chores herding the animals and by kerosene lamp late at night, but he persisted. He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry and found an opportunity to do his post doctorate program in the US. My mother likewise fought for her right to learn and earned her Master's degree before marrying my father and joining him on the journey to a new country with endless opportunities.
Born and raised in the US, I experienced a drastically different childhood than my parents. I was given the opportunities and freedoms that are the bedrock of this nation. My formative years were spent up north where I spent my high school days enjoying competitive speech activities, including debate, mock trial, extemporaneous speaking, and student congress. Speech activities were the start of my passion for civic engagement. I participated in my first peaceful protest in 2001. But, eager for the next chapter in my life, I chose to graduate from high school a year early and start college at the age of 16.
In college, I decided to give back to the organization that facilitated most of these activities and interned at that office for four years. I also competed in the mock trial team at college and interned at a public defender’s office where I found a passion for helping the underprivileged who were faced with criminal charges. This inspired me to go to law school and become a public defender. I worked here in Franklin County for about 2 years, during which time I closed nearly 2500 misdemeanor and traffic cases. After that intensive experience, I chose to go out into private practice to handle felony cases as well and later expanded my practice area to include family law. I continued to take court appointed cases and do pro bono work and to this day have forged relationships with non-profits such as the Justice Bus, where I provided legal consultations throughout the state, and Asha Ray of Hope where I provide legal services on a sliding scale.
I have represented battered women who are driven to an act of violence to save their own life. One woman, the single mother of three children, was told by the prosecutor’s office and the police department that the incident was ruled as self-defense only to be prosecuted 8 years later due to a change of administration. With my help, and that of my co-counsel, April Campbell, we were able to have the case thrown out due to the unfair circumstances.
In my family law practice, through Asha Ray of Hope, I represent South Asian women who are the victims of domestic violence and are trying to get away from their abusers and keep their children safe. I help them with finding independence and getting back on their feet.
I have had my own firm for over 10 years, and as a small business owner, experienced the ups and downs of the economy first hand. But with the determination and tenacity that my parents instilled in me, I have persisted. However, through each stage of my life and career, I have felt a calling to do more and to find a better way to help those around me. And now, I feel the calling to serve Gahanna as the next City Attorney.