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“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” For Nash Hearing Attorney Jyoti Raval, this quote from Mahatma Gandhi, which she treasures, reveals a lot about herself—where she came from and where she is going. Jyoti comes from an immigrant family who are from the same part of India as Gandhi. “Because my family is from the same place as him, I feel connected to him. Growing up, his teachings and ideas pertaining to non-violence and service were instilled in me,” she says.
The Gandhi quote also speaks to what motivates Jyoti today. With more than seven years at Nash Disability Law, she explains her work this way: “I primarily advocate for clients at the administrative and United States district court levels, but I also frequently assist with intake and case management matters. I manage and train the support staff in the hearing team and develop systems for best practices to ensure that we are working as effectively as possible for our clients.
I find it a privilege to speak and advocate for people who are not able to do so for themselves. I studied Kinesiology (the science of physical activity and how it affects human health and well-being) before I became a lawyer and I have a unique perspective in evaluating cases because of my science background. Before going to law school, I also researched and studied endocrine disruption as a result of environmental exposure to dioxins. I can quickly assess how a claimant’s medical profile will impact their functionality. Helping people get the monetary benefits is helpful to clients, but I feel very strongly about having access to care. I am especially driven in cases where clients do not have coverage to address their medical needs. I think that my perspective is different because I grew up in Canada where I never saw people who were completely without insurance.”
When she is not advocating for Nash clients, Jyoti keeps busy with a wide range of hobbies, activities, and volunteer work. In fact, it is hard to keep up with her and everything she manages to pack into a week. She has an affinity for anything related to technology. “There is a running joke at the firm that I am tech support,” she says with a chuckle, “because I am always called on to help with NDL co-workers’ computers and gadgets.” At five years old Jyoti started playing piano and in elementary school she began taking examinations with the Royal Conservatory of Canada until she moved to the U.S. when she was 23. She still loves to play and has married her interests in technology and music by having a piano which connects with her MacBook. She has a passion for the arts and there are more than a few offices in the firm decorated with her handmade origami flower bouquets.
She also expresses her creative side through cooking and is known to make scrumptious French macaroons and homemade ice cream. She trains in kettlebell sport and competed in her first competition last year in the Chicago Kettlebell Classic. And yet, somehow, she finds time to volunteer, as well. “I have been sitting on the South Asian Bar Association Foundation as a trustee and in 2017 I will assume the role of President,” she explains. “I have taken on a significant role in fundraising for the Cyriac Kappil Pro Bono Legal Clinic which is run by volunteer attorneys to help individuals who are unable to afford legal counsel. I organize two events a year to fundraise for the Foundation. The first is a Guest Bartender event with high profile South Asians in the Chicago community acting as bartenders and the other is a Gandhi Jayanti Cultural Program.” (See the news item “Gandhi Jayanti: Honoring an Inspirational World Leader” in this month’s newsletter for more about this event.)
So, as you can see, there is a long list of things that light up Jyoti Raval. But if you really want to see her smile, talk to her about hockey. Raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, she is a hockey fanatic (like any good Canadian) and is a diehard Canucks fan.