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Hueston Hennigan Has First South Asian, Muslim, Openly Gay Chief

Jan. 9, 2023, 10:00 AM

Hueston Hennigan elected its first South Asian, Muslim, and openly gay managing partner, a collection of experiences that remain underrepresented in the leadership ranks of law firms.

Moez Kaba’s promotion to the top post marks the boutique firm’s first leadership transition since its 2015 founding.

Kaba is a founding partner of the boutique, launched by former Irell & Manella lawyers John Hueston and Brian Hennigan. The Southern California litigation shop’s clients have included Amazon.com Inc., Tesla Inc., Peloton Interactive Inc., and ViacomCBS, now known as Paramount Global.

The 41-year-old’s path to managing partner is a rarity among the legal elite. The son of Pakistani immigrants, he had never met a lawyer before attending Cornell University and, later, Columbia Law School.

Asian American lawyers are the second largest racial or ethnic group among all law firm attorneys, but fewer Asian American attorneys are represented in executive roles relative to their total firm representation, according to the most recent Vault/Minority Corporate Counsel Association data.

Moez Kaba

His election follows the promotions of fellow South Asian lawyers Vineet Bhatia last year and Kalpana Srinivasan in 2020 as managing partners of boutique Susman Godfrey.

Kaba is a mentor to several junior lawyers from underrepresented backgrounds, and he said counseling them through their doubts and anxieties over their talents and accomplishments is an important priority for him.

He credits the work ethic of his father, a cab driver who worked 16-hour days, for his legal aspirations.

“That kind of spirit is what led me to pursue the law—I wanted to speak the language of influence and change,” Kaba said in an interview.

Kaba clerked for former federal Judge Raymond Fisher after law school before practicing at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and later Irell & Manella.

Last year he secured $239 million in damages for Monster Energy Co. in a false advertising and trade secrets case against the maker of Bang Energy and its CEO Jack Owoc over the drink’s “super creatine” branding.

In pro bono work he has challenged the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and state bans on same sex-marriage on behalf of women’s rights groups. He’s also represented the Council of American-Islamic Relations to defend a local school ordinance seeking to combat bullying of Muslim students.

“There is no one better suited to lead our firm into the future,” John Hueston said in a statement.

Kaba said he’s excited about the launch of the firm’s new New York office, where he’ll split his time as managing partner.

“I’m excited to continue building on the firm’s reputation and record,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tiana Headley at theadley@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com