Subodh Chandra

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Subodh Chandra

Subodh Chandra is the founding and managing partner of The Chandra Law Firm, LLC.

Chandra's practice focuses on high-profile civil and appellate litigation, including civil-rights, employment, and business litigation; and on internal investigations and white-collar-criminal law, in both federal and state courts. The litigation that Chandra handles often has a crisis-communications, public-policy dimension.

Before founding the firm, Chandra served as Director of Law of the City of Cleveland, a billion-dollar corporation. Chandra led the work of an 82-lawyer department with both criminal and civil divisions. He also sometimes served as the City's acting mayor.

As Cleveland's general counsel, Chandra handled legal work in-house and slashed by nearly 90% spending on outside counsel, saving millions; moved vigorously through in-house investigations to clean up internal corruption; restored the department's reputation; and attracted top performers who helped make it Ohio's most diverse law firm.

Previously, as federal prosecutor, Chandra successfully prosecuted health-care fraud and corruption-winning recognition from FBI director Robert Mueller. Before that, Chandra served as a litigator in large firms in both Cleveland and Los Angeles, and served as special presidential counsel at the American Bar Association.

Chandra is a graduate of the Yale Law School, where he was executive editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review. He also graduated with honors and distinction from Stanford University, which awarded him the John Gardner Fellowship to work with Ohio Governor Dick Celeste.

Chandra has served as Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, teaching appellate practice and legal ethics. He has served as an ethics expert in litigation.

Long active in assisting people who aspire to public service, Chandra was also a 2006 candidate for Ohio Attorney General, winning most newspaper endorsements. The Cincinnati Enquirer called Chandra "the best candidate Ohio Democrats have produced in years." Chandra presently serves on a Special Ohio Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Chandra is admitted to practice law in Ohio, California, and New Mexico (inactive), and in federal courts around the country.[1]

He is married to Meena Morey Chandra.

Obama connection


Considered for US Attorney

Nov 16, 2008, a new administration in Washington will mean a new U.S. attorney in Cleveland, and speculation about who that might be has already begun.

Among the early names mentioned are Steve Dettelbach, who prosecuted Nate Gray and went to law school with President-elect Barack Obama, as well as former federal prosecutors James Wooley and Subodh Chandra and Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Steve Dever.

Whoever is tapped will take over an office that employs more than 75 attorneys and covers 40 northern Ohio counties. That person also will inherit a massive corruption probe in Cuyahoga County that threatens to ensnare some of the region's most powerful politicians.

Interim U.S. Attorney Bill Edwards took over the office earlier this year after Greg White became a federal magistrate judge. Edwards, 64, plans to retire after a new U.S. attorney is named.

The U.S. attorney's office prosecutes federal crimes. Top priorities set by the Bush administration include terrorism and gun crimes.

The emphasis could change under an Obama administration. Terrorism will probably remain at the top of the list, Edwards said, but more resources could go into fighting mortgage fraud or potential misuse of the $700 billion in federal bailout money.

It's tradition for U.S. senators to weigh in on U.S. attorney appointments in the states they represent. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Avon Democrat, will play a critical role in the choice.

Subodh Chandra, 41, is best known as the law director for the city of Cleveland under former Mayor Jane Campbell. Before working at City Hall, Chandra was an assistant U.S. attorney in Cleveland for more than three years.

"It was the best legal job I've ever had," said Chandra of his stint as a federal prosecutor.

Chandra said his proudest moment as an assistant U.S. attorney came when decided not to pursue a charge of health care fraud against a physician after determining she did not intend to commit a crime.

At the same time, Chandra said, the FBI recognized him for his prosecution of such cases.

Chandra said if he is selected as U.S. attorney, "I think I would be firm, but fair."

He grew up in Norman, Okla., and came to Cleveland to work for the Thompson Hine law firm.

Chandra sought the Democratic nomination for Ohio attorney general in 2006 but lost out to Marc Dann.

He was among Obama's earliest supporters, hosting fund-raisers when the Illinois senator was still considered a long shot to win the Democratic nomination.[2]


In May 1987, a series of fliers publicizing a forum on affirmative action angered members of the Stanford community. The publicity was put out by a Stanford Workshop on Political and Social Issues (SWOPSI) group in charge of the forum to be held In Cubberley Auditorium. The fliers were distributed in the dining rooms of Wilbur, Florence Moore and Stern Halls beginning on Friday night and contained brief statements on affirmative action that were designed to provoke thought and discussion on the issue, according to Subodh Chandra, a member of the SWOPSI group in charge of the forum. Trouble resulted because the fliers were unsigned and the first ones distributed contained messages opposed to affirmative action. These initial fliers contained such statements as "the only blacks, Hispanics and American Indiansadmitted to institutions of higher education are admitted through affirmative action." Chandra admitted. In hindsight, that some of the statements were "unreasonable" and "extremist."[3]

Supporting Anna Eshoo

Gone are the days of door-to-door campaign handshakes. In the high-tech environment of Silicon Valley, the newest political campaign innovation is door-to-door videotapes. More than 100 members of the Stanford Democrats attended a rally Saturday morning to distribute campaign videos for 12th Congressional District candidate Anna Eshoo. According to Subodh Chandra, cochair of the Stanford Democrats, this is the "first time in American political history" that videotapes have been used in neighborhood campaigning. Volunteers dropped off 90,000 free tapes at individual homes over the weekend, and the Eshoo campaign plans to distribute 20,000 over the next few weeks. The eight-and-a-half minute campaign shot shows Eshoo explaining her reasons for running, her view of the district's role in the country and her differences with Republican opponent Tom Campbell, a Stanford law professor.

According to Cliff Staton, press agent for the Eshoo campaign, the Democratic candidate believes this method of campaigning is the most effective way to communicate with the voters because television commercials are "expensive" and too brief to deal with the issues, while mass mailings tend to be thrown away as junk mail. Each video costs $1.22, the same amount as four campaign letters. According to Staton, response has been "tremendous" and voters have reacted positively. There has not yet been a concerted effort to distribute the video on campus. But, yesterday in White Plaza Stanford Democrats handed out a few tapes to interested voters on the condition that they return them or promise to pass the videos on to other voters.[4]

Stanford Democrats

Katherine Van Uum, co-chair of the Stanford Democrats, 1988. The Other co-chair was Subodh Chandra.[5][6]


Subodh Chandra, of Norman, Okla., graduated from Stanford with distinction in sociology and political science. At Stanford, Chandra served as chair of the Stanford Democrats for three years, as assistant director of Stanford-in-Government and as regional coordinator for the Bike-Aid development project. He will spend his fellowship year working in the Bay Area with Steve Westly on the establishment of a new organization, American Leadership Challenge.

Fighting voter "suppression"

From PowerPAC+, on Subodh Chandra.[7]

PowerPAC+ board member Subodh Chandra, a powerhouse civil rights lawyer and leader in the ongoing fight against voter suppression in Ohio, spoke about these discriminatory practices at our Race Will Win the Race conference...

Subodh himself admits that he couldn’t always see the problem with requiring voters to show ID at the polls. That’s how we prove our identity at the airport, right? The problem lies in the types of ID that are acceptable, such as driver’s licenses, state-issued IDs, utility bills and bank statements. “These are forms of ID that poor people don’t have,” Subodh says. Requiring these forms of identification over a social security number places disproportionate burden on low-income, homeless and student voters. Strict photo ID laws, which are the most disenfranchising, are currently on the books in 12 states, and are being pursued in a number of others.
In 2006, Ohio adopted a law allowing poll workers to ask voters whether they were native-born or naturalized citizens, and to demand voters to show proof of naturalization. This was a blatant attempt to restrict the immigrant vote in Ohio. Luckily, Subodh and his law firm challenged the law alongside a number of other voting rights advocates, and a federal court struck it down as unconstitutional “in the strongest terms,” Subodh said.
Subodh is calling on all of us to talk to our friends from across the political spectrum about the realities of voter suppression, and to teach the next generation that every vote matters. “The courts are not going to be the only place we’re going to be able to find a solution. It’s going to take people power,” he said. Almost 50 years ago, the Voting Rights Act gave us the legal means to challenge discrimination in voting, but it is still up to us to locate the injustices in our voting systems and actively seek to correct them.

PowerPac+ Board of Directors

PowerPAC+ Board of Directors, as of 2014 included Subodh Chandra, Cleveland, OH Principal of The Chandra Law Firm.[8]

Race Will Win the Race conference

PowerPAC+ June 25, 2014;

Today's the day! #WINin2014 Race Will Win the Race conference is finally here. Check out what's to come and join us on Twitter @PowerPAC_Plus using #WINin2014. — with Stacey Abrams, Cory Booker, Trey Martinez Fischer, Representative Marcia Fudge and Mark Takano in Washington, District of Columbia.[9]

Race torace.JPG

Plus speakers Aimee Allison, Deepak Bhargava, Susan Sandler, Steve Phillips, Ingrid Nava, Andy Wong, Subodh Chandra, Linda Darling-Hammond, Alida Garcia, Julie Martinez Ortega.

Phillips speaking in Cleveland


Steve Phillips January 10, 2014;

Truly had one of the more moving experiences of my life today. To be able to return to the city where I grew up, be the featured speaker at the city's preeminent civic institution, and share that moment with so many family members, childhood friends, parents of childhood friends, and former schoolmates was very, very significant. Thank you so much everyone who attended, sent your parents, and/or and helped make it happen. #grateful #touched — with Lonnie Lumumba Turner, Meena Morey Chandra, Scott Leland Hamilton, Georgianna Perara Kates, George Sherman Hawkins, Harriet Hawkins, Eric D. Hamilton, Dale Kates, Robert Hawkins, Subodh Chandra, Africa Turner, James Phillips and Janis Carol Cochran.

Sherrod Brown connection

Forum on voting rights

Shaker Heights Democrats Host Forum on Voting Rights With Sherrod Brown, Subodh Chandra, Mon 10/17 @ 7PM, 2016.

One of the area’s most prominent voting rights lawyers who has been challenging Husted is Cleveland’s Subodh Chandra. So he’s the ideal person to talk about the state of voter rights in Ohio. He’ll be hosted by the Shaker Heights Democratic Club in a free forum that also features Senator Sherrod Brown, also a champion for voter rights.

The forum is provocatively — but accurately — titled “Keep On Scheming: How Ohio Secretary of State Husted, Attorney General Mike DeWine and the General Assembly Are Denying and Abridging the Fundamental Right to Vote.” It takes place at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Center.[10]

Fighting for Ohio: The Swing State of Swing States

This June 24, 2016 Democracy in Color podcast with Aimee Allison, is a discussion with David Pepper, Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party and Subodh Chandra, a Cleveland-based civil rights attorney, on how Democratic Party politics in Ohio are adjusting to the New American Majority. [11]

Subodh: I do have some concerns about Governor Strickland and his capacity to win that because of the unusual dynamic in which he is not from Northeast Ohio where the bulk of the Democratic Party votes are, the plurality is. For some reason the connection between people in urban Cleveland and Governor Strickland even through his term as Governor is somewhat minimal. But the fact of the matter is, he has to win that Senate race if we’re going to be able to appoint Supreme Court Justices who are going to protect our civil rights. It is imperative.

I believe that Governor Strickland’s success in running for the Senate is going to be largely dependent upon the kind of infrastructure we build that David has been talking. The strength and vitality of the presidential campaign, the coattail effect if you will, that’s going to be a big part of it [too]. A lot of it is going to be his own ability to raise money, get on TV, fight all of the special interest money that’s going to be aligned against him.

We have a model for that in this state and that is Senator Sherrod Brown. Senator Sherrod Brown is really one of my heroes. Here is somebody who faces down millions of dollars in advertising from special interest anti-environmental groups, pro big corporate interests groups. They put advertisements on him that make him look like the world’s biggest schmuck and yet the electorate understand that he is somebody who rolls up his sleeves, both literally and figuratively, and fights for them. I think if Governor Strickland is able to project that while at the same time appealing to more minority constituencies than he’s been able to historically, combine with the presidential coattail effect, then I think he has a winning race. That’s a lot of ifs but it can come together.

Voting laws struck down

June 2016 Ohio Republicans lost another federal lawsuit over their attempts to restrict Ohioans’voting rights. Judge Algenon L. Marbley of U.S. District Court in Columbus ruled that state officials violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law and the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Democratic appointee’s decision echoes thatof Republican-appointed Judge Michael H. Watson late last month on a separate case that restored a ‘Golden Week’ of early voting Republicans had eliminated. Marbley also banned enforcement of several sections of state law dealing with absentee and provisional voting procedures that caused ballots to be thrown out even for ‘trivial’ paperwork errors such as an error in listing date of birth. While members of the GOP-dominated legislature may not have intentionally set out to racially discriminate when they passed the new laws subsequently signed by Gov. John Kasich, that was the effect, the judge concluded.

The Ohio Democratic Party pressed the suit, originally brought by a pair of organizations for the homeless. Defendants were Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine in their roles of enacting and defending a pair of laws passed by the GOP-dominated legislature. Ohio Democratic Chairman David Pepper said in a statement: ‘For the second time in less than a month, Ohio voters have won a huge victory in the courts, and Secretary of State Jon Husted is being forced to stop making it harder for Ohioans to vote and for every vote to be counted. This trial showed quite clearly that every lawfully cast vote was not being counted here in Ohio. Many lawfully registered Ohioans have had their votes cast aside because of new and unnecessary requirements that were shown to be discriminatory. ... It’s time for Husted, Kasich and Ohio Republicans to stop violating our constitutional right to vote.’ Cleveland attorney Subodh Chandra, who represented the homeless groups, said, ‘Because of the court’s decision, thousands of Ohioans will now have their legitimate votes counted in this fall’s presidential election ” no thanks to Husted and his fellow Republicans’ scheming.′[12]


  1. [1]
  2. [ Cleveland blog, A few lawmen seek out post of U.S. attorney for Cleveland Updated Nov 16, 2008; Posted Nov 16, 2008]
  3. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 191, Issue 56, 11 May 1987]
  4. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 194, Issue 22, 25 October 1988]
  5. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 194, Issue 22, 25 October 1988]
  6. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 194, Issue 32, 8 November 1988]
  7. the Voting Rights Act: Let's Stop the Voting Games [VIDEO Posted by Sophie Rane on August 06, 2014]
  8. PowerPAC+ Board of Directors, accessed Dec. 1, 2014.
  9. [2]
  11. [ Fighting for Ohio: The Swing State of Swing States Democracy in Color Podcast: Episode 3]
  12. [ Ohio loses another voting rights case, By Darrel Rowland Posted Jun 7, 2016 at 12:01 AM]