Mission: RELA's mission is introducing law students to the intersection between law and the real estate industry, and showing students the various roles that real estate plays in their lives and careers. With support from the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, RELA works in cooperation with its sister group, the UCLA Anderson Real Estate Association, to expose law students to mentors as well as potential future clients or business partners. RELA also seeks to strengthen the connection between UCLA law students and the greater Los Angeles real estate community by engaging with social issues related to real estate.
RELA Board Members
2023-24 RELA Board Members and Biographies
Co-President - Jake Lebovic
Jake is a third-year law student from Dana Point, CA. He received a BA in Political Science from Tufts University. Before attending UCLA Law, Jake worked in legal services on issues of housing and homelessness, and as a paralegal at a civil rights nonprofit where he coordinated an emergency rental assistance program and provided litigation support on Fair Housing matters.
As a member of RELA during 1L, Jake's team won first place at the Pircher, Nichols & Meeks Joint Venture Competition. He then interned in the California Attorney General's Land Law, Environment, and Natural Resources Sections and was Summer Associate in Holland & Knight's Real Estate Practice Group. In his free time, Jake enjoys playing and watching soccer, surfing, and hiking.
Co-President - Ariel Yomtobian
Ariel is a second-year JD/MBA student at UCLA with a strong passion for real estate. A Los Angeles native, he is a USC Marshall School of Business graduate and brings with him three years of hands-on experience in the field of real estate finance, with a focus on REITs and multi-family investments. In his 1L year, Ariel served as a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Martin R. Barash in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California. Beyond his academic pursuits, Ariel enjoys playing basketball, traveling, and actively pursuing his entrepreneurial ambitions.
Vice President - Shanee Cohen
Shanee Cohen is a third-year UCLA law student specializing in international tax law specifically as it pertains to real estate transactions. Prior to law school, Shanee spent several years working in the real estate field facilitating entitlements for development projects, obtaining financing, documenting and structuring complex joint venture transactions, and advancing private equity investments. On the estate planning side, she has accelerated major asset valuation discounting strategies, placed real estate assets into tax-efficient private insurance structures (namely PPLI/PPVA), and has overseen derivatives-based tax structuring projects.
Co-Vice President of Operations - James Johansen
James is a Master of Legal Studies student at UCLA with an emphasis in Business Law. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Economics from Brigham Young University. Prior to attending UCLA, he worked as Vice President for US Bancorp NA as the Underwriting Manager for Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Structured Finance Nationally and worked as Vice President for RealtyMogul as Head of Underwriting and a member of the Investment Committee. James has overseen the underwriting and capitalization, financing, or development for over $14B in real estate transactions. James served as an Assistant Scout Master for Boy Scouts of America for 3 years and served as an Annual Conference Council Member of the Urban Land Institute Salt Lake Chapter for two years. He is an active member of CREFC, NAIOP SoCal Young Professions Group, ICSC and is an assistant coach for PopWarner football.
Co-Vice President of Operations - Kylee Conway
Kylee is a second-year law student originally from Wilmington, North Carolina. Kylee graduated from UCLA in 2021 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Public Affairs. Prior to attending UCLA Law, Kylee was a licensed real estate agent in the Bay Area, she worked with buyers and sellers in the residential market which solidified her interests in the fields of real estate, development, and land use. As a 1L, Kylee worked as a summer associate for the real estate team at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, where she plans to return in summer 2024.
Co-Treasurer - Maytal Sarafian
Maytal is a second-year law student at UCLA School of Law born and raised in Los Angeles. Maytal has grown fascinated with the impact that all aspects of the real estate market have had and continue to have on the great city. While in college, Maytal obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis in Real Estate.
In addition to serving as secretary/treasurer of RELA, Maytal is currently earning two specializations - one in Tax and the other in Business - and further participates as a member of the Trust and Estates Planning Law Association. Outside of School, Maytal enjoys playing soccer, martial arts, and playing piano.
Co-Treasurer - Rohan Gandhi
Rohan is a second-year law student at the UCLA School of Law, with a keen interest in affordable housing development, land use, and complex real estate transactions. Rohan graduated with a business degree from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, after which he worked at Ernst & Young (EY) for 3 years as a management consultant in Toronto.
This past summer, Rohan was a 1L summer associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he will be returning for his 2L summer. In his 1L year, Rohan placed 1st in the Holland & Knight Real Estate Joint Venture competition, and served as a volunteer in the El Centro Tenants' Rights Clinic. Rohan has an extensive international background: in addition to being born in India, Rohan spent 14 years in Dubai and an additional 11 years in Canada. He has also travelled to over 30 different countries and is a fluent speaker of 4 languages. In his free time, Rohan enjoys playing tennis, hiking, chess, and drinking milkshakes on the beach.
AREA Liaison - David Khakshooy
David, a 2L student born and raised in Los Angeles, has no plans to leave his hometown anytime soon. Despite his Trojan roots, he's switched his football allegiance. His interest in real estate began during an undergraduate internship with a developer focused on affordable housing in underrepresented communities. Last summer, David worked at a boutique real estate litigation firm specializing in disputes related to rental, development, and property sales.
Director of Alumni Affairs - Jonathan Winner
Jonathan is a second-year law student hailing from Carson, CA, set to take on the position of Director of Alumni Affairs on the RELA Board for the 2023-24 school year. His passion lies at the intersection of real estate, land use, and renewable energy projects. During his undergraduate years, Jonathan pursued a major in History at UCLA. Driven by an enduring enthusiasm for Real Estate, he eagerly looks forward to curating engaging and educational initiatives within this vibrant industry.
Co-Directors of Outreach - Leila Soltani
Leila is a second-year law student from Palos Verdes, California. She attended UCLA for undergrad, and is a proud Double Bruin. After college, Leila worked as a realtor for Keller Williams Realty. Leila’s passion for real estate stems from her family’s involvement in custom residential real estate development in the South Bay. As a summer associate at Perspective Law Group, Leila was exposed to a large variety of real estate transactions, including hotel acquisitions and lease and purchase transactions.
Co-Directors of Outreach - Jacqueline Gevorgian
Jacqueline was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She received her bachelor’s degree from UCLA in 2021 and is currently a second-year law student at the UCLA School of Law. Prior to attending law school, Jaqueline worked at AMG & Associates, a real estate development firm that specializes in the development of affordable housing. As a 1L, she spent her summer interning at ADEPT Development, Architecture, and Construction. Jacqueline is interested in pursuing a career in real estate development and plans to pursue a master’s degree in real estate development after graduating from law school.
Director of Communications - Connor Green
Connor Green is a third-year law student at UCLA School of Law who is interested in real estate law and litigation. Connor was born in East Lansing, Michigan, and earned his Bachelor's Degree in English at the University of Georgia. While at UGA, Connor served as the Vice-President of the Phi Kappa Literary Society and as a student senator. Connor currently serves as the Business Manager of the Disability Law Journal and enjoys brewing espresso, writing, and sampling sushi spots across Los Angeles.
2022-23 RELA Board Members and Biographies
President: Nathan Elyasi
Nathan is a third-year law student at UCLA School of Law interested in all areas of real estate. Nathan was born and raised in Santa Monica and obtained his Bachelor of Science in Business (Accounting) from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. While in college, Nathan was a tax intern at Holthouse, Carlin & Van Trigt and had various other tax accounting roles.
At UCLA, Nathan serves as the Business Manager of the UCLA Law Review and one of the Peter Bren Fellows in Entrepreneurial Real Estate. As a Summer Associate at Gibson Dunn, Nathan was exposed to various real estate joint ventures, hotel acquisitions, and other complex real estate issues. In his free time, Nathan enjoys martial arts, swimming, biking, and surfing.
Executive Vice President: Paarth Shah
Paarth is a 3L JD-MBA student at UCLA interested in urban renewal and affordable housing development. A graduate of Princeton University, Paarth has worked at Strategy&, Cognizant, Bank of America, and Baker Botts. Outside of school, Paarth enjoys hiking, playing fantasy sports, and trying out various late-night taco spots across LA and SoCal.
Vice Presidents of Operations: Jake Lebovic & Audrey Jang
Jake is a second-year law student from Dana Point, CA. He received a BA in Political Science from Tufts University. After college, Jake worked in legal services on issues of housing and homelessness, and as a paralegal at Lawyers for Civil Rights where he coordinated an emergency rental assistance program and provided litigation support on Fair Housing matters.
During 1L, Jake volunteered in the El Centro Tenants' Rights Clinic, and his team won first place at the Pircher, Nichols & Meeks Joint Venture Competition. He then interned in the California Attorney General's Land Law, Environmental, and Natural Resources Sections. In his free time, Jake enjoys playing and watching soccer, hiking, and dancing to reggaeton.
Audrey Jang is a 2L and dual degree student pursuing UCLA's J.D.-Master in Urban and Regional Planning program. She is from Koreatown, Los Angeles, and is passionate about the intersection of real estate and community development. She has focused her studies on housing development and finance, looks forward to a career in land use law. She also serves on the board of the Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust, and is excited to connect her peers to opportunities for supporting community-driven real estate development initiatives in Los Angeles. Outside of school, Audrey enjoys running half marathons, salsa dancing, and creative writing.
Secretary/Treasurer: Katherine Meek
Katherine is a rising 3L student at UCLA School of Law who is interested in real estate, land use, and natural resource issues. Specifically, she is interested in achieving policy solutions which balance private property rights against the public’s right to future access of natural resources. In addition to serving as the secretary/treasurer of RELA, Katherine is an Articles Editor for UCLA’s Journal of Environmental Law and Policy and a member of UCLA’s Environmental Law Society, Intellectual Property Law Association, and International Human Rights Law Association.
Director of Alumni Affairs: Hannah Schwartz
Hannah is a second-year law student originally from San Diego, California. Hannah graduated from UC Berkeley in 2018 with a B.A. in Political Economy and a minor in City & Regional Planning. Prior to attending UCLA Law, Hannah worked in public policy in the Bay Area, which solidified her interests in the fields of housing, land use, real estate, and community development.
As a 1L, Hannah volunteered with the El Centro Tenants' Rights Legal Clinic, and provided research and advocacy support for several affordable housing initiatives at Public Law Center. Over the summer of 2022, Hannah worked as a legal intern with the California Attorney General's Office: Land Use and Conservation Section.
Director of Outreach: Mahmood Jeewa
Mahmood is second-year law student and will be serving as the Director of Outreach on the RELA Board for the 2022-23 school year. During undergraduate, Mahmood majored in Real Estate Finance and was both the Finance Chair and then Vice President of the Real Estate Association. Mahmood also has extensive experience in property management. Real Estate has always been a passion of Mahmood's and he is looking forward to making fun and informative!
Director of Communications: Laurel Benson
Laurel is a second-year law student from Orange County, California. She attended UCLA for undergrad, and is a proud Double Bruin. Prior to this, she worked as a professional ballet dancer with companies in Germany, Seattle, and Salt Lake City. She also served as a company representative for the American Guild of Musical Artists where she participated in contract negotiations and advocated for artists’ rights. Laurel's passion for real estate stems from her family's involvement in industrial real estate throughout the Los Angeles area.