Alpita Shah is a partner in the aviation group at Chico & Nunes, a small minority-owned law firm in Chicago. She is also on the Advisory Board of Valqari, a Chicago-based start-up in the drone delivery sector focusing on medical and pharma logistics solutions during the global pandemic.

Throughout her career, Ms. Shah has found most satisfaction in developing and implementing creative solutions to address public sector challenges. She has held executive positions in government at the local, federal and international levels and has led teams on high-profile matters in various sectors, including aviation, finance and global health.

Most recently, Alpita served as Senior Counsel in the Aviation, Environmental, Regulatory and Contracts division of the law department at the City of Chicago. In that role, she advised the Mayor’s office and other senior officials on legislative, procurement and regulatory matters. She also negotiated critical agreements on behalf of the City, including a 15-year use and lease agreement for airlines operating at for O’Hare International Airport and a fast-track contract for the Chicago Police Department to acquire tasers, body cameras and related cloud-based technology. Her interest in drones was sparked when her office drafted the 2015 Chicago ordinance on “small unmanned aircraft.”

Prior to her tenure at the City of Chicago, Ms. Shah served as special advisor to the CEO of World Business Chicago, focusing on economic compacts between Chicago and its international sister cities (e.g. Mexico City and Shanghai), as well as business environment and neighborhood development strategies. Prior to this role, Alpita was Counsel in the emerging markets practice group at the global law firm Mayer Brown, where she represented international financial institutions and, on a pro-bono basis, local community development organizations.

Before returning to her hometown of Chicago in 2011, Alpita spent a decade in Washington D.C. as a lawyer and policy advisor for Presidential-appointed officials in the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the World Bank. In these positions, she negotiated debt relief and other financing agreements between the U.S. and developing countries, as well as coordinated economic reconstruction efforts in war torn regions in the Middle East and Southeastern Europe. She earned a Meritorious Honor Award from the State Department for her work in establishing the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and Treasury Department Honors for negotiating the first U.S. government “Debt-for-Nature Swap” to preserve tropical rain forests in Belize.

Ms. Shah holds a B.A. in Economics (summa cum laude), from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She is also a certified yoga teacher and will graduate in 2021 from a 2-year mindfulness meditation teacher certification program with UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. Alpita loves hiking in nature and looks forward to becoming a skilled drone pilot/photographer.

Submitted by:
Alpita Shaw
Law Partner
Chico & Nunes