Campbell Law Spotlight: Riya Bhatt ’24

Photo of Campbell Law student Riya Bhatt '24

At the end of her first spring semester at Campbell Law School, Riya Bhatt ‘24 packed up her bags and embarked on a solo travel journey spanning five different countries in just five weeks. International travel is a passion of Bhatt’s and she sees benefits of her travel translate into her professional life.

Since high school, Bhatt has been drawn to the legal field and dreamed of attending law school. After high school, Bhatt attended North Carolina State University where she earned a B.A. in political science and a minor in Spanish. While an undergraduate student, Bhatt spent a summer studying abroad at Oxford University in England. After graduating from N.C. State, Bhatt spent a year and a half working at Raleigh’s Morton Law Offices, where she gained hands-on experience in family law and initiated the application process for law school.

In fall 2021, Bhatt began her first year at Campbell Law. As a student, Bhatt is on the Campbell Mock Trial team. She competed at the MLK Jr. Civil Rights Competition in Sacramento, California, and at the Estrella Trial Advocacy Competition in Puerto Rico. She is also involved in Moot Court and serves as the managing partner for Pro Bono’s Campbell Law Innocence Project.

During her first summer as a law students, Bhatt interned with the Wake County Public Defender’s Office, which she says solidified her desire to be a litigator. Bhatt reflects on what an exceptional experience this was, owed in large part to the attorneys in the office that served as her mentors. As part of her internship, Bhatt shadowed these attorneys in court, saw full trials from start to finish, conducted intake interviews, visited clients in jail and conducted legal research and writing. She said she experienced the emotional difficulties that encompass being a public defender and appreciates the valuable experience she gained there.

After concluding her internship with the Wake County Public Defender’s office, Bhatt set out on her next international travel to St. Andrews, Scotland, where she completed the Academy of the Advocate international program through Baylor Law School. This study abroad trial advocacy opportunity involved a deep dive into each part of a trial and trial attorneys’ roles. It included studying courses taught by various judges and attorneys, including Campbell Law’s very own Dean J. Rich Leonard, trying cases daily and participating in a final full trial. While studying abroad, students are provided a weekend for travel which Bhatt took advantage of, visiting Amsterdam, Netherlands.

During her second summer of law school, Bhatt spent the first five weeks of her summer on a remarkable solo trip to five different countries, including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and finally wrapping up in Aruba. Bhatt said the most memorable part of her five-week journey was an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, where she was able to walk with and feed elephants. Bhatt added that her solo travels built confidence and cultural experience that will translates into her career, including “learning to trust yourself more and know that it is OK to ask questions and for help when you need it.”

After returning from her five-week international journey, Bhatt spent the remainder of her second summer at Bailey & Dixon learning about civil litigation, particularly, insurance defense, tenant/landlord disputes, property and employment law work. She said she thoroughly enjoyed the work and describes her experience with Bailey and Dixon as “exceptional.”

Currently, Bhatt is working as a legal intern at Campbell Law’s Gailor Family Law Litigation Clinic. Through this opportunity, she said she is able to represent clients in court and gain hands-on experience in family law. Her time in the clinic has been pivotal in her decision to pursue a career in family law after graduation in May 2024.