Campbell Law Spotlight: Sofia Baneth ’23

Photo of Sofia Baneth '23

Campbell Law School’s Sofia Baneth ’23 has chosen to begin her practice as an Honors Attorney with the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.

For Baneth, it has always been important to do work she can stand by and that she feels is making a difference in the world. Her professional experiences and time at Campbell Law have given her the “access to all the tools necessary to do work she believes in and to use those tools in a way that positively impacts the world.” Baneth, a North Carolina native, attended undergraduate at American University where she earned a bachelor of arts in communications, legal institutions, economics and government. Upon graduation, she was unsure of her path but had always been drawn to policy work. She began working at the D.C. Volunteer Lawyers Project, a legal non-profit that represents domestic violence survivors, child custody and Guardian Ad Litem cases. It was here that Baneth set her mind on law school.

While working at the D.C. Volunteer Lawyers Project, Baneth said she spent a lot of time in D.C. Superior Court doing meaningful and incredible work that influenced her decision to attend law school. Baneth then began working at Van Ness Feldman on environmental policy work in Washington, D.C. This solidified her decision to attend law school and after receiving her acceptance, Baneth returned to her home state to begin her first year at Campbell Law in fall 2020.As a law student, Baneth immersed herself in the school community. She was a staff member and Publication Editor of the Campbell Law Review. She competed with the Old Kivett Advocacy Council and worked in the Blanchard Community Law Clinic. Further, Baneth served as a Teaching Scholar for Professor Greg Wallace’s Constitutional Law class and as the Lead Article Editor for the Antitrust Law Journal.Baneth also accumulated a wide array of professional experience while attending Campbell Law, including working for the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor doing employment litigation for the employee-side; the N.C. Department of Justice, Office of the Solicitor General doing state and U.S. constitutional and appellate litigation; and the Law Offices of F. Bryan Brice doing public interest environmental litigation.Baneth is passionate about constitutional law and said she knew from her first day of law school she wanted to work for the federal government. Having a federal government internship with the U.S. Department of Labor was the first step toward her goal. However, each of her experiences shaped her professional journey and played a role in getting her where she is today.

Her advice to students is to “try all experiences that fit your interests. One of the incredible things about this degree and profession is the versatility. Throughout my professional experiences during law school, I worked on cases involving employment law, constitutional law and regulatory law. All are relevant in my current role. Be open to all of the opportunities that become available to you.”

In each of these professional experiences, Baneth worked on substantively relevant work to what she is doing in her post-graduate role. Baneth’s most memorable experience was working on a prominent Supreme Court affirmative action case while at the N.C. Department of Justice. In her search for externships, internships and post-graduate positions, Baneth utilized the various resources available at the Campbell Law Career Center. “Campbell’s Career Center is top-notch,” Baneth said. “To give one example, when I got a first-round interview with USDOT, I reached out to Assistant Dean April Giancola, who immediately connected me with a current USDOT attorney. That attorney explained what it means to serve as a federal government attorney, which helped me immensely in my subsequent interviews. The individuals in the Career Center are highly talented and strong professional advocates. Utilize all of the Career Center resources.”

Baneth, who was valedictorian of her graduating class, told her classmates at graduation that just 0.4 percent of the U.S. population works as a lawyer, making it a privilege that also comes with responsibilities, including explaining the law, working hard for clients, solving problems and continuing to support each other while representing the Campbell Law School community.

Baneth began her post-graduate job as an Honors Attorney for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) on Aug. 14, 2023.  The two-year Honors Attorney Program allows new attorneys to begin working for the federal government. The program is unique in that Honors Attorneys complete one rotation in the USDOT’s Office of the General Counsel and five rotations in different USDOT sub-agencies in their respective Offices of the Chief Counsel. It is a prestigious position and only five Honors Attorneys, either graduating students or students completing clerkships, were hired.

Baneth explains that all of the Honors Attorneys are from different law schools and different parts of the country. “It is a very powerful thing that the Honors Attorneys are such a diverse group because it is important we represent the diversity of the country,” she added.

Baneth just began her first rotation with the Maritime Administration, where she will be having a strong focus on constitutional law. She is “grateful to have the opportunity to gain experience in various practice areas, particularly administrative, environmental and constitutional law, as well as engage in litigation, transactional work and regulatory enforcement and rulemaking.”



Ashley Van Slyck '24 Writer

This article is related to: