By: Amanda Tersigni | Staff Writer
On February 24, 2017, I had the pleasure of interviewing Raspreet Bhatia, Esq. to obtain insight on embarking on her legal journey.
Ms. Bhatia’s Background
Ms. Bhatia is a 2016 graduate of St. John’s University School of Law and was subsequently admitted to the bar in December 2016. Ms. Bhatia received her undergraduate degree in English, as well as a minor in Urban Studies, from Queens College in 2013. She immediately embarked on her law school journey the following fall semester.
Ms. Bhatia’s motivation for attending law school was that law school would present her with a challenge that would stimulate intense thoughts on issues that are presented on a daily basis. Indeed, upon her commencement of law school, Ms. Bhatia anticipated “gaining knowledge on the gray areas of the controversial legal issues.”
Ms. Bhatia’s Legal Experiences
Ms. Bhatia has an interesting background. During her 1L summer into her 2L fall semester, she worked as a Legal Intern for the Law Offices of Tacopina & Seigel, a Manhattan-based law firm that specializes in criminal defense, civil, and securities litigation. As a Legal Intern, Ms. Bhatia assisted in criminal defense and personal injury matters and obtained insightful, hands-on experience into legal work by drafting interrogatories, affidavits, and memoranda of law that related to personal injury claims and allegations. In addition, she had the opportunity to produce trial notebooks, expert binders, and trial exhibits.
Going into December of Ms. Bhatia’s 2L year, she worked as a Law Clerk for Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro LLP, one of New York metro area’s top personal injury litigation firms. There, she continued to expand on her legal experiences in personal injury work and medical malpractice matters. Specifically, Ms. Bhatia drafted legal documents and assisted in organizing trials and preparing for mediations. Ms. Bhatia spent one year at Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro LLP.
During her 3L semester, Ms. Bhatia worked in the Legal and Compliance Department at the Bank of China, Commodities and Futures (USA) LLC, a bank with subsidiaries in New York, London, Singapore, and Hong Kong that provides a wide variety of investment banking services for clients. As a Law Clerk, she handled matters that involved SEC regulations, Dodd Frank, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and various FINRA regulations. Specifically, Ms. Bhatia drafted corporate governance documentation and regulatory reports as well as analyzed commercial real estate leases, non-disclosure agreements and loan agreements with a maximum amount of $250,000. Notably, she reviews anti-money laundering provisions for Bank of China’s United States and Hong Kong subsidiaries. She spent four months at the Bank of China.
Ms. Bhatia’s Current Position
Ms. Bhatia’s exposure to commercial transactions at Bank of China piqued her interest in mergers and acquisition. Indeed, she was interested in that field upon entering law school. She found the subject matter to be very stimulating and interesting. However, she decided to expand her horizons to consider difference finance-related areas of the law, which ultimately lead her to the position with David A. Gallo & Associates, LLP, formerly known as Sweeney Gallo Reich & Bolz LLP. The firm represents lenders, servicers, buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants, brokers and developers in a wide range of real estate transactions.
Collectively, Ms. Bhatia’s experiences afforded her the opportunity for the position she is in now as an Associate Attorney with David A. Gallo & Associates, LLP. She has obtained diversified experiences in several areas of the law and has engaged in hands-on work in each of those positions. This helped her acquire a practical understanding of the legal profession.
Now, she works in the firm’s Uncontested Foreclosure Department, where she represents banks and financial lenders throughout New York State in residential and commercial mortgage foreclosure actions. As an Associate Attorney, Ms. Bhatia assists lenders in loss mitigation, senior lien monitoring, and modification agreements. Furthermore, she drafts and reviews Motions to Restore, Motions to Vacate, Affidavits of Merit & Amount Due, Oaths and Reports, Orders of Reference and Judgments of Foreclosure and Sale. Additionally, she analyzes foreclosure title reports, Department of Housing and Urban Development forms, and Bankruptcy Petitions and Schedules. Ms. Bhatia also gets to prepare for referee hearings by reviewing mortgages, notes, pay off history sheets and escrow advances.
During the interview, Ms. Bhatia appeared enthusiastic about her current position and hopes the skills she obtains will allow her to constantly move forward in the legal community and enable her to be involved with a mergers and acquisitions department within the real estate industry.
Reflecting on Law School
Thinking back on law school, Ms. Bhatia stated that she thoroughly enjoyed her time at St. John’s. Specifically, she enjoyed learning about different areas of the law; those areas that are both known and unknown, such as criminal law and constitutional law. While at St. John’s, Ms. Bhatia participated in the Securities Arbitration Clinic and absolutely loved her experience there. Specifically, she stated that her time in the Clinic was a “great hands-on experience working with clients and doing first-hand motion work within a field that I was interested in.”
Even though she loved the Clinic, Ms. Bhatia’s most memorable moments come from her involvement in St. John’s Dispute Resolution Society (“DRS”). As a member of DRS, Ms. Bhatia was fortunate enough to compete in the International Chamber of Commerce competition in Paris, France, one of the largest Mediation competition on an international spectrum where hundreds of participants attend this competition. Competitors expand your network and obtain invaluable practical experience in one of the most utilized skills in the legal profession: mediation.
Advice to Current Law Students
I then asked Ms. Bhatia to consider providing advice to herself as a 1L. Ms. Bhatia’s response was to “write concisely and understand the broader aspects of subject matter for each course to excel on the exam.”
Ms. Bhatia’s interview left me with a very inspirational feeling with her final thoughts. She stressed that I should “not be discouraged” if I am unable to get my dream position right away because “through experience and learning from colleagues, you will be able to have mobility within other departments or into other firms.” Ms. Bhatia’s advice and background truly inspired me as a St. John’s graduate and a woman in the legal field.
Her background and words of wisdom allowed me to understand the importance of focusing on where I hope to end up in the long run versus right away. Ms. Bhatia encouraged me to continuously enjoy my time in law school because that time is so precious and before you know it, you are graduated and out there in the world!
I left the interview with newfound lessons. First, it is essential to continue to put yourself out there, networks with others, and always keep your options open. Second, it is important to understand that there is plenty of time for growth and flexibility going forward in your law school career. In the words of Ms. Bhatia: with hard work and perseverance, you truly can meet your goals in life and that the overall experiences will be rewarding.