From Campus Leader to West Coast Litigator: Aditi Ghatlia ’18 Turns Theory Into Practice

Ghatlia graduating from law school at the University of California, Berkeley in 2022

Ghatlia graduated from law school at the University of California, Berkeley in 2022

At Davidson College, Duke scholar Aditi Ghatlia ’18 found her confidence as a leader, a teammate and a problem solver.

Now, working as a litigator in San Francisco, she continues to seek out tight-knit communities where she can grow and flourish. 

Ghatlia attended a small, all-girls high school in Connecticut and spent her senior year at the Shanghai American School in a class of around 100 students. When it came time to apply to colleges, she had her heart set on a large university and was determined to leave small schools behind. Her father and college counselors encouraged her to keep her options open, so she agreed to apply to Davidson, just in case she changed her mind.

“I visited for a scholarship weekend and immediately felt warm and at home on campus,” Ghatlia said. “There was an instant sense of community, kindness and support. I knew I needed to follow that gut feeling and go to school somewhere that would make me happy.” 

Looking back, Ghatlia knows she made the right choice. At Davidson, she studied psychology, economics and political science, formed a close network of support and stepped into leadership roles across campus. As president of Rusk Eating House and the Dinner at Davidson event, which helped raise money for the college, she learned to speak up and collaborate with students, faculty, staff and alums. 

“Being in an environment where I felt safe and encouraged to speak my mind prepared me to do that in the professional world, where the stakes are often higher,” she said. “Now, as a newer associate at my firm, I know my perspective is worth offering. It’s been really important to learn how to manage up and help lead my team to success.” 

Ghatlia spent a year working for a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., before starting law school at the University of California, Berkeley. She’d never lived on the West Coast before and felt determined to create the kind of community she’d experienced at Davidson. During the otherwise isolating years of the pandemic, she got involved in Berkeley’s student government and forged lifelong connections within her law school cohort. 

Ghatlia with her friends at Davidson commencement in 2018.

Ghatlia with her friends at Davidson commencement in 2018.

When she graduated in 2022, she accepted a year-long clerkship with a federal judge in Sacramento, California, where she and a handful of other new attorneys learned the inner workings of a court. Now, as a litigator for Munger, Tolles & Olson in San Francisco, she’s the one representing clients before a judge. 

“Now that I have all this legal knowledge, I’m ready to finally turn theory into practice,” she said. “I’m excited to be an advocate for my clients. I want to learn from the experienced attorneys I work with, get involved in my community and give back to the people around me.”

True to her psychology major roots, Ghatlia is fascinated by the human mind and strives to understand how her clients think, communicate and approach their problems. She may have moved across the country, but she brings a piece of Davidson into everything she does. 

“I’m so grateful for the education and confidence I gained at Davidson, but the most important thing that came from my time there is the community I formed,” Ghatlia said. “The Davidson people in my life have been a constant source of support, strength and warmth for me. These are the people I know I can turn to for advice and guidance at any point in my life.”


  • March 5, 2024