Associate attorney Aarti Bhaga grew up in two very different places: El Paso, Texas – a border town where American, Texan, New Mexican and Mexican cultures meet – and South Africa – known as the rainbow nation, rich in diversity, culture, wildlife and beautiful landscapes.
Aarti attended Worcester Primary School during and after the end of Apartheid. As an American of Indian descent that grew up in South Africa during Apartheid, Aarti learned firsthand what freedom really is after being deprived of it through government oppression by racial discrimination. Being an American child at school in South Africa through the end of Apartheid was like being a symbol of freedom. She represented the success of a nation that had overcome a legacy of racial oppression and had extended constitutional rights to those who had never known them before. These extraordinary experiences in South Africa influenced her personal life and career choices, her decision to practice law, and gave her the ability to relate to clients of all backgrounds. Because her experience, she deeply appreciates the fundamental principles of equality and liberty. This led her to seek out a career path as a defender of peoples basic liberties. Aarti approaches all of her cases with this dedication and passion.
Fluent in English and Afrikaans, Aarti obtained her Bachelor of Science degree with honors, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Texas at El Paso (2006) and received the Top Ten Senior Award for her academic success and outstanding commitment to the community. Three years later, she received her law degree from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law (2009).
Aarti embraced the challenges and opportunities law school offered with characteristic enthusiasm. She was a Rule 38 certified student attorney in the law school’s Public Defender Clinic, clerked at the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Public Defender Office in the District of Arizona, and was a fellow in the law school’s Post-Graduate Fellowship program.
Aarti is licensed to practice law in the State of Arizona (2010), in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (2010), and in the State of Texas (2011).
With her love of piano, classical singing, and Indian classical dance (Bharatanatyam), Aarti is full of surprises. Along with soccer’s FIFA World Cup, she admits, “I love watching Formula 1 racing!”
An adventurer at heart, Aarti has gone back to her roots and visited her friends and family in Cape Town, South Africa. She has traveled to Queenstown and hiked New Zealand’s Milford Track. Some of her other favorite destinations include Budapest, and Prague, Florence, Singapore, Hong Kong and she also hiked Machu Picchu in Peru.
A traveler to other worlds, Aarti enjoys the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies are some of her favorite movies. The writings of J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter films are also at the top. Her picks for best TV series include Friday Night Lights, Lost, The Walking Dead, Schitt’s Creek, and Game of Thrones