Commencement Ceremony & Reception
- Ceremony: 10 a.m. Friday, May 11, Georgia State Sports Arena, 125 Decatur St., Atlanta, GA 30303
- Reception: Noon-2 p.m. Friday, May 11, College of Law, 85 Park Place NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
As part of Teach For America, Andrew “Andy” Navratil (J.D. ’18) taught fourth- and fifth-grade math and science for two years in Miami before becoming a coach to train new teachers and then an academic dean of a charter middle school. After eight years in education, Navratil decided to pursue the career that he had thought about since middle school.
“While I loved my students and enjoyed coaching teachers, I felt compelled to address the many challenges of poverty my students faced outside of school. I decided to go to law school because I believed it would enable me to fight for my students and their families in other ways,” Navratil said.
“I wanted a law school that attracted a diverse student body from a range of backgrounds and experiences. I also wanted a range of experiential learning opportunities,” he said. “And Georgia State Law provides an excellent education at a reasonable price.”
Navratil helped launch the Center for Access to Justice’s Pro Bono Program and served as its first student director. He also planned and led the program’s first Alternative Spring Break, which allows students to spend a week immersed in a substantive legal area while engaging in related pro bono service.
Additionally, he served as symposium co-editor of the Georgia State University Law Review, a Student Bar Association senator and a leader of the Public Interest Law Students Association. He successfully competed with the Student Trial Lawyers Association (STLA) for three semesters and helped win the 2017 Mockingbird Challenge. National Jurist magazine selected him as one of its 2018 students of the year, and Equal Justice Works awarded him a 2018 Regional Public Interest Award.
“I came to law school knowing that I wanted to make the most of these three years. My classmates are passionate, engaged, hard-working colleagues. I’ve loved my classes, particularly all the opportunities to do legal work for clients,” Navratil said. “I am most proud that I’ve established a positive reputation among my classmates, the faculty and the Atlanta legal community.”
After graduation, Navratil will clerk for Judge Mark Cohen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Inspired by his experiences with STLA, the Lawyering: Advocacy course and forensic evidence and criminal procedure classes, and his U.S. Attorney’s Office externship, Navratil plans to practice criminal law after completing his two-year clerkship. He sees it as an avenue to make a difference among people, like the students who inspired him to pursue law.
“Being a law student reaffirmed my desire to serve others,” Navratil said. “As a practicing attorney, I look forward to making a positive impact on those seeking justice, as well as contributing to the integrity of our profession.”