Deanroy Bernard (LLM ’21) has always had a passion for the law and travel.
After finishing his undergraduate education in his native Jamaica at the University of the West Indies, he was commissioned as a detective focusing on fraud, anti-corruption and financial crimes. Bernard worked as a police officer from 1996-2009, and the experience gave him a unique perspective on the profession.
“Police are supposed to ensure that citizens are protected, and they keep within the rules, but also that the community is safe, and people are free to move around and go about their lawful business,” Bernard said. “Police are integral to safety and security. They are counselors, first responders, mediators.”
He continued his service as a compliance officer and forensic accountant after receiving his CPA qualifications in California in 2004. Shortly after, he served as a deputy director in the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security in Trinidad and Tobago, where he had responsibilities for regional intelligence coordination.
Before moving to Georgia in 2019, Later, he served as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and as Director General in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, both in Jamaica.
He moved to Georgia to be with Dianara, his wife of 24 years, and the rest of his family, while continuing to pursue the American dream.
“Georgia is one of the best states for immigrants, especially for immigrants of African descent,” Bernard said. “It is just two hours from Jamaica, so it’s not too hard to visit my family there and get back and forth.”
Bernard, who received his undergraduate law degree at the University of London and a post graduate certification in legal practice at the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica, said he chose Georgia State because of its flexible class schedules. It doesn’t hurt that one of his sons is studying business Georgia State. His other son is currently pursuing his law degree at the University of London.
Bernard maintains his seven-year law practice in Jamaica while pursuing his LL.M. through partnerships with local attorneys. He has stated that while there are many similarities between the American and the Jamaican legal system, the scope of the American legal system is vast and intricate, requiring major adjustments in thinking and approach.
“The balance of power between the states and the federal government is most intriguing,” he said. “The fact that there are so many states with different laws, then there is this well scripted and ever-evolving document called the Constitution and the immense powers of Congress, and of course the bravado of the Supreme Court justices, which make the legal experience here a mouthwatering one. The judicial system here is also more expansive, complex and diverse than in other countries and so are the issues.”
Bernard is set to graduate next year, after which he said his plan is to take the Georgia bar and practice in Atlanta.
Written by Alex Resnak