Seeking justice for victims fuels Naeem Ramatally (J.D. ’12) as a legal advisor for the Miami-Dade Police Department. The South Florida native works alongside police officers to both promote justice and fulfill his own search for purpose that brought him to Georgia State Law in the first place.
Ramatally completed his undergraduate studies at Florida International and Florida State and moved to the Atlanta area to work for Comcast.
“I was working in sales and doing well for myself, but was terribly bored and lacked purpose,” Ramatally said. “I couldn’t get away from feeling like I wasn’t making a meaningful difference in anything.”
Once he decided he wanted to go to law school, the part-time program and offered by Georgia State was too good to resist. He also saw the chance to participate in student organizations in a way that he missed out on as an undergraduate student working full-time at Best Buy.
“I was intent on doing the opposite in the last full-time school experience in my life,” Ramatally said. “By the time I graduated from GSU Law I was the Student Bar Association president, on Law Review and Moot Court, actively participating in at least five other clubs and had studied abroad in Europe. I will never forget what an enriching experience it was.”
He took a job working in civil litigation after graduating, but when a position at the Cobb County Solicitor General’s Office became available, he saw the chance to explore a long-standing interest in criminal law.
“At one point, I wanted to be a police officer,” he said. “When I was doing business litigation, it seemed like a lot of fighting over stuff that could be worked out previously. When I got to prosecuting, it seemed to be easier to do that with opposing criminal counsel than civil counsel with my personality.”
In Miami, he handles legal questions for officers, works on projects ranging from contracts with other agencies to department policy reviews, and plays a role in civil asset forfeiture and the discipline of officers and other departmental employees.
He said one of the most rewarding aspects, though, is the teaching function he serves with the police academy.
“It’s about making sure they go out there knowing their limits within the Fourth Amendment and the intricacies of Florida law,” Ramatally said. “It’s a good feeling when an officer tells me they had a situation just like an example I gave, and they knew exactly how to handle it.”
His position with the Miami-Dade Police Department has also offered Ramatally a unique perspective on the inner workings of law enforcement in this time of increased scrutiny.
“I think the biggest misconception is that people working in policing don’t hear or value the criticism of the public,” he said. “I got into law enforcement because I value justice for victims. I was an assistant solicitor general in Cobb County before moving back to Florida and worked closely with defense counsel to come to the right resolution on criminal cases that were fair to the defendant and the victim and true to the spirit of the law. In this role, I hope to help guide officers with making the right decisions in the same way.”
Ramatally continues to make time for other activities where he can, running a food bank at a local mosque. He also tries to keep law school connections close, which has paid dividends in his career.
“I think the thing that stuck with me the most is to actively meet people, talk to people and follow up with people,” he said. “That includes my peers, professors and all the administrative and support staff. You always want to go out seeking to make friends. That’s how you’re going to find the best information, and that’s how you’re going to find help when you need it.”
Written by Alex Resnak