Roberto Sanchez-Ramos ‘89, the secretary of justice of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, was born into a life of public service. His mother worked as a lawyer and later a judge; his grandfather was a private lawyer before becoming Puerto Rico’s speaker of the House. His father spent his career in the commonwealth’s executive branch, serving as governor from 1964 to 1968.
“My family’s dedication led to my desire to serve,” says Sanchez-Ramos, who represents Puerto Rico in all criminal and civil litigation and provides legal advice to governmental agencies.
At MIT, Sanchez-Ramos majored in computer science and engineering, but he always took electives in political science. “I had great interest in public and governmental affairs,” he says. He went on to earn his law degree at the University of Puerto Rico Law School in San Juan and clerked for Federico Hernández Denton, who now serves as chief justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. He then moved to Washington, DC, to work as an associate in a law firm. After clerking for U.S. Court of Appeals judge A. Wallace Tashima in Pasadena, CA, Sanchez-Ramos headed to Yale, where he earned a master’s in law.
After a stint in the U.S. Department of Justice, Sanchez-Ramos returned to Puerto Rico to serve as solicitor general, representing the commonwealth in all civil and criminal appellate proceedings before the courts of the United States and Puerto Rico. In January 2005, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, the governor of Puerto Rico, appointed him secretary of the department.
“I enjoy the opportunity to work for the common good by defending the public interest in various contexts, always seeking to apply the law objectively,” says Sanchez-Ramos. His rigorous training at MIT prepared him well for his career. “An MIT degree helps open the door for prestigious career opportunities,” he says.
Although his job keeps him busy, Sanchez-Ramos, who is a newlywed, enjoys playing sports, spending time with his extended family, and reading.