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Career Paths: Bernadette Coyle ’24L After graduation, Bernadette Coyle will work in the Workplace Class Action group for Duane Morris in Chicago.

bcoyle-800x533 Career Paths: Bernadette Coyle '24LBernadette Coyle ’24L

Bernadette Coyle ’24L is from Washington, D.C. She attended Rollins College, where she received a B.A. in International Business with a minor in Global Health. Bernadette spent her 1L summer working as a summer associate in the antitrust section of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia and her 2L summer as a summer associate at Wollmuth, Maher & Deutsch LLP in New York City. At W&L, she is a Managing Online Editor of the Washington & Lee Law Review, a Judicial Extern to the Honorable J. Frederick Watson in the 24th Judicial Circuit of Virginia, and a member of the Women Law Students Organization.

Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?

After graduation, I will be joining Duane Morris in their Chicago office, where I’ll be part of the Workplace Class Action group. I’m excited to dive into this dynamic field and contribute to the firm’s work in Chicago.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work in this field?

Coming into law school, I did know exactly what I wanted to do. Plenty of students come in knowing what they want to do while many do not, and I strongly believe there is a benefit to being open to different opportunities along the way. You might be surprised to find out what types of things interest you!

What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?

I knew I wanted to work for a large firm after graduation but was not completely set on a location or practice group. My main parameters were being in a big city and in a busy practice group with sophisticated and interesting work. I cast a pretty wide net and kept an open mind throughout the process.

Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this career choice?

During law school, I’ve had the opportunity to take both litigation and corporate classes. I found it useful to diversify the range of courses that I took, especially because I was not exactly sure what I wanted to do after graduation. While in law school, I was exposed to many different areas of the law and figured out I definitely want to do litigation.

What classes do you think are helpful to prepare for this job?

Legal Research and Legal Writing are very important foundational courses. Most of the work of an associate is legal research and writing focused, so learning as much as you can during 1L year is helpful for long-term success. Being in the Judicial Externship program during my 3L year has also been an invaluable experience. As a judicial extern to Judge Watson, I spent many hours in court working on various research and writing assignments and observing a wide variety of proceedings. During the classroom component, Judge Carson worked on improving our writing and speaking skills, which are very important for litigators.

Can you describe the job search process?

I owe much of my success in the job search to the guidance of the W&L Career Strategy Office and Dean Jarrett. After meeting with Dean Jarrett a few times and discussing my goals and interests, he put me in contact with an alumnus, Jerry Maatman. Jerry is the chair of Duane Morris’ Workplace Class Action group and attended Washington and Lee for undergrad. I didn’t have much prior experience in this area of law, but Dean Jarrett thought it would be a great fit, and he was right!

What are you most looking forward to about this job?

I am looking forward to learning from the highly talented lawyers at Duane Morris and setting up roots in a new city.

Outside Law School


Rummikub, gardening, traveling, and watching Bravo.

Favorite Location in Lexington/W&L Campus

The Colonnade, Great Valley, and I love walking my dog on the back campus trail!

Advice for Prospective Law Student

Take time to get involved in things that interest you! Whether it’s a journal, moot court, or one of the many student organizations, it’s a great way to make connections and pursue things you’re passionate about.

Something/Someone you will miss at W&L Law

Living so close to all my friends!