Member Monday: Caroleann S. Gallagher

Partner // Dwyer & Coogan

Description of your practice:
As a partner at Dwyer & Coogan, I concentrate my practice on personal injury law fighting for the rights of those who have been injured by the negligence of others. My practice is heavily focused on medical malpractice, nursing home litigation, transportation accidents, and premises liability cases. I also practice in the workers compensation arena, representing those who are hurt in the course of their employment.

Why are you a member of the WBAI?
I joined the WBAI as a newly qualified attorney who had also recently emigrated to the USA from Ireland and my primary goal was to simply try and meet more people. Back then I felt very alone in my chosen career, often scared and unsure of my role and abilities. I craved support and guidance and thought maybe an organization of female lawyers might be just what I needed. What happened was that I not only met lots of new people, I also quickly realized that the WBAI was a treasure trove of talent, resources, support, guidance, kindness, thoughtfulness, fun, and above all else, friendship.  I have made some of the strongest business relationships and some of the most meaningful personal friendships from my involvement in this organization and I encourage all newly admitted Attorneys to get involved.

I now proudly serve on a number of WBAI Committees, including the Mentor-Mentee Program, Legally Mom’s, and the Judicial Reception. I intend to be involved with the WBAI for many a year to come!

What do you think is the best way to empower women in law? 
I believe that the best way to empower women in law is to support and encourage them in whatever way they have chosen, to walk this walk. In this organization, I have seen time and time again how women reach out and celebrate each other’s strengths and achievements. We are all less likely to shout about our own achievements so having others who do it for us and with us is really important.  Here there is no place for resentment and the idea that women who work together must be rivals is absolutely tedious and archaic and thankfully not something I have ever experienced. When you support someone or encourage them, by even just saying a quick “well done”, you inspire confidence in that person, that what they have done was meaningful, that it mattered and that above all else, that people noticed.

A confident woman is fierce and will only be further inspired to keep making strides forward. If you see a fellow attorney has written an interesting blog, has achieved a great verdict, has gained a promotion or is doing something for their charity of choice, shout it out on her behalf, give her a like or a follow, introduce her to your crew.  A supported and confident woman is a force to be reckoned with and one who will lead the way forward for others to follow in her footsteps.

What are you most looking forward to in the following year, personally/professionally?
Professionally I am looking forward to getting back into a courtroom again and hopefully trying some cases. This last year has been a difficult one for so many and it has felt paralyzing and disappointing to not be able to move cases forward, in what is already a very long and drawn-out process.

As a trial lawyer in a year where trials were taken from us, it has been challenging to try to navigate and learn a new way to practice. Attending court and depositions via an all virtual platform has forced us all to jump out of our comfort zones.  I feel grateful to represent the people that I do and I have been humbled by their understanding and patience this year.  I really want to be able to bring these families the closure that they deserve and I hope I can do that in 2021, either by getting back into the courtroom or mastering new strategies and skills to still get the job done.

Personally, I look forward to getting back to Ireland with my family, because missing our trip this year was very difficult. Despite the fact that I have lived here for twelve years my heart will always belong to Ireland.  It is really important for me to bring our girls home every year so that they can experience a little of what their Dad and I did, even if it is only for a few rain filled weeks in July. I am also looking forward to preparing our second-grade daughter for her First Holy Communion, where we will both have to remember, it is not all about the dress and the party!

Tell us something interesting about you.
I grew up on a small island, off the coast of the North West of Ireland with a population of 500 people. The island is 7 miles long and about 3 miles wide and only accessible via boat.  Arranmore Island, is kind of like the Cheers bar, where everyone knows your name and literally everything else about you! In my first year in our newly built high school, there were twenty-four kids in the school! Yes, I said school, not classroom!

Arranmore has no resident Police force so basically, there is very little observance of the liquor licensing laws or of the traffic laws.  If you can see over the bar, you can have a drink and if you can see over the steering wheel, you can drive. Luckily for us Islanders, because it is only accessible by boat, we always knew when the Police were coming and were able to successfully remove ourselves from precarious situations before the boat had even landed!

It was the absolute best place on earth to grow up and I miss it every day!