Bernard Coleman, Esq.

Of Counsel

The depth of Bernard's knowledge and skill allows him to provide big-picture advice to clients in the areas of appellate law, civil litigation, personal injury, administrative law, business law, criminal defense, wills, estates, and probate.

His commitment to providing superior personal service has resulted in long-standing relationships with business executives, entrepreneurs, clergy and people from all walks of life. Among Bernard's many impressive credentials is that he is a licensed minister in the State of Virginia.

Bernard's advocacy in the landmark appellate case of Second Episcopal District African Methodist Episcopal Church, et al. v. Prioleau, WL 3243190 (D.C. Court of Appeals, Aug. 9, 2012) distinguished him as the go-to lawyer for AME pastors across the United States. In Prioleau, Reverend Deloris Prioleau sued Second Episcopal AME and Cornerstone AME (collectively "the church") for breach of contract. At issue was the failure of the church to pay Rev. Prioleau $39,200 it owed her as salary under the contract covering her final year as the church pastor. The church moved to dismiss alleging subject matter jurisdiction, claiming immunity under the First Amendment. Bernard successfully challenged the grounds for said motion. The D.C. Court of Appeals agreed with Bernard and denied the church's motion to dismiss, concluding that the case could be resolved by applying "neutral principles of law" and without considering matters of religious doctrine or interfering with the church's choice of religious representation. Prioleau at 11.

Bernard has successfully litigated cases on behalf of clients against Pizza Hut, Equifax, the Washington Ballet and the Prince George's County School Board. His colleagues will attest that Bernard employs a "walk softly, but carry a big stick" approach to his practice. While willing to negotiate, he routinely leaps at the chance to take down public and private giants when they have wronged his clients-a modern-day David versus the Goliaths.

Giving back to the community is a cornerstone of who Bernard is as a person and practitioner. He continues to teach courses in biblical theology at a local church. In addition, Bernard developed and taught the Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP), an alcohol diversion program, which served as the model alcohol diversion program for the State of Virginia.

Bernard's honesty, integrity, and incisive trial skills are proven time and time again. Those traits are the foundations of Hearns Law Group, LLC.

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