McNees Welcomes 2023 Associate Class
November 2, 2023
(Nov. 2, 2023) McNees Wallace & Nurick today announced the addition of five associate attorneys spread across the firm’s Pennsylvania offices. This class represents early career attorneys who are practicing construction, energy, environmental, real estate and general litigation law and who have experiences in courts, federal agencies and private businesses.
“These five attorneys bring exactly the kind of experiences and enthusiasm we’re looking to add to our team, and we’re thrilled to welcome them,” Brian F. Jackson, chair of the firm, said. “We are honored they are beginning their careers with us and hope that through our skill-building and supportive environment, they choose to end their careers here, too.”
Mentorship, connection, growth and leadership opportunities are paramount to McNees’ development efforts. When early career associates join the firm, they are integrated into a developmental cycle including consistent mentorship opportunities with McNees attorneys and advisors. These groups provide an open forum for questions, shared experiences and professional growth.
To support these efforts and continue the firm’s mission to foster a culture that attracts, retains and cultivates dedicated professionals, McNees Director of Professional Development Shannon McCurdy strategically aligns people resources, leadership and development with key business needs.
“Our professional development initiatives are intentionally designed to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to the success of each generation of legal professionals on our team,” McCurdy said. “By propelling the growth and fulfillment of all our team members, we are investing in their long-term success and that of our clients.”
Here is McNees’ 2023 Associate Class:
Caitlyn Bechta practices in McNees’ Construction & Procurement Law Group from the firm’s Devon, Pa., office. She became acquainted with the construction industry at a young age – her family has a background in construction, specifically in the trucking and utilities sector.
Prior to joining McNees, Bechta worked with the Hearings Unit of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Philadelphia as a judicial clerk and worked on antitrust litigation with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General as a legal intern.
She earned her law degree from the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law and her Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.
Block served as a law clerk with the Energy Markets Division of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of the General Counsel and the Energy Delivery and Resilience team with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of the Assistant General Counsel prior to joining McNees. He also interned with Maryland State Senator Roger Manno drafting energy and environmental legislation and delivering issue briefings on related topics.
Before becoming an attorney, Block was a program associate with the National Energy Assistance Directors Association in Washington, D.C., where he worked on state and utility energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy affordability and energy assistance programs.
Block earned his law degree with a concentration in Energy Law and Utility Regulation from the Texas A&M University School of Law; Master of Public Policy with a specialization in Energy and Environmental Policy from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy; and B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland.
DeBernardis served as a legal intern with Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company and as a judicial intern with Cumberland County. He also served as a Maritime Enforcement Specialist in the U.S. Coast Guard.
DeBernardis earned his law degree from The Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson Law, and his B.A. in Political Science from American Military University, graduating summa cum laude.
Fitzgerald worked with one of the largest construction firms in the eastern U.S. while in law school in the operations, engineering and business development departments. He has also worked with a Pittsburgh-based construction and engineering law boutique and interned with Judge D. Michael Fisher with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Fitzgerald earned his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law; his Master of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business; and his B.A. in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy from Michigan State University.
Before rejoining McNees, Hoke clerked for Judge W. Keith Watkins on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama and Judge Stephen S. Schwartz on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
During law school, Hoke interned with Judge Stephanos Bibas on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and with the general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). He also served as a law clerk at McNees.
Hoke earned his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and his B.A. in Government from Patrick Henry College, graduating summa cum laude.
McNees is a multidisciplinary law firm founded in 1935 with more than 150 attorneys representing businesses, associations, institutions, municipalities and individuals. The firm serves clients worldwide from offices in Devon, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Scranton, State College and York, Pa.; Columbus, Ohio; Frederick and Towson, Md.; and Washington, D.C. McNees is a member of the ALFA International Global Legal Network.