Justice, Truth, and Service. For her entire career in the law, these three words have served as the hallmark of Bernarda Villalona’s work. Bernarda is a seasoned trial attorney with 17 years of experience in using the law to fight for others. Her courtroom instincts made her one of the top attorneys in the country, having completed well over 100 trials. She currently serves as Senior Trial Counsel with the Joey Jackson Law firm. With her expertise as an accomplished trial attorney and her firsthand understanding of the criminal justice system, Bernarda has become a familiar face on various media outlets including Court TV and Law & Crime Trial Network providing legal commentary on cases from around the country.
Bernarda began her career fighting for justice on behalf of the City of Brotherly Love where she worked for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. It was there she developed the courtroom instincts which aided her in becoming one of the top attorneys in that office. While at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Bernarda conducted hundreds of felony preliminary hearings and bench trials. Never a stranger to the courtroom, she once tried 17 felony jury trials in a single year. As a result of her tireless fight for justice, Bernarda is a past recipient of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Victim Advocates Prosecutor of the Year Award.
Following her time in Philadelphia, Bernarda returned to her hometown of Brooklyn, NY where for a decade, she served as a Senior Assistant District Attorney in the Homicide Bureau of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. During her time in Kings County, Bernarda tried over 40 violent felony cases, with many of them being murder jury trials. She also has extensive experience in evaluating legal issues related to criminal investigations, wire taps, and search warrants. She also investigated hundreds of violent crime cases, conducted numerous interrogations, argued numerous motions, and has served as Deputy Bureau Chief of Trials in units spanning Brooklyn’s most challenging police precincts. Bernarda’s experience has made her a dynamic lawyer who possesses strong insight into the criminal justice system. Given her knowledge of the law, she can effectively analyze issues within cases and construct solid defense strategies in service to her clients.
Bernarda’s commitment to equal justice had reached beyond borders, as she taught in Panama with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative spearheading the country’s transition from a partially inquisitorial to an accusatorial criminal justice system. Bernarda was directly involved with training police officers and attorneys on the accusatorial criminal justice system. Through her efforts, she was able to support this transition and ensure that internationally, people everywhere have access to fairness and due process.
Bernarda is licensed to practice law in New York, Pennsylvania, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Dominican Bar Association, the Judiciary Committee of the New York City Bar Association, the Civil Rights Committee of the Federal Bar Council, is a member of the Kings County Criminal Bar Association, Metropolitan Black Bar Association, and the National Bar Association.
Bernarda is the proud daughter of Dominican immigrants and is 1st generation American born and raised in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany and Boston College Law School. Bernarda is also an avid runner, kickboxer and proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.