Bryan R. Cokeley

Executive Committee / Member
Bryan R. Cokeley


Clients and colleagues appreciate that Bryan Cokeley takes what he does very seriously. They also appreciate that, in the process of being a serious and well-respected lawyer, Bryan also does not take himself too seriously. An avid student of people and relationships, Bryan is able to quickly connect with a wide audience and develop a heightened level of authentic trust. With a career spanning three decades, Bryan has amassed an arsenal of knowledge, both anecdotal and legal, that he uses to develop solutions for his clients in labor and employment matters. Bryan believes in the importance of uncovering the “why” behind workplace issues and learning the story behind the story. Clients appreciate this insight because it helps them differentiate between bright spots and toxicities in their places of work, all in an effort to improve the day-to-day work environment.

Always with the law as a guide, Bryan is a solver of people’s problems, and he regularly counsels clients on best practices regarding current and relevant issues, including diversity, religious intolerance, sexual harassment, and pay inequity. In the event that a client has a situation that requires litigation, Bryan draws upon his experience and vigorously defends employers, as he has in more than 40 jury trials in state and federal courts and in more than 20 arbitrations across several states. In preparing narratives for juries, Bryan is inspired by his farmer father who had the folksy wit of Will Rogers and the wisdom of the ages.

At the heart of Bryan’s legal practice is his desire to help his clients recruit and retain the right people in the right positions in their respective workplaces. Within the firm, Bryan strives to do the same and is active in firm management by serving as the  Managing Member of the Charleston office. Bryan is one of the firm’s representatives to the Employment Law Alliance which is a global network of highly skilled and accomplished labor and employment attorneys and law firms throughout the world.

Representative Experience

  • Advised clients in a variety of industries on “back to school” issues related to COVID-19
  • Advised clients on remote work arrangements due to COVID-19
  • Successfully defended an employer in a reverse race discrimination trial in a rural West Virginia county
  • Tried a public policy/retaliation case for a major hospital and obtained reversal and judgment on appeal from an adverse jury verdict
  • Successfully defended a state agency in a month-long jury trial where the plaintiff alleged race and gender discrimination
  • Received a defense verdict in a jury trial where the husband-wife plaintiffs sought millions of dollars in alleged contractual damages
  • Negotiated severance agreements in several workplaces to solve toxic work environments
  • Handle arbitrations in both union and non-union settings in many industries
  • Handled dozens of claims before the West Virginia Human Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Tried more than a dozen actions before the administrative law judges of the West Virginia Human Rights Commission on various claims of age, race, gender, and disability discrimination
  • Counseled employers on a variety of state and federal employment laws, including the ADA, FMLA, FLSA, OWBPA, WARN, and NLRA

Licensed In

  • Kentucky
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia


  • J.D. West Virginia University College of Law
  • B.A. West Virginia University


  • Assistant Governor, District 4575, Rotary International
  • President, Kanawha County Public Library Foundation
  • Fellow, West Virginia Bar Foundation, 2015
  • Fellow, American College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, 2013
  • Peer Review Rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Firm Representative, Employment Law Alliance
  • Society of Human Resource Management
  • Volunteer Mentor, Education Elevators


  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Labor & Employment (2003 – Present)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Employment Law – Management (2011-Present), Labor Law – Management (2013-Present), Litigation – Labor and Employment (2011-Present)
  • Best Lawyers® 2020 Charleston, WV Litigation – Labor and Employment, Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers® 2018 Charleston, WV Labor Law – Management, Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers® 2015 Charleston, WV Employment Law, Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers® 2011 Charleston, WV Labor and Employment, Lawyer of the Year
  • Super Lawyers®

Speaking Engagements

  • “Mental Health in the Workplace,” Employment Law Alliance, June 2019
  • “Workplace Violence: Erring on the side of safety”; West Virginia Employment Law Letter; Vol. 23, No. 12; June 2018
  • “Deliberate intent claims are alive in West Virginia, but high court applies the law fairly”; West Virginia Employment Law Letter; Vol. 23, No. 4; October 2017
  • West Virginia’s New Workers’ Compensation Anti-Discrimination Provision: “The Road to Court is Paved with Good Intentions”; 94 W. Va. Law Review 725
  • Bryan is an active lecturer on employment law, having spoken on a variety of topics, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, wrongful discharge, employee handbooks, workers’ compensation discrimination, the unionization process, and sexual harassment.


  • “Emerging trends for employers to watch”; West Virginia Employment Law Letter; Vol. 22, No. 10; April 2017
  • “Retaliation: wrong and illegal, but logical”; West Virginia Employment Law Letter; Vol. 21, No. 3; September 2015
  • “Playing lawyer at unemployment compensation hearings”; West Virginia Employment Law Letter; Vol. 20, No. 4; October 2014
  • “Compiling and preserving documentation in an internal investigation”; West Virginia Employment Law Letter; Vol. 19, No. 10; April 2014
  • “The employee five-finger discount: what to do when you suspect theft”; West Virginia Employment Law Letter; Vol. 19, No. 3; September 2013
  • “Human Resources: Are you ready for a law school exam?”; West Virginia Employment Law Letter; Vol. 18, No. 9; March 2013
  • “Employment Law 2.0: Have your kids become ‘independent contractors’?”; West Virginia Employment Law Letter; Vol. 18, No. 5; November 2012
  • “WPCA: Recent court decision closes large tap door but leaves smaller one open”; West Virginia Employment Law Letter; Vol. 17, No. 11; May 2012

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