Bernard Jolles JD '61

Bernard (Bernie) Jolles


Bernard Jolles JD ’61, longtime Oregon lawyer and former communist, passed away on December 17, 2023, after suffering a stroke. He was 95.

Following high school, Bernie worked for a couple of years in the garment industry before becoming a longshoreman on New York City’s waterfront. In 1957, he, his wife, and their two young children moved to Portland. Bernie took night classes at the Northwestern College of Law, working during the day as an investigator on personal injury cases at a law firm.

After earning his JD, Bernie worked as an attorney in Portland for the next 46 years. He started his own firm in 1979. His practice focused on trial work and personal injury cases: fender benders, slips, and falls. He took on maritime cases, for which he had a soft spot after his years as a longshoreman. He handled malpractice suits and the occasional will and divorce settlement. Throughout his career, he remained passionate about labor unions, representing the Western Council of Industrial Workers for decades.

Bernie also taught at Lewis & Clark Law School for 20 years. At home, he was a loving father to his four children.

Bernie is survived by his wife, Susan Walker, and daughters Jacqueline and Abbe Jolles. He was preceded in death by his son Howard and daughter Carolyn.