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Penn State Law couple finds success in San Antonio

Penn State Law in University Park alumni Georgina Buckley-Graham, class of 2015, and Cody R. Graham, class of 2013, met as law students in 2012. They have both established successful legal careers, with Georgina as a litigation and appellate attorney at Jackson Walker LLP, and Cody as a construction litigation attorney at Cokinos | Young.
Georgina Buckley-Graham and Cody Graham wedding photo.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State Law in University Park alumni Georgina Buckley-Graham, class of 2015, and Cody R. Graham, class of 2013, met as law students in 2012. They have both established successful legal careers, with Georgina as a litigation and appellate attorney at Jackson Walker LLP, and Cody as a construction litigation attorney at Cokinos | Young. They were both recently accepted into the San Antonio Bar Foundation (SABF) Fellows Program class of 2023.

Buckley-Graham knew she wanted to be an attorney since she was 12 years old. When she started at Penn State Law, she thought her career path would lead her into family law. Through her experience with the Penn State International Law Review and mock trial, she found interests in other areas of law. “By the time I took the Texas bar, I took a family law job, but that didn’t work out for me. Within a few months I was in corporate defense, corporate law, transportation liability, and trial law at another law firm. I had the building blocks at Penn State Law to take a different direction,” she said.

Graham began law school with a vision of going into international law. However, his path changed as he continued to work in Texas over the summers and decided he wanted to stay in his home state. “Over the last five or so years, I’ve been almost exclusively focused in construction law,” he said.

In addition to finding each other at Penn State Law, they also made close friend groups who they remain in touch with today. “Penn State Law in University Park attracted an amazing group of people. I would not be where I am right now without the girlfriends I met at Penn State Law, who are all fantastic attorneys in Delaware, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia,” said Buckley-Graham. 

Graham said, “Going to law school at Penn State were some of the best years of my life.” His group of friends that graduated 10 years ago has a chat where everyone talks daily, even though they’re living across the country. They share family updates and personal achievements, like Graham’s recent appointment as an adjunct professor teaching construction law.

They also ask legal questions and share their expertise as their careers have advanced. “They didn’t all come from one small town in Pennsylvania—our group has a lot of area codes. It’s cool how the law school was so diverse by state.”

Buckley-Graham added, “That, coupled with the professors and the experiences that Penn State Law gave, were really important in helping us get where we are now.” She also mentioned that Penn State has a lot of name recognition, so as lawyers seeking to practice outside of Pennsylvania, that was helpful with their job search.

Finding love at Penn State Law

The couple met at a barbecue Graham and his fellow 3L housemates hosted a week before classes started for the fall 2012 semester, but they truly connected a few weeks later at Indigo, a nightclub on College Ave. that is now The Basement Nightspot. They bonded over a mutual interest in video games. They started dating in 2012 and shared their first kiss at an 80’s party. Now they have been married for over six years and live in San Antonio with their two Irish wolfhounds, Theo and Tildy.

The two learned how Penn State becomes a small world, as one of Buckley-Graham’s childhood friends had a brother at Penn State Law, who was a close friend of Graham’s. “Of course he was trying to play matchmaker when Georgina came in,” said Graham. By mid-October 2012, around the time of the Barristers’ Ball, Graham asked Buckley-Graham to be his girlfriend.


Georgina Buckley-Graham and Cody Graham with their dogs, Tildy and Theo.

Georgina Buckley-Graham and Cody Graham with their dogs, Tildy and Theo.
IMAGE: Provided


During their time at Penn State, they enjoyed tailgating at football games, going to Champs for trivia, and supporting Graham’s roommate who played bass in the band Shake Shake Shake on Tuesday nights at Saloon. They also recalled watching the band play THON 2014.

When Graham graduated and started work in San Antonio, the couple began their long-distance relationship. Buckley-Graham tried to visit Graham about once each month. “I spent all my first few years’ wages on plane tickets,” said Graham. Buckley-Graham remembered all the flights through Detroit and getting stuck multiple times at the airport. Graham proposed on January 2, 2015, in New Orleans, and they married in Purcellville, Virginia, in June 2016.

When talking about their favorite qualities about each other, Buckley-Graham answered, “Cody’s innately kind and generous…and his ability to negotiate and mediate—this reflects in our careers a lot. He’ll work a lot harder to empathize and communicate to get to a well-reasoned solution. Those are the two qualities I’ve always admired that go hand-in-hand.”

Graham said his favorite quality about his wife was her loyalty. “I think Georgina is the kind of person if you become part of her ‘people’ you can do no wrong. She will stick by you thick and thin, 100 percent.” He added, “She’s quick-witted and sharp.”


Georgina Buckley-Graham and Cody Graham's wedding.

Georgina Buckley-Graham and Cody Graham's wedding.
IMAGE: Provided


Both have had successful legal careers in San Antonio. Buckley-Graham mentioned that San Antonio has a lot of promise as a growing city and that the market is not oversaturated. The warm weather was another perk for the couple, who had braved the harsh winter seasons at Penn State. Graham added that the legal community is relatively small. “Everybody knows each other and helps each other out,” he said.

After they learned they were named to the SABF Fellows Program, Buckley-Graham said, “The recognition is welcome. There’s been a big push in the past 5-10 years for law firms to encourage their lawyers to be involved in the community at large.” To be named in the Fellows Program, lawyers have to be members of the San Antonio Bar Association (SABA) in good standing with the State Bar of Texas. Fellows are recognized for their accomplishments and how they have contributed to the legal community.

When they first began their legal careers in San Antonio, both were on the Board of Directors in the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association (SAYLA). Graham said, “There’s a progression from SAYLA to San Antonio Bar Association. We started to become involved in that—Georgina is really involved in the Women’s Bar Association—a subsection of the San Antonio Bar Association. I’m very involved in the construction law section of SABA,” he said.

Graham explained the San Antonio Bar Foundation donates to legal services as part of their mission statement. Between income discrepancy and border proximity, many people require legal services. The couple has volunteered for non-profit clinics to give back to the community.

Looking toward the future, Buckley-Graham said she’s looking forward to everything. “We are moving upwards. We’re not stagnant, we’re not bored, we’re not unhappy. I’m looking forward to all the opportunities to see friends, keep working, and have fun.”

Graham said he is excited with their career growth. “I think that just really has a lot to do with work ethic; and it also has a whole lot to do with the fact that we had each other. People ask, ‘How can you be married to another lawyer?’ and I say, ‘How can you not?’ We go on our walks with our big dogs, talk about our cases, and vent to each other. We make each other better lawyers because there’s a lot of things in the law that I have done and she hasn’t and vice-versa. That’s such a wealth of knowledge to have someone you can freely confide in and brainstorm with.”

While the couple is eager to return to State College for a football weekend, their current travel plans are typically for major life events like weddings and baby showers. Buckley-Graham, “I feel like it’s going to eventually take all of us having toddler-aged kids and then we’ll say, ‘Let’s do a family weekend at Penn State.’”

Graham added, “We’re getting more flexibility in our jobs so hopefully that will allow us a bit more time to go and see how State College is these days.”

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