ALUMNI PROFILE Brendan Keating and Suzy McNamara

Celebrating their passions

Law school provides solid foundation for satisfying careers

While many Loyola law graduates are drawn to the courtroom, Suzy McNamara (JD ’87) and Brendan Keating (BA ’01, JD ’04) listened to their hearts and paid attention to what motivated them to explore other career possibilities.

McNamara, who always liked the idea of a profession that used logic along with written and verbal communication, has used her degree to help establish rules and structures in people’s work and personal lives to help them during difficult times.

“On the first day of law school, I met my future husband, Bob McNamara (JD ’87) (an attorney at Swanson Martin & Bell) and my future boss—Tom Dart (JD ’87),” she said from her office at the Archdiocese of Chicago. “I enjoy spending time with funny, smart, outgoing people.”

Her career has moved from protecting the rights of mental health patients at the Illinois Department of Public Health to freelance legal writing for the Chicago Tribune while raising her four children. When she worked for Tom Dart, now the Cook County sheriff, she drafted and oversaw inmate custodial-care policies at the Office of Policies and Accountability in the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. She also has written grant proposals pro bono for Top Box Foods, the Kennedy family’s nonprofit hunger relief organization. 

“Knowing how to use your accomplishments and match them to your interests opens doors and helps lead to a satisfying career.”

In 2018, fellow alumnus Brendan Keating, chief development officer for the Archdiocese of Chicago, hired McNamara as director of principal gifts. She works closely with Cardinal Blase Cupich drafting major gift proposals and maintains optimal communication with the church’s benefactors.

McNamara believes that to have a happy life, people must nurture their minds, bodies, and souls--cura personalis.

“The best thing about going to law school has been finding work that allows me to celebrate my passion for intellectual stimulation,” she said. “The Jesuits have married rigorous intellectual pursuit with deep spirituality, and Cardinal Cupich is clearly focused on both. I work at a place where I can exercise my mind, while also serving the Catholic community by working to support the revitalization of our parishes, Catholic schools and social services.”

Keating, who came to the archdiocese after spending nearly half his life at Loyola—first as a student and then as director of advancement communications—looks at the path to his current job as a combination of being able to “read the tea leaves” about his proclivities and becoming a well-rounded professional.

“I received an undergraduate degree in English,” he said from his office at the Quigley Center across the street from Lewis Towers. In law school, he served as editor of the Public Interest Law Reporter with the idea of focusing on legal writing. He also interned at a legal aid clinic and, when he graduated, spent a few years at a boutique law firm downtown. But before settling down, he and his wife, Christa Battaglia (BA ’02), decided to teach English in Japan for a year. From there, the couple spent three months volunteering in India: he as a reporter for a community newspaper, and she creating websites for a Tibetan women’s association.

Upon returning to Chicago, Loyola hired him to work in fundraising marketing and communications, where he stayed for 10 years. Then an opportunity arose across the street from Loyola in 2017.

The move to the church provided him with a front-facing development job that would also use his legal training. Devoted to the work of the church, Keating again has found a job that suits him.

“Today’s students should pay close attention to areas where they excel,” he said. “Keep your options open and be self-aware enough to know what you’re really good at. Do you like arguing a case in court? Then what other kinds of careers would that be applicable? Are you good with people? Writing? Develop those skills. Networking is very important, too. Talk to people, especially alumni who would be eager to help.

“Legal training is an absolute benefit to you no matter what you do,” he continued. “The rigors of law school help you weather stress, learn about yourself, and build your leadership skills. You come out the other side with real accomplishments. I left law school a better person than when I entered.”

“Knowing how to use your accomplishments and match them to your interests opens doors and helps lead to a satisfying career.”


alumni practicing and working through the U.S.


employment rate 10 months after graduation


student organizations to help you grow your network and explore your interests


When you join the Loyola law community you create a lifelong connection crossing both personal and professional boundaries.  Our over 12,000 alumni are practicing and working through the U.S. in a variety of fields.  Our Career Services team is one of the many ways that as a student you connect with our alumni and determine the first steps in your legal career. Learn More