A Better Future For Everyone
In our cynical era, that idea might seem old-fashioned, but at Dunlap Law we believe it and rally to defend it. Just like the visionaries in history books – the Ben Franklins or Maggie Walkers – today’s dreamers and doers will change their own lives and our world for the better.
At Dunlap Law, our small business lawyers guide small businesses, our nation’s heart and backbone, and help larger companies thrive.
We take a holistic view of your mission and challenges and build practical approaches you can actually use. Our team values the enduring and genuine relationships we have with our clients.
As your strategic thought partner and business law advisers, we help you make ethical, well-reasoned judgments every day.
Dunlap Law is the business law firm for you.
Meet Our Business Lawyers
“Ma’am? We’re here to evacuate you. Your house is about to flood.”
I was a 34 year old high school teacher, part-time waitress, and a single mom five months into a divorce. In another context, I might have welcomed a fireman at my front door. But on that morning, when I turned and looked toward Swift Creek, instead of 200 feet of grass, I saw a violent filthy river swallowing my deck.
You find out who your friends are when you call at 7:30 AM on Memorial Day.
And so began a dark and uncertain stretch of my life. For the next two and a half years, it felt like I fought everyone – even Mother Nature, though you never win against her. Her second swipe at me came with Hurricane Isabel that September. My house was underwater again for days. After Isabel, I vowed that I would never again put my children in that house.
Nisha R. Patel contributes a decade of experience in all aspects of bankruptcy, insolvency, and financial restructuring. She began her career helping people restructure their personal finances through Chapters 7 or 13 bankruptcy before shifting her work to representation of financial institutions, mortgage servicers, and other creditors in all aspects of bankruptcy and state court litigation in Virginia and Maryland. She is also certified mediator and accepts appointments as guardian ad litem for incapacitated adults in Virginia. Nisha counsels Dunlap Law’s business or individual clients on bankruptcy matters and our business clients on their corporate law issues.
In October of 2020, the American Bankruptcy Institute honored Nisha as a “Top 40 Under 40” insolvency professional. She is one of the youngest attorneys to ever earn this prestigious distinction. Nisha is also recognized by Virginia Business magazine as a member of Virginia’s “Legal Elite.”
She is an alumna of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges “Next Generation” program and sits on the NACTT Mortgage Committee and the Eastern District of Virginia Local Bankruptcy Rules Committee. She is on the board of the IWIRC Virginia Network, the ABI Southeastern Conference, and the Richmond Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Section. Both the ABI Journal and the U.S. Foreclosure Network have published Nisha’s scholarship.
An enthusiastic Spartan, Nisha earned her undergraduate degree with Honors from Michigan State University and her law degree from the University of Richmond. She volunteers with Credit Abuse Resistance Education and provides pro bono guardianship/conservatorship counsel.
Like Tricia, Heather started her law career with one of the world’s biggest law firms before becoming an independent practitioner of law. While there, she learned federal government contracting from leading attorneys in this niche practice.
Later, as in-house counsel for a global electronic health records software company, Heather worked on legal compliance and reporting requirements for massive federal government projects for the Coast Guard, the DoD, and the VA. She will happily worry about your FARS and DFARS compliance, IP risks, and subcontractors so that you don’t have to.
Heather is also an expert in legal issues involved in oversight of clinical trials. As part of handling a high volume of Clinical Trial Agreements between pharma companies and their global research sites, she has navigated foreign regulations and negotiating styles in other cultures.
A well-rounded attorney, Heather’s experience in a small town general practice also makes her adept at finding practical and useful solutions for small businesses. Our business law firm is grateful to offer Heather’s expertise.
A Florida transplant with a hospitality background, Brandy is enthusiastic about empowering small businesses through expanding access to legal counsel. Working as an au pair in Paris before law school, she learned to appreciate the beauty of identifying straightforward, functional solutions to complicated problems – and to appreciate a good mille-feuille.
At the Institute for the Future of Law Practice’s legal-tech bootcamp, she explored strategies to streamline and modernize legal services via technology, and has since applied those principles in the fields of compliance, corporate governance, elder law, and employment law. From navigating complex cybersecurity and data privacy legislation to drafting creative operating agreements, Brandy is constantly seeking new ways to support and celebrate her clients as they accomplish their goals.
Bernie is a registered patent attorney at Pike IP Law, which he founded in 2012 and continues to lead while also collaborating with Dunlap Law.
With a degree in chemical engineering from Drexel University, Bernie began his career as a process engineer for Bayer, and then continued developing his engineering skills and knowledge at several other sophisticated manufacturing businesses, such as Rhodia and Albright & Wilson.
Over time, he developed an interest and passion for the IP aspect of manufacturing. He followed his entrepreneurial spirit to law school at the University of Richmond and graduated in 1999. After law school, Bernie practiced intellectual property law for two highly respected global law firms — K &L Gates and Troutman Sanders.
At Pike IP Law, Bernie blends his business experience and engineering skills with the sophistication and experience he gained at the big law firms into a unique, personalized, and simplified approach focused on practical, down-to-earth legal counsel.