Dunlap Law is a business law firm that advises emerging and established privately-held companies and non-profits.
A business law firm with business advisers and business attorneys that guide your business through thick and thin.
Because business can be a force for good
"At its best, business in America has always been an expression of freedom, a path to wealth and prosperity for yourself and your family, and a force for good for the larger society." - Tricia Dunlap
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.
Founding Principal & Attorney
“Ma’am? We’re here to evacuate you. Your house is about to flood.”
I was 34 years old and 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’ 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 under water again for days. After Isabel, I vowed that I would never again put my children in that house.
While contemplating bankruptcy and foreclosure, I lobbied Chesterfield County, my Congressman, and my Senators for the help my neighbors and I needed. I argued with FEMA over disaster aid. I disputed the pitiful values insurance adjusters assigned to my damages. My ex-husband declared he wouldn’t sign our mediated agreement and we headed to court. When insurance denied Serv-Pro’s claim, they sued me and I found myself back in court. At every turn, I had no choice but to make high-stakes decisions on imperfect information.
In hindsight, I am deeply grateful for all of it. It made me.
I call on the skills I learned every single day. In partnership with my clients, I prevent mistakes, solve problems, teach, and counsel. I listen. We make hard decisions together. And when the creek rises, I’m there to take the call.
Heather Hormel Miller
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. Dunlap Law is grateful to offer Heather's expertise.
Kristin Cleary Clarens
Growing up in Detroit, Kristin volunteered to help her neighbors avoid eviction. Before heading to law school, she worked in developing countries to learn how poor people get money. The lessons from these experiences informed her decision to build a career in international law and continue to guide her today.
During law school at the University of Michigan, Kristin was Executive Articles Editor for the Michigan Journal of International Law, and after graduating in 2005, Kristin joined an Am Law 100 global law firm. Over the next thirteen years, Kristin developed expertise in international commercial matters, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, assessing and managing political risk, and insurance in these contexts. She worked with multinational corporations and also the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) where she routinely counseled various UNDP offices on diverse international law issues. Kristin is admitted to practice in Michigan and D.C. She is fluent in Spanish and an expert in government integrity and anti-corruption initiatives. She is passionate about helping businesses create effective anti-corruption programs and helping U.S. business leaders stay on the right side of U.S. and foreign anti-corruption laws and regulations.
In 2019, Kristin left her law firm position to assist families at the U.S.-Mexico border. While there, she helped develop better tracking methods so that non-governmental organizations could better work with immigrants and refugees attempting to navigate the U.S. immigration and asylum systems. Kristin's stewardship ethic also prompted her to co-found Charlottesville Families in Action, an organization that connects families and businesses to local nonprofits to increase community engagement.
Kristin joined Dunlap Law in January 2020 to help our clients comply with Federal anti-corruption laws as they build their international trade portfolio.
Principal and Founder, Pike IP Law
Bernie is a registered patent attorney at Pike IP Law, which he founded in 2012 and continues to lead while also collabortating 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.
Cathy recently retired from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit where she served as motions deputy from 2009 to 2017. Before that, she was a corporate paralegal at Williams Mullen in Richmond where she handled a wide variety of client needs from simple matters such as corporate resolutions or minutes to complex projects involving highly detailed and exhaustive due diligence scrutiny for mergers or acquisitions.
Cathy’s dedication to her profession shows – she has earned leadership roles on the Continuing Education Council of the National Association of Legal Assistants (“NALA”), served as President of the Richmond Paralegal Association, and as Alumni President of the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies.
How Dunlap Law Started
A Business Law Firm For Good
"I always knew, deep down, that I’d start my own business law firm someday and build into its DNA the sense of purpose that has always driven me.
In 2015 I started Dunlap Law as a business law practice with a mission to help businesses thrive and an emphasis on empowering clients by educating them.
I am still a teacher and everyone at Dunlap Law applies that ethic to our mission. Today I teach my clients so they can understand risks, weigh pros and cons, and protect what they’ve built while spending their legal budget wisely.
We understand what keeps you up at night because we’re a small business too. Maybe you have an amazing logo that needs trademark protection. Our business attorneys can help. Or maybe your executives need advice on spotting and managing risks, and communicating that to stakeholders. Perhaps you’re growing and need to lease or buy new space. We can help." - Tricia Dunlap