We Are A Business Law Firm.

We educate, empower, and empathize with our small business clients. Our mission is to serve as your strategic thought partner, helping you protect the small business you’re working so hard to build.

At its best, business in America has always been an expression of individual freedom, a path to prosperity, and a force for good in our larger society.”   ~Tricia Dunlap

A Better Future For Everyone

In our cynical era, the idea that business is a source of freedom and a force for good 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, we take a holistic view of your mission and challenges and build practical approaches your small business can actually use.  We value enduring and genuine relationships with our clients with a little laughter thrown in along the way.

As your strategic thought partner and business law advisers, we help you make ethical, well-reasoned judgments every day.

If our philosophy is aligned with yours, then Dunlap Law may be the right fit.  Please schedule a free consultation to find out more.

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As a fellow attorney (in entertainment law) who calls on Tricia from time to time for her expertise, I am happy to give her my highest recommendation. Tricia is proactive, responsive, strategic and knows her stuff. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are ever on the fence about hiring her.

—Kirk Schroeder, Attorney

Meet Our Business Lawyers

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Tricia

“Ma’am?  We’re here to evacuate you.  Your house is about to flood.”

Tricia Dunlap was a 34-year-old high school teacher, part-time waitress, and a single mom five months into a divorce.  In another context, she might have welcomed a fireman at her front door.  But on that morning, when she turned and looked toward Swift Creek, instead of 200 feet of grass, she saw a violent filthy river swallowing her 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 Tricia’s life. For the next two and a half years, Tricia felt like she fought everyone – even Mother Nature, though you never win against her. That September, Hurricane Isabel submerged Tricia’s home for days. After Isabel, Tricia vowed that she would never again put her children in that house.

Determined to find a solution for herself and her neighbors, Tricia convinced reluctant local officials to pursue a Hazard Mitigation grant that bought her home and three other chronic-flood properties.  That two-year odyssey launched her to law school in 2008 as a 40-year-old single mother.  She graduated from the University of Richmond in the top of her class and joined McGuireWoods.   

In 2015, she founded business law firm Dunlap Law to help small business owners thrive.  Started without a single client and no outside capital, Tricia’s passion for helping business owners has drawn over 300 clients to the firm which now has four attorneys.  She is dedicated to nurturing a positive culture, centered on empowerment, education, and empathy with one another and with clients.   

Because of her nerdy love for solving gnarly problems, Tricia is a Certified Information Privacy Professional.  She is a well-known member of multiple professional organizations and serves as the co-chair of the KnowledgeNet chapter of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.  She speaks on wonky business law issues in many forums but especially loves inspiring women and girls to transcend their yesterday.  

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Nisha

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.

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Heather

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.

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Brandy

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.

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Robin

With a background in physics thanks to a Master of Science from Old Dominion University, Robin Q. Frost is no stranger to solving a wide range of problems.  From granular issues at the nuclear heart of the dilemma to more universal, high-level questions, she is adept at identifying optimal solutions. Robin taught high school physics for a few years, a background that makes her a great fit for Dunlap Law’s ethic, and then joined the legal department of a mid-sized medical software company. Within that legal team, she leveraged her problem solving and analytical skills to practical use while protecting the company’s interests and helping it thrive.  Robin’s unique background means she is especially good at making complex ideas accessible.

A 2018 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Robin focuses on helping small business owners.  Her background in the health care industry gives her long experience with HIPAA and other regulatory compliance issues. Robin’s main goal is to empower her clients to make informed decisions that best protect and benefit their companies. In 2019, Robin founded Red Quill Law, a SWaM-certified small business.  In 2021, she joined Dunlap Law as Of Counsel.  Thanks to years protecting her employer’s interests and her experience as a small business owner, Robin is acutely aware of the challenges small business owners face and the importance of having a trusted expert on your team to help you reach your full potential. Her “North star” is to be that expert for all her clients.

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Shannon

Shannon joined Dunlap Law with 14 years of paralegal experience that includes real estate, family law, estate law, and she specializes in bankruptcy and business law. She believes that knowledge is power. This led her to getting a degree in paralegal studies to further her in the work she is passionate about. She is dedicated to helping clients through empathy, education, and empowerment. She is enthusiastic about Dunlap Law’s Learning Communities and always looks forward to hosting each session.

She is the mom of 3 adult sons and is proud to be the grandma of 2 beautiful granddaughters. This year she has been on a personal journey through the Larger Than Life coaching program. She has begun to transform and find strength in getting out of her comfort zone. She has discovered a love for hiking, Zumba, and lifting weights. She believes that the key to living “Larger Than Life” starts with integrity by keeping your promises to yourself. If you allow your personal integrity to overflow your cup, it will enrich all areas of your life.

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I have been working closely with Heather Miller at Dunlap Law for the last year and could not be more grateful for her help, and patience. Heather is well-versed in contract law and is extremely efficient. She is a true asset to the Dunlap Law team and I look forward to our continued partnership. ~ Vikrant Bhatia