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Virginia’s Go To Lawyers – Business Law: Tricia Dunlap

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 29, 2020

Virginia’s Go To Lawyers – Business Law: Tricia Dunlap

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 29, 2020

dunlap_triciaTricia Dunlap
Dunlap Law PLC
Managing Partner

Education / Certifications:

BA, Loyola University of Chicago
MA, University of Maryland
JD, cum laude, University of Richmond, T.C. Williams School of Law
Certified Information Privacy Professional/ US (International Association of Privacy Professionals)
Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board)

What is the field or practice area for which you are best known?

Corporate governance, business transactions

Please describe a signature case, deal or transaction.

Pirron v. Impact Makers Inc. (2019). With Tom Wolf, I represented Michael Pirron in a derivative claim against Virginia’s first benefit corporation, Impact Makers Inc., the company Pirron founded in 2007. The case involved a novel corporate governance arrangement and was the first benefit proceeding in the United States. Forty days after we filed our complaint, IM’s then-sitting board agreed to unwind the actions that had given rise to the claim and we settled the case.

Please briefly mention up to three additional important cases, deals or transactions.

Peter-Blair Accessories Ltd. trademark registration (co-counsel with Bernie Pike). Anticipating opposition from Blair Inc. we intentionally included goods that we did not really need to have included in the mark’s scope of protection. We negotiated them away in order to induce Blair Inc. to drop its opposition.

Licensing of SonaBank’s POWER program for women entrepreneurs. EVB (now SonaBank) created an outstanding, copyrighted program tailored to the needs of women business owners. I was happy to help them license the program to another financial institution.

Describe your approach to working with clients.

I am a career switcher. In 2008, when I left public school teaching for law school as a 40-year-old single mom, I never imagined that my teaching career would help me be an effective lawyer. In fact, I am still a teacher, it’s just that my subject matter and constituency have changed! My “teacher’s mindset” still guides my work today. My goal is to help clients understand the legal issues facing their business and weigh risks and benefits so they are empowered to make reasoned judgments aligned with their vision.

What is the best career advice you’ve received?

“Qatra, qatra, darya mesha.” It’s an Afghan proverb I learned from a client. It means, “Drop by drop, a river is made.” It is the perfect mantra for lawyers because building a legal career is a slow and steady process. I have a vision for where I want to be, but I do best to remember that I’ll get there drop by drop.

What developments in business law do you expect to see in 2021?

We will continue to see both consumer expectations and law/regulations tighten in regard to business’ collection, use, storage, and sale/sharing of consumers’ personal information and data. The current legal landscape is highly fragmented, given that we have no comprehensive federal law on these issues, and every year we see more states passing laws or enacting regulations that restrict business use of consumer data. Virginia’s General Assembly is studying the issue right now and whether they enact new legislation in 2021 or not, it is coming at some point.

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