Lauri Cleary

Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chartered
Three Bethesda Metro Center
Suite 460
Bethesda, MD 20814

Lauri E. Cleary is chairs Lerch, Early & Brewer's Litigation practice group, and is a member of the firm's Appellate, Employment & Labor and Creditors' Rights & Workouts groups. She represents individual and corporate clients, including religious and other nonprofit organizations and educational institutions, automobile dealers, financial institutions, title insurers and other insurance underwriters.

For more than 30 years Lauri has handled complex commercial, employment, tort, insurance and white-collar criminal defense matters. She also has represented auto dealers in operational and franchise matters and helped title insurance underwriters and their insureds resolve complex settlement escrow and land title issues. In connection with Lerch Early's insurance defense practice, Lauri works closely with claims counsel defending a wide variety of tort and commercial litigation claims.

Lauri's clients call her “a great litigator who isn't afraid to fight—she can be charming or forceful depending on what the situation calls for” according to interviews by Chambers USA (2010). Lauri also is a highly skilled litigation counselor who shares risk management and litigation avoidance strategies with Lerch Early clients. Determined and energetic, Lauri takes the time to thoroughly understand each client's denomination, business or industry and to establish an open line of communication, mutual respect and cooperation toward a common goal.

She is admitted to practice in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia, and has successfully managed all aspects of litigating trial and appellate cases before state and federal courts and administrative agencies in all three jurisdictions.

Lauri's representation of religious organizations has given her the opportunity to take on many cases involving First Amendment religious freedoms, an experience that complements her passionate commitment to the pro bono representation of indigent persons. She received the John Carroll Society's Pro Bono Service Award in recognition of her representation of the indigent. She chaired the Montgomery County Bar Foundation's Pro Bono Committee for several years, and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Archdiocesan Legal Network of the Archdiocese of Washington. Lauri also serves a host of the local cable access show "Law School for the Public."

Lauri is the recipient of many accolades from her peers in the legal profession, including being elected President of the 2500-member Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland, which inducted her as a Bar Leader over a decade ago. She has been named a "Leader in Her Field" by Chambers USA in the field of Litigation: General Commercial for several years, received The Daily Record's 2009 Leadership in Law and 50 Most Influential Marylanders Awards and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. She shares her vast knowledge of employment issues with risk management and human resource professionals throughout the Washington, D.C., region on topics such as sexual harassment, hiring and termination practices, and questions of liability for the acts of employees and volunteers.

Lauri earned her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland. She joined Lerch Early in 1986 after serving as judicial law clerk to the Honorable Howard S. Chasanow (Retired), Court of Appeals of Maryland, then a member of the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Md.

A lifelong resident of Montgomery County, Lauri serves as a lector at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Potomac. She enjoys horseback riding, golf and piano.

Honors and Awards

Elected President, Bar Association of Montgomery County, MD 2016-17
Named Chambers USA "Leader in the Field" of Litigation: General Commercial (2010-present)
Received Daily Record's Leadership in Law Award (2009)
Ranked AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings
Received Montgomery County Bar Foundation Community Service Award for co-chairing Law School for the Public (2009)
Named "Bar Leader" by Montgomery County Bar Foundation (2007)

Professional Memberships

Maryland State Bar Association
District of Columbia Bar Association
Virginia State Bar Association
Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland (Executive Committee 2010-2012; Chair, Law School for the Public; former Chair, Pro Bono Committee)
Montgomery County Bar Foundation (Board of Directors 2012-present, Endowment Committee 2012-present)


University of Maryland School of Law (J.D., 1985)
University of Maryland (B.A. in English, 1982)

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia
U.S. District Court, District of Maryland
U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia
U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Bankruptcy Court