Ballard Spahr Adds Two Accomplished Real Estate Attorneys in Washington, D.C., and Maryland


Ballard Spahr has added even greater depth and strength to its nationally acclaimed real estate practice with the addition this week of two experienced and accomplished real estate development attorneys in the Washington region, firm Chair Mark Stewart announced today.

Joining the firm as of counsel are Douglas M. Irvin, who has overseen the structuring and development of many of the most significant condominium and mixed-use projects in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region, and Emily J. Vaias, who has worked on projects in the District of Columbia and guided many high-profile developments in Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Charles Counties in Maryland. Collectively, they have more than 50 years of experience in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia.   

"Doug and Emily are outstanding attorneys whom I’ve had the pleasure to know and work with for many years, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have them join our lineup of many of the best attorneys in the region and nationally," said Roger Winston, who heads Ballard Spahr’s Mixed-Use Development and Condominiums Team. "They add tremendously to our depth of expertise in this geographic region and their practice areas, and enhance our ability to meet ever-increasing client demands for exemplary and value-oriented real estate legal services."

With a focus on mixed-use, condominium, and common interest development law, Mr. Irvin represents developers, lenders, investors, and builders in all aspects of the planning, creation, and operation of retail, office, commercial, mixed-use and residential associations, master-planned communities, condominiums, homeowners associations, and other common interest developments under applicable state and federal laws. He provides experienced, comprehensive counsel on the structure, documentation, and operation of common interest developments, from early planning stages through completion. He is highly knowledgeable and experienced in structuring and drafting complex covenants, conditions, and restrictions for mixed-use developments.

He represents developers and builders in preparing governing documents, disclosure statements, contracts, and related agreements required for the sale of land in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia, for projects of all sizes and with varying levels of complexity. Mr. Irvin also has deep experience with the District of Columbia’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), as well as Montgomery County’s Right of First Refusal law (ROFR), an area of law for which Ballard Spahr has already established itself as the go-to firm.

"Ballard Spahr, and particularly the condominium and mixed-use practice in the D.C. area and nationally, are a perfect fit for me," Mr. Irvin said. "I have known, worked with, and respected the firm and its attorneys for many years. Joining this already deep bench of outstanding attorneys focused on condominium, mixed-use, and common interest development provides the perfect platform for me to serve clients. "

Ms. Vaias appears before zoning and planning boards and other administrative, legislative, and judicial bodies on behalf of local and national developers, commercial and residential builders, retailers, business owners, and individuals. She has worked on a variety of projects, including medical office buildings, hotels, transit-oriented communities, mixed-use developments, senior housing campuses, retail shopping centers, multi-family developments, office complexes, historic building renovations, and single-family housing developments. She has been involved with building industry efforts to redraft Montgomery County’s Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit law and the Stormwater Management law in Prince George’s County.

Ms. Vaias was an adjunct professor for more than 15 years in the Edward St. John Real Estate Program at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. She is past president of the Baltimore Chapter of the national organization of Commercial Real Estate Women. She has served on numerous community and professional boards including the Purple Rail Alliance, Inc., which works to promote construction of the 16-mile light rail line connecting New Carrollton in Prince George’s County and Bethesda in Montgomery County, as well as the Legislative Committee of the Apartment and Office Building Association, the National Capital Trolley Museum, and the Homeless Persons Representation Project.

"Having had the pleasure of working with many Ballard Spahr attorneys over the years, I’m thrilled to be joining the firm’s highly respected group of real estate attorneys in Washington and Maryland,” she said. “In addition to its well-earned reputation for excellence in legal practice, the firm is well-known for its commitment to the community and the profession­—areas that are very important to me. I see Ballard as the ideal place for me to serve clients and community.”   

About Ballard Spahr
Ballard Spahr LLP, an Am Law 100 law firm with more than 500 lawyers in 14 offices in the United States, provides a range of services in litigation, business and finance, real estate, intellectual property, and public finance. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, life sciences and technology companies, health systems, investors and developers, government agencies and sponsored enterprises, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations. The firm combines a national scope of practice with strong regional market knowledge. For more information, please visit

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