Shirley Steinbach represents companies and individuals seeking to resolve a myriad of business and personal disputes through litigation, arbitration, mediation and settlement. She counsels clients to help them make sound strategic business and legal decisions.

One client has said that “what most impresses me about Shirley is her professional demeanor and temperament. Lawyers who are all ‘fire and brimstone I-was-born-a-pitbull-and-will-fight-for-you (for an appropriate fee!)’ are, in my experience, a dime-a-dozen (especially in DC), and often do more harm than good (polarizing/entrenching opposing sides). Shirley takes the opposite approach. She’s extremely level-headed and calm, even in highly contentious situations.”

After listening carefully to understand her client’s position, Shirley develops a strategy to achieve their goals. She litigates aggressively when necessary and negotiates favorable settlements where appropriate, and throughout the case, explains complex concepts in an uncomplicated way to ensure clients understand what is happening.

Shirley has experience working at law firms of all sizes, from her own private practice to a large, 400+ attorney corporate law firm. Most recently, she led the litigation department of the community association practice at Lerch Early.

In her free time, Shirley enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, reading cookbooks and food blogs and raising her daughters.


Professional & Community Affiliations



  • Successfully defended against a $325,000 claim brought by a commercial landlord for water and sewer charges where water meter bypass valve to the tenant’s facility was open for over twelve years, while preserving the parties’ business relationship.
  • Filed emergency lawsuit on behalf of Fortune 500 health care provider against landlord that refused to comply with snow and ice removal obligations where parties disagreed about their respective obligations regarding CAM charges and other operating expenses.
  • Defeated District of Columbia Office of Attorney General’s claims seeking receivership and other injunctive relief against corporate client on summary judgment.
  • Defended the ability of a private community comprised of 5,660 housing units, with approximately8,000 residents in twenty-nine common ownership communities to charge a two-percent purchase fee, a resale administrative fee, and a community facilities fee.
  • Counsel clients to make strategic decisions about business disputes by evaluating likelihood of success and exposure to liability, assessing risks, estimating legal fees, and presenting options for resolution.
  • First-chair trials, take depositions, manage expert witnesses, argue motions, manage discovery, negotiate settlements, draft agreements, and file appeals.
  • Developed business and practiced law in the areas of civil litigation and domestic relations.
  • Successfully resolved claims for trespass and quiet title on behalf of condominium association against builders of neighboring condominium.
  • Drafted partnership agreement for parties co-owning real property as tenants in common.
  • Collected on judgments, including by recordation in land records, obtaining judicial condemnation, and attaching funds held in escrow.

Domestic Relations (Litigation)

  • Managed clients with mental illness, drug addiction, alcoholism, and facing financial ruin in highly emotional domestic relations cases where facts continuously developed and discovery was ongoing.
  • Second-chaired trials, including a case pitting two fathers against each other in paternity proceeding; a case disputing a mother’s ability to relocate to Hawaii when sharing joint custody of child with a father stationed in D.C., and; a five-day trial to allocate separate and marital property.
  • Negotiated and drafted property settlement agreements for high net-worth individuals.

Commercial Litigation

  • Represented corporate clients in business disputes, including a government contractor that refurbishes federal buildings, an electric company that built power plant in Afghanistan under grant from U.S. Agency for International Development, and manufacturer of nutraceuticals.
  • Drafted briefs, oppositions, and other court papers filed in federal and state courts, and arbitral tribunals.
  • Co-founded Venable’s Electronic Discovery Task Force to educate and train firm’s attorneys to successfully preserve, request, produce, and process discovery in electronic formats.


  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2024


  • Quoted in Wall Street Journal Article, “Homeowners Raise a Stink Over Pot-Smoking Neighbors.” Marijuana Use in Community Associations, May. 2020
  • ‘I’m Allergic to Your Support Dog’: Handling Competing Requests for Disability Accommodations,” Quorum, Jan. 2020
  • “Neighbor-to-Neighbor Harassment: How To Minimize Community Associations’ Liability,” Community Associations Update, Mar. 2017
  • “I’ve Just Been Served. What Do I Do Now?” FTLF Blog, Dec. 2014
  • “Should I Record My Telephone Conversations With My Ex?” FTLF Blog, Aug. 2014
  • “Bye, Bye Blackwelder.” Federal Bar Association Rocket Docket News, Dec. 2009
  • “Watch Out for the Work Product Doctrine.” Federal Bar Association Rocket Docket News, Aug. 2008