For more than 20 years, a broad range of Northern Virginia builders, developers, property owners, and entrepreneurs have come to P. David Tarter for his comprehensive understanding of business and real estate law and its application to the region.

Tarter’s method is to keep a close and detailed eye on all of his projects. He handles many cases from start to finish, overseeing every critical phase from site analysis, contract preparation, and title review, to land use and entitlement approvals, and project financing. He often takes a project ‘home’ preparing sales contracts, subdivision, community association, and other development documents.

In addition to being a lawyer, Tarter is also a lawmaker. Starting in 2012, and again in 2016, he was elected to the Falls Church City Council, receiving the most votes of all of candidates. In 2014, and again in 2016, he was elected Mayor of the City of Falls Church by the unanimous vote of his fellow City Council Members. Tarter has also been recognized within the greater region, having been elected the President of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments in 2016. That same year, Tarter was elected Vice-Chair of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.

Before joining the Falls Church City Council, he served as Chair of the City’s Economic Development Authority where, under his leadership, the award-winning “Little City” brand was created to promote Falls Church and its enterprises to potential residents and businesses. He also briefly served as interim City Attorney for Falls Church.

Tarter’s passion for real estate began at an early age. He obtained a real estate agent’s license when he was just 18. After practicing at a large, national American Lawyer 100 firm, he honed his skills and gained valuable client-side perspective working in the field as an acquisition manager and general counsel for an active local builder and developer. Soon after that he was a name partner at a law firm with deep local roots handling complex, multi-phase projects in Northern Virginia. His diverse, hands-on work at the firm also had him arguing cases before local Boards of Supervisors as well as the Virginia Supreme Court.

Because of his meticulous attention to detail and personal attention, Tarter’s legal fingerprints are all over some of the most high-profile and successful projects and real estate in Northern Virginia.

Tarter is also recognized by his peers. He has received a Martindale-Hubbell “AV” (Preeminent) rating, the highest available, from his legal colleagues.  He has also recieved an “Superb” rating from AVVO.

With such a wide breadth of experience, Tarter’s views are sought by other lawyers. He has served as a continuing legal education speaker presenting on real estate development, land use, and title issues. He has also authored several publications on real estate matters.

Raised in Northern Virginia, Tarter was educated at St. Stephen’s High School, the University of Virginia, the London School of Economics, and the University of Virginia School of Law. Though proud of his deep roots in Virginia, he has also lived and worked extensively overseas including in Riga, Latvia; Tokyo, Japan; and London, England.


P. David Tarter

Karen Schools brings a history of talent and achievement to Tarter Nova Law and its clients. An award-winning and accomplished lawyer with a long career in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., she has an eclectic legal background in general practice and business law.

For many years she worked at the Department of Defense, negotiating complex contracts and assisting in large litigation in connection with the price of military and commercial jet fuel. Her work has touched many major aspects of business, including multi-billion dollar acquisitions, contract administration, and dispute resolution. She has worked on civil, criminal and bankruptcy matters in conjunction with U.S. Attorneys and the Justice Department. Ms. Schools has also served as a fraud counsel whose tireless efforts resulted in criminal prosecutions.

Ms. Schools work has been recognized for its excellence. She has received the Department of Defense’s Special Achievement Award for exceptional performance in connection with her work on complex administrative and litigation matters, and On-the Spot Awards for outstanding efforts in combatting fraud.

Before beginning her career, Ms. Schools attended the University of Virginia as an undergraduate and then returned there to pursue her law degree. She received many honors as a student, including election to Phi Beta Kappa, Intermediate Honors, the Society of the Cincinnati History Scholarship, and a Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction as part of the History Distinguished Majors Program. Ms. Schools also obtained a Master of Laws, an advanced legal degree, in International Business Transactions from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Not currently an active member of the Virginia Bar.