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Robert Harris is a real estate and land use attorney at Lerch, Early & Brewer in Bethesda, Maryland. He helps landowners strategically improve the use and value of their real estate. His practice includes zoning, land use, real estate and municipal affairs. He represents commercial and residential landowners before planning commissions, courts, governmental agencies and elected officials in connection with obtaining development approvals and in the protection of land use rights in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Bob’s representation of major corporations, builders, retailers, developers and landowners includes advising and representing clients in real estate and land development, including master planning, zoning, subdivision, site plans, special exceptions and other matters. This includes representation in legislative matters at both local and state levels, and participation in court proceedings. He is devoted to being well-informed on trends, policies and practices that influence development, and his clients describe him as being extremely knowledgeable. They praise Bob for his strategic and creative solutions.

His work includes experience in a number of issues, including smart growth, traffic management, adequate public facilities controls, public infrastructure, mixed-use planned development, environmental issues, urban design, affordable housing, real estate taxation and historic preservation. He has served on numerous boards, committees and task forces advising the government on matters ranging from airport development, infrastructure finance, redevelopment of aging shopping centers and master plans to urban renewal and water and sewer service. He also chairs the Washington Sustainable Growth Alliance, a group he helped form, comprised of businesses and land use and environmental organizations working to address sustainable growth issues. He recently was appointed to serve on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' “Region Forward” Task Force to guide future development of the region.

Bob received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland and his Juris Doctor from The George Washington University School of Law. Prior to joining Lerch Early, he was the managing partner in the Montgomery County office of a national D.C. law firm. He is admitted to practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Bob serves on the executive committee of the Urban Land Institute’s Washington District Council, and regularly serves on advisory panels organized by ULI to advise government organizations and private businesses on land use policies and practices. He is a life director of the Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association and is a member of the executive committee. Bob also is a life board member of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, and formerly served as its chairman. He has been listed in Chambers USA for Real Estate: Land Use from 2010 to the present, and has appeared in the Best Lawyers in America and the Maryland and Washington, DC editions of Super Lawyers magazine every year since 2007. In addition, he has been a finalist in the Washington Business Journal’s “Top Washington Lawyer” designation.

When he’s not working, Bob, who was raised in Montgomery County, enjoys being outdoors. He is an avid skier, and has been to more than 40 resorts in five different countries. He also plays golf and bikes. After a workout, he takes pleasure in good food and wine; fortunately, his wife is a gourmet cook.

Contact & Links
  • 7600 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 700
    Bethesda, MD 20814-3663
  • English
  • Gender: Male
  • Ethnicity: White
  • University of Maryland, BS, graduated 1973
Bar Admissions
  • Maryland, Maryland State Bar Association
  • District of Columbia, The District of Columbia Bar
  • Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association - Life Director, Executive Committee member
  • Metropolitan Washington Council on Governments' "Region Forward" Task Force - Member
  • Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce - Advisory Board, past Chairman, life Board member
  • National Association of Home Builders' LANDS Network - Legal Action Network for Development Strategies
  • Shady Grove Hospital Foundation - Board of Directors/Executive Committee
  • Sustainable Growth Alliance - Founder and Chair
  • U.S. Green Bulding Council, National Capital Region Chapter - Member
  • Urban Land Institute, Washington District Council - Executive Committee member

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2018 - Land Use and Zoning Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2014 - Land Use and Zoning Law
Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:
  • Land Use and Zoning Law, Washington, D.C. (2018)
  • Land Use and Zoning Law, Washington, DC (2014)
Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2024 for work in:
  • Land Use and Zoning Law
  • Real Estate Law
Special Focus:
  • Affordable Housing
  • Commercial
  • Development
  • Environmental
  • Housing
  • Land Use
  • Master Planned Communities
  • Office Buildings
  • Real Estate
  • Redevelopment
  • Residential
  • Subdivision
  • Tax
  • Tax Certiorari
  • Zoning


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