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About me

Cheryl E. Gardner graduated from the University of Denver School of Law in 1984 and like David, early in her career she also accepted the challenge and passed three demanding state bar exams, and is licensed to practice law in Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and Colorado. Cheryl joined David Bernhard in partnership in 1991, bringing with her years of litigation experience in such diverse fields as family law, civil, criminal and traffic matters. In addition to her litigation practice, Cheryl is managing partner of Bernhard & Gardner, and supervises and guides the staff of attorneys and support personnel. Cheryl oversees the firm's divorce practice, civil and appellate litigation, and frequently handles criminal and traffic matters in the courts in Northern Virginia and Maryland. Cheryl has developed the Firm's innovative divorce practice which is designed to provide high quality professional service at low cost without the necessity of the parties to appear in Court while encouraging a cooperative spirit among spouses who face the difficulty of an end to their marital relationship.  Cheryl's pro bono work includes participation in the George Mason Law School clinical program providing free divorce services to qualified clients while training interns placed with firm. A skilled writer, Cheryl is often responsible for the luster and the qualitative edge of the Firm's pleadings, including trial memoranda and appellate briefs. Throughout her years of practice, Cheryl has served as an accessible mentor to new attorneys, is consulted by her peers in a wide variety of areas for her versatile expertise,and has attained a high level of respect from many judges and colleagues.


Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Divorce: 79%
    31 years
  2. DUI & DWI: 10%
    31 years
  3. Speeding Ticket: 5%
    31 years
  4. Criminal Defense: 5%
    31 years
  5. Personal Injury: 1%
    31 years



Free consultation (30 minutes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

8 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Paul L Mickelsen

    Cheryl was one of my mentors in the practice of law. Her habits epitomize preparation, organization, and creativity. She is an avid writer (as evidenced not only in her legal pleadings, but also her creative writing). She has handles thousands upon thousands of divorces but also doesn't back down from a tough traffic or criminal case. I owe much of my approach to being a lawyer to Cheryl Gardner and David Bernhard. I highly endorse this lawyer.


    Paul Mickelsen Criminal defense Attorney
    Relationship: Co-worker

  • Orval Keith Hallam Jr.

    Cheryl is the type of attorney that most other attorneys should strive to be like. Her combination of knowledge and drive are qualities that allow her to be one of the most respected attorneys in the area. I endorse the lawyer.


    Orval Hallam Criminal defense Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community


VAAuthorized to practice law198603/11/2014
DCActive 198507/05/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2015
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2014
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2013
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2012
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2011
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2010
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2009
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2008
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2007
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2006
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2005
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2004
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2003
BV RatedMartindale-Hubbell2002
American Jurisprudence in Domestic Relations - Fall 1984Lawyers Cooperative Publishing1984
American Jurisprudence in Domestic Relations - Year 1984Lawyers Cooperative Publishing1984
Magna Cum LaudeWhitworth College1978
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Managing PartnerBernhard & Gardner1991 - Present
AssociateStein, Sperling, Bennett, De Jong, Driscoll & Howard, P.C.1990 - 1991
AssociateRegan & Associates Chartered1987 - 1990
AssociateChristmas & Hamblin1986 - 1987
Association namePosition nameDuration
VADefenses ListservCo-founder and co-moderator2005 - Present
Maryland BarAdmitted to Practice1990 - Present
Virginia State BarAdmitted to Practice1986 - Present
Colorado Bar AssociationAdmitted to Practice - inactive1985 - Present
District of Columbia BarAdmitted to Practice1985 - Present
Virgnia State BarIndigent Defense Task Force2010 - 2014
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Ayala v. Aggressive Towing and Transport, 276 Va. 169, 661 S.E.2d 480 (2008)Won appeal in Supreme Court of Virginia (was on brief)
Ford Motor Company v. Benitez, 273 Va. 242, 639 S.E.2d 203 (2007)Won on appeal in Supreme Court of Virginia (was on brief)
re Estate of Garcia v. Electrifiers, Inc., 06 WC UNP 2137580 (2006)Case won on appeal
See all legal cases 
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of Denver Sturm College of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1984