A headshot of Jon Laria.

Jon M. Laria

Special Counsel

Jon M. Laria represents owners, developers, investors, and lenders in all types of commercial real estate transactions, including development, finance, acquisition, and leasing. Jon also has a leading land use, zoning, and entitlements practice and has provided counsel for some of Baltimore's most prominent development projects. Before becoming an attorney, he was employed by a major Baltimore-based developer, where he engaged in all aspects of commercial real estate transactions. Jon is a member of Ballard Spahr's Senior Leadership Team, and he served as Baltimore Office Managing Partner for over a decade.

Jon served on the Transition Teams for Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Comptroller Bill Henry and, most recently, as the Community Development and Smart Growth Workgroup Chair for Maryland Governor Wes Moore’s transition.

He serves as Chair of the Baltimore Regional Transit Commission (BRTC), to which he was appointed by Governor Moore. The BRTC oversees the Maryland Transit Administration and advocates for transit in the Baltimore region. He was also appointed by the Governor to the Maryland Commission on Transportation Revenue and Infrastructure Needs, whose charge is to review, evaluate, and make recommendations on the prioritization and funding of Maryland transportation projects. Jon previously served as a member of the Baltimore Transit Funding and Governance Workgroup, which recommended to the Governor and General Assembly a restructuring of Greater Baltimore’s transit system.

Professional Highlights

Pro Bono Experience

As part of Ballard Spahr's pro bono program, Jon served as counsel to Star-Spangled 200, Inc., the nonprofit organization responsible for supporting Maryland's celebration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, and Light City, Baltimore's international festival of light and innovation. He has also led the firm's pro bono work on numerous community development and financing transactions throughout the City, including most recently the redevelopment of the historic Hebrew Orphans Asylum in West Baltimore into a community health center and the redevelopment of Justice Thurgood Marshall’s elementary school, PS 103, into a community legal services center.

Judicial Clerkships

Hon. Howard S. Chasanow, Maryland Court of Appeals, 1992-1993

Professional Activities

Maryland Building Industry Association (MBIA), Chair of the Baltimore City Chapter 

American Bar Association

District of Columbia Bar Association

Recognition & Accomplishments

The Daily Record, Power 30 in Law

The Daily Record, Maryland Power 100 list

Chambers USA, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use law (Maryland), 2006-2024, "Senior Statesman," 2024

The Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, Land Use and Zoning Law (Baltimore), 2007-2024; "Lawyer of the Year," Land Use and Zoning Law (Baltimore), 2012, 2020, Real Estate Law (Baltimore), 2022

The Legal 500 US, Real Estate and Construction - Real Estate, 2017; Real Estate - Land Use/Zoning, 2022, 2024

Speaking Engagements

Participant in numerous panels and programs related to real estate law, land use and development, and the real estate industry in general

Special guest speaker, "Doubling Down on Downtown Baltimore," Downtown Download webcast series, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, October 26, 2021

Board Memberships & Community Service

Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC)

Central Maryland Transportation Alliance (CMTA)

Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc., Vice Chair

Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Commission, past Chair 

Blue Ribbon Commission on Ethics & Accountability, Baltimore County

Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore

Community Memberships

Baltimore City Historical Society

Beth Am Synagogue 

Greater Baltimore Committee's Leadership program, past participant

Lake Roland Nature Council

Maryland Center for History and Culture



University of Maryland School of Law (J.D. 1992, with honors)
Articles Editor, Maryland Law Review

Johns Hopkins University (B.A. 1985)


District of Columbia