As Co-Chair of Paley Rothman’s Family Law practice and a member of its Litigation practice group, Carlos Lastra provides clients with diligent, thoughtful and effective representation, addressing both their immediate concerns and securing long-term solutions, in arguably the toughest times imaginable. Applying skills honed over a quarter of a century of recurrent civil and criminal trials before judges and juries in federal and state courtrooms in multiple jurisdictions, Carlos employs his rich trial experience to create a strategy custom-made to meet the client’s objectives, anticipate the opposing party’s tactics, and ultimately achieve his client’s goals.
Over the last 26 years, Carlos Lastra has represented individuals and small businesses, in a wide diversity of cases ranging from criminal conspiracy, fraud, R.I.C.O., and white collar criminal cases, to contract claims, shareholder’s derivative actions, construction disputes, professional malpractice defense, and other commercial litigation cases, as well as family law matters. As a result, Carlos is a highly accomplished trial lawyer who has been honored throughout his career with numerous awards and distinctions, including Legal Elite - Washington’s Top Attorneys, Smart CEO Magazine, top “Divorce Attorney” by Washingtonian and Bethesda Magazine, as well as Family Law Practitioner of the Year. His intricate knowledge of complex domestic-relations cases and his ability to anticipate the opposition to develop effective case strategies, has earned him an AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating, the highest rating possible from clients, peers and judges, by Martindale Hubbell.
Carlos Lastra has represented clients in all aspects of family law - from complex high net worth divorces, with closely held businesses and property spanning multiple jurisdictions including foreign countries, to highly sensitive divorces including hidden assets, and cases involving the acquirement of digital computer forensic evidence, all with the focus of preserving his clients’ ability to maintain their familial relationships, as well as their financial well-being.
His knowledge, experience, and interest in advanced technology for use in cases also enables him to provide his clients with cutting edge service. As one example, through his use of digital forensic evidence, Carlos was able to secure a combined seven figure judgment for his client for alimony he should not have been paying.
Carlos Lastra’s range of family law litigation experience includes divorce, alimony, custody, child support, paternity, and property distribution cases. He also handles matters involving contempt/enforcement actions, modifications actions, and domestic violence cases in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
In addition to his legal acumen, Carlos is fluent in Spanish and is an active member in Hispanic civil and professional organizations. While in law school, he was a Certified Legal Intern, prosecuting felony cases for the Law Offices of Janet Reno, Miami-Dade State’s Attorney. He also served as a law clerk to the Hon. Leonard M. Rivikind.
District of Columbia
U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. District Courts for the Southern District and Middle District of Florida
J.D., University of Miami School of Law, 1992
B.A., University of Miami, 1989
Best Lawyers in America - Best Lawyers (2021)
- Family Law
"Top Divorce Lawyers," - Washingtonian magazine (2019)
"Top Attorneys," Bethesda Magazine (2019)
"Top Lawyers" - Washingtonian magazine (2018)
Maryland Super Lawyers (2011-2021)
Washington D.C. Super Lawyers (2011-2020)
“Top Divorce Attorney,” Washingtonian magazine
“Top Divorce Lawyers,” Bethesda Magazine (2013, 2017)
“Family Law Practitioner of the Year,” Montgomery County Bar Association
“Legal Elite,” SmartCEO Magazine
Community Service Award, Domestic Violence Project, Montgomery County Bar Foundation
Who’s Who in American Law
Section Co-Chair of the Year, Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland
“Bar Leaders,” Montgomery County Bar Association
- Glenn Cooper No. 1, 13 Paley Rothman Attorneys Named to the 2021 Maryland Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists
- Tracey Coates and Carlos Lastra Provided Commentary in Article titled “Pandemic wreaks havoc on divorce, custody and family law cases”
- Tracey Coates and Carlos Lastra Provided Commentary in Article titled “Lawmakers, experts weigh changes to Maryland’s child custody court process”
- Twenty Paley Rothman Attorneys Selected to 2021 Best Lawyers in America
- Glenn Cooper Top 10, 14 Paley Rothman Attorneys Named to the 2020 Washington D.C. Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists
- 14 Paley Rothman Attorneys Named to the 2020 Maryland Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists
- Six Attorneys Listed in Washingtonian’s December 2019 Edition
- 6 Paley Rothman Attorneys Named “Top Lawyers” by Washingtonian Magazine
- Carlos Lastra Provides Commentary in U.S. News & World Report Article on Divorce and Investments
- Carlos Lastra Elected Shareholder at Paley Rothman
- Carlos Lastra Joins Firm as Principal in Family Law and Litigation Departments
"Cheating in the 21st Century – How Adultery Has Changed in the Digital Age and How to Prove It," Paley Rothman Blog, August 2016
“Hiding Assets in a Divorce: You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide; Or Can You?,” Avvo Legal Guides, 2013
“Family Law & Same-sex or Gay Marriage in Maryland,” Avvo Legal Guides, 2012
“Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): Impact on Same-sex Marriage in Maryland & Washington, DC,” Avvo Legal Guides, 2012
“Alimony & Cohabitation in MD: What to do when the ex shacks up with someone new?,” Avvo Legal Guides, 2012
“Alimony Modification, Extension and Termination in Maryland,” Avvo Legal Guides, 2010
“How to Secure a Protective Order in Maryland,” Avvo Legal Guides, 2010
“Alimony Determinations in Maryland,” Avvo Legal Guides, 2010
“Alimony Pendente Lite in Maryland,” Avvo Legal Guides, 2010
Chapter on Pleading and Litigation Tactics in Domestic Cases, Editor, Maryland Divorce & Separation Law, Ninth Edition, MICPEL, 2009
Provided commentary on Anderson Publishing’s Maryland Evidence Courtroom Manual, The Law Library, Small Firm Business, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2004
Chapter on Pleading and Litigation Tactics in Domestic Cases, Editor, Maryland Divorce & Separation Law, Eighth Edition, MICPEL, 2003
Editor, Pleading and Litigation Tactics in Domestic Cases for the 9th Edition of MICPEL’s Maryland Divorce and Separation Law Manual
Montgomery County Bar Foundation - Bar Leaders (2006)
Bar Association of Montgomery County - Chair, Program Committee, Family Law Section (2005)
Montgomery County American Inn of Court - Barrister (2005)
Hispanic Bar Association for the District of Columbia - Member
Maryland Hispanic Bar Association – Member
Hispanic National Bar Association
Montgomery County Bar Association, Family Law Section - Co-Chair (2005-2006)
Maryland State Bar Association - Member
Pro Bono/Community Service:
Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland - Chair, Pro Bono Initiative Committee, Family Law Section (2009)
Montgomery County Circuit Court - Facilitator (2009)
Montgomery County Commission for Women
Montgomery County Bar Foundation Pro Bono Program
Volunteer Attorney Training/Orientation, Domestic Violence Pro Bono Initiative, Bar Association For Montgomery County, Family Law Section, 2010
Immigration Issues in DV and Family Law Cases, Family Law Section, Bar Association of Montgomery County, 2010
Sus Derechos Legales en el Divorcio: Resumen y Temas Relacionados, Montgomery County Commission for Women, 2009
When Domestic Violence Leads to Criminal Charges – Procedures and Strategies from Arrest to Trial, Montgomery County Inn of Court, 2003
Secured a judgment for $807,500 in back alimony payments and a $275,000 attorney’s fees award for his client after a nine day trial wherein he was able to prove, including through the use of extensive forensic electronic evidence secured from the opposing party’s digital devices, as well as global positioning satellite systems surveillance, that the opposing party had cohabitated in violation of an alimony termination provision contained in the parties’ agreement.
Achieved a custody award for a father whose infant daughter was secreted and absconded by the family of his deceased fiancé after she died in the Fort Totten Washington, D.C. Metro train crash in an effort to control the infant’s wrongful death claim against WMATA. After three days of trial, Carlos successfully defeated the decedent’s family’s attempts to assassinate his client’s character and reputation despite their hiring three separate law firms to prosecute their claims. Thereafter, he successfully removed the attorney selected as guardian by the extended family’s personal injury lawyers and initially appointed by the Court to oversee the infant’s money.
Acquired a $16,000 per month alimony award, a $2.4 million monetary award, and an award of attorney’s fees of $350,000 after a 13 day trial.
Achieved a relocation of custody order permitting his client to move cross-county after his client’s daughter’s father refused to permit his client to take a job outside the state of Maryland. Over three days of trial, presented career and job placement and educational expert testimony on the significance of his client’s unique career opportunity and the comparative quality of the schools in each competing locale.
Collected liquidated damages ($60,000) for harm to his client’s credit as a result of his former spouse failing to make payments on the former marital home and her car payment.
At the conclusion of a three day trial, while addressing the amount of an attorney’s fees award, the Circuit Court wrote in its Memorandum and Judgment: “Mr. Lastra presented himself as an extremely capable, knowledgeable, and experienced trial attorney, and it was a pleasure to watch him in action.”
Represented homeless man charged with burglary of a residence who was facing a minimum forty year life sentence if convicted. After thorough cross-examination of investigative and arresting police officers, Carlos persuaded the jury to acquit his client of felony charges and he walked out of the courthouse a freed man.
Defended Hearing/Speaking Impaired client charged with Burglary with Assault, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Aggravated Stalking, and numerous batteries. Carlos’ deaf client, who had never been arrested before, was facing a minimum of four years in prison with a potential life sentence. After jury selection, he rejected the prosecution’s plea offer of two months in jail. After three grueling days of trial, including completing part of the closing argument in sign language to a jury which included jurors with hearing-impaired friends and family, Carlos persuaded the jury to return an acquittal on all charges. The jurors took one hour to return their not guilty verdict.
Handled High-Profile Multi-Defendant Attempted 1st Degree Murder case arising from the Teamster’s strike where a non-striking union member and former 1987 National Champion University of Miami Linebacker was stabbed five times with an ice pick. All six co-defendants were striking teamsters and Carlos represented the alleged lone “stabber.” After a year of litigation, including three co-defendants trying to implicate his client by turning state’s evidence, Carlos was able to uncover a conspiracy spearheaded by union members. After negotiations with employment law counsel for UPS, and the prosecution, they reached an agreement whereby his client testified at the labor arbitration hearings in exchange for a reduction of charges to aggravated battery. Also included was an agreement that UPS would testify at his client’s post-conviction motions hearing, which resulted in his client serving only 10 months in a work release program.
"Pandemic wreaks havoc on divorce, custody and family law cases, "The Maryland Daily Record, June 2020.
“Lawmakers, experts weigh changes to Maryland’s child custody court process,” The Maryland Daily Record, August 26, 2020.
"How To Peacefully Co-Parent During COVID-19," Great Day Washington, WUSA9, April 21, 2020
"Divorce & The Holidays: Keeping Spirits Bright," Good Morning Washington, WJLA, December 17, 2019
"Back to School Tips for Divorced Parents," Great Day Washington, WUSA9, August 22, 2019
"Scared of ‘What If?’ It’s Okay to Have a Prenup Before Marriage," Great Day Washington, WUSA9, February 12, 2019
"Divorce & The Holidays," Just Like Us with Madelyne Woods, Majic 102.3 | 92.7, December 16, 2018
"Divorce & The Holidays: How to Keep the Peace," Great Day Washington, WUSA9, December 12, 2018
"In-Depth 60 Minutes: Child Support," Korean Broadcasting System, November 27, 2018
“How to Handle Investments When You Divorce,” by Lou Carlozo, U.S. News & World Report: Money, November 16, 2015