Peter Joseph Reichard, 35, a senior associate with Coudert Brothers, a New York law firm, and a former Washington area resident, died Sept. 30 in a drowning accident in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sri Lanka, a State Department spokesman said.

Mr. Reichard was vacationing at the resort of Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka, while returning from a business trip to Singapore. He joined the Coudert firm about three years ago and lived in New York City.

Born in Detroit, the son of a Foreign Service officer, he lived in South America and in the Netherlands before his family moved to Arlington in 1960. He graduated from Washington-Lee High School in 1962.

Mr. Reichard, who maintained his Arlington residence until the early 1970s, graduated with highest honors from Dartmouth College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned a master's degree at Oxford University, England, in 1969 and his law degree from Yale University in 1971.

Survivors include his mother, Muriel M. Reichard; a brother , John P. Reichard, and a sister, Martha R. George, all of Arlington.

The family suggest that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Peter J. Reichard Memorial Fund, Dartmouth College, Gift Recording, Blunt Alumni Center, Hanover, N. H., 03755.