John D. Adams


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  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD, Managing Editor, Virginia Law Review, 2003
  • Virginia Military Institute, BA, Economics, Distinguished Graduate, 1996
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Member, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. American Inn of Court

John is the chair of the firm’s Government, Regulatory, and Criminal Investigations Department. He represents clients in complex litigation at the trial and appellate level, with a particular focus on matters arising out of government and criminal investigations. He has conducted internal investigations on a wide variety of topics in various industries and represented corporations and executives in sensitive grand jury investigations.  In addition, he has successfully tried cases as both a federal prosecutor and defense counsel, recently securing a full acquittal for a bank executive following a 10-week jury trial in a case brought by the Department of Justice. Finally, he is frequently called upon by firm clients to brief and argue appeals in federal and state courts and he routinely counsels clients with matters pending in the United States Supreme Court.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods, he served in positions of significant responsibility throughout the government. As associate counsel to the President of the United States from 2007 to 2008, he represented the Office of the President in congressional investigations and other sensitive matters. His primary responsibility included handling issues arising out of the Department of Defense and State Department. In addition, he coordinated with the Department of Justice on litigation implicating the Office of the President. Most recently, as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia from 2008 to 2010, he tried cases ranging from fraud to violent crime and managed grand jury investigations involving fraud, public corruption, and other matters.

John served as law clerk to Associate Justice Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court from 2006 to 2007 and to Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 2003 to 2004. Prior to becoming an attorney, he served as a U.S. Navy officer from 1996 to 2000.

John serves as co-chair of McGuireWoods' Recruiting Committee and has previously served as an adjunct professor of Appellate and Trial Advocacy at the University of Richmond T.C. Williams School of Law. He is actively involved in the community, serving as a trustee of the VMI Foundation and as general counsel of the Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia.

T: +1 804 775 4744F: +1 804 698 2061jadams@mcguirewoods.comOne James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030
T: +1 202 857 2927F: +1 202 857 17372001 K Street N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-1040

As lead trial counsel, recently obtained a full acquittal for a bank executive following a ten-week jury trial in a case brought by the Department of Justice following the bank’s failure.

Leads a litigation and crisis management team for one of the world’s largest financial institutions.

Represents a major financial institution in a grand jury investigation into activities related to the mortgage foreclosure crisis.

Defended multiple corporations and executives in various Congressional and grand jury investigations.

Successfully handled a grand jury investigation into accounting practices at a national accounting firm.

Successfully led an internal investigation related to money-laundering activity at one of the nation’s largest banks.

Selected for inclusion in America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, Richmond, Chambers USA, 2012-2014

Named to “Virginia Super Lawyers,” Criminal Defense: White Collar, Civil Litigation Defense, Appellate, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2012-2014

Named to "Legal Elite," Criminal Law, Virginia Business, 2012-2013

Speaker, "Legal, Regulatory, Litigation and Insurance Issues," Community Banking and Cyber Risk Management, September 17, 2014