UVA Lawyer Profiles McGuireWoods’ Five Former Supreme Court Clerks

July 17, 2015

The latest edition of the University of Virginia Law School alumni magazine catches up with five of its alumni who wound up together at McGuireWoods via clerkships at the U.S. Supreme Court. Former U.S. Supreme Court clerks Brian Schmalzbach, Rebecca Gantt and Katherine Mims Crocker accepted positions at the beginning of the year with McGuireWoods, joining fellow UVA Law and U.S. Supreme Court alums John Adams and Matt Fitzgerald.

Under the headline “Five Alumni – Five Former Supreme Court Clerks – One Firm,” the 1,330-word piece in the magazine’s spring 2015 issue notes the recruitment coup for our McGuireWoods. It highlights the fact that UVa ranks fourth in contributing the most clerks to the Supreme Court from 2005 through 2014, trailing only Harvard, Stanford and Yale. McGuireWoods’ most recent hires have joined the firm’s appellate practice, with Brian Schmalzbach and Katherine Mims Crocker working out of the Richmond office and Rebecca Gantt based in Norfolk.

So, given their credentials, why did they choose McGuireWoods?

For all three, it meant coming home to Virginia. For Katherine, the daughter of Virginia Supreme Court Justice William C. Mims, McGuireWoods gave her an opportunity to work with fellow alums and mentors John Adams and Matt Fitzgerald. Rebecca, a former Navy lieutenant deployed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said she saw an opportunity that afforded her both autonomy and responsibility. Brian emerged from his clerkship knowing he wanted the sophisticated appellate practice of a Washington, D.C., firm but in a location like Richmond that afforded him the small-city lifestyle he wanted.

“There’s been a lot of conventional wisdom in the past that you had to go to a big D.C. firm in order to get the most sophisticated work and have good opportunities moving forward in your career, but that’s really not necessarily true,” McGuireWoods associate Matt Fitzgerald told the magazine. “McGuireWoods is a good example of a firm with a major national presence [that’s] every bit as sophisticated as many of the big D.C. firms, and so the clerks realize that.”

John Adams, hiring partner at McGuireWoods as well as chair of the firm’s Government Regulatory and Criminal Investigations Department, tells the publication that the firm systematically recruits former Supreme Court clerks. “There’s something about the young people who make it all the way to the Court—they really love the law,” he told the magazine. “They attack assignments with intensity because of their passion for the law.”

For more details on the three former clerks’ arrival at the McGuireWoods, see our press release.