McGuireWoods Chairman Jonathan P. Harmon and Managing Partner J. Tracy Walker IV shared their views on leadership, the firm’s values and their advice for younger lawyers in wide-ranging interviews with Forbes published April 13.
Harmon and Walker assumed their roles in December, succeeding Richard Cullen and Tom Cabaniss, respectively. In the first of a two-part Q&A series, the McGuireWoods leaders discussed firm governance, the implementation of technology and the future of the legal market.
“I do know change is coming and I think that part of the key is that the firms with strong cultures, strong leaders, are going to be in the best position to adapt to those changes,” Harmon said. “Tracy and I have determined that as far as McGuireWoods has come over the past 10 years — we’re very proud of our predecessors Richard Cullen and Tom Cabaniss — we’re not going to be left behind.”
In addition to internal strategizing about technology, Walker said, “it’s equally important — maybe more important — to stay abreast of how technology is changing the world around us.”
For example, he explained, “We’re looking at a future with automated vehicles, and there are technology companies coming into a market that was dominated by a small group of traditional automotive manufacturers. It’s changing that industry rapidly, and other industries are getting turned upside down by evolving technologies.”
In the second part of the series, Harmon and Walker explained their respective duties, the process of integrating new lawyers into the firm, and how the firm’s core values guide its work.
“Our culture is defined by a set of core values, and the cornerstone of those is excellent client service. That’s a hallmark of everything we do,” Harmon said.
Asked what advice he would give to a young partner, Walker said: “When young lawyers coming into our firm ask what they need to do, I say, ‘If you’re reasonably intelligent, if you love what you do, and if you are willing to work really hard, you’re going to find success.’ You have to be absolutely dedicated to excellence in everything that you do. That’s what it takes.”