The American Lawyer Interviews Jonathan Harmon on Crisis Response

July 6, 2020

In an interview for the July-August edition of The American Lawyer, McGuireWoods Chairman Jonathan Harmon discussed the firm’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how the crisis will affect the business of law as the economy reopens.

Harmon, who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Pont and served in Operation Desert Storm as a first lieutenant in the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division, likened the crisis to an unexpected military deployment.

“I was very pleased with how flexible and diligent and persistent our folks were with all the different changes required to move folks remote, and particularly as those in high-density cities were dealing with a whole bunch of issues,” he said.

“Every client call was almost an emergency,” he added. “They were facing survival — many of them — of their businesses. Our lawyers are very used to doing things at a breakneck speed but it was even faster. Everything was an emergency they had to respond to. They were moving at warp speed, and I was so pleased with how they were able to do that.”

Harmon said he expects “an avalanche in the litigation area” this fall as courts reopen. McGuireWoods is poised to emerge from the crisis “better and stronger,” just as it did following the 2008 financial crisis, he added. 

“Our lawyers are doing some incredible things to stay connected with and to help our clients solve some big problems, and these deep-seated relationships during a time of trial and tribulation will help us do better work for them and more work in the future,” he said.