Remembering Retired Partner and Former Firm Leader Dennis McArver

September 18, 2013

R. Dennis McArver, one of the architects of McGuireWoods’ first significant merger, a former member of the firm’s Executive Committee and a very popular figure at the firm, died suddenly on Saturday, Sept. 14, at age 76 in Charlottesville.

Dennis was managing partner at Boothe Prichard & Dudley in late 1986 when he and several lawyers from the prestigious northern Virginia firm, including John Stump, Stanley Franklin and Tom Brown, to name a few, began discussions with Bob Patterson, Gordon Smith and Bob Burrus. In just a couple of months the two firms merged effective Feb. 1, 1987, under the name of McGuire Woods Battle & Boothe. At the time, it was believed to be one of the largest of law firm mergers. McGuire Woods & Battle had 208 lawyers and Boothe Prichard had 74.

The successful merger with Boothe Prichard led to more expansion at McGuireWoods and the firm’s management often referred to the experience of bringing these two strong firms together as a template for similar deals.

Dennis was an outstanding lawyer and played a significant role in the phenomenal development and transformation of Northern Virginia from a sleepy, almost rural community to a densely populated high tech center.  Because of his abilities and high standing at the Bar, he was a member of American College of Real Estate lawyers since 1979.

Dennis was also a community leader serving as Chairman of the Arts Council of Fairfax County at the time of his death.

Exceedingly popular and a down to earth guy, Dennis was instrumental in making the merger work.  “The two firms had similar cultures and strong and independent-minded partners and Dennis and several of his partners made every effort to ensure we would come together as “one firm” and we did.” Richard Cullen said.

A funeral will be held Friday, Sept. 20, at 11 a.m. at Truro Church, 10520 Main Street, Fairfax, Va. Visitation is Thursday, Sept. 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, 9902 Braddock Road in Fairfax. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the Arts Council of Fairfax County, 10604 Judicial Drive, Fairfax, Va. 22030.

Dennis graduated from Penn State University in 1958 and the University of Virginia law School in 1961.

Though disarmingly polite and laid back, Dennis was a strong leader and held many leadership positions in the Firm, including what was then called the “partner in charge” of both the Baltimore and Tysons’ offices.

After his retirement, Dennis and his lovely wife of 48 years, Emmy, continued their close relationship with former colleagues and spent much time with their three children Robert D. McArver Jr., Laura M. Timberlake and Susan M. Dunton.