Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has appointed McGuireWoods lawyer Samuel T. Towell as deputy secretary of agriculture and forestry, a senior position in a secretariat that plays a prominent role in the marketing and development of two of the state’s largest industries.
Towell is an associate in McGuireWoods’ Toxic Torts and Environmental Litigation Department. He joined the firm in 2012 and has worked on a broad range of litigation-related matters and appeals, with a focus on complex toxic tort and environmental disputes. He departs the firm on Friday, Nov. 7.
Beginning Monday, Towell becomes the top lieutenant to Agriculture and Forestry Secretary Todd Haymore, a member of McAuliffe’s Cabinet who oversees Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Forestry and the Virginia Racing Commission.
Agriculture and forestry-related industries contribute nearly $70 billion annually to Virginia’s economy, much of it through exports that the secretariat is deeply involved in promoting.
“I have a great opportunity through public service to make a contribution to Virginia farmers and other agribusinesses, the people they employ and the families they support across Virginia,” Towell said. “I’ve treasured my time at McGuireWoods and I thank my colleagues for a rewarding experience.”
Towell has previously served as a law clerk for Judge Barbara Milano Keenan, first on the Supreme Court of Virginia and later on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He also served as a special assistant to the secretary of finance during the administration of former Gov. Mark Warner, and was an investment banking analyst at J.P. Morgan & Company.
“Sam has brought so much to McGuireWoods and our clients. I know that he will apply that same level of skill and commitment to work for the commonwealth and our citizens. We wish Sam all the best,” said Stephen D. Busch, chair of the firm’s Toxic Torts and Environmental Litigation Department.
Towell received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his law degree at the University of Virginia School of Law.