McGuireWoods Welcomes 33 New Associates; 13 Were Federal Clerks

Three U.S. Supreme Court Clerks Among Members of Stellar 2014 Class

December 4, 2014

Three of McGuireWoods’ newest associates already belong to one of the most exclusive groups in American law – former clerks to justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Katherine Mims Crocker, Rebecca Gantt and Brian Schmalzbach will join the firm’s appellate practice after serving as law clerks to Supreme Court justices. They are among 33 new McGuireWoods associates, including 10 others who served as clerks for federal district or appeals court judges as well as a Virginia Supreme Court justice. The group represents 23 law schools.

“McGuireWoods has established a reputation for excellence in the practice of law, and we’re thrilled to have these talented young lawyers join the firm and build on that foundation,” said McGuireWoods partner John Adams, co-chair of the firm’s recruiting committee and a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk himself. “Our entire incoming class strengthens the firm’s ability to provide the highest level of legal services to our clients.”

Crocker and Schmalzbach, who clerked during the court’s most recent term, will be based in Richmond. Gantt, a former Navy officer, served as a law clerk in the term that ended in June 2013. She begins work for McGuireWoods in January in the firm’s Norfolk, Virginia, office. All three are University of Virginia School of Law graduates.

“To bring all three of these lawyers on board in one year is a coup for our team and will add depth to our bench,” said J. Tracy Walker, co-chair of the firm’s appeals and issues practice. “That these three Supreme Court clerks selected McGuireWoods as their new home speaks to the strong and growing reputation of our appeals team.”

Crocker clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, the longest-serving member of the current court. She received her bachelor’s degree in 2009 from Harvard University and her law degree in 2012 from Virginia. She earned the Faculty Award for Academic Excellence for graduating first in her law class at Virginia and was articles development editor for the Virginia Law Review. She recently passed the Virginia bar exam and will be admitted in January.

“Clerking at the Supreme Court was the opportunity of a lifetime, and being able to work closely with Justice Scalia was an incredible honor,” Crocker said. “I learned an enormous amount from the Justice, my co-clerks, and the other chambers. I’m excited to put those lessons to use at McGuireWoods.”

Gantt clerked for Justice Stephen G. Breyer. She received her bachelor’s degree in 2003 from Harvard University, where she had a four-year scholarship in the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps. She served as a U.S. Navy officer through two deployments to the Persian Gulf in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded two Navy Achievement Medals. Gantt received her law degree from Virginia in 2011 and also received the Faculty Award for Academic Excellence for graduating at the top of her class. She was articles editor of the Virginia Law Review and served two terms on the board of the Public Interest Law Association.

“The wonderful people I was lucky enough to serve with and learn from were the most rewarding aspect of working in the Navy and at the Supreme Court,” Gantt said. “Similarly, the people at McGuireWoods were what drew me to the firm. I look forward to continuing to work with talented and accomplished colleagues in support of McGuireWoods’ clients.”

Schmalzbach comes to McGuireWoods as a lateral hire who spent two years at the Washington office of Latham & Watkins before he clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas. At Latham, he drafted Supreme Court merits briefs and petitions for certiorari, as well as briefs for federal and state appeals courts. Schmalzbach received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in 2007 and his law degree in 2010, and he was articles development editor for the Virginia Law Review. Already licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia, Schmalzbach is currently applying for bar admission in Virginia.

“Clerking for Justice Thomas was an experience I will always treasure,” Schmalzbach said. “His life story is inspiring, and he taught me so much that I will carry with me throughout my career.”

“We’re all excited to be part of an appellate team that works closely with McGuireWoods’ world-class litigation practices to deliver results for our clients,” Schmalzbach added.

The new associates work in 13 of the firm’s U.S. offices. Nine joined the Chicago office, eight are in Richmond, five are in Charlotte, North Carolina, and two work in Jacksonville, Florida. One each joined offices in Washington; Tysons Corner, Virginia; Raleigh, North Carolina; Pittsburgh; Norfolk, Virginia; New York; Los Angeles; Baltimore; and Atlanta.

Seven are in the Business and Securities Litigation Department; four are in Restructuring and Insolvency; and three each are in Product and Consumer Litigation, Healthcare, and Complex Commercial Litigation. The Intellectual Property and Patents Litigation, Debt Finance, Specialty Corporate Practices, and Mergers and Acquisitions departments got two apiece. The Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation, Tax and Employee Benefits, Securities, Labor and Employment and Antitrust and Trade Regulation Litigation departments landed one each.