McGuireWoods’ Board of Partners has elected Jonathan P. Harmon to succeed Richard Cullen as McGuireWoods’ chairman. In addition, the board appointed J. Tracy Walker IV to follow Thomas E. Cabaniss as the firm’s managing partner.
Harmon and Walker assumed their new duties today, the culmination of a long-planned leadership transition. Cullen and Cabaniss — who recommended Harmon and Walker in May — cap an 11-year period of accomplishment, growth and client service excellence as leaders of McGuireWoods. They remain partners and continue their practices at the international law firm.
“This is the right time for a new generation of leaders,” Cullen said. “Jon and Tracy are popular choices to take over. They are well respected by our partners and clients. I am excited for them and know that the firm is in very capable hands.”
A nationally respected litigator, Harmon said he will continue the firm’s focus on empowering clients to meet their strategic business goals, fostering collaborative innovations that shape the firm’s future, and building upon its dedication to diversity, pro bono and community service.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as chairman and uphold the standard of excellence set by Richard Cullen and his predecessors,” said Harmon, who joined McGuireWoods in 1995. “We have built a strong international law and public affairs platform under Richard’s leadership and will continue his unwavering commitment to delivering the highest level of service to our clients.”
Harmon led McGuireWoods’ Business & Securities Litigation Department since 2015. He is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who represents Fortune 500 companies in complex, high-exposure litigation and has won verdicts in some of the most difficult venues in the country. Harmon has twice been named to BTI Consulting Group’s Client Service All-Stars list, an elite group of lawyers singled out by corporate counsel for client service excellence. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Before earning his J.D. at the University of Texas School of Law, Harmon served in Operation Desert Storm as a first lieutenant in the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division.
Walker served since 2015 as the firm’s deputy managing partner and head of its litigation practice, which was recognized as a “Litigation Powerhouse” by Law360. He is national trial, class action and appellate counsel for a range of corporate clients, and his many successes representing automakers in high-stakes cases were instrumental in the firm’s selection as an “Automotive Practice Group of the Year” by Law360.
“I am proud to follow Tom Cabaniss, who has done so much as managing partner to establish McGuireWoods as a market leader,” said Walker, who arrived at the firm in 1998. “It is an exciting time to practice law at our firm. We have outstanding lawyers from top to bottom, in many instances the best in their fields, and we are privileged to represent the best lineup of clients that anyone could ask for. I am grateful that my partners have asked me to take on this new role, and I am excited about what we can achieve with Jon Harmon as our chair.”
Cullen’s tenure as chairman since 2006 is just one chapter in a distinguished career in private practice and public service. Acclaimed as an elite white-collar litigator, his clients include major corporations and executives, elected officials and other prominent figures in government investigations and highly sensitive matters of national and international significance. He represents Vice President Mike Pence in relation to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia investigation, and Sepp Blatter, former head of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), in U.S. and Swiss investigations of alleged bribery. Cullen joined McGuireWoods in 1977 and has spent his career at the firm, except for a stint as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia from 1991 to 1994, and as Virginia’s attorney general from 1997 to 1998.
Cabaniss joined McGuireWoods in 1985 and in 1998 helped establish the firm’s office in Charlotte, North Carolina, a city known as a leading global financial services center. He became managing partner in 2007. Now based in Richmond, Virginia, Cabaniss is a member of the firm’s Restructuring & Insolvency Department and focuses his practice on complex bankruptcy matters, commercial and real estate workouts and restructurings.
Under the leadership of Cullen and Cabaniss, McGuireWoods expanded its U.S. and international footprint from 750 lawyers in 15 offices to 1,100 lawyers in 23 offices. During that time, the firm added offices in California and Texas, formed McGuireWoods London LLP and established a presence in Asia with a unique affiliation with Shanghai-based FuJae Partners. Driven by its widely-recognized industry-focused market strategy, the firm has earned global recognition as a leader in innovative approaches that enhance client service.
“Jon and Tracy have proved themselves to be exceptional leaders who exhibit our core values in everything they do,” Cabaniss said. “Their devotion to the firm, our clients and our communities will inspire us to do all we can to help shape McGuireWoods’ future.”
McGuireWoods has earned coveted honors for client service and innovation and its corporate and litigation practices consistently rank among the industry’s elite. BTI has named McGuireWoods to its Most Recommended Law Firms list for more than 15 consecutive years based on unprompted feedback from corporate counsel. The firm ranks among the top 10 in Financial Times’ prestigious North America Innovative Lawyers report, winning honors for social responsibility; changing and influencing regulation; data, analytics and intelligence; and integrated solutions. In addition, the firm’s M&A, capital markets and debt finance practices earned top 10 rankings for deal work in 2016 in authoritative, year-end league tables compiled by Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters.