McGuireWoods’ Private Wealth Services Group earned a top nationwide ranking in Chambers and Partners’ High Net Worth Guide — one of only two firms to receive the highest, Band 1 honor for private wealth law for the second year in a row.
Four of the firm’s partners — Ronald Aucutt, Charles D. “Skip” Fox IV, Michele McKinnon and John O’Grady — were ranked as notable practitioners nationally and in their respective jurisdictions.
The firm also received regional Band 1 practice rankings for the District of Columbia, Virginia and North Carolina. Partners Jean Gordon Carter, Andrea Chomakos and Benjamin Candland earned state rankings in the 2017 guide.
McGuireWoods’ private wealth lawyers advise individuals, families, businesses, banks and trust companies in all aspects of wealth management. The firm’s lawyers received widespread praise from clients and industry observers interviewed by Chambers researchers.
“They are the most knowledgeable, the most client-sensitive and they have the best clients,” a Virginia client said of the McGuireWoods team.
“They are good at understanding our perspective, they are very good with their legal analysis, and they understand and work within our billing framework,” a wealth adviser added.
“Their size and bench depth are really key factors and ensure they provide a more comprehensive service,” another client observed.
Aucutt, who is co-leader of the firm’s PWS team and based in Tysons, Virginia, was described as “a renowned national expert” and “superstar,” particularly in the highly competitive Washington, D.C., market. One client described his command of tax legislation as “encyclopedic” and said his judgment “is respected by all of us in this space.”
“He has tremendous experience and judgment, and demonstrates extraordinary sensitivity,” another client said of Aucutt.
Fox, chair of the firm’s Tax & Employee Benefits Department, was described by a peer as the “voice of authority” in the private wealth community. Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Fox focuses on wealth planning for families with closely-held businesses.
McKinnon, who leads the firm’s nonprofit industry team from Richmond, was recognized for her work representing public charities, colleges, large private foundations and charitable trusts. “I find her approach particularly beneficial in managing client expectations,” a client said. “She is very personable.”
O’Grady, a Richmond partner who focuses on estate and gift taxation, generation-skipping transfer taxes, estate planning and fiduciary litigation, was lauded by clients and peers for his accessibility and detailed knowledge of the law. “He is my go-to person and I can always reach him when I need him,” one client said.
Carter, co-leader of the PWS team, was described by a wealth adviser as “one of the smartest attorneys I have ever worked with. Her thinking on aspects of core estate planning is far more nuanced than what other attorneys are thinking about.” Based in Raleigh, Carter is recognized among North Carolina’s leading tax and estate planning lawyers.
Charlotte partner Chomakos represents closely-held business owners and individuals in estate planning matters, was praised for her comprehensive knowledge of private wealth law. “There are very few attorneys who you can ask about partnership tax that would know the answer off the top of their head, and Andrea is one of them,” a client said.
Candland, a Richmond partner who handles estate planning and administration, estate and gift taxation, and fiduciary litigation, was described by a client as “very smart, good with his legal analysis and good at understanding our perspective.”
In addition to its rankings in the High New Worth Guide, the firm has earned nationwide Band 1 rankings for Wealth Management eight times in the widely read and respected guide “Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.”