Frank B. Atkinson Partner

Frank is a senior advisor with McGuireWoods Consulting LLC and a partner of McGuireWoods LLP. As a lawyer and consultant, he counsels business and governmental entities on a range of strategic and policy issues. His practice includes government relations and public affairs, higher education, public-private partnerships, and economic development.

In addition, Frank works with private equity investors and portfolio companies to help them understand the implications of state-level policy decisions and market trends for their investment and business decisions.

Frank joined McGuireWoods in 1984, practicing in the area of commercial and constitutional litigation. He left the firm for several periods of public service, including positions in the Department of Justice under President Ronald Reagan and service as legal counsel and policy director in the cabinet of Virginia Governor George Allen.

Frank was principal founder and served for two decades as chairman of McGuireWoods Consulting, which today provides a full range of public affairs services to clients in state capitals and Washington, D.C. In that role he helped shape innovative public policy in Virginia related to higher education, public-private partnerships, and economic development. He helped craft and lead the Virginia Business Higher Education Council’s “Grow By Degrees” and “Growth4VA” campaigns to promote reform-based reinvestment in Virginia’s college and universities and the “GO Virginia” initiative to create incentives for regional public-private collaboration on economic and workforce development.

Frank has participated in and written about politics and government for four decades. His most recent book, The Lion’s Den: A Story of American Renewal (2019), addresses timely issues of ethical political leadership and productive citizenship in a fictional genre. His major nonfiction works—The Dynamic Dominion (1992) and Virginia in the Vanguard (2006)—chronicle Virginia’s competitive modern politics and are used as college-level texts.

He serves on a variety of educational and nonprofit governing boards, including the University of Virginia Center for Politics and Next Up Foundation (Richmond-area after-school programs). Other recent public service includes the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees, the governing board for James Madison’s Montpelier, and chairmanship of the federal Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission.

McGuireWoods Consulting

McGuireWoods Consulting LLC ("MWC") is a wholly owned subsidiary of the McGuireWoods LLP law firm. From time to time, various McGuireWoods lawyers provide non-legal services to MWC clients, but MWC cannot provide legal services or advice. Therefore, any work MWC performs for a client does not give rise to an attorney-client relationship or privilege. Should you require legal services from McGuireWoods, as well as consulting services from MWC, you must engage the law firm separately.


Developed and managed the "Grow By Degrees" and "Growth 4VA" campaigns of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council, an ongoing initiative commenced in 2008 to highlight higher education's crucial positive impact on economic growth and to promote sustained reform and reinvestment in Virginia's higher education system.

Provided strategic advice and representation to leading Virginia universities on a range of critical issues, including restructuring the relationship between higher education institutions and the Commonwealth of Virginia, capital outlay, research, operational funding, strategic planning and technology-enhanced instruction.

Helped design and implement Virginia's widely acclaimed public-private partnership laws, and assisted business clients in developing successful public-private partnership proposals.

Active in development and promotion of Virginia heritage tourism sites, including leadership roles in 2007 and 2019 commemorations of Jamestown 400th anniversaries and service on governing board of James Madison's Montpelier.

Assists clients on public policy issues ranging from higher education, infrastructure development and tourism to energy, healthcare, transportation and economic development.

  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD, Order of the Coif, Member, Virginia Law Review, 1982
  • University of Richmond, BA, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1979

Member, Board of Directors, University of Virginia Center for Politics

Member, Board of Directors, Next Up Foundation

Member, Third (Presbyterian) Church, Richmond

Member, Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia, 2012-2016

Member, The Montpelier Foundation Board of Directors, 2018-2021, Vice Chair, 2020-2021

Member, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees, 1996-2005, 2006-2020, Treasurer, 2016-2020

Chairman, Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission, 2003-2008

Member, 2019 “American Evolution” Commemoration Executive Committee; Vice President/Secretary, 2019 Commemoration, Inc., 2014-2020

Member, Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education, 1998-2000

Member, Governor's Steering Committee on Virginia's Economic Development Strategy, 1998-1999

Counselor to the Governor and Director of Policy, Gov. George Allen, 1994-1996

Special Counsel and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, 1987-1988.

Special Assistant, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 1982-1984

  • Author, The Lion's Den: A Story of American Renewal, Dorrance Publishing Co., 2019
  • Author, Virginia in the Vanguard, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., 2006
  • Author, The Dynamic Dominion, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., 1992; revised second edition 2006
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Named to "Legal Elite," Legislative, Regulatory and Administrative, Virginia Business, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015

Named to “Virginia Super Lawyers,” Government Relations, Schools and Education, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2012-2015

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