Robert L. Burrus, Jr. Chairman Emeritus

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Mr. Burrus serves as Chair Emeritus of McGuireWoods LLP. He led McGuireWoods from its roots as a Virginia law firm to a nationally recognized legal powerhouse and is personally recognized as a leading corporate lawyer and authority on corporate governance. He was elected chairman of McGuireWoods in 1990 and served in this capacity for 16 years. During this period, the firm grew to 18 offices in the United States and abroad and launched an influential government relations group, McGuireWoods Consulting.

Early in his practice, Mr. Burrus developed a reputation for his legal expertise in complex acquisitions and business transactions and initial public offerings. He counseled several Richmond businesses converting from being privately held companies to public corporations, including Best Products, S&K Famous Brands and Heilig-Meyers Co. He served as outside legal counsel for Fortune 500 companies, including Dominion Resources and Circuit City Stores. Known as a strategic business advisor, Mr. Burrus often was invited to serve on numerous corporate boards. He has been a director of CSX Corp., Smithfield Foods and Best Products as well as other corporations whose products and services involved extracting, retailing, financial services and technology. In 1994, Mr. Burrus was engaged to provide legal counsel during an extraordinary corporate dispute that erupted between Dominion Resources and its regulated subsidiary, Virginia Power. Issues included the subsidiary’s desire to limit the parent company’s authority over management.

Mr. Burrus is committed to the University of Richmond, his alma mater. He served on its board of trustees from 1993 until 2007 and as Rector (Chair of the Board) from 1998 to 2002. He was Chair of two Presidential Search Committees. Since 2007, Mr. Burrus serves as Trustee Emeritus and a member of the Academic Program Committee. The University awarded Mr. Burrus its Trustees Distinguished Service Award in 2002. It also named Mr. Burrus and Honorary Doctor of Law in 2005. Mr. Burrus supports his law alma mater as well. He serves on the Board of Visitors of Duke University School of Law. In view of his contributions, Duke University recognized him with the Charles S. Rhyne Award.

The University of Richmond established a scholarship in honor of Mr. Burrus. Known as the Robert L. Burrus, Jr., Scholarship for Developing Leaders, it was initially funded by directors on boards on which Mr. Burrus served and by his law partners. The scholarship is intended to support internships for students at the Jepson School of Leadership who spend summers working for nonprofit organizations.

Mr. Burrus has held numerous other civic leaders leadership roles. He was appointed to the State Council of Higher Education in 1985 and was it Chair for two years. He was Executive Committee Chair of Richmond Renaissance, an economic catalyst which helped revive Richmond’s downtown and riverfront area. Other roles include a trustee for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the VMFA Foundation and the Virginia Historical Society. He has been a member of the advisory committee to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and to the Governor’s Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. He is a director of REB Foundation which advocates excellent public education.


  • Represented issuers in public equity and debt financings including transportation, energy, retailing, food processing, extractive and insurance industries.
  • Handled mergers and acquisitions for the foregoing and other industries for buyers and sellers.
  • Advised as to management and board disputes including the disagreement between boards of a holding company and of its regulated utility subsidiary.
  • Represented investment banking firms in equity and debt financings and fairness matters, including underwriters for holding company and utility subsidiary before this firm represented these companies.
  • Organized, advised and handled portfolio investments for a real estate investment trust.
  • Counseled public companies and law firms about corporate governance and compliance matters; represented special board committees; advised as to auctions of public and private companies.