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.
Honorary Doctor of Law, University of Richmond, 2005
Fellow, American Bar Foundation
Fellow, Virginia Law Foundation
Scholarship Honoree, The Robert L. Burrus, Jr., Scholarship for Developing Leaders, Jepson School of Leadership, University of Richmond
Recipient, Charles S. Rhyne Award, Duke University
Selected for inclusion in America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Corporate/M&A, Southern Virginia, Chambers USA, 2012-2017; Named a “Senior Statesmen,” 2015-2017
Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Corporate Governance Law, Corporate Law, Woodward/White, Inc., 1983-2019
Named to “Lawdragon 300 Leading Lawyers in America,” Corporate Governance, Lawdragon, 2012
Named to “Virginia Super Lawyers,” Business/Corporate, Mergers and Acquisitions, Securities and Corporate Finance, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2006-2015
Named to “Legal Elite,” Business Law Virginia Business, 2006
Recipient, National Conference for Community and Justice Humanitarian Award, 2001
Recipient, Trustees Distinguished Service Award, University of Richmond, 2002
Member, Editorial Board, Duke Law Journal1958
- University of RichmondBA1955
Director; Executive Committee, Smithfield Foods
Member; Trustee Emeritus; Presidential Search Committee Chairman, 1997-1998 and 2005-2006; Rector, 1998-2002; Academic Program Committee, University of Richmond
Member, Board of Visitors, Duke University School of Law
Director, REB Foundation
Director, Nominating and Organization Committee; Chairman, Finance Committee; Executive Committee, CSX Corporation
Former Chairman, State Council on Higher Education for Virginia
Former Trustee, Virginia Historical Society
Former Trustee, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum Foundation
Former Director, Amvest Corporation, Best Products Co., Inc., Heilig Myers Company and S&K Famous Brands
Former Advisory Committee Member, Mount Vernon Ladies Association
Former Director, Executive Committee, Chairman, Richmond Renaissance, Inc.
Former Member, Governor’s Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics
Former Corporate Law Committee Chairman, Virginia Bar Association
Former Chairman, Business Law Section, a Corporate Law Revisor, Virginia State Bar
- Speaker, "Is Sustainability Sustainable?", Corporate Governance and Sustainability Research Working Group, November 13, 2008
- Speaker, "Directors' Fiduciary Duties in the New Environment", Corporate Governance Educational Program for the Board of Directors of WellPoint, Inc., March 12, 2007