Mergers, relocation make news in accounting and law

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Print this page by Robert Powell

There is movement afoot among Virginia’s accounting and law firms. Mergers have changed the lineup of top accounting firms in the past year, and the commonwealth’s largest law firm plans to relocate its headquarters.
The commonwealth’s top five ac­­counting firms in terms of the number of CPAs in Virginia haven’t changed since last year. PwC leads with 537 CPAs, followed by KPMG with 450, Ernst & Young with 341, Dixon Hughes Goodman with 194 and Grant Thornton with 143.

After that, however, a couple of mergers shake up the order a bit. Argy, Wiltse & Robinson PC combined with BDO USA LLP last year, making BDO now the sixth-largest accounting firm in the commonwealth with 140 CPAs. Separately, Argy, Wiltse & Robinson had 85 Virginia CPAS (ranked No. 10) and BDO had 60 (No. 15) in last year’s survey.

Another merger has resulted in a new name, PBMares, at No. 9 in the accounting firm list with 108 Virginia CPAs. The merger partners were PBGH LLP in Harrisonburg (No. 18 with 43 Virginia CPAs in the 2012 survey) and Newport News-based Witt Mares (No. 14 last year with 66 CPAs).

Like the accounting firm list, the top five Virginia law firms have remained the same for a number of years.  McGuireWoods LLP has retained the top spot with 304 lawyers followed by Hunton & Williams at 247; Williams Mullen at 172; and LeClairRyan and Troutman Sanders tied at 150.

The news here involves movers instead of mergers. McGuireWoods and its consulting arm will become the anchor tenants of a 15-story, $110 million office building, Gateway Plaza, being developed by Chicago-based Clayco.

McGuireWoods will occupy 217,000 square feet of the structure’s 261,000 square feet of office space in 2015. The site for the new building is just across the street from the law firm’s current home in the James Center on East Cary Street.

Both buildings are near the Williams Mullen Center, the $62 million, 15-floor 210,000-square-foot structure that the law firm moved into in 2010.

This section also includes a list of the top spenders on lobbying at the General Assembly in 2010-11, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office. The leader was the Northern Virginia Technology Council, spending more than $500,000. It was followed by Altria Clients Services (a part of Richmond-based Altria Group Inc.) and Verizon Services Corp. (a part of Verizon Communications), spending $195,000 and $192,000, respectively.

The section also contains a list of the nearly 100 chambers of commerce in Virginia, including the Richmond-based Virginia Chamber of Commerce. 

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