Richard Cullen to become Youngkin’s counselor
Former McGuireWoods chairman to leave firm on Jan. 14
Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin has selected former Virginia Attorney General Richard Cullen as counselor to the governor.
A senior partner and former chairman of McGuireWoods, Cullen will leave Virginia’s largest firm on Jan. 14, the day before Youngkin is sworn in.
Cullen joined McGuireWoods in 1977. From 1991 to 1994, he served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and from 1997 to 1998, as Virginia attorney general.
“When I have felt the pull of public service, McGuireWoods encouraged me to answer that call, past and present,” Cullen said in a statement. “That is one of the reasons the firm has been my home for so many years. Although I am leaving, McGuireWoods and everyone here will always be family to me.”
In his tenure specializing in government investigations and white collar defense, Cullen has represented prominent figures, including former Vice President Mike Pence in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Cullen also led a McGuireWoods team that sued North Korea, winning a $501 million judgment in December 2018 for the parents of Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who died of injuries suffered in a North Korean prison.
Cullen was one of the attorneys advising Virginia Military Institute during a state-ordered investigation into systemic racism at the college, but VMI switched firms in early 2021. Cullen has also represented The Boeing Co. in connection with a federal investigation into crashes of two 737 Max airplanes. Other high profile clients included former FIFA head Sepp Blatter and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, as well as BP America Chairman Lamar McKay, whom Cullen represented in litigation following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.
Cullen also served on President George W. Bush’s legal team during the 2000 Florida recount. During the Senate select committee’s investigation of the Iran-Contra affair, he served as special counsel to U.S. Sen. Paul Trible, R-Virginia, and during the Watergate investigation, Cullen was on the staff of U.S. Rep. M. Caldwell Butler, R-Virginia.
As chairman of McGuireWoods from 2006 to 2017, Cullen helped the firm grow from 750 lawyers in 15 offices to more than 1,000 lawyers in 21 offices, and helped open offices in Texas and California, establish McGuireWoods London and establish a presence in Shanghai. Cullen helped birth McGuireWoods Consulting, the firm’s public affairs arm, in 1998.
“Richard’s impact on this firm, the city of Richmond, the commonwealth of Virginia and the country is nothing short of remarkable. We will miss our friend and colleague, but our loss will be to the great benefit of the governor’s office and the people of Virginia,” McGuireWoods Chairman Jonathan Harmon said in a statement.
A graduate of Furman University and the University of Richmond School of Law, Cullen is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court bar.