Longtime McGuireWoods leader Robert H. Patterson Jr. died July 12, 60 years after he become the ninth lawyer at a Richmond firm then called McGuire, Eggleston, Bocock & Wood. He was 85.
From humble beginnings – growing up on Church Hill as a son of a railroad engineer – Mr. Patterson came to dominate the leadership of one of Richmond’s most influential law firms.
Mr. Patterson chaired McGuireWoods’ executive committee during a decade when the firm grew from fewer than a hundred lawyers to more than 300, with offices in Washington, Norfolk and several other Virginia locations.
A generalist in the law, Mr. Patterson oversaw giant litigation battles as well as legal service for corporate megaliths.
Among his successes was a $45 million antitrust settlement on behalf of a pet supply company. He shepherded pharmaceutical firm A.H. Robins in the Dalkon Shield litigation and scored trial court victories for his beloved alma mater, Virginia Military Institute, as it fought efforts to end its all-male policy.
Mr. Patterson is remembered at McGuireWoods for his lectures for new lawyers, cautioning them to avoid neglect of their families and arrogance around non-lawyers.
Mr. Patterson retired in 1999. He is survived by his wife, McGuireWoods partner Anne Marie Whittemore. He also is survived by a son, two daughters, a stepson, seven grandchildren and a stepgrandchild.