Frank Atkinson

Senior Advisor, State Government Relations

Richmond, VA

+1 804 775 4376


Frank is a senior advisor with McGuireWoods Consulting LLC and a partner of McGuireWoods LLP. As a lawyer and consultant, he counsels business and governmental entities on a range of strategic and policy issues. His practice includes government relations and public affairs, higher education, public-private partnerships, and economic development.

Frank joined McGuireWoods in 1984, practicing in the area of commercial and constitutional litigation. He left the firm for several periods of public service, including positions in the Department of Justice under President Ronald Reagan and service as legal counsel and policy director in the cabinet of Virginia Governor George Allen.

Frank was principal founder and served for two decades as chairman of McGuireWoods Consulting, which today provides a full range of public affairs services to clients in state capitals, Washington, D.C., and Europe. In that role he helped shape innovative public policy in Virginia related to higher education, public-private partnerships, and economic development. He led the Virginia Business Higher Education Council’s “Grow By Degrees” and “Growth4VA” campaigns to promote reform-based reinvestment in Virginia’s college and universities and the “GO Virginia” initiative to create incentives for regional public-private collaboration on economic and workforce development.

A frequent lecturer on government and politics, Frank is the author of two books on modern Virginia politics—"The Dynamic Dominion" (1992) and "Virginia in the Vanguard" (2006)—that are used as college-level texts.

He currently serves as treasurer of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees, executive committee member for the 2019 “American Evolution” Commemoration, and as a member of the Montpelier Foundation Board of Directors, the Mercatus Center Board of Directors at George Mason University, and the advisory board for the University of Virginia Center for Politics. Other recent public service includes service on the University of Virginia Board of Visitors and chairmanship of the federal Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission.


Developed and managed the "Grow By Degrees" campaign of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council, an ongoing initiative commenced in 2008 to highlight higher education's crucial positive impact on economic growth and to promote sustained reform and reinvestment in Virginia's higher education system.

Provided strategic advice and representation to leading Virginia universities on a range of critical issues, including restructuring the relationship between higher education institutions and the Commonwealth of Virginia, capital outlay, research, operational funding, strategic planning and technology-enhanced instruction.

Helped design and implement Virginia's widely acclaimed public-private partnership laws, and assisted business clients in developing successful public-private partnership proposals.

Active in development and promotion of Virginia heritage tourism sites, including playing a key leadership role in federal and state programs for "America's 400th Anniversary," the successful international commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the first English settlement in America at Jamestown.

Assists clients on public policy issues ranging from higher education, infrastructure development and tourism to energy, healthcare, transportation and economic development.


Member, Virginia Bar Association

Member, Federalist Society

Member, Republican National Lawyers Association

Treasurer, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees

Executive Committee Member, 2019 “American Evolution” Commemoration Vice President/Secretary, 2019 Commemoration, Inc.

Member, Mercatus Center Board of Directors, George Mason University

Member, Montpelier Foundation Board of Directors

 Member, Center for Politics Board of Advisors, University of Virginia

Member, Virginia Business Higher Education Council

Member, Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia, 2012-2016

Chairman, Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission, 2003-2008

Member, Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education, 1998-2000

Member, Governor's Steering Committee on Virginia's Economic Development Strategy, 1998-1999

Counselor to the Governor and Director of Policy, Gov. George Allen, 1994-1996

Special Counsel and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, 1987-1988.

Special Assistant, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 1982-1984



Virginia in the Vanguard, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., 2006
The Dynamic Dominion, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., 1992; revised second edition 2006

Contracts and State Local Procurement

Economic Incentives Negotiation

Executive and Legislative Affairs

Frank Atkinson