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Dot-coms are folding left and right. IPOs have been cancelled. And the half-point rate cut announced by the federal government last week left Wall Street cold. This kind of market may make some law firms hesitant to back an ancillary business focused on emerging and mid-market business. Not so McGuireWoods. The Richmond, Va., firm announced on March 22 the launch of Tysons Corner, Va.-based McGuireWoods Capital Group, which will work with startups seeking funding and established businesses looking for acquisitions, merger partners, or other ways to improve their financial performance. The plan to start the group has been in the works for about a year. Managing director Todd Stottlemyer says the souring economic climate offers an object lesson in how companies should not have been doing business all along. “You just can’t have an idea and expect money. You can’t just have an idea and go to the public and have an IPO,” he says. “There are several thousand companies that went public very quickly,” Stottlemyer continues. “I would suggest that’s not the best way to go public.” The move is the latest in an effort by large firms, both international and regional, to move into the competition with Big Five accounting firms and other companies that offer a range of business services. In 1998, the firm opened McGuireWoods Consulting, a 35-person operation that focuses on lobbying and consulting. The decision to start the capital group will allow McGuireWoods “to offer a broader range of differentiated, nonlegal services to both our existing and prospective clients,” says firmwide managing partner Robert Burrus Jr. Explains Stottlemyer: “We took a look at the successes of businesses that created other businesses. For example, the accounting firms that created consulting businesses. We took a look at what has happened in Europe, where you can have broad professional services firms with expertise in a variety of areas.” To pounce on businesses’ need for advice on how to raise startup funds or prepare for a public stock offering, the capital group has plans for offices in what it considers to be the East Coast’s high-tech, investment banking, and commercial banking centers: Tysons Corner, New York City, and Charlotte, N.C., respectively. Although the firm publicly announced the creation of McGuireWoods Capital Group just last week, the Northern Virginia office has been up and running for nearly one month; the New York and Charlotte offices are on the way. Stottlemyer is a former executive vice president and chief financial officer at Fairfax-based IT company BTG Inc. and past chairman of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce. He came to McGuireWoods in February with fellow BTG alum Paul Leslie. With them are Tim Batchelor from the Financial Sponsors Group at PaineWebber Investment Banking; Janine Carey, who helped launch GTE’s commercial Internet enterprise group; executive Paul Liberty from the Alexandria, Va., telecommunications company Metrocall, who handled financial and investor relations; and David Wise, a former member of the mergers and acquisitions development team at Linthicum, Md.-based optical fiber technology firm CIENA Corp. Stottlemyer says he’ll add to the Northern Virginia office “in response to client demands.” Reporter Siobhan Roth contributed to this article.

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