July 4, 2017
Hunton & Williams LLP announces with profound sadness the death of our colleague and dear friend J. Waverly Pulley III, who died unexpectedly on Sunday, July 2, just two days after retiring from active practice.
Mr. Pulley practiced corporate, banking and finance law at Hunton & Williams for 45 years and played a major role in the creation and implementation of Virginia’s innovative and much-copied Public Private Transportation Act.
Former Governor Gerald L. Baliles, who practiced law with Mr. Pulley, described him as “a major force in the transportation law of Virginia and a master navigator of its challenges and complexities, especially in the development law of public-private partnerships (P3).”
“Waverly’s insights and counsel were sought by all parties in major transportation proposals, and most of the projects were controversial and expensive,” Governor Baliles said. “His strategic sense of direction, combined with his unfailing integrity and sense of humor, often paved the way for tactical progress in many transportation projects. His razor-sharp mind and infectious voice will be missed by his many friends and colleagues.”
Among the major transportation projects on which Mr. Pulley worked were the $930 million Interstate 95 HOV/HOT Lanes project in Northern Virginia and the $2 billion Midtown Tunnel project in Hampton Roads
John D. O’Neill Jr., who heads the P3 and infrastructure practice at Hunton & Williams, recalled Mr. Pulley’s role in drafting the legislation that became the 1995 Virginia Public Private Transportation Act and in explaining its workings to both legislators and officials in the administration of Governor George Allen. “This was an important step, not only for Virginia but for the entire country,” Mr. O’Neill said. “The Virginia legislation provided a model for other states and established the Commonwealth as a national leader in enacting and implementing P3 solutions to the nation’s infrastructure challenges.”
Mr. Pulley also played a major role in the growth of Hunton & Williams, serving as the managing partner of the Norfolk office and later on the firm’s Executive Committee. He led the firm’s large capital finance and real estate practice for a number of years and was especially devoted to the training and mentoring of young lawyers.
“I know I speak for many grateful lawyers of my generation when I say his legacy is one of mentorship and service to others,” said Michael C. Kerrigan, who joined the firm in 1996 and leads the firm’s capital finance and real estate practice. “By quiet example he always did the right thing in the right way, with joy in his heart.”
Kim MacLeod, a partner in the firm’s Richmond office, recalled how important Mr. Pulley’s training and guidance were to her after she joined the firm in 1997. “Waverly was a willing, patient teacher. He invested so much time in my professional development.”
“His openness and transparency were immeasurably helpful in allowing me to see how my assignments fit into the bigger picture,” she said. “I learned so much simply from being at the table with him during negotiations, listening to the give and take and the arguments made, observing what worked and what did not and discussing afterwards the concessions made, the rationale for making them and what was important to the stakeholders.”
“Waverly was my sponsor and mentor, my surrogate father and friend. It is impossible to overstate the impact he has had on me.”
Robert Dean Pope, who practiced law with Mr. Pulley for more than 43 years, said, “Waverly was always looking for new challenges and new ways to solve problems. But he was wonderfully ‘old school’ in so many ways, especially in his unwavering loyalty to his clients, his colleagues and his law firm and his devotion to training young lawyers. He was an old-style ‘company man’ in all the best meanings of that phrase. I fortunately learned early in my career that the best way to engage a thorny legal issue was to walk down the hall and talk to Waverly. He made us all better lawyers.”
Another colleague, C. Christopher Giragosian, first encountered Mr. Pulley as a client, when Mr. Giragosian was an in-house lawyer at the old Bank of Virginia and Mr. Pulley represented the bank on a wide variety of loans, workouts and bankruptcies. “He was the lawyer that bank officers wanted on a deal. He was efficient and responsive, and he understood what his client wanted to accomplish. He did not over-lawyer a matter, and that is what my colleagues at the bank most appreciated. I watched him work with lawyers across the table in a firm but respectful manner ― not one to try to score points to impress a client. He had a tremendous influence on the way I practice law.”
Gaylon Layfield, chief executive officer of Xenith Bank in Richmond, said, “I have known Waverly since we met over 40 years ago, when he was a young lawyer working with the Hunton & Williams team representing Bank of Virginia and I was a young banker in the bank’s commercial division. Our careers paralleled one another, and for these past 40 years I have benefited from Waverly’s counsel and insight. Through complex commercial transactions, to mergers and acquisitions, to starting a bank, I have had the privilege of observing highly recognized attorneys from multiple well-known firms across the country. Few had Waverly’s gift for balancing the complex legal and business issues and shepherding all parties to a successful outcome. None exceeded his integrity, thoroughness and gracious demeanor. And along the way, we became fast friends. And again, there was none better.”
Also active in the community, Mr. Pulley was chair of the Sheltering Arms Hospital and of the Sheltering Arms Corporation boards at the time of his death. Sheltering Arms Foundation President John L. “Mac” McElroy III, said, “Waverly had been instrumental in leading the organization through dramatic change culminating in a joint venture with VCU Health, resulting in plans to break ground on a new hospital in October. His ability to unify diverse views, his superior communication skills and his self-deprecating humor made him an ideal chair beloved by his fellow trustees and staff.”
Mr. Pulley was born in 1946 in the City of Franklin, Virginia, to a family that had lived in Southampton County for many generations. He earned his bachelor’s degree and then his law degree from the University of Richmond, and remained a loyal and enthusiastic alumnus. He undertook many tasks for the university, including service on the University’s Law School Task Force, John Marshall Scholars’ Selection Committee and Board of Associates and served as Chair of the Law School Annual Fund. In 2000 the University awarded him its Education Fund Raising Award.
Gregory N. Stillman, who was a fraternity brother of Mr. Pulley at the University of Richmond before becoming his colleague at Hunton & Williams, described him as a “lawyer’s lawyer.” “He was a legend in the Virginia banking community, a mentor of too many to mention, and my friend and collaborator for more than 50 years.”
Memorial services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, July 7, in the Cannon Memorial Chapel, University of Richmond, 36 Wilton Way, in Richmond. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be sent to Sheltering Arms Foundation, 140 East Shore Drive, Suite 200, Glen Allen, VA 23059.