HomeCover StoryHometown Hokie advises financial institutions on governance, security

Hometown Hokie advises financial institutions on governance, security

Photo of Jacob Lutz at a podium.

Family history is a big part of the lifetime connection Jacob A. Lutz III has with Virginia Tech. Growing up with both parents employed there, he has many fond childhood memories, like riding his bike around the Drillfield, cheering at Hokie football and basketball games, and attending concerts and other events on campus.

It seemed only natural that Lutz (FIN ’78), like his siblings, would attend Virginia Tech, though not exactly following in his father’s footsteps.

“As a professor of agriculture, my dad would have preferred that I major in crops or soils, but I did not inherit his green thumb or understanding of plant genetics and soil chemistry,” said Lutz. “It was finance that clicked for me.”

Photograph of Jacob Lutz smiling and conferring with a colleague

(Photo credit: David Hungate)

A banking lawyer

As early as high school, Lutz made it a habit to keep up on daily financial news. He also knew early on that he wanted to be a lawyer. “I thought a business degree from Pamplin would give me a solid foundation for a law practice and a sturdy fall back, just in case law school did not work out for me,” Lutz said.

He did not need to worry. Lutz earned a J.D. from William and Mary in 1981 and, in 1985, completed the Program of Instruction for Lawyers at Harvard Law School. Among numerous awards, he has been recognized every year since 1995 in “Best Lawyers in America” in banking and finance law.

A former attorney at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in its Washington, D.C., headquarters and Atlanta regional office, Lutz joined Troutman Sanders LLP in Richmond, Virginia, in 1990, where he is now a partner and practice group leader for financial institutions.

Clients rely on Lutz for advice on their most sophisticated regulatory challenges, significant transactions, and other complex governance and securities matters.  His clients include both Union Bankshares Corporation and Access National Corporation. Indeed, Lutz’s firm has served Access since the bank’s founding 20 years ago and was its legal advisor in the merger, now successfully completed (see page 4). The firm continues to represent Union, also a longtime client, in a number of matters.

A valuable education

Throughout his nearly 40 years of practice as a banking lawyer, what has been extremely valuable to Lutz, he said, has been his Pamplin education. He appreciates, in particular, the advanced financial management class taught by former professor and finance department head Dave Scott (who left Virginia Tech in 1982) and the investments class taught by Alumni Distinguished Professor Art Keown.

My vision for Pamplin is a world-class living and learning community in which students excel without boundaries, interact with resident faculty, and engage in undergraduate research and outreach.

“Professor Scott taught us how to make financial decisions from within a corporation by segmenting financial trends and issues and identifying solutions and recommendations for senior management and boards of directors,” he said.

“Professor Keown required regular and thorough reading of The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s but also provided a keenly informed insight into what was important and what was not, how to understand the markets, currencies, and interest rates, and how to apply all of that knowledge to a professional career.”

On the Board

Lutz, who also worked at the university during his college years, has “welcomed opportunities to give back to Virginia Tech for giving so much to me and to my family.” He has devoted as much non-work time as possible to his alma mater, he said, including eight years, from 2000 to 2008, on the Board of Visitors.  From 2006 to 2008, he served as rector.

Photograph of Jacob Lutz laughing

(Photo credit: David Hungate)

“In 2005, we adopted the Principles of Community, which is very important, because it defines who we are individually and collectively,” said Lutz. “The principles are affirmed by each admitted student, displayed in every classroom, and embedded in the culture and life of this great university.”

When tragedy struck on April 16, 2007, Lutz drove to Blacksburg after calling an emergency meeting of the board. As they struggled to understand what had happened, board members tried to comfort the victims and their families and worked continuously to lead the university forward, he said.

“The spontaneous leadership, loving embrace, and resilience of our students, faculty, and alumni was nothing short of miraculous,” Lutz said. “I learned every day through this process how the worst events can bring out the best in people.”

Currently, Lutz serves as the vice president/president-elect of the Pamplin Advisory Council (PAC) and as co-chair of its strategic initiatives committee. He is also a member of the PAC cabinet.

“Pamplin has an excellent faculty and offers many programs with top national rankings. Every year, multitudes of our well-prepared graduates enter the workforce,” he said.

A vision for Pamplin

“My vision for Pamplin is a world-class living and learning community in which students excel without boundaries, interact with resident faculty, and engage in undergraduate research and outreach,” Lutz said.

“With new initiatives to build the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia and expand investments in data analytics and facilities, we will continue to attract and support the best qualified students and faculty, making significant contributions to business and industry in Virginia and around the world.”

– Barbara Micale