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Business and Government

With state legislature and agencies, as well as businesses big and small, Richmond is at the center of the state’s business and government activity.

State Legislature

Richmond has been Virginia’s seat of government since 1788, when it was moved from Williamsburg amidst fears of a British attack. The General Assembly is made up of the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia. Students have numerous opportunities to get a firsthand look at state government operations, including the University’s Virginia General Assembly Internship Program.

State Agencies

As the state capital, Richmond is also home to a variety of state agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Criminal Justice Services, and the state Department of Education, among many others. The governor, currently Terry McAuliffe, also resides in Richmond, in the historic Executive Mansion located off of Capitol Square next to the Capitol building.

Judicial System

The judicial system has a large presence in Richmond, on both the state and federal levels. Many of the courts are located downtown, including the Richmond Circuit Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (one of 13 U.S. courts of appeal). Several of the nation’s largest and most highly ranked law firms are also located in Richmond, such as Hunton & Williams, McGuireWoods, and Williams Mullen.


Business is a big deal in Richmond. The city is a key economic center in the region. One of the nation’s 12 Federal Reserve Banks is located downtown near the riverfront, while a number of commercial banks are headquartered or maintain major offices in and around the city, including Union First Market Bank, CapitalOne, SunTrust, and Bank of America.

Big Businesses

Six Richmond companies were listed on the 2013 Fortune 500, including Altria, Dominion Resources, and MeadWestvaco. The medical sector is a growing industry in the region and includes VCU Medical Center, HCA, Inc., and Bon Secours.

Advertising and Media

Advertising has long been one of the city’s signature business sectors, thanks in large part to the presence of the nationally known Martin Agency in Shockoe Bottom. In addition, Richmond is home to a handful of media companies, such as Media General, which owns over 30 television stations, largely concentrated in the southeast. Several local publications, most notably Virginia Business and Richmond BizSense, cover the city and region’s business news in depth.