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With around 30 partners in its government contracts group, Arnold & Porter acts across all relevant industry sectors. A recent successful bid protest was the Veterans Evaluation Services’ representation challenging the award of a $6.9bn contract by the Department of Veterans Affairs for the provision of medical disability examination services. Another example was acting for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in protesting the award of a $84.7m contract by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command for the Navy’s Network Tactical Common Data Link program, resulting in corrective action being taken. The firm is also representing Inchcape Shipping Services in a False Claims Act (FCA) whistleblower suit concerning an alleged over-billing scheme. The group frequently handles classified projects and investigations, such as assisting former CIA director David Petraeus with two hearings before the Select Committee on Benghazi. Another area of work is government contract transactions, in relation to which the firm draws on the government contract-specific expertise of members of its intellectual property, employment and corporate groups. Charles Blanchard and Ronald Lee specialize in advising IT services providers on special regulatory constraints and protection requirements, while Paul Pompeo is an expert in cost and pricing matters. Also recommended are Mark Colley, Kara Daniels, Steven Diamond and Craig Holman; Dominique Casimir made partner in March 2016.

Crowell & Moring LLP caters to a roster of aerospace and defense industry clients, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and United Technologies. Increasingly active in the technology sector, the group represented AT&T Government Solutions in protesting the Air Force’s award of a computer network and cyberspace warfare operations contract to MacAulay-Brown due to an organizational conflict of interest through the unequal access to information. On the transactional side, it advised Hewlett-Packard on government contract matters pertaining to its split into two companies. Resolving a long-running FCA case for Moving Water Industries, the team obtained a jury verdict reversal and the full offset of damages sought by the intervening government in relation to the alleged submission of false documents to the Export-Import Bank. The practice head is Daniel Forman, and also recommended are Peter Eyre and Lorraine Campos. David Bodenheimer and Thomas Humphrey are particularly active in bid protests, while Terry Albertson stands out for cost and pricing expertise. Adelicia Cliffe joined the partnership in January 2017. The group broke the 60-lawyer mark with the addition of investigations and suspension and debarment expert David Robbins from Shulman Rogers in February 2016 and Robert Burton, who combines public procurement and public policy expertise, from Venable LLP in April 2016. Since publication, former practice co-head Angela Styles has moved to Bracewell LLP.

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With ‘one of deepest benches in the government contracts legal industry’, Wiley Rein LLP acts for some of the largest government contractors. It is particularly active in the aerospace and defense sector, where clients include Boeing, BAE Systems and DynCorp. General Dynamics Information Technology recently retained the group for representation in a putative class action concerning the alleged violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) when placing phone calls reminding consumers of upcoming deadlines to sign up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. In another matter, the team is acting for Supreme Foodservice concerning its subsistence prime vendor contract to provide food, water and other supplies for up to 130,000 US troops throughout Afghanistan; representation includes appealing the Defense Logistics Agency’s denial of compensation claims and its order of reimbursement, as well as acting for the client in over 30 other contract claims. Philip Davis, John Prairie and the ‘smart, energetic and effective’ Nicole Owren-Wiest are some of the partners acting on the aforementioned matter; they are recommended along with newly made partner Brian Walsh, who is an ‘excellent adviser’, and the ‘exceptionally bright and organized’ Jon Burd. Scott McCaleb and Paul Khoury have taken over the practice head duties from Rand Allen, who has a ‘wealth of valuable experience’ and remains very involved in the practice.

The ‘very responsive and pragmatic’ team at Covington & Burling LLP is ‘incredibly efficient’, ‘always willing to go the extra mile’ and renowned for its sector expertise in life sciences, healthcare and biodefense. Raymond Biagini led the successful representation of KBR in litigation seeking to recover from the government over $30m of legal fees incurred through tort cases concerning an oil restoration services contract. The ‘strategic’ Jason Carey is ‘excellent at explaining complex issues simply’ and recently led the representation of Optum in protesting the award of a care coordination services contract to a competitor, achieving the reopening of the competition. Scott Freling is ‘always up to date with the latest trends in the industry’ and frequently handles government contractor transactions, such as advising Lindsay Goldberg on selling PAE to Platinum Equity, while the ‘business-savvy’ Susan Cassidy is experienced advising contractors on cybersecurity requirements, particularly in the defense and intelligence sectors. Frederic Levy and Jennifer Plitsch chair the group, which also includes Alan Pemberton and the newly added Peter Hutt II, who joined from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in February 2016.

The large government contracts group at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP covers the full range of services. Practice head Karen Manos is a renowned expert in cost, pricing and accounting matters, and frequently defends contractors against government claims in cases concerning the alleged non-compliance with different cost accounting standards. Recent examples are the defense of a jet engine manufacturer against a claim for $211m, and the representation of Raytheon in appeals. White-collar criminal enforcement and investigation specialist John Chesley led an investigation into the American Registry of Pathology determining that a former executive had embezzled more than $2m over a four-year period through the creation and payment of fraudulent invoices for non-existent vendor services. The subsequent voluntary disclosure, implementation of enhanced financial controls and prosecution of the former executive were also handled by the team. Joseph West and Timothy Hatch are other noteworthy names.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s government contracts team is able to ‘give practical advice on complicated matters’ due to its specialist knowledge acquired through a sector-focused approach. It is particularly rated for pharma sector expertise, acting for clients including Pfizer and Amgen as well as medical device companies participating in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Department of Defense contracting programs. In the aerospace and defense area, Michael Mason and his team act for Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Airbus, while Michael Vernick frequently advises leading universities on federal research matters and grant-related investigations. Michael McGill led the representation of Google and one of its resellers, Tempus Nova, in a bid protest against the Internal Revenue Service challenging the purchase of cloud-based services from Microsoft under an existing blanket purchase agreement, which was limited to traditional software products. On the transactional side, the team advised KBR on the $600m acquisition of Wyle, which acts on government contracts with a combined value of $2bn. Other recommended partners include practice head Thomas McGovern, Joy Sturm and Agnes Dover.

Making an immediate splash in the government contracts space, Morrison & Foerster LLP added most of Jenner & Block LLP’s government contracts practice, including Alex Ward, Jay DeVecchio, David Churchill and government contractor transaction specialist Damien Specht. DeVecchio led the successful defense of L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace in an FCA qui tam suit concerning alleged over-billing during the performance of a mechanics contract for helicopter maintenance during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The group had a particularly successful year litigating bid protests on a state level; an example was representing MorphoTrust in a protest against the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services concerning the award of a multimillion-dollar contract to a competitor, which was reversed due to evaluation errors. Other recent highlights include conducting internal investigations into pricing and accounting standards of contractors and representing clients in litigation concerning the performance of contracts. Other recommended partners are Bradley Wine, Kevin Mullen and Richard Vacura. Tina Reynolds made partner in January 2017, while Kevin Dwyer left for Northrop Grumman.

Boutique firm Rogers Joseph O’Donnell is focused on government contracts-related litigation, frequently handling FCA disputes. An example was representing Northrop Grumman in a case brought by a former employee concerning alleged accounting violations in the F-35 multi-role fighter program. Recent bid protests include representing McKesson’s healthcare branch in various cases and defending the CBE Group against dozens of protests. In several pre-award protests, the group successfully represented CGI regarding restrictions in solicitations that would have precluded it from participation in procurements. Other longstanding clients include BAE Systems, Microsoft and Siemens Government Technologies. Robert Metzger heads the Washington DC office, which also includes Brian Miller, while ‘experienced’ firm head Neil O’Donnell is based in San Francisco. The West Coast office also houses Patricia Meagher, Mark Linderman and newly promoted partner Lauren Kramer.

The team at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has ‘superior knowledge and experience’ in procurement matters. The large group is led by Los Angeles-based Bryan Daly and includes mostly Washington DC-based lawyers, such as the recommended Anne Perry and Jonathan Aronie. The ‘knowledgeable’ John Chierichella acted in numerous cost accounting disputes with federal agencies, as well as prime contractor/subcontractor disputes arising out of product failures. A recent victory in a bid protest was achieved for WW Grainger concerning a contract for the management of supplies for a military base in Alaska, which had been awarded to a competitor. Another example was the successful representation of Deloitte Consulting in a bid protest against the award of a $58m Defense Health Agency contract for performance management and continuous process improvement support to PricewaterhouseCoopers, as well as in subsequent litigation brought by the latter. Recent additions to the group include Robert Rhoad, who joined from Crowell & Moring LLP in August 2016, and Jonathan Meyer, who joined from a post as deputy general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security in September 2016. New York-based Jeff Kern was promoted to partner in February 2017.

The ‘proactive’ team at Blank Rome LLP is highly rated for its litigation expertise, while also covering the gamut of advisory work. It recently scored a victory defending Oshkosh Defense in a $6.7bn bid protest brought by Lockheed Martin concerning the right to build the replacement vehicle for Humvee military jeeps. The group also prevailed in other bid protests, including on behalf of AllWorld Language Consultants against the award of a $30m linguistic services contract by the General Services Administration to a competitor, which was precluded from competing in a follow-on procurement. David Nadler leads the team, which also includes Richard Conway, David Yang, Justin Chiarodo and Scott Arnold.

Dentons has ‘excellent experience in government accounting requirements’ and ‘balances the legal obligations and risks with the practical business reality’. The group used its strong FCA expertise to represent Shaw Environmental in two qui tam cases concerning the provision of temporary housing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; the cases concerned alleged failure to comply with Louisiana liquefied petroleum gas laws (putting in question compliance with state law when performing contracts for the federal government) and alleged wrongful billing. In a particularly large bid protest, the group defended Oak Ridge Associated Universities in a case brought by a losing bidder concerning the Department of Energy’s award of a $1.4bn contract for the management of the Institute for Science and Education. The ‘productive’ Jessica Abrahams leads the team, in which Safety Act applications expert Dana Pashkoff and cybersecurity expert Erin Sheppard were promoted to partner in February 2016. In Denver, litigator Thomas Lemmer and the ‘responsive and business-savvy’ Steven Masiello are recommended.

Delivering ‘five-star support levels’, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP focuses on M&A transactions on behalf of government contractors, particularly in the aerospace and defense sector. Regularly involved in some of the most high-profile deals, 2016 saw the team advising Leidos Holdings on one of the largest government contracts transactions of 2016 - the $4.5bn acquisition of Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions. As well as transactional work, the team regularly represents its clients in bid protests and FCA cases; an example was acting for Black & Veatch in a civil FCA action brought by two former employees concerning the alleged forging of educational documents in order to obtain visas and work permits for employees supporting USAID contracts in Afghanistan. Jerald Howe took over the practice lead in March 2016 from James McCullough, who remains active; both are described as ‘very responsive’. Michael Anstett is another name to note.

Marcia Madsen leads Mayer Brown’s government contracts practice, which acts for contractors at every stage of the awarding process and during contract performance. It represented Lockheed Martin in litigation concerning the clean-up costs for groundwater contamination at rocket manufacturing facilities, with a district court and the DC Circuit ruling that it could charge the costs in new and unrelated federal contracts. Another victory was the successful defense of VSE Corporation in a bid protest brought by URS Federal Services concerning a $244m army maintenance contract. The group not only advises contractors but also public entities, such as the California High-Speed Rail Authority, on the structuring of procurements. Alongside the Washington DC office, which also includes Cameron Hamrick and David Dowd, the group is highly rated for its state and local government contracts practices in Chicago and Los Angeles. In Chicago, Mitchell Holzrichter rejoined the firm from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s office in January 2017.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s Los Angeles-based government contracts practice is particularly active in contentious matters. It represented an affiliate of Boston Properties in a bid protest challenging the General Services Administration’s award of a 20-year lease for the Transportation Security Administration’s new headquarters, which was voided by the Court of Federal Claims. Another example was representing Aeros Aeronautical Systems in litigation against the Navy concerning the collapse of an airplane hangar due to negligence. Other recent work included prime contractor/subcontractor disputes and contract performance litigation. John Jensen and Michael Rizzo lead a team of ‘knowledgeable lawyers, who care about their clients’, which includes James Gallagher and the ‘super-responsive and engaged’ Alex Tomaszczuk.

Led by David Johnson and Daniel Graham, the team at Vinson & Elkins LLP has a ‘deep bench of excellent lawyers’ that includes the ‘smart, experienced, knowledgeable and pragmatic’ Michael Charness. The group won a series of bid protests for BAE Systems concerning the Department of the Army’s automated installation entry system contract, enabling the client to retain its incumbent contract for another 2.5 years. A recent FCA example saw the team representing KBR in various cases brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ) or by whistleblower relators concerning the logistical support of military forces during the war in Iraq. On the transactional side, the team advised longstanding client Johnson Controls on the merger with Tyco.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is recognized for advising aerospace and defense sector clients on the full range of government contract matters, including transactions and intellectual property work. It represented joint venture KCPC/Morris regarding the termination of a subcontract with the Army’s prime contractor KBR for the building and operation of dining facilities in Iraq for the US Army. Robert Huffman leads the team.

Jenner & Block LLP saw the departure of an eight-partner team, including Alex Ward, Jay DeVecchio, David Churchill and Damien Specht to Morrison & Foerster LLP. The ‘particularly good’ Mark Nackman remained at the firm, which was reinforced by the addition of four attorneys, including new practice head D Joe Smith, who ‘is able to quickly identify the root of a matter and provide good, practical advice in a timely manner’. The team defended Science Applications International Corporation in a bid protest brought by Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems concerning a high-performance computing modernization program award, from which the latter had been excluded. A win was scored in an FCA case before the Ninth Circuit for Honeywell International, in which a qui tam relator alleged that the company had over-billed the government for military navigation system software.

Led by Stuart Nibley, the team at K&L Gates undertook internal investigations and represented its clients in disputes concerning defective pricing and contract terminations as well as numerous bid protests. It defended Michael Baker Global Services against a bid protest concerning the alleged failure to report an organizational conflict of interest, which had been filed by a losing bidder for a contract to provide security monitoring services to the Department of State on various construction sites around the world. The team also successfully protested a contract award to a competitor of its client, ManTech International, due to the General Services Administration’s failure to conduct a cost realism analysis.

Highly rated for transactional work, Latham & Watkins LLP is also seeing an increase in FCA cases. A recent example was successfully representing GSD&M Idea City in a case brought by a relator claiming the omittance of information from disclosures to the Air Force and the inflation of cost estimates during the performance of a long-term contract. In other work, the team defended Ocenco, as winning bidder, against a bid protest filed by Avon Protection Systems concerning the Navy’s contract for the supply of emergency escape breathing devices. David Hazelton heads the practice, while Roger Goldman retired in late 2016.

Pepper Hamilton LLP has niche expertise advising pharmaceutical and medical device companies on biodefense and vaccine procurements. The group defended Noble Supply & Logistics in a bid protest concerning DLA Troop Support’s award of a $263m maintenance, repair and operations supply contract. Other clients include General Dynamics Mission Systems, National Instruments and Tyco International. Matthew Koehl joined from Holland & Hart LLP in February 2016, while Hilary Cairnie and Kelley Doran joined from Baker & Hostetler LLP in May 2016. Cairnie and Michael Hordell now lead the practice.

Particularly known for advising clients in the life sciences sector, Reed Smith LLP’s government contracts and grants practice represented Molina Healthcare in a bid protest concerning its exclusion from a request for proposal for a $5.4bn contract for the provision of long-term healthcare services in Pennsylvania. Other recent work included FCA cases, contract performance disputes and further bid protests. Lawrence Block and Lawrence Sher are key members of the team, which was expanded through the addition of construction sector expert Holly Roth from Kelley Drye & Warren LLP in June 2016.

Venable LLP’s team is well known for advising government contractors from the technology and aerospace and defense sectors. It has a strong profile for contentious cases and bid protests, while intellectual property litigation for government contractors is a particular sweet spot. Most of the team, including Paul Debolt, is based in Washington DC, but the firm can also call upon government contracts expertise in Tysons Corner - where Scott Hommer is recommended - and Baltimore. Robert Burton left for Crowell & Moring LLP in March 2016.

A firm focused on dispute resolution, Williams & Connolly LLP handles the gamut of contentious government contracts work, as well as criminal and civil investigations. In a recent qui tam case, the group defended Omnicare against a relator concerning the delayed collection of accounts. Other clients include Booz Allen Hamilton, Pfizer and WW Grainger. Kevin Hodges and Edward Reddington are the names to note.

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