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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United States, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for six consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.

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Editorial

Legal market overview
Clifford Chance – Their Voices

Overall the government contracting community is a little edgy due to the current political landscape. With the change in the administration came a change in the way contracting is done. For example, the Department of Justice is more willing to use its power to dismiss False Claim Act qui tam cases. There also appears to be a move towards less regulation for contractors than there had been under the Obama administration. One key example is the Department of Defense’s acquisition reform initiative, which is intended to significantly simplify the defense acquisition process.

Another notable trend is that for a number of years there have been serious concerns about participants throughout the entire supply chain, particularly in light of cybersecurity threats to contractors in the defense and infrastructures sectors from countries such as Iran, China and Russia. As a result, the US government is seeking to impose export controls not only on weapon systems, but also other technologies. The recent government shutdown that started in December 2018, which was the longest in US history, had an adverse financial impact. However, this impact was mainly felt by civilian agencies rather than those defense agencies like the Department of Defense, which is fully funded.

While the first year under the Trump administration was a year characterized by uncertainty in the government relations arena, there was a move into an active phase in the past year. The 2018 tax reform bill in particular kept many public policy groups busy, and also generated a fair amount of work for law firms. Similarly, the government’s international trade agenda and various issues surrounding trade policies have provoked a flurry of legal activity and advocacy.

Outside of trade, defense and financial services, there has also been a focus on reviving economically depressed areas, which generated a fair amount of activity in the infrastructure sector. The 2018 government shutdown, however, made it slightly more cumbersome for firms to submit written advocacy as a result of considerably reduced government services. On the other hand, the increased attention to economically depressed areas may continue at least until the next election cycle.


Government contracts

Index of tables

  1. Government contracts
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
Clifford Chance – Their Voices

Named attorneys are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

Arnold & Porter added to its already deep bench in the False Claims Act (FCA) claims arena with the hire of Craig Margolis and Tirzah Lollar from Vinson & Elkins LLP in May 2018. Other notable names in this area include Mark Colley, practice head Craig Holman, Kirk Ogrosky, Steven Diamond, and Marcus Asner. The team is involved in numerous ongoing projects, such as representing a US logistics support contractor regarding material management in Afghanistan. Another matter relates to the defense of KBR in several FCA cases arising out of KBR’s multibillion-dollar contract to provide logistical support to the military in the Middle East during the Iraq War. The team also has specific expertise in bid protest matters, acting for clients such as Raytheon and L3. In a recent highlight, Holman and his team were successful for Ernst & Young in a bid protest against a Department of Veteran Affairs award of a $110m contract to PwC for consulting related to optimization of a VA health system. The team also handles transactional work. Charles Blanchard and Ronald Lee, among others, often work with the Department of Defense and US intelligence agencies on highly classified projects. Kara Daniels, Paul Pompeo, and associate Sonia Tabriz are recommended. Dominique Casimir left for Blank Rome LLP in July 2019.

Crowell & Moring LLP has expertise across all major industry sectors, but is especially well known for matters related to defense and aerospace, and services clients such as BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies and Siemens. In a representative matter, the team acted for Valiant in its $135m acquisition of Cubic Global Defense Services, conducting due diligence; the transaction was significant because, among other things, 3,500 employees were added to Valiant’s headcount across 10 different countries, resulting in a total of more than 5,000 employees. In another matter, the group helped a major international construction conglomerate avoid suspension and debarment by a federal agency. Daniel Forman and Peter Eyre jointly lead the practice. David Robbins is a key name when it comes to investigations, suspension and debarment. Robert Burton is known for his public procurement expertise. David Bodenheimer and senior counsel Thomas Humphrey stand out for bid protest matters, and senior counsel Terry Albertson is noted for his cost and pricing knowledge. Adelicia Cliffe and Lorraine Campos are also key names. Jacinta Alves was promoted to partner in January 2019. Alves' practice focuses on counseling and representing companies in internal and government investigations. Anuj Vohra is a recent arrival, having joined from Covington & Burling LLP in February 2018.

Morrison & Foerster LLP handles a variety of government contract work, including intellectual property and licensing matters, contract claims, corporate governance, transactions and internal investigations, and it has a particular sweet spot for bid protests. It also a niche advising clients in the healthcare and life sciences industry on cost allowability and other issues. Kevin Mullen and Alex Ward jointly lead the practice. In recent matters, Ward has represented Buchanan & Edwards in, among other things, two bid protests: one at agency level which pertained to an FBI contract and led the agency to take voluntary corrective action. Northern Virginia-based Bradley Wine was busy acting for Accenture Federal Services (AFS) and Accenture; his workload included handling a number of bid protests as well as a significant internal investigation for AFS and ASM, and he further advised the company on compliance issues as a result of acquiring a new subsidiary. David Churchill, Jay DeVecchio and Northern Virginia-based Damien Specht are the other names to note. Andrew Turnbull joined as of counsel in May 2018 from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

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Representing some of the biggest government contractors as well as smaller businesses across defense and aerospace, energy, intelligence, information technology, professional services, telecoms, healthcare, logistics and construction, Wiley Rein LLP is praised for its ‘great bid protest and regulatory counseling’ work. In an example of the latter, Kevin Maynard acted for IT services company DXC Technology as regulatory counsel in conducting government contracts due diligence and advising on related issues in relation to DXC’s spin-off of its public sector business to form publicly traded company Perspecta. On the bid protest front, co-chair Paul Khoury represented ManTech in successfully protesting a $771m contract awarded by the Defense Intelligence Agency to The Bufallo Group. In another matter, John Prairie is acting for Automated Collection Services in a bid protest concerning a $800m Department of Education procurement for the collection of student loan debt; the procurement has been subject to more than 20 protests in the past two years. Rand Allen and the ‘bright, articulate and confident’ Jon Burd ‘are top notch’. Khoury and Scott McCaleb lead the team. Associate Samantha Lee is also recommended. Craig Smith and Tara Ward were promoted to of counsel, while Jennifer Zucker left for Greenberg Traurig LLP in February 2018.

Handling dispute resolution, compliance, enforcement, False Claims Act cases and bid protests, Blank Rome LLP utilizes its ‘deep knowledge and expertise’ when advising clients in the defense, aerospace, healthcare, maritime, technology, and professional services sectors. Scott Arnold represented 360 ITIS in a bid protest before the Government Accountability Office pertaining to a $192m task order by the Department of Homeland Security for the provision of a service desk, IT field operations, cabling, videoconferencing, hardware maintenance, deployment and financial system support services. David Nadler co-chairs the practice with Justin Chiarodo. Richard Conway ‘is tremendous’. Luke Meier joined the DC office in August 2018 from Covington & Burling LLP. Meier assists clients in navigating regulations that apply when doing business with federal government, including investigating and defending allegations of fraud. In July 2019 the team also brought on next generation partner Dominique Casimir, who joined from Arnold & Porter and focuses on government contracts litigation and counseling.

The team at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP has been especially active in the transactional sphere. In a representative example, practice co-chair and of counsel James McCullough acted for US Security Associates, a full-service safety and security solution provider with more than 50,000 employees, in its sale to Allied Universal, which included a cross-border element. In a matter in the education technology sector, McCullough and special counsel Michael Anstett assisted Onex Partners with its acquisition of a stake in PowerSchool Group from Vista Equity Partners. The firm also has a strong offering in the bid protest arena, where McCullogh successfully represented Science Applications International Corporation in pre-award bid protests before the Small Business Administrations’ Office of Hearings and the Court of Federal Claims. Other clients include Leidos, SOC and Advanced Technology International. Douglas Baruch is the other practice co-chair and has been active for clients on FCA matters. Litigation special counsel Jennifer Wollenberg led the team in a class-action against the US government relating to the denial of thousands of immigrant US soldiers access to expedited naturalization through the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program; as a result of the lawsuit, more than 800 soldiers have become US citizens.

Primarily based in Washington DC, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP's team handles the full gamut government contract matters, including contract transactions, claims, bid protests, cost accounting, suspension and debarment, FCA compliance, investigations, litigation, and the protection of IP rights. Karen Manos leads the 12-partner team. Manos, who is known for her cost accounting expertise, was successful for Raytheon in an appeal before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeal, denying the government’s claim that certain executive aircraft costs were expressly unallowable, thereby substantially reducing Raytheon’s costs. A team under the leadership of Los Angeles-based James Zelenay and Marcellus McRae was able to secure a major win for Parsons, turning around a related breach of contract and False Claim Act case brought by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1994 as a result of Parson’s work on the Los Angeles Red Line subway system. White-collar crime expert John Chesley, Joseph West and qui am specialist Timothy Hatch, who is in Los Angeles, are also key names. Jonathan Phillips was promoted to partner in January 2018 and concentrates on government enforcement issues, specifically FCA matters.

Hogan Lovells US LLP represents clients operating in a variety of traditional sectors, including education, defense, and aerospace, but also in cross-sector industries such as cybersecurity and data rights. Michael Mason, who leads a full-service team providing support to clients in the aerospace, defense and government services industry, defended Airbus against a protest filed by AugustaWestland concerning a contract for light utility helicopters valued at more than $1bn. In another matter, Mason and his team defended new client Tactical Air Support in a contract awarded to it by the US Navy worth more than $100m. The team is also active in the transactional sphere, with practice head Michael Vernick having handled the government contracts aspects of PwC’s sale of its public sector business to Veritas Capital. In the education sector, Michael McGill represented Performant Financial in several rounds of litigation regarding the Department of Education’s procurement of student loan default recovery services. The team was bolstered by the arrival of Robert Taylor in April 2018 as senior counsel from the Department of Defense. Senior counsels Agnes Dover and Thomas McGovern, Joy Sturm and senior associate Michael Scheimer are other key members.

Split between its two offices, in Washington DC and San Francsico, Rogers Joseph O’Donnell ’s highly rated government contracts group, which is ‘extremely knowledgeable of the FAR, SBA guidelines, and relevant case law’, provides ‘straightforward and clear advice’ as well as ‘realistic guidance on what likely outcomes are going to be’. Name partner and firm head Neil O’Donnell, Patricia Meagher and practice co-chair Jeffery Chiow, who ‘makes clear, compelling and concise logical and legal arguments, both written and verbally, that are very effective’, represented longstanding client AshBritt in various matters in 2017-18, including a protest when the client was not initially activated to perform debris removal following Northern California wildfires, and litigating to ensure the client is assigned a portion of clean-up work relating to Hurricane Michael in Georgia. In another representative example, head of the Washington DC office Robert Metzger is defending Aerometals in federal court in a copyright infringement case brought by MD Helicopter. Bid protest work also features; clients in this space include Cisco, Latiker, IBA Proton Therapy and Microsoft. The team also provides M&A due diligence support and counseling, and advised the Electric Power Research Institute on cyber and supply chain security. Mark Linderman is the other co-chair. Tyson Arbuthnot was promoted to partner in January 2018, while Bryan Miller left in December 2018 and returned to government services. Associate Lucas Hanback, ‘an expert on relevant GAO decisions’, ‘provides excellent and persuasive written legal arguments and statements’.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is noted for its experience in the aerospace, defense and intelligence industries, handling regulatory compliance matters, investigations, protests, suspensions and debarment, and FCA claims. The majority of the team is located in Washington DC, including John Chierichella, Anne Perry, Jonathan Aronie and Keith Szeliga, but practice head Bryan Daly is based in Los Angeles. The team successfully defended United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS) in injunctive proceedings brought against it by a competitor, concerning a contract awarded to UTAS to build certain oxygen-generating equipment used on US Navy nuclear submarines. In another matter, the team defended a GSA contract awarded to long-term client WW Grainer.

Washington DC-based Vinson & Elkins LLP ‘takes a very practical approach’ when advising clients in the aerospace and defense, healthcare, engineering and construction, professional services and IT industries on its signature areas of bid protests and claims litigation. In a recent win, co-head David Johnson represented Financial Management Systems in a bid protest over debt collection services over the Department of Education’s $1.4tn student loan portfolio before the Court of Federal Claims. The team also handles cost accounting matters, M&A, subcontract negotiation, False Claim Act matters, as well as suspension and debarment proceedings. Daniel Graham is the other co-head. ‘Smart, collegial and tireless’ Jamie Tabb, who was promoted to partner in December 2018, handles all work for key client BAE System, including bid protests; Tabb was successful for BAE as an intervenor in a protest filed by PwC concerning the decision of the Department of Homeland Security to award a $46m task order for BAE to provide cybersecurity support services. Other clients include Boeing, KPMG and Johnson Contracts. Senior associate Tyler Robinson is another name to note.

Providing ‘personalized legal services’, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's Washington DC-based group covers a wide range of areas in the government contracts field, including false claims, investigations, disclosures, transactions, intellectual property and cybersecurity matters. Practice head Robert Huffman is acting for AM General in several matters, including a patent dispute that settled between automotive part manufacturer Oldnar and patent holding affiliate UUSI against the government as a third-party defendant. ‘Experienced, knowledgeable and personable’ Scott Heimberg acts for Stonewin Capital in a contract dispute with Defense Logistics over reimbursement of foreign taxes paid on jet fuel for US military in Eastern Europe. In the non-contentious sphere, Susan Lent advises global transportation service provider Keolis on regulatory, IP, cybersecurity and privacy law issues in relation to its participation in a pilot project sponsored by AAA to operate an autonomous shuttle in Las Vegas. Litigator Thomas McLish is also a key name. Angela Styles joined from Bracewell LLP in February 2019.

Dentons’ ‘hands-on’ team has ‘expertise in government and government contracts cost accounting issues’. Following former chair Jessica Abraham’s departure to Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in April 2018, together with Dana Pashkoff, Steve Masiello now leads the largely Denver-based practice. In the aerospace and defense sector, Masiello was successful for Harris Corporation in a qui tam case dismissed by the DOJ, in which the relator alleged that Harris knowingly delivered radio systems to the US Coast Guard’s National Security Cutters program not in accordance with contract requirements. Thomas Lemmer, ‘an expert in the cost accounting area’, represented the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) in two related claims against the government, where about $90m is at stake. In the first, which has settled, USEC alleged contract breaches by the Department of Energy for failing to reimburse USEC for its allowable costs timely and fully; the second matter relates to USEC’s right to recover pension and post-retirement benefit costs. Joseph Martinez ‘is very responsible’ and Mark Meagher is the other name to note. Jennifer Roberts is now with Alston & Bird LLP, while Kevin Lombardo established his own firm, Lombardo Law PC.

The ‘intelligent, concise and focused’ government contracts team at K&L Gates ‘always takes the high road with whomever it is facing’ and has notable expertise in a number of areas, including internal investigations, FCA matters, and mandatory and voluntary disclosures. The bid protest space is where the team particularly excels, however, and it is able to point to a higher than average success rate. The ‘extremely knowledgeable and experienced’ department head Stuart Nibley ‘gets to the bottom of things quickly’. Nibley successfully represented ManTech International in a bid protest of a Department of Homeland Security procurement with a value exceeding $100m. Other work for ManTech included compliance matters and internal investigations. Nibley further acted for protestor Allied Interstate in the high-profile Department of Education procurement and protest challenging the agency’s evaluation and award of a $2.8bn student debt collection contract. Seattle-based Paul Bowen assists PGG Industries, providing comprehensive compliance and negotiation advice on government contracts, CRADAs, and other government agreements. Bowen is also known for his expertise in IP matters. Associate Amy Conant-Hoang is ‘reachable, courteous’ and ‘very smart’.

Mayer Brown advises clients from various industries, including aerospace and defense, IT, engineering, construction and healthcare. The team handles non-contentious matters, such as advising on statutory, regulatory and contractual issues, as well as contentious matters, such as bid protests, false claims cases and white-collar matters involving government contractors. Marcia Madsen leads the practice and successfully represented Oracle America in a bid protest challenging the US Army’s entry into a non-competitive follow-on production 'other transaction' agreement with REAN Cloud, thereby preventing the Department of Defense from obtaining cloud migration services without the opportunity for other prospective contractors to compete. Other clients include AT&T, QTC Medical Services and Sikorsky Aircraft Company. Litigator David Dowd is also a key contact, and advises on matters concerning conflicts of interest, cost allowability, defective pricing, contract and subcontract negotiation, and procurement fraud.

Nichols Liu was formed in January 2017 by the former co-chair of Covington & Burling LLP's government practices group, Robert Nichols, and Andy Liu, who left his general counsel position with the Social Security Administration. Liu is also a former Crowell & Moring LLP partner and DOJ trial attorney. The firm is regularly involved in bid protests; in one example, Nichols and Liu are defending Tetra Tech in a protest launched by Janus Global Operations in relation to its contract awarded by the Department of State Bureau of Political-Military Affairs for Worldwide Weapons Destruction Services, which relates to the removal of land mines, weapons and other munitions in various war zones, including Laos and Bosnia. Nichols also helped MSI to win a bid protest regarding its Afghanistan’s Measure for Accountability and Transparency program, which concerns the implementation of anti-corruption activities to increase the performance, legitimacy and capacity of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Matters relating to fraud are another significant stream of work; transactional work is also a feature. Andrew Victor joined as an associate from Perkins Coie LLP in July 2018, while Rick Claybrook joined as of counsel in May 2018 from Crowell & Moring LLP.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s bi-coastal government practice, with offices in Washington DC, Northern Virginia and Los Angeles, handles the full range of government contract matters, from contentious issues such as debarment and suspension, bid protests, False Claims Act cases, claims and terminations under the Contract Disputes Act, to non-contentious work such as regulatory and strategic counseling. The Northern Virginia office is known for its busy M&A practice, which handled several transactions; representative examples include the team acting for Parsons in its acquisition of Polaris Alpha and assisting STG, a provider of technology, cyber and data solutions to the US Defense, diplomatic and intelligence communities, with its sale to SOS International. Located in Los Angeles, Alex Tomaszczuk represented Entergy in two contract disputes against the Department of Energy for its failure to pick up spent nuclear fuel from two nuclear power plants owned and operated by Entergy. John Jensen and Michael Rizzo lead the team. Todd Canni, who splits his time between LA and DC, and Los Angeles-based Kevin Slattum are also key team members. Canni is recognized for his suspension and debarment practice. David Dixon made partner in the Northern Virginia in January 2018.

Operating from offices in San Francisco, Washington DC and Atlanta, the ‘extremely skilled’ government contracts team at Seyfarth Shaw LLP has ‘superior knowledge of the government contracting space’, particularly in litigation. In an example from 2017, the team assisted Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which is responsible for the development of a $4.5bn transit center in the middle of San Francisco, in the settlement of claims arising from it. The team is also defending Environmental Chemical Corporation against claims pertaining to the construction of the Military’s first thermal rocket motor treatment facility, which will be used to demilitarize or destroy rocket engines. Other areas of activity including prevailing wage disputes and non-contentious matters such as counseling and transactions. ‘Efficient’ practice head Joseph Dyer provides ‘high-quality support’. San Francisco-based Donald Featherstun acts for a subcontractor in the aerospace sector, which is involved in a multimillion-dollar dispute concerning a unique thruster system used on satellites. Associate Edward Arnold is ‘beyond responsive’, ‘knowledgeable’ and communicates ‘in a way that everyone can understand’. Anita Ponder joined Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, PA in May 2018.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP has ‘a deep bench of government contracts professionals’, who earn praise for their ‘responsiveness’ and ‘knowledge of government contracting and financial management’. The team handles bid protests, contract claims, investigations and FCA issues. Government contracts chair Paul Hurst defended longstanding client Humana in multiple bid protests at the Government Accountability Office and the Court of Federal Claims, in a challenge to its award of a $40bn contract by the Defense Health Agency for the Tricare health program designed primarily for military families. The team also has notable experience representing clients in response to audits and investigations conducted by agencies; in one example, Thomas Barletta and Hurst assisted an international corporation in resolving an investigation launched by the Department of Justice, which was triggered by a whistleblower who alleged FCA violations due to fraudulent representations that induced the government into awarding the contract to the client. In another instance, Hurst represents an NGO regarding an audit conducted by the US Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction relating to costs charged by the NGO to the United States Agency for International Development under a cooperative agreement awarded to the NGO to fund the development activities for local government services. Of counsel Mike Michael Navarre is a ‘known expert in contractor issues in the battle space’. Peter Wellington is another key member. Senior counsel Michael Mutek left in May 2018 and is now general counsel at Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Thompson Hine LLP has ‘a broad depth of knowledge and expertise in government contracts’. It provides clients with expertise in a variety of areas, including corporate transactions, whistleblower cases, IP rights, suspension and debarment actions as well as bid protests across a wide range of range of industry sectors. Industry expertise includes defense, information technology, life sciences, telecoms, intelligence, transportation, professional services and logistics support. The team was highly active in the bid protest arena, where a team led by practice head Thomas Mason, whose ‘work ethic is inconceivable’, helped Knight Point Systems fend off a challenge to a follow-on contract it was awarded worth more than $900m; the contract is for computer processing storage and communication infrastructure services to Department of Defense clients. In another case, Mason, Francis Purcell and senior counsel Ray McCann were successful for CenturyLink in a protest before the Court of Federal Claims regarding a contract awarded to a competitor by the Fish and Wildlife Service for telecoms network support services. Non-contentious work also features, with Purcell and Mason advising life sciences company NewLink Genetics on various government contracts matters. Counsel Joseph Berger is the other name to note.

Williams & Connolly LLP represents government contractors in a variety of matters, including bid protests, FCA claims and complex criminal and regulatory matters. The team has a track record acting for clients operating in the healthcare sector, such as pharmaceuticals manufacturers, hospitals and pharmacy benefit managers, but it also represents several contractors in the IT industry. In the aerospace and defense sector, co-chair Edward Reddington and Christopher Manning defended Patriarch Partners, MD Helicopters and Lynn Tilton as lead trial and lead appellate counsel in a False Claims Act case in district court; most recently the team filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. Reddington also acts for IT solutions and professional services contractor CSRA in two matters: in the first, Reddington prevented CSRA from being excluded from a federal procurement due to an alleged organizational conflict of interest; in the other, Reddington successfully defended CSRA in a bid protest challenging the award of a contract by the Department of Education. Other co-chair Kevin Hodges, in addition to having experience in bid protests, is also adept at handling cases relating to non-disclosure and non-compete agreements. Steven Cady, Colette Connor, Christopher Mandernach, Liam Montgomery and Katherine Trefz were promoted to partner in January 2018.

Delivering ‘excellent work’ Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP has a strong offering in litigation, where the team is frequently involved in bid protests as well as claim appeals, construction matters, IP infringement and data rights issues. Gary Campbell (Boston) and the ‘extremely responsive’ Kelley Doran (DC), who both joined from Pepper Hamilton LLP in February 2018, successfully defended Noble Supply & Logistics in a bid protest filed by Automated Precision Technology pertaining a contract for the provision of all labor, supplies, equipment, management supervision, and support necessary to maintain an adequate supply of all parts, materials and equipment to fulfil the needs of the US Department of the Navy Facilities Engineering Command. In Washington DC, Matthew Koehl, who joined from Pepper Hamilton LLP at the same time as Campbell and Doran, assisted Micron Technology with negotiating the terms of several transaction agreements with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for research projects pertaining to cutting-edge memory technologies. James Kearney leads the practice.

Husch Blackwell LLP’s ‘extremely knowledgeable’ team is ‘on point in the government and M&A realms’ and its ‘subject matter knowledge is deep’. The team’s workload mainly encompasses bid protests and other contentious cases in the healthcare sector, among others. In the defense sector, practice head Brian Waagner defended Jacobs Engineering in two bid protest matters before the Government Accountability Office, regarding contracts for which the combined value is over $1bn. Hal Perloff leads the advice in a putative class action initiated by current and former residents of Atlantic Marine Corps Communities’ military family housing project at Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, alleging a failure to warn about adverse environmental conditions at the homes. A unique characteristic of the practice is the representation of contractors providing goods and services to the United States Parcel Service, for which David Hendel is responsible. Clients in this area include National Star Route Mail Contractors Association, vehicle manufacturer AM General and electronic postage provider Stamps.com. George Stewart joined in December 2018 from Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP. Steven Neeley, who ‘does an exceptional job’, was promoted to partner in January 2018. William Hughes from the Milwaukee office ‘is the whole package’; ‘responsive, knowledgeable, humble and offers sage advice’.

Based in Washington DC, Latham & Watkins LLP's practice handles a variety of matters in the government contracts space, from bid protests, contract disputes and False Claim Act matters to general counseling and transactional work, supporting the firm’s corporate and banking and finance departments. The firm acts for clients in the aerospace and defense, healthcare, technology and IT sector. Under the lead of practice head David Hazelton, the team successfully represented Cerner Corporation, a supplier of health information technology solutions, before the Court of Federal Claims and the Federal Circuit Court as an intervenor defendant in a bid protest relating to a contract awarded to it by the Veterans Affairs for electronic health record services. In the False Claim Act arena, partnering with the firm’s environmental group, Anne Robinson represented Dow Chemical in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit. Counsel Kyle Jefcoat and associate Dean Baxtresser are the other key team members.

Led by Adam Lasky, Seattle-based Oles, Morrison, Rinker & Baker LLP focuses mainly on bid protests and has significant expertise representing government contractors in the construction as well as aerospace and defense industries. Lasky helped J&J Maintenance in a bid protest before the Federal Claims Court to challenge its elimination from the competitive range by the US Army Corps of Engineers regarding a $230m procurement. Other key names include the ‘very experienced’ Thomas Krider, who successfully represented KBSS in a Contract Act claims appeal before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, and name partner Douglas Oles, who is ‘knowledgeable in construction law, in particular representing general contractors’ and has a ‘great ability to think of creative solutions’. David Yang, who has substantial bid protest experience, is a new addition to the team, having joined from Blank Rome LLP in April 2018.

Reed Smith LLP’s government contracts team has a particular strength in the life sciences and healthcare sectors. In the past year, the group successfully represented a prominent healthcare service provider in a lawsuit against the government for the recovery of a substantial amount under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care’s Act’s Cost Sharing Reduction provisions. Other work includes bid protests, False Claims Act matters, and government contract disputes between contractors and the government. The team is also known for handling matters involving small businesses, bankruptcies, and commercial and defense contracts. Holly Roth and Lawrence Block jointly lead the team, with Lawrence Sher another key name.

Venable LLP’s government contracts department distinguishes itself with ‘good communication’, to the benefit of clients in the technology, aerospace and defense sectors, such as Kratos Defense & Security Solutions. Scott Hommer and Paul Debolt, who has a ‘good understanding of government contract law’, jointly lead the practice. Recently, the team has successfully handled a number of bid protests, including for Agile Defense, where a team under Debolt’s leadership filed a NAWCAD protest, defended the award of a contract from a GOA protest by Octo Consulting, defended against a size status protest before the Small Business Administration and intervened at the Alliant 2 GWAC protest. Other work includes handling breach of contract of claims, for instance as counsel for Taylor Energy Company, which arose as a result of a trust agreement between Taylor Energy and the Department of the Interior. On the counseling side, Dismas Locaria helped Securitas Security Services’ affiliate, Securitas Critical Infrastructure Services, to obtain Safety Act protections for its background investigation services. James Boland and Rebecca Pearson are also key names. Keir Bancroft left to join the United States Air Force in December 2017.

With particular strength in litigation and ADR processes, WilmerHale’s Washington DC-based government contracts team is well equipped to solve the multitude of problems government contractors of varying sizes face. This includes investigations related to procurement, FCA lawsuits, and drawing on the firm's capabilities in the corporate matters to advise on government contract transactions. The team is also known for helping companies gain a foothold in the government contract space. Andrew Shipley, who joined from Perkins Coie LLP in January 2018, spends a lot of time on bid protests. Jonathan Cedarbaum is in charge of the firm’s False Claim Act group, and together with practice head Stephen Preston successfully defended Raytheon in the Ninth Circuit in a whistleblower case. Barry Hurewitz is the other name to note. Senior associate Philip Beshara joined from Blank Rome LLP in March 2018.


Government relations

Index of tables

  1. Government relations
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading lawyers

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Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
Clifford Chance – Their Voices

Unless otherwise indicated, attorneys mentioned in this section are based in Washington DC.

Comprising lawyers and consultants, including former members of Congress with experience in federal government, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's public law and policy team has an excellent reputation and is praised for its ‘personalized service’ in areas such as trade, healthcare, environment, tax and Native American law. Hunter Bates and Brian Pomper jointly lead the practice. Joel Jankowsky, who is the founder of the firm’s government relations practice, has expertise in matters pertaining to technology, entertainment and telecoms. In one highlight matter, Jankowsky is leading a team representing a coalition of 18 companies from various industry sectors to effect changes in legislation and regulations to reduce vexatious patent litigation and to strengthen and improve proceedings before the Patent and Trademark Office. Health policy expert John Jonas helped Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Incorporated to obtain approval from the FDA for a revolutionary new treatment option for people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Brendan Dunn, former policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Zachary Rudisill, former tax counsel to Senator Rob Portman, both joined in May 2018. Dunn brings with him knowledge in the areas of tax, financial services, banking, trade, pension, judiciary matters and healthcare, while Rudisill focuses on domestic and international tax and trade policy. Also recommended are tax specialist Jeffrey McMillen, Ed Pagano and Arshi Siddiqui, who ‘goes above and beyond’. Former US Senator Joe Donnelly joined the firm in April 2019. Michael Rossetti left the firm in August 2018 and is now with Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP.

Considered a ‘great group of talented individuals’, ‘super responsive, knowledgeable and easy to work with’, Squire Patton Boggs has put together ‘one of the most complete and strongest public policy teams in the country’. The group handles matters in a wide variety of sectors, including defense and national security, energy and environment, financial services and tax, healthcare, international trade, tax, transportation, infrastructure and technology. Senior counsel Trent Lott, Edward Newberry, ‘who is one of the most talented lawyers in Washington’, as well as ‘an excellent strategic thinker and tactician’, and senior counsel and former senator John Breaux are the practice heads. The team successfully advocated for the government of US Virgin Islands in the passage of federal hurricane disaster legislation, providing billions of dollars of hurricane relief to help rebuild its economy. Aubrey Rothrock III represented the Coca-Cola Company’s interests during the US corporate tax reform debate. Other clients include Nissan North America, SK Group and Airbus. Carolina Mederos is a key team member, and associate Rory Murphy is recommended. Also two new big additions to the team are former US congressmen Joseph Crowley and Bill Shuster, who both joined in February 2019.

Hogan Lovells US LLP's government relations team deals with matters in the automotive, tax, aviation and drone sector. The team also has expertise in international trade and representing foreign governments. In a representative work highlight, Aaron Cutler, practice head, senior counsel and former US senator Norm Coleman and Ivan Zapien are representing Kinder Morgan regarding the Trump’s administration introduction of significant tariffs on steel, arguing that Kinder Morgan should be exempt from the tariffs, particularly when importing steel pipe for the $1.7bn Gulf Coast Express pipeline. The team is also very active when it comes to obtaining funding for significant construction, research, programmatic and equipment projects. In one particular example, the team was able to secure over $550 million in federal funding for infrastructure and economic development for a major US city. Having been former head of public policy and regulatory affairs at Project Wing, Google’s drone industry venture, Robert Taylor joined as senior counsel from the Department of Defense, while Laura Ponto joined as counsel in April 2018 from Google X. Other key members include drone law expert Lisa Ellman and sanctions law expert Robert Kyle.

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Led by Rich Gold and Atlanta-based Robert Highsmith, Holland & Knight LLP's public policy and regulation group has a reputation for working on big issues in different industries sectors, with particular expertise in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector. In a recent work highlight, Gold and Michael Werner helped alleviate concerns of the Biosimilars Forum, a trade association whose raison d’être it is to create a vibrant US market for biosimilars, regarding low reimbursement rates for biosimilars, thereby potentially stumping their development by convincing the Food and Drug Administration to review and approve its reimbursement standards. Other clients in the area include the Alliance to Restore Our Waterways and the Public Access to Sunscreens coalition. Joel Robertson is the name to note when it comes to issues surrounding autonomous vehicles and drone law. Kathryn Lehman, transportation expert David Whitestone and Tallahassee-based Mark Delegal are also key names. The practice has experienced a number of changes in the past year. The most recent additions include former congressmen Tom Davis and Christopher Armstrong, who both joined in January 2019. Further significant arrivals are Mark Kalpin from WilmerHale and Andrew Starrels from Market Square Real Estate Consulting. Marne Sussman joined from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, while Charles Borden comes from the Center for Analysis of Risk and Regulation. Finally, senior counsel Samuel Brown joined from Allen & Overy LLP and Jake Evans from Thompson Hine LLP.

K&L Gates’ bipartisan government relations practice stands out as ‘it leverages a broad set of political and subject-matter experts and is well versed in utilizing a broad array of influencing tools’. The team has not only a ‘strong background in space policy’, but ‘also great reach in other policy issues’. The group provides ongoing advocacy assistance to the Airport Minority Advisory Council, particularly in the wake of major changes in airport and aviation legislation. Avis Budget Group retains the firm for advocacy before Congress, state and local governments as well as foreign governments on issues pertaining to income tax, cost recovery, foreign taxation, privacy, consumer matters and safety regulatory issues. On behalf of Pitney Bowes, the team advocates policies to protect and grow its mail and parcel business. Further clients include Maxar Technologies, Math for America, Ford Motor Company, Amazon and Bank of America. Michael Scanlon and Bruce Heiman ‘have incredible subject-matter depth, are proactive and responsive’. Emanuel Rouvelas, Paul Stimers, William Kirk, Daniel Crowley, who focuses on public policy issues relating to financial services, and Karishma Shah Page are also key names. Associate Peter Nelson is recommended and Scott Nelson is a new of counsel who joined from Summit Strategies in October 2018.

Mayer Brown is recognized not only for its ‘deep experience and strong expertise in the advancement and passage of federal legislation, including tax law’, but also its ‘excellent base of contacts in Congress and the administration’. The group handles international, federal, state and local government affairs matters. John Janicik and Mitchell Holzrichter are key names in the Chicago office. Los-Angeles-based Philip Recht advises Bird Rides on regulatory matters in the City of Los Angeles involving the use and sharing of electric scooters, a new disruptive technology that appeared in the US and abroad in 2018. Joseph Seliga, also in Chicago, excels at ‘advising governments and private sector investors in the development and execution of public-private partnerships of major infrastructure projects’. Other recommended team members include Michael Kantor, Timothy Keeler and Duane Layton.

Arnold & Porter’s legislative and public policy group is able to handle matters related to congressional investigations, tax, IP as well as a wide range of industries, including cybersecurity, energy and environment, financial services, food and agriculture, healthcare, insurance, telecoms and transportation and infrastructure. Charles Landgraf and Kevin O’Neill jointly lead the practice. O’Neill and his team represent Samsung in a variety of matters; for example, lobbying for the company during the development of legislation regarding 5G wireless technology in order to enhance Samsung’s position in that upcoming technology. In another matter, the team advocates on behalf of the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition (FGRC), among other things, to revise the laws protecting single-sex student organizations and address issues regarding campus safety and sexual assault on college campuses. The firm’s broad client roster includes Lloyds of London, McGraw Hill Education, medical device company Dexcom and South Korean steelmaker POSCO. Christopher Dodd joined the firm as senior counsel in January 2018from the Motion Picture Association of America.

At Bracewell LLP, Scott Segal and Dee Martin ‘lead a terrific and experienced team’. Segal attracts praise for his expertise, ‘especially in energy and environmental policy issues’, which he showcased when representing the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, together with Jeffrey Holmstead, in regulatory, congressional, public advocacy and media outreach matters. In another matter from the energy space, the team is acting for Valero Energy in a series of lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); in one case, for the EPA’s failure to conduct required periodic reviews of the consequences of and viability of compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard program of the Clean Air Act. For Andeavor, the group provides ongoing assistance on climate change and energy tax matters before the government and various committees, such as the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Subcommittee on Air Quality and the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee. Utilizing its experience of pipeline and energy infrastructure projects, the team assisted Williams Companies to develop a reliable regulatory framework for constructing and operating a pipeline infrastructure. Non-energy related work included advocacy for the National Brain Tumor Society for more childhood cancer research funding, the provision of grants to states to identify and track childhood cancer cases and enhance the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors.

The government relations team at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP acts for major companies and associations providing sector-specific expertise across a wide range of industries, including gaming, private equity, sports, telecoms, financial services, professional services, life sciences and healthcare. In a notable example, Will Moschella advises the American Gaming Association on matters pertaining to sports wagering as well as the enforcement of illegal gambling activity, particularly on whether the federal government has the right to control state lawmaking. Practice head Marc Lampkin’s workload includes matters involving mergers and acquisitions, transportation, infrastructure and trade. Alfred Mottur is the other key team member. Russell Sullivan, Harold Hancock and counsel Rosemary Becchi joined in August 2018 to form the firm's national tax policy group.

The ‘remarkable’ government relations group at Dentons is acknowledged for its ‘can-do’ attitude as well as its ‘depth and extent’, being able to provide clients with public policy and regulatory assistance across all 50 states on issues of taxation, healthcare, international trade, energy, environment and congressional investigations. The firm's attorney general practice is a key strength, with Thurbert Baker providing ongoing assistance to Adtalem Global Education, which has come under scrutiny from more than 30 state attorneys general, the Department of Education and the Federal Trade Commission concerning marketing materials and statements made to prospective students regarding graduation and job placement rates. With ‘extensive knowledge of international business, coupled with his experience in both the public and private sector’, Atlanta-based Gordon Giffin helped Repsol become an influential thought leader on state, federal and international environmental and social policy risks and opportunities. Eric Tanenblatt chairs the government affairs practice from Atlanta and senior managing associate Andrew Shaw is recommended. Chris Fetzer joined from Haake & Associates in 2018, as did the former attorney general of Georgia, Samuel Olens; both as counsel.

King & Spalding LLP’s government relations team is very active in matters related to congressional investigations, particularly in the healthcare sector. Other work concerns international trade as well as data, privacy and security issues, with clients coming from a wide range of industry sectors, including aerospace, automotive/transportation, infrastructure and sports. In addition to being known for representing clients in political law issues, particularly pharmaceutical companies, the firm has a growing attorney general practice, which in 2018 saw the arrival of former congressman and California attorney general Daniel Lungren as senior counsel. Practice head Thomas Spulak provides ongoing assistance to Embraer and its subsidiary Embraer Aircraft on several issues before the executive and legislative branches, including the development of regulations for autonomous electric aircraft operations in US airspace and support for a number of US Air Force programs. Spulak also advocates on behalf Mood Media before Congress concerning the standard used to set royalties associated with the cost of licensing music. Theodore Hester, Steve Kupka, J C Boggs and Eleanor Hill are the other names to note. Another recruit in 2018 was senior adviser James Miller, who was previously chair of the FTC, and in January 2019, the firm welcomed the former managing partner of Troutman Sanders LLP’s Atlanta office, Pete Robinson.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP has ‘put together a solid team’ of ‘well-respected advocates’ that lobbies for clients in the energy, telecoms, health, insurance, pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors. Douglas Kantor acts for the Secure Payments Partnership, a coalition consisting of merchant trade associations, debit card networks and payment processors, to advocate for numerous industries to have votes in setting payment security standards, advocate for more secure authentication and promote competition in payment cards. ‘Very organized and exceptional advocates’ Darryl Nirenberg and associate Eva Rigamonti are recommended. Advocating on behalf of 1-800 Contacts, Nirenberg was instrumental in achieving enactment of a piece of legislation that secures every American the right to a copy of his or her contact lens prescription after an eye exam. Bond Dealers of American and KLX are new clients. Scott Sinder leads the practice, and James Barnette is also a key name.

Energy, natural resources and environmental issues are cornerstones of Van Ness Feldman LLP’s ‘effective’ public policy group. Firm chair Richard Agnew’s areas of expertise include natural resource and Native American law. On behalf of Xavier University of Louisiana, a largely African American university, the group secured a provision in the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act alleviating the financial burden it faces following a loan it received from the Department of Education to rebuild due to extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina, which it struggled to repay as a result of reduced enrollment due to the economic crisis. In another matter, the group, representing the Sonoma County Water Agency, through successful lobbying efforts, helped to establish the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, which funds local projects necessary for conservation of threatened, endangered, or at risk salmon and steelhead populations. The team also successfully lobbied Congress on behalf of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation to implement law that allows ASCR to develop the oil and gas resources underneath its lands within the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The firm’s client roster includes the likes of Toyota, Amazon, Kinder Morgan, Shell and the International Bottled Water Association. Bob Szabo leads the practice. Tom Roberts and Alan Mintz are also key names.

Led by Jonathan Yarowsky, who is praised as ‘an excellent government relations adviser on legal/judiciary matters, specifically housing and restructuring’, the team at WilmerHale’s ‘full-service government relations’ practice is adept in developing multi-branch advocacy strategies to successfully to assist clients. Jamie Gorelick, who handles matters in the regulatory and enforcement space, advises T-Mobile USA on antitrust concerns and consumer issues regarding its proposed merger with Sprint. The team also supported Monsanto in its $62bn merger with Bayer, handling the regulatory, public policy, trade and antitrust issues. Other areas of expertise include intellectual property and trade. Charter Communications and The Beer Institute are also key clients. David Ross  is the other name to note. Counsel Kristen Donaldson joined Gray Plant Mooty in September 2018 as special counsel.

Miller & Chevalier Chartered’s focus is on tax policy, where the team solves legislative and administrative issues for clients before Congress, the IRS and Treasury Department. On behalf of a primary trade association in the engineering industry, Marc Gerson, who leads the practice, was successful in achieving inclusion for engineering companies in the new 20% deduction for pass-through income enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017. Gerson also achieved a similar deduction for staffing companies acting for the American Staffing Association. The team also represents multinationals and insurance companies; in one example, Gerson and Leonard Bickwit represented one of the largest privately owned insurance companies in the US during consideration of the Affordable Care Act, where they monitored and analyzed proposed legislation, drafted material for congressional briefings, and represented client’s interests in meetings with members of Congress and their staffs. Other areas of activities include financial services and trade matters. Tax policy expert Jorge Castro joined the firm in December 2018 from his own Washington DC-based tax consulting firm Castro Strategies LLC. Loren Ponds is another new addition; she joined in October 2018 from the House of Representatives' Committee of Ways and Means and specializes in international tax mater.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP’s public policy team is mainly housed in Washington DC, but it also has a presence at state level in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Massachusetts. Dennis Wicker and David Wilkins jointly lead the practice. Wilkins, former US ambassador to Canada who has a special focus on US-Canada relations, helped the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers to obtain approval for the TransCanada’s KXL pipeline by the Trump administration, which was rejected under the previous administration. Robert Crowe lobbies on behalf of the government of Qatar, specifically advising on domestic trade missions, the blockade and charitable contributions in the US. Other clients include technology company Weedmaps, Korean company Hyosung and Newsmax Media.

Led by Elizabeth Moeller, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s public policy team has ‘a high degree of knowledge in their areas of specialization’. Moeller represented disability advocacy business Binder & Binder when it became the subject of an investigation by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. In another matter, working with the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project, the group provides legal representation, advocacy and counseling to domestic violence victims. As part of that engagement, the team drafted a congressional concurrent resolution seeking to compel family courts to assess child safety considerations before making any custody or visitation decisions. Brian Finch is the name to note for global security and cybersecurity matters. Finch frequently helps clients to obtain SAFETY Act liability protection certifications. Craig Saperstein, who became partner in January 2019, is another key team member.


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