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All eyes are on the new administration and how it will shape regulation imposed on economic actors during its term. Government contracting is likely to see an upturn in activity, with an increase in defense and infrastructure spending particularly. Currently, competition over contracts is fierce and law firms act on a multitude of bid protests and other disputes, often arising from cost and contract performance issues. A rising number of disputes pertain to False Claims Act matters, including frequent qui tam actions. Merger activity, particularly in the aerospace and defense area, was another area on the rise. Law firms with extensive expertise acting for large government contractors are listed in our rankings. Lawyer moves were rare in 2016, however in April most of Jenner & Block LLP’s government contracts practice left to join Morrison & Foerster LLP.

In the government relations arena, the change of government has illustrated the importance of bipartisan practices, as former senior government officials are typically key components of firms’ practices, enabling smooth access to policymakers. Advocacy typically involves a continual dialogue with decision makers, with the aim of increasing awareness and raising the concerns of particular industries and/or interests. Unregulated areas, such as internet and new economy-related matters, and issues under review, such as an envisaged tax reform, are fiercely lobbied over. The law firm market has seen little movement in 2016, but with newly expanded practices, Arnold & Porter and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP have entered the ranking.

The rankings are more focused on the national and international - rather than state and local - level, so lawyers mentioned are based in Washington DC unless otherwise noted.

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