Government Contracts and Procurement Counseling REGULATORY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

Government contracting occurs at the intersection of business, law and politics. It is a dynamic and highly regulated environment presenting both challenging opportunities and unique risks. Many clients in today's changing markets engage in federal, state and local government business to a degree and in ways not previously considered. Our attorneys are experienced in working with clients seeking to win, grow and retain successful government business relationships that maximize opportunity and minimize risk. We work with our clients to understand their goals and develop a strategic approach that efficiently and cost-effectively identifies and fixes problems before they occur. Our clients range from small, emerging entrepreneurial businesses and those just entering the government market to some of the largest and most sophisticated government contractors.

Our Team

Because our team offers not only many decades of experience handling complex issues on behalf of diverse clients, as well as extensive experience in government service, WilmerHale knows government contracting from the inside out and appreciates contracting issues from both sides of the contract. Our attorneys include experts with experience from careers in the private sector across a wide range of issues and clients. Others have spent many years in government service advising clients on procurement and acquisition reform policy as well as on individual contracts and business matters. Still others have done both, serving intermittently in government and then returning to private practice. Our public service has included leading roles at the highest levels of Government with responsibility for all types of contracts and the broadest range of acquisition programs and policies—including a former General Counsel of the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency, Deputy Attorney General who was also General Counsel of the DOD, a Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, a General Counsel to the Director of National Intelligence and a General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This unique combination of backgrounds guarantees our clients unsurpassed knowledge.

Our Approach

Drawing on this experience, we successfully guide our clients, whether government contract novices or the most experienced government contractors, through the complicated rules, specialized vocabulary, and unique contract provisions that set apart government business from familiar commercial practices—from well before proposal submission, through proposal preparation, source selection, negotiation of terms, contract pricing, subcontracting, teaming, regulatory and contract compliance, performance and termination, audits, investigations, and claims. By capitalizing on WilmerHale's full-service, multidisciplinary approach that anticipates issues and trends, we match clients with needed talent and experience in such additional disciplines as intellectual property, investigations, corporate, international trade, mergers and acquisitions, export controls, tax, banking and finance.

In addition to regulatory, legislative and transactional advice, we support our clients in government contract disputes and litigation, including government enforcement actions, investigations, federal court litigation, board of contract appeals litigation, bid protests and other contested proceedings. Yet we are mindful of contractors concern for reputation and standing within the government contracting community. While prevention of disputes is always preferred, we are no less aggressive in attacking problems whenever they arise. We are strong, successful litigators who understand the benefits both of avoiding litigation as well as resolving it quickly. We are particularly sensitive to the challenges of handling disputes between a client and the client's customer, where the business relationship needs to be preserved. We are experienced in bid protests and government contract disputes across a range of industries and government agencies.

The range of government contracting challenges is growing as government business becomes increasingly complex, and our expertise and practice include such diverse matters as the protection of proprietary information and intellectual property, cyber security, privacy, ethics and compliance programs, international trade and investment, export controls, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, expanding application of the False Claims Act and the proliferation of whistleblower and qui tam actions, organizational conflicts of interest, suspension and debarment, audits, fraud, cost accounting, security, foreign ownership and influence, security clearances and classified information, bankruptcy, finance and tax. We handle internal investigations as well as investigations by Inspectors General and other government agencies and officials.

Our Clients

WilmerHale represents clients of all sizes, in a wide range of industries and with all levels of government business experience. With offices in the US, Europe and China in major finance and technology centers, we are strategically positioned to serve the interests of both established businesses and startups. We count among our clients major defense, intelligence and national security contractors as well as small companies in such emerging technologies as biodefense, cyber security and counterterrorism.

WilmerHale provides clients with expertise in the business, legal and political issues that distinguish government contracting, and we do it all with an unwavering focus on service to our clients. Committing the breadth and depth of our experience as well as the resources of WilmerHale to the needs of our clients, we have successfully:

  • Argued before the Federal Circuit on behalf of one of the largest US defense contractors concerning privity rules in government contracting and government liability for subcontractor claims.
  • Negotiated novel contract provisions permitting clients to retain intellectual property rights resulting from federally funded research.
  • Represented a major news organization, two of whose reporters had been killed by US troops in Iraq, and successfully argued for a Defense Department review of battlefield practices.
  • Represented US computer and information technology companies before the US Congress; the US Departments of Defense, State and Commerce; and the White House to reform the export control rules for computer systems and technology transfers.
  • Represented a company in connection with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act issues that arose at its business in Indonesia, conducting an internal investigation on two continents and also representing the company and various personnel in investigations by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  • Counseled companies on the development of a wide range of compliance programs, including ethics, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, export controls and industrial security and on the resolution of potential problems when they arise.
  • Secured the establishment of a new federally chartered corporation to promote veteran-owned businesses.
  • Advised clients in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures of government contractors, performing due diligence, analyzing risks and guiding the novation of contracts.
  • Represented leading software companies and information technology equipment manufacturers on government sales transactions and contract compliance matters.
  • Assisted in the successful effort to obtain legislation protecting the confidentiality of sensitive business information provided to the government to assist in the protection of critical infrastructure.
  • Counseled software and electronics companies on policies and procedures for safeguarding sensitive government, customer and proprietary information.
  • Advised a major bank on assignments of claims in government contract financing transactions.
  • Advised on foreign military sales and foreign military financing direct commercial sales, including the use and compensation of sales agents.
  • Corrected a negative past performance evaluation for a small business services contractor.
  • Assisted clients eligible for socio-economic preferences in the award of government contracts to remain eligible to take maximum advantage of those preferences.
  • Responded to inquiries and enforcement actions by Inspectors General of the Department of Defense and other agencies, the DOJ and US Attorneys, the SEC, and agency suspension and debarment officials, as well as inquiries from Congress.
  • Advised companies on international data transfer restrictions and on implementation of appropriate safeguards, including contractual assurances, binding corporate rules and European Union privacy safe harbor self-certification.
  • Preserved the appeal rights of a contractor challenging the application of a source-and-origin clause to its product under a contract with a foreign government.
  • On behalf of an Air Force contractor, secured a decision terminating debarment proceedings without an administrative agreement or any adverse action, and worked to resolve parallel civil fraud and contract disputes.
  • Represented a defense contractor before the US Army debarring authority in connection with claims involving the alleged delivery of defective products.
  • Defended the US Department of Labor's award to our client of a financial management services contract against parallel fast-track bid protest proceedings in the Government Accountability Office and the US Court of Federal Claims.
  • Enjoined the Coast Guard from transferring the work of our client, the incumbent IT contractor, to a competitor via an illegal, sole-source contract.
  • Challenged an agency's termination for default of a multi-hundred-million dollar IT contract on behalf of the provider of human-resources systems.
  • Persuaded the Small Business Administration Office of Hearings and Appeals to reverse its previous ruling concerning an unfavorable size classification of a telecommunications industry client.
  • Represented an incumbent supplier of lottery services in a state bid protest.

Government contracting occurs at the intersection of business, law and politics. It is a dynamic and highly regulated environment presenting both challenging opportunities and unique risks. Many clients in today's changing markets engage in federal, state and local government business to a degree and in ways not previously considered. Our attorneys are experienced in working with clients seeking to win, grow and retain successful government business relationships that maximize opportunity and minimize risk. We work with our clients to understand their goals and develop a strategic approach that efficiently and cost-effectively identifies and fixes problems before they occur. Our clients range from small, emerging entrepreneurial businesses and those just entering the government market to some of the largest and most sophisticated government contractors.

Our Team

Read More
Preston_Stephen

Stephen W. Preston

Chair, Defense, National Security and Government Contracts Practice

+1 202 663 6900 (t)

stephen.preston@wilmerhale.com

Publications & News

View

May 17, 2016

Final Government Contractor Basic Data Security Rule Issued

On May 16, the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) Council published the final FAR rule on Basic Safeguarding of Contractor Information Systems. The rule is intended to prescribe “the most basic level” of safeguards, “reflective of actions a prudent business person would employ.”

December 4, 2012

Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 Signed into Law

On November 27, 2012, President Obama signed S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, into law. The Act strengthens existing protections for federal workers who disclose evidence of fraud, abuse, or waste they have encountered in the course of their employment. The new law clarifies the scope of protected disclosures, expands the class of persons protected, and corrects perceived unfairness in certain aspects of the process of seeking relief for violations.

October 27, 2011

SEC Issues New Guidance on Disclosing Cybersecurity Risks and Incidents

September 15, 2010

U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers Release Inaugural Best Law Firms Rankings

WilmerHale earns first-tier rankings for a dozen national practices.

June 17, 2010

New Department of Labor Rule Requires That Federal Contractors Provide Notice of Employees' Rights Under Federal Labor Laws

June 11, 2010

Chambers USA 2010 Reveals Final Results Ranking 101 WilmerHale Lawyers and Dozens of Practices

One-hundred and one WilmerHale lawyers are recognized in the eighth edition of the guide and the firm is listed as among the best in dozens of practice areas throughout its six US locations.

March 18, 2010

Chambers USA 2010 Honors WilmerHale, Ranking Over 100 Lawyers and Dozens of Practices

One-hundred and two WilmerHale lawyers will be recognized in the eighth edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business.

March 1, 2010

Judicial Appointments: Checks and Balances in Practice

December 7, 2009

WilmerHale is Among Crain’s “New York City’s Best Places to Work”

The firm, referred to as “progressive and prestigious,” came in at #19 on the list of the 40 companies featured by Crain's in its second annual ranking of the city's top employers.

December 2, 2009

Washingtonian Magazine Names Fifteen WilmerHale Attorneys to “Top Lawyers” List

Washingtonian magazine recently named 15 of WilmerHale's lawyers to the "Top Lawyers" list in its December 2009 issue. The list is made up of "Washington's best minds," and the top one percent of the area's 80,000 lawyers, in 29 categories. Three of WilmerHale's lawyers, Jamie Gorelick, William McLucas and Seth Waxman, are included on the list of top 30 elite "Stars of the Bar."