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Federal Contracting, Procurement and National Security Making an impact

Our team's extensive experience in government contract law has enabled us to establish a track record of identifying, creating or shaping business opportunities throughout the entire procurement cycle in the government contracting and national security sector. We advise on the federal, state and local laws pertaining to procurement and publicly funded projects. Whether our client is a large, multinational corporation or a small, minority-owned business, we remain committed to supporting, preserving and expanding commercial relationships at all levels of government.

Barnes & Thornburg advises on virtually every aspect of government contracting, procurement and the security-related issues associated with doing business with federal, state and local governments. We represent both prime and subcontractors, as well as small businesses and multinational corporations, including first-time contractors and seasoned veterans. We also assist businesses seeking to become government contractors, as well as those offering non-commercial applications. Our experience spans a wide range of industries, such as aerospace, defense, technology, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and professional services.

We are often called upon to identify initial requirements and funding, as well as locate and develop contracting vehicles that allow our client the opportunity to fulfill the governments - needs. Our lawyers understand a multitude of contracting vehicles, including General Services Administration schedule contracts, broad agency announcements, indefinite delivery and quantity contracts, other transaction agreements, as well as fixed-price and cost-type agreements.

We work closely with each client to review, design, implement and improve compliance programs and procedures to minimize potential problems. We assist our clients with solicitation reviews and proposal preparation. Once the contract is awarded, we partner with our clients to execute subcontracts, advise on matters of contract administration and, when necessary, resolve contract disputes and litigation claims. Our lawyers also conduct internal and external audits, resolve cost issues, advise on bid and proposal analysis and preparation, and spearhead bid protests as needed.

Moreover, our team guides clients through cost allowability, internal investigations, cybersecurity challenges, domestic preference matters, export control issues and Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reviews. We advise on false claims and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) matters, and Freedom of Information Act, U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program issues. Furthermore, we advise on renewable energy and energy savings contracts, white collar issues, suspension and debarment, technical data rights and the protection of critical intellectual property.

Of particular note, our firm guides clients through numerous classified matters requiring Top Secret and/or Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information, with polygraph, clearance and access. Our dedication, experience, responsiveness and the ability to work seamlessly with colleagues in closely related Practice allow us to identify potentially difficult or thorny issues early on so that we can address and overcome sensitive legal and business concerns before progress is obstructed.


  • Audits: Assists in pre- and post-award audits and guides clients through investigations by the Defense Contract Audit Agency, inspectors general and other auditing authorities at the federal and state levels.
  • Bid Protests: Represents clients concerning solicitation and award improprieties and those who need to defend a contract award before the U.S. Government Accountability Office, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Small Business Administration Office of Hearings and Appeals, and the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition (ODRA).
  • Business Counseling: Advises on complex laws, regulations and executive orders, relating to all aspects of a client's business to ensure initial and ongoing government contracting compliance.
  • Code of Conduct and Business Ethics: Counsels and trains clients on codes of conduct, internal controls systems, business ethics, compliance, emerging issues and best practices
  • Commercial Products and Services: Assists government suppliers with single- and multiple-award federal supply schedule contract programs and task order agreements involving delivery or task orders, including flow-down clauses for subcontractors and establishing compliance programs, creating terms and conditions, and drafting licensing agreements for government customers.
  • Construction: Counsel regarding federal, state and commercial construction issues and eligibility for tax-exempt and other project financing initiatives. Advises on environmental concerns such as stormwater permitting and compliance, hazardous substance disposal and remediation, and wetlands permitting, as well as advises on green building and LEED certification.
  • Contract Claims: Defense, prosecution and early resolution of claims involving acceleration, breach-of-contract, changes, delays and related costs, pricing, and scheduling brought before boards of contract appeals, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and appellate tribunals.
  • Data Rights: Protection of data, computer software, inventions and proprietary drawings, involved in government contracts, grants or financial assistance, including the preservation of pre-existing technology, non-disclosures, reservation of rights, and Other Transaction Agreements.
  • Domestic Preference Requirements: Advises on domestic preference requirements, including Buy America provisions and the Buy American and the Trade Agreements acts.
  • Environmental Issues: Advocates public policy positions before federal and state administrative panels for businesses and trade associations. Provides extensive counseling on environmental challenges such as renewable energy, among many others.
  • Federal Grants and Cooperative Agreements: Advises on the Office of Management and Budget circulars governing grant and other agreement administration. Represents public grantees and contractors funded under other federal agency financial assistance arraignments by the DOD, National Institutes of Health, Department of Justice, and Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Government Relations: Advice and advocacy regarding the legislative process, authorization and appropriations focused on results that benefit our clients, their industries and commerce in general.
  • Information Security and Privacy: Counsels contractors on information security and privacy laws affecting personal and sensitive information, the application of state laws pertaining to data security, and notice of breach and privacy. Analyzes information, security and privacy challenges and devises solutions and best practices to mitigate and resolve problems.
  • International Trade, Export Controls and Economic Sanctions: Represents foreign and domestic businesses on compliance with export controls and economic sanctions before the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Industry and Security of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Advises on commodity jurisdiction, classifications, licenses, compliance and audits, including EAR and ITAR Export Compliance Programs, voluntary disclosures and enforcement actions.
  • Investigations, White Collar, Monitorships, False Claims Act, Fraud and Corruption: Experienced in criminal and civil litigation involving false claims, fraud, corruption and whistleblower provisions. Handles internal investigations and voluntary disclosures and serves as independent monitors assigned by government agencies. Develops business compliance systems and represents clients in administrative, civil and grand jury investigations, as well as advises on parallel proceedings, civil and criminal jury and non-jury trials. Works with clients on FCPA compliance programs and reviews, conducts internal investigations, and represents clients in disclosures to the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission. Negotiates declinations and deferred prosecution agreements.
  • Labor and Employment: Defends employment claims and addresses Fair Labor Standards Act, Davis Bacon Act, Walsh Healy Public Contracts Act and Service Contract Act issues. Provides counsel on executive compensation and benefit matters such as deferred benefits, 401(k) contributions, stock ownership and welfare benefit plans.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions (Transaction Counsel and Due Diligence): Conducts due diligence for both buyers and sellers involved in doing business with the government. Focuses on minimizing the risks inherent in mergers, acquisitions, dispositions and the like, including advice pertaining to pre- and post-transaction notice requirements.
  • Proposals: Analyzes contract risks, ambiguities, technical data rights and computer software issues and helps prepare solicitations, proposals, bids and quotations. Drafts and implements procurement policies and procedure-focused compliance programs. One of our attorneys authored Winning Proposals & Pricing/Cost Strategies: A Guide for the Federal Contractor.
  • Regulatory Advice: Works with clients to respond to statutory and regulatory challenges and requirements. Communicates with key personnel at federal and state agencies, interprets regulations and guidelines, and advises on potential changes to existing statutes and regulations that favorably impact our client.
  • Small Businesses and Other Programs: Comprehensive advice for small, minority-owned, veteran and service disabled veteran-owned, women-owned, and Native American, Alaskan and Hawaiian native businesses regarding programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, including the Small Business Innovative Research Program and the Historically Underutilized Business Zone program.
  • Suspension and Debarment: Proven skill in assisting clients to prevent suspension or debarment, including negotiating agreements in lieu of debarment and working with agency professionals to identify problems and implement safeguards.

Practice Leaders

Scott Pickens

Scott E. Pickens

Federal Contracting, Procurement and National Security Chair

Washington, D.C.

P 202-371-6349

F 202-289-1330


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