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We provide value-driven counsel on the nuanced risks, obligations and business issues enabling successful commercial relationships with government entities.

Our approach

Entering a contract with a governmental entity or agency carries risks as well as rewards. The laws and regulations governing government contracts are unique and vary greatly from the laws applicable to commercial sales.

We work closely with companies to help them take advantage of the opportunities associated with federal, state and local government contracts. Beyond the contracts, we make sure our clients also understand the risks, obligations and larger business issues associated with them.

Our lawyers handle multibillion-dollar transactions and litigation with the U.S., state and municipal governments and help small and mid-size companies enter the federal procurement marketplace. We assist and counsel clients throughout the entire life-cycle of government contracts, from negotiation to close-out. We represent contractors in litigation and other proceedings before various courts and administrative agencies.

Who we work with

  • Government Contractors
  • Subcontractors to Government Contractors
  • Suppliers of Goods and Services to Government agencies
  • Small Disadvantaged Businesses
  • Commercial entities seeking to become Government Contractors or Subcontractors


  • U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” ranked as National Tier One in Commercial Litigation, Litigation—First Amendment, Litigation—Labor & Employment and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions—Defendants. Received Tier One Metropolitan Honors in Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: White Collar, Litigation—Securities, Litigation—Bankruptcy, Litigation ERISA, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions—Defendants, Product Liability Litigation—Defendants, Litigation—Construction and in Civil Rights Law in numerous cities throughout the U.S.
  • BTI Litigation Outlook 2013
    • “Most Feared Law Firm”—Honor Roll
    • Strong Performance—Commercial Litigation, IP Litigation, Product Liability Litigation
  • Chambers USA/Global
  • Legal 500
  • Benchmark: Litigation/Appellate

Recent experience

Contract formation and negotiation: The first steps of any government contract are submitting the bid for the contract and dealing with the forms, terms and clauses of the contract. We have advised both bidders and government agencies with respect to the bidding process. Examples of our experience in this area include the following:
  • We have helped government agencies to overhaul their bidding process, establishing rules and procedures for drafting requests for proposal, responding to questions from potential bidders and developing a framework for evaluating bids and selecting the winning proposal.
  • We have also advised bidders concerning the bidding process and assisted in drafting proposals. We have assisted successful bidders in finalizing the terms of government contracts and subcontracts, including advising them on establishing procedures and structures to satisfy compliance obligations.
  • We advise both contractors and subcontractors concerning aspects of government contract law that may impact their business arrangements in unexpected ways. This includes advising them on aspects of the Assignment of Claims Act, which may affect their financing arrangements and on “flow-through” obligations, which may impose a wide variety of federal labor, environmental and anti-discrimination rules and other requirements on subcontractors in the federal contracting arena.

Protests and claims: We have defended and challenged contract awards before federal agencies, at the General Accountability Office, in the Court of Federal Claims and in state agencies and courts involving a full range of protest issues, including improper sole source decisions, IDIQ evaluations, small business size determinations and HUBZone protests. Examples of our experience in this area include the following:

  • Successfully appealed an adverse decision of the Small Business Administration to sustain a HUBZone protest against our client, securing our client’s multi-million dollar contract award.
  • Successfully represented master real estate developer of Ballpark District in litigation relating to real estate development rights surrounding new baseball stadium in Washington, D.C., Monument Realty, Inc. v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 535 F.Supp. 2d 60 (D.D.C. 2008), 540 F.Supp. 2d 66 (D.D.C. 2008)
Litigation: We have significant experience with litigation concerning every aspect of government contracts. Examples of our experience in this area include the following:
  • Successfully represented Signature Flight Support Corporation in a multimillion dollar ground sublease dispute involving a Signature sublessee, Landow Aviation and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, at the Washington Dulles International Airport, Signature Flight Support Corporation v. Landow Aviation Limited Partnership, Case No. 1:08cv955, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24877 (E.D. Va. March 17, 2010) obtaining declaratory judgment and permanent injunction, affecting general aviation rights at Washington’s Dulles Airport for the next 25 years and recovering substantial attorney’s fees
  • Representation of a federal grant applicant who was denied grant payments under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In a case of first impression, we filed suit under the Tucker Act in the Court of Federal Claims alleging that the United States’ Department of the Treasury wrongfully denied the grant payments
  • In multiple cases, we represent a group of owners who seek contractual damages arising from federal legislation and the United States Housing and Urban Development rules that breached the rent adjustment provisions of the owners’ Section 8 housing assistance payments contracts. In one of these cases, the court has confirmed that the government breached the contracts and parties are attempting to determine damages.
  • We represent a nationwide group of owners of multifamily housing who are suing the U.S. government for a taking that occurred when they were prohibited from prepaying their HUD-insured mortgage loans, in violation of the terms of the loan documents.
  • Representation of a German contractor in a dispute against the Defense Department concerning a construction contract at a U.S. military base in Germany.
  • Representation of a large construction company awarded a multi-million-dollar state government construction contract; providing legal guidance on project management and claims preparation in anticipation of litigation against the state agency based upon the awarded government contract
Investigations and qui tam litigation: We have handled many cases and investigations involving allegations of wrongdoing. Examples of our experience in this area include the following:
  • Representation of a public company concerning a contract with the United States in which it sold technology to assist the Department of Homeland Security. Representation of the company in connection with an investigation involving allegations of potential false claims, false statements and fraud. This matter also involves a whistleblower, who is most likely working with the government. To date, we have assisted in discussions with the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security and with responding to multiple administrative subpoenas that have required a massive electronic discovery undertaking.
  • Representation of a contractor that provided services to assist in military operations in Southwest Asia that is currently under investigation with allegations concerning fraud, false certifications and billing issues. This matter has also involved subpoenas and discussions with the Department of Justice (concerning both criminal and civil components).
  • Successfully obtained dismissal of a qui tam False Claims Act case against client who held a contract with the United States Army at the Tobyhanna Army Depot. An employee who worked at the Depot alleged that his termination was in retaliation for raising FCA concerns. We filed a detailed motion to dismiss and were able to obtain dismissal prior to any discovery in the matter.
Mergers and acquisitions: We work seamlessly with our mergers and acquisitions team in conducting due diligence reviews of government contracts, assisting companies in navigating export control laws and counseling clients acquiring government contractor entities. Examples of our experience in this area include the following:
  • We have supported European aerospace and defense companies in connection with acquisitions in the following industries and industry sectors: commercial satellite payload designer and manufacturer, satellite launcher designer and manufacturer, commercial and military aircraft maintenance services, geospatial satellite services, aircraft instrument maintenance services, military aircraft overhaul and customization, security network equipment and services, general Department of Defense services contracting, military ship design and secured network systems.
  • We have worked with an industry-leading French company in its multi-stage acquisition of a U.S.-based chemicals company serving nuclear and other energy-related sectors.

Specialty advice (e.g., CAS compliance): We have extensive experience in assisting contractors with compliance issues. We have conducted compliance reviews and designed compliance policy and training programs on various topics including cost and pricing data; ethical requirements; FAR-required codes; labor, employment, safety and wage/hour compliance; and mandatory disclosure obligations. As a recent example, we devised a compliance program and provided accompanying training on the above topics for a subcontractor that provides parts for use by the United States military.

Media Clips

  • Insights on DOD's Final Counterfeit Parts Rule
    Law360 | December 15, 2014
    Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation partner Vince Napoleon and Washington, DC, IP Litigation staff attorney Diana Vilmenay authored this column discussing the Department of Defense’s counterfeit parts rule.
  • Mitigating the Risk of Contractor Ethics and Compliance Violations
    Contract Management | November 14, 2014
    Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation and Government Contracts partner Vince Napoleon authored this article discussing consequences government contractors could face for failing to meet compliance and ethics obligations.
  • DOD Focusing On Competition: What Contractors Should Know
    Law360 | September 8, 2014
    Washington, DC, Government Contacts and Commercial Litigation partner Vince Napoleon and Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation associate Katherine Bastian discuss new Department of Defense guidelines which contain various techniques and examples for developing acquisition strategies that combat constraint on competition.
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  • 3 Cybersecurity Steps Defense Contractors Need To Take
    Law360 | August 5, 2014
    Washington, DC, Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Grayson Yeargin, Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation and Government Contracts partner Vince Napoleon and Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation associate Katherine Bastian discuss steps companies doing business with the government should take as they are facing new cybersecurity requirements.
  • Versar picks up J.M. Waller
    The Deal | July 2, 2014
    Client J.M. Waller Associates’ sale to Versar, Inc. is highlighted in this piece. The coverage notes J.M. Waller’s legal team led by securities practice group leader John Partigan and includes partners Brian Kopp and Christian McBurney; associate Pierce Han; and paralegal Alicia Rotella.
  • "Reprocessed" and the Berry Amendment: When Domestic Preference Turns a Blind Eye to Common Usage
    Procurement Lawyer | March 21, 2014
    Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation and Government Contracts partner Vince Napoleon and Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation associate Angela Buckner authored this column discussing the Berry Amendment, which requires the Department of Defense to give preference in procurement to domestically produced, manufactured, or home-grown products.
  • People on the Move
    Washington Business Journal | February 4, 2014
    This coverage notes that Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation & Government Contracts attorney Vince Napoleon has been elected to the firm’s partnership.
  • Policy Change Puts Past Performance in Spotlight
    Washington Post | August 19, 2013

    Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation and Government Contracts counsel Vince Napoleon discusses a new federal policy standardizing past performance information so that agencies can share similar information about how well contractors completed past work.

  • Defense Contract Audit Agency's Access to Contractor Internal Audit Reports
    Public Contract Law Journal | June 1, 2013

    Washington, DC, Government Contracts and Commercial Litigation counsel Vince Napoleon and Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation associate Shanelle Henry authored this column addressing the question of whether United States v. Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. continues to be the standard for guiding the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) auditors’ access to internal audit materials.

  • Q&A With Nixon Peabody's Vincent Napoleon
    Government Contracts Law360 | March 7, 2013

    This Q&A profiles Washington, D.C. commercial litigation and government contracts counsel Vince Napoleon.

  • Contractors Wary as DCAA Seeks More Internal Documents
    Washington Post | September 10, 2012

    Washington, DC, commercial litigation and government contacts counsel Vince Napoleon provides third-party commentary in this article on the new guidance issued by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) meant to help its auditors access contractors’ internal documents.

  • Nixon Peabody Lands Ex-Pillsbury Government Contracts Pro
    Law 360 | February 24, 2012

    Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation counsel Vince Napoleon is featured in this profile about his practice and his arrival to Nixon Peabody.


Growing potential for P3 infrastructure development in Cuba
Public-Private Partnerships Alert | January 28, 2015

Enhancing competition through new DOD guidelines
Government Contracts Alert | September 4, 2014

. . . View all . . .

Defense and intelligence contractors need to take these three steps to meet new cybersecurity requirements
Government Contracts Alert | August 5, 2014

Backlog of business system audits prompts DoD proposed rule for contractor self-assessment
Government Contracts Alert | August 1, 2014

DoD final rule for the detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts impacts contractors' operations
Government Contracts Alert | June 25, 2014

The 500 series: U.S. government eases exports of satellites
Export Controls & Economic Sanctions Alert | May 20, 2014

"Reprocessed" and the Berry Amendment: When Domestic Preference Turns a Blind Eye to Common Usage
May 13, 2014

New "final" OFCCP rules for veterans and the disabled significantly affect existing contractors and their subcontractors
Government Contracts Alert | April 4, 2014

U.S. ramps up sanctions in response to Crimea crisis
Export Controls & Economic Sanctions Alert | March 28, 2014

Court rejects FCA liability theory based on FDA manufacturing standards
Government Investigations & White Collar Defense Alert | March 4, 2014

Public sector improvements are coming and other key takeaways from the Africa PPP Conference & Showcase
Africa Alert | January 16, 2014

Senator Leahy introduces Personal Data Privacy and Security Act once again, calling for universal data security standards
Privacy Alert | January 16, 2014

Investors: prepare now to take advantage of African public-private partnerships in 2014
Africa Alert | December 17, 2013

Forget Exercising Your Service Contract Options, the Government Wants to Extend Your Contract at Last Year's Rates and for a Shorter Time Period
December 1, 2013

New SBA contracting regulations expand small businesses' opportunities
Government Contracts Alert | November 27, 2013

Shades of Green: New Department of Defense Renewable Energy Commitment Presents Significant Opportunities (And Risks) for Developers
November 1, 2013

Expansive False Claims Act Theories Gain Traction in Eighth Circuit Ruling
Government Investigations & White Collar Defense Alert | October 22, 2013

Army identifies solar technology contractors for multiple award task order contracts
Renewable Energy Alert | August 30, 2013

Shades of Green: New Department of Defense Renewable Energy Commitment Presents Significant Opportunities (and Risks) for Developers
Renewable Energy Alert | August 7, 2013

Exceptions to the rules: changes to license exceptions for temporary exports and replacement parts ease way for exporters
Export Controls Alert | July 12, 2013

Defense Contract Audit Agency's Access to Contractor Internal Audit Reports: Is Newport News Still the Standard?
Government Contracts Alert | July 9, 2013

Defense Contract Audit Agency's Access to Contractor Internal Audit Reports: Is Newport News Still the Standard?
June 13, 2013

Strategically narrow: revised export License Exception STA
Export Controls Alert | June 6, 2013

"Special" Delivery: The Export Control Reform Initiative and the creation of a single, regulatory definition of "specially designed"
Export Controls Alert | May 31, 2013

Getting your ducks in a row: exporters should prepare now for changes in export controls set for October
Export Controls Alert | May 16, 2013

U.S. Army Defense Logistics Agency—Energy announces RFP seeking 15MW of solar generation at Fort Irwin, CA
Renewable Energy Alert | May 13, 2013

A roadmap of how to navigate the recent changes to the U.S. Munitions List (USML) and the Commerce Control List (CCL)
Export Controls Alert | May 10, 2013

The 600 Series: As part of Export Control Reform, the U.S. government shifts former Munitions List items to a new category on the Commerce Control List
Export Controls Alert | May 1, 2013

Hospitals and other providers of medical services and devices may find themselves subject to federal contractor requirements
Health Law Alert | April 25, 2013

The administration's FY2014 budget, sequestration, and what it means to you
Affordable Housing Alert | April 24, 2013

Court affirms extended window for fraud claims during war
Government Investigations & White Collar Defense Alert | March 29, 2013

Can employers force arbitration of False Claims Act retaliation claims?
Government Investigations & White Collar Defense Alert | March 25, 2013

Step carefully when making campaign contributions: DOJ and FEC continue to prosecute improper contributions
Inside The Beltway | March 20, 2013

Continued uncertainties surround sequestration
Government Contracts Alert | February 13, 2013

Government contractors can contractually waive right to appeal decisions of agency boards of contract appeals to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
Government Contracts Alert | April 27, 2012

Webinar Recording: Contracting with the Government
April 5, 2012

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Government Contracts