Practice Areas & Industries: Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP


Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Sheppard Mullin's Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Practice Group provides a full range of legal services to clients that do business with governmental entities. We advise clients on complying with complex government regulations and defending them in the event of litigation. We specialize in handling government contract disputes, bid protests, claims and defending individuals and corporations in a wide range of administrative, civil and criminal proceedings, including fraud investigations and whistle blower lawsuits. Sheppard Mullin also has the ability to serve clients in such areas as legislative advocacy, public relations and other related fields. Recently, Chambers & Partners annual guide to America's leading business lawyers recognized the Government Contracts practice on a national level. Sheppard Mullin's Government Contracts Practice Group also recently received the Silver Award for Best USA Law Firm in the category of Regulatory & Public Procurement at the International Legal Alliance Awards.

Our Government Contracts lawyers have represented clients in proceedings before the federal courts, including the Court of Federal Claims; a broad array of administrative tribunals, including the GAO and ASBCA; federal agencies such as the DOD, EPA, DOE, GSA, DOT and CFIUS; state courts; and state, regional and local agencies such as California's Coastal, Energy and Public Utilities Commissions, to name only a few. Sheppard Mullin serves a broad base of clients in the aerospace & defense, high technologies, electronics, healthcare, transportation, power and utilities industries. Although we typically litigate before federal district courts, the Court of Federal Claims and Boards of Contract Appeals, we have also represented clients before the full spectrum of both federal and state agencies and departments.

Specialized False Claims Litigation

Sheppard Mullin has developed special expertise and has received national recognition for handling qui tam False Claims Act ("FCA") matters. The FCA continues to be one of the most heavily litigated areas in federal and state courts. These matters are complex, requiring a high level of expertise and specialization. Sheppard Mullin's Government Contracts lawyers are among the nation's leading qui tam FCA specialists, with strong ties to top tier government contractors. Sheppard Mullin has substantial trial experience including the successful defense of two FCA actions in federal district court, where the Justice Department prosecuted the cases. We have experience defending FCA cases pertaining to a wide variety of government contract issues such as defective parts or products, false tests and inspections or certifications, labor and material mischarging, product substitution, defective pricing and nonconformance to contract specifications.

Other Contract Disputes, Advice and Counsel

Sheppard Mullin provides day-to-day counseling to corporations relating to a myriad of government contract issues. We advise clients and handle contract disputes in the following areas:

  • Federal and state procurement
  • Contract claims and terminations
  • Prime and subcontractor disputes
  • Compliance programs
  • Internal investigations
  • Government and internal audits
  • Voluntary or self disclosures
  • Bid protests
  • Debarment and suspension proceedings
  • Cost accounting standards
  • Quality assurance programs

Our Government Contracts Practice Group advises clients on joint venture and teaming arrangements, as well as in the formation of performance and subcontractor agreements. We assist in developing bids and proposals that adhere to government requirements and standards, as well as in protesting contract awards before tribunals and the traditional court system. We also have substantial experience in handling sensitive internal investigations related to possible violations of federal statutes and regulations.

Sheppard Mullin counsels clients that do business in industries that are closely regulated by the government, such as aerospace and defense, high technologies, healthcare, pharmaceutical, biotech, electronics, utilities, financial services, transportation and research corporations, among others. We also have experience representing these entities in administrative and judicial challenges to federal and state agency decisions, rule making and investigations.

Export Controls

U.S. agencies have increased enforcement actions over the last several years, with particular emphasis on violations of U.S. regulations barring the unauthorized export (and re-export) of items of the Munitions List and technical data and defense services to non-U.S. persons. We have also observed increased attention paid to the anti-boycott and embargo regulations, as well as the laws governing the retention of foreign sales agents.

Attorneys in Sheppard Mullin's Government Contracts Group advise both U.S. and foreign clients on all of these new challenges resulting from increased national security. We advise on the wide range of compliance and enforcement issues relating to the export and re-export regulations administered by the Departments of Commerce and State, as well as the economic sanctions rules of the Treasury Department. Our export controls expertise ranges from complex export licensing issues to trade embargoes, to advice and representation of companies employing foreign sales agents.

Corporate Compliance Programs

Sheppard Mullin's Government Contracts lawyers are experts in conducting assessments of corporate compliance programs intended to satisfy applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. Sheppard Mullin has years of experience in the design, development, establishment and implementation of corporate compliance plans. These plans have become an integral part of numerous government related industries including defense, financial institutions and healthcare, to name only a few.


Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

Department of Defense Updates Its Instruction for Acquisitions of Software and Weapons Systems
Christine R. Couvillon, February 25, 2015
On January 7, 2015, the U.S. Department of Defense (“DoD” or “the Department”) released an update for DoD Instruction 5000.02, on the “Operation of the Defense Acquisition Service.” The new Instruction is designed to assist acquisition personnel in tailoring the...

Implied Waiver of Privilege in Internal Investigations: Barko Court Compels Production of Internal Investigation Documents, Again
Bruce J. Casino,Bora P. Rawcliffe, February 25, 2015
On November 20, 2014, the District Court for the District of Columbia once again ordered Kellogg, Brown and Root (“KBR”) to produce all documents prepared as part of an internal investigation. The District Court’s decision comes after the D.C. Circuit, in an opinion that was...

The Changing Landscape for Services Contractors
Bryce D. Chadwick,Ryan J. Munitz,Ryan E. Roberts, February 25, 2015
Two recent developments have the potential to change the landscape for contractors providing services to the Government. Government contractors and subcontractors are required to comply with a host of regulations governing their hiring practices and the wages they pay and benefits they provide to...

Protests Up & Sustains Down - A Brief Review of GAO’s FY 2014 Bid Protest Stats
Derek R. Mullins, December 12, 2014
On November 18, 2014, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) published its Annual Report to Congress (B-158766, November 18, 2014), which contains the statistics for bid protests filed at GAO in FY 2014. Frankly, it’s a mixed bag - protests are up, sustained protests...

Shopping for the Cloud Made Easy - GSA’s Special Item Number Project for Cloud Computing and Request for Comments
Melinda Lewis,Alexander W. Major, December 12, 2014
On November 18, 2014, the General Services Administration (“GSA”) hosted an Industry Day seeking feedback on its proposal to add a Cloud Computing Special Item Number (“SIN”) on its IT Multiple Award Schedule 70 (“MAS IT-70”). A SIN is GSA’s categorization...

What’s New Out There? Highlights from the Federal Register
Fatema K. Merchant,Emily S. Theriault, October 09, 2014
The U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) proposes to increase small business size standards for: (1) 209 industries in North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) in the manufacturing sector; and (2) industries with employee based size standards not part of...

DOJ’s FCPA Enforcement Power Gets A Big Boost
Bethany Hengsbach, August 06, 2014
In 2011, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) stated that “[i]t’s not necessarily the wisest move for a company” to challenge the definition of “foreign official” under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), and that “[q]uibbling over...