Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade

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.

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Diversity

"As Sheppard Mullin continues to grow, it is important that we not lose sight of the need to recruit women, attorneys of color and others of diverse backgrounds."
-Guy Halgren, Chairman of the Executive Committee

At Sheppard Mullin, we make every effort to recruit the finest lawyers and nurture their talents. The firm recognizes the importance of diversity and the need to create a workplace of inclusion. We need ¿ and our clients demand ¿ a team of attorneys that is as diverse as our increasingly global client base. Achieving and maintaining diversity is key to great client service ¿ a core value of our firm. What distinguishes good intentions from results is a commitment by senior management to find the best attorneys possible coupled with the sincere belief that people with diverse backgrounds bring valuable attributes to the firm. At Sheppard Mullin, the Executive Committee, Diversity Committee, and the lawyers in each of our offices work hard to ensure that all attorneys who join our firm fit in seamlessly and are encouraged to succeed.

Members of our Diversity Committee include ethnically diverse attorneys and a representative from the firm's Executive Committee. Diversity Committee members have served on the Boards of the Anti-Defamation League, the Black Women Lawyers Foundation (Los Angeles), and the Charles Houston Bar Association (northern California). Women and minority attorneys participate on key committees of the Firm (Executive Committee; Compensation Committee; Diversity Committee; Recruiting Committee; Professional Personnel Committee; Associate Issues Committee). Four of the Firm's nine Office Administrative Partners are women, one of whom is African-American and another is multi-racial.

"Serving on the firm's Diversity Committee is one of the most important things I do. I firmly believe that we must be vigilant in our efforts to recruit talented women attorneys and attorneys of color. Our success in this area has a positive effect our firm's culture, practice and client relationships."
-Joan Story, Member Executive Committee and Diversity Committee

Below is a description of just some of our outreach efforts.

  • The firm participates in and financially supports the California Minority Counsel Program and the ABA Minority Counsel Program, as well as several minority bar associations. These groups are dedicated to increasing access for and promoting and retaining minorities in the legal profession.
  • The firm actively recruits law students of color, e.g., we participated in the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) of the Western Region job fair held at UCLA School of Law.
  • Sheppard Mullin contributes to the Minority Corporate Counsel Association; California Women Lawyers; Queen's Bench; Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles; and the National Black Law Students Association, among others.
  • We actively participate with other major Los Angeles law firms in the Diversity Directors Roundtable, a group that is committed to promoting diversity in the legal profession and in our firms.
  • The firm received the Law Firm Award from the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles Foundation for its strong commitment to the promotion of community and pro bono activities.
  • Multicultural Law magazine named Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP as one of "The 2011 Top 100 Law Firms for Diversity."
  • Sheppard Mullin helped underwrite the production of a motion picture project entitled "Soul of Justice: The Life and Times of Thelton Henderson." The film chronicles the life of respected African-American jurist Thelton Henderson, a crusading civil rights litigator and role model.
  • The firm signed the Bar Association of San Francisco's "No Glass Ceiling Initiative," BASF's "Minority Goals and Timetables," the New York County Lawyers' Association Diversity Statement, and the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Diversity Statement.

Much of our pro bono work relates to the diversity of the communities in which we practice; sample clients include:

  • Constitutional Rights Foundation
  • Domestic Violence Project, Los Angeles Bar Association
  • Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
  • Task Force for the Women's Resource Fair, City of San Diego
  • Tolerance Through Education Program, Beverly Hills Barristers Associations
  • Violence Against Women Act Program, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

Awareness of diversity enables us to understand the value of differences. At Sheppard Mullin, we are committed to hiring top tier attorneys, without regard to race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

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