THE FIRM This firm remains at the top of the table thanks to its long-standing combination of expertise and depth in the sector. It stands out for handling big-ticket matters for high-profile clients in the defense industry, including Lockheed Martin and Kellogg Brown & Root, the latter of which the team has represented in a range of tort claims arising from battlefield accidents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other high-profile clients include BP, which the firm advised on suspension and debarment proceedings relating to the explosion at its Texas refinery and a CWA violation at the Alaska pipeline.
Client Service "The group's knowledge, expertise and influence are unsurpassed. These strengths are broad and deep across government contract personnel, including the firm's associates and nationwide offices."
Commercial Awareness "The team is highly skilled and practical, with broad expertise. It is capable of handling almost any complex, high-risk issues, including litigation."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients are keen to point out James Gallagher's experience in government contracts matters, with one saying: "There is virtually no area he does not have knowledge of – there is nothing he has not done or seen." Gallagher is particularly noted for his knowledge of the False Claims Act, and has led on a number of high-profile investigations.
Thomas Abbott is "extremely intelligent and tenacious," and represents clients in a range of government contracts matters. He stands out especially for his work in False Claims Act and qui tam investigations.
Thomas Papson is praised by clients as "one of the best bid protest lawyers in the business." He regularly handles bid protests for a number of industry-leading clients, including Lockheed Martin and United Health.
Ray Biagini is a newcomer to the rankings, having built a specialized practice in disaster and tort defense for government contractors. He is highlighted for his unique expertise in the SAFETY Act, in which area he has advised a varied range of clients, including KBR and The Cincinnati Airport. "He has proven himself time after time," said one interviewee.
Stanley Dees brings enormous gravitas to McKenna Long & Aldridge's government contracts team and is universally respected by peers, one of whom described him as "just a wonderful guy."