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Wiley Rein Named Government Contracts ‘Practice Group of the Year’ by Law360 for Fifth Consecutive Year

February 21, 2019

Washington, DC —Wiley Rein’s prominent Government Contracts Practice has been named a 2018 “Practice Group of the Year” by Law360 for the fifth year in a row. The firm earned a spot on the highly competitive Government Contracts list along with five other firms.

Law360 cited Wiley Rein’s success on a number of multibillion-dollar matters in 2018, including defending a client against a suit brought by a foreign government and securing a major U.S. transportation contract for another client.

As noted in the article, the Government Contracts Team takes on a wide range of matters. “We have been increasingly called upon by our clients to deal with outside-the-box-issues,” Practice co-chair Scott M. McCaleb said. “That’s really the story: this great diversity of cases, and cases where there aren't obvious answers.”

Law360 highlighted a case in which Wiley Rein successfully defended a major defense, security, and aerospace company in a dispute with the South Korean government over a deal involving a cost increase for the upgrade of the United States’ F-16 fighter jet fleet. The groundbreaking case ultimately was decided in favor of the firm’s client by the Fourth Circuit, which rejected South Korea’s claims that the company had not lived up to the original agreement.

Lead partner Gregory M. Williams called the Fourth Circuit ruling “very rare” because it was “the first-ever foreign anti-suit injunction against a foreign government” – and South Korea is a close U.S. ally. “That’s what was so extraordinary about this,” he told Law360. “To the extent that you would expect extraordinary results in international litigation, you’re usually thinking of pariah states.”

In another noteworthy government contracts case, Wiley Rein defended its client, a maritime, energy, and logistics services company, against protests of the U.S. Transportation Command’s award of a multibillion-dollar freight transportation contract. The U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended reopening the competition after another transportation company challenged the initial selection; the firm’s client was selected again, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims twice rejected the other company’s appeals. The Federal Circuit later affirmed those court decisions in two separate appeals.

Kara M. Sacilotto, 2018 Law360 Government Contracts MVP, served as lead partner on the case. The team also included Brian Walsh, a 2018 Law360 Rising Star. Ms. Sacilotto also noted the contributions of junior associates who were instrumental to the success of the case.

“We give all of our junior associates as much runway as they are comfortable handling, and as a result, they are trained very early in hands-on work,” Ms. Sacilotto said, adding that because the team fully leverages all of its members, “we don’t over-staff. We tend to be a lean machine.”

“Our associates are our strength,” agreed Paul F. Khoury, co-chair of the Practice. “We’ve got people with really terrific experience at a very young age. And so our bench is what I’m most proud of.”

Wiley Rein’s Government Contracts Practice was selected by a panel of Law360 editors “with an eye toward landmark matters and general excellence.” In the practice group awards program’s ninth year, 84 law firms were recognized across 38 practice areas, and culled from 759 submissions. In addition to Government Contracts, the firm received “Group of the Year” honors for its International Trade and  Telecom, Media & Technology practices.

To read the Law360 story, please click here (subscription required).