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Global Compliance & Risk Management

We help avoid pitfalls and solve problems by navigating compliance obligations across jurisdictions and providing deep risk assessments and smart mitigation techniques.


Our attorneys and accounting experts bring a unique, multidisciplinary approach to audits and cost accounting.  Our extended team includes former DCAA auditors who have insider perspectives on evidentiary standards that can often persuade auditors to change findings.  Our former Department of Defense Inspector General understands how to navigate IG audits to minimize disruption and reputational damage.

  • A $60 million NGO doing work in Pakistan was the subject of a particularly negative audit by the USAID OIG. Our advocacy convinced the auditors to revise their report, allowing the NGO to avoid unnecessary damage to its reputation.
  • Successfully resolved numerous matters raised by government auditors to question various aspects of a contractor’s ethics and compliance programs.
  • Represented a major NGO operating a worldwide educational program in making a substantive presentation to persuade the agency to disregard an OIG audit finding that would have disallowed $50 million in cost share.
  • Several hundred cost disallowance issues resolved without the need for claims litigation.

Compliance Programs

We have deep experience in assessing existing ethics and compliance programs, identifying gaps, and guiding clients to ensure programs are complete, effective, and consistent with best practices in the industry.  We know that each client is unique and their compliance programs should be right-sized based on their business needs.  Our experienced attorneys have served as Chief Compliance Officers at major contractors, gaining practical know-how helpful to developing customized roadmaps to meet any organization’s compliance requirements.

  • Created and managed the global compliance program for multi-national defense contractor; developed policies and automated controls; and, designed a comprehensive multi-tiered training program that included training for all-employees based on the risks in their jobs, using a combination of on-line and in-person training programs. Tailored training programs to the specialized needs of employees in Russia, China, India, and NATO countries and to comply with local laws.
  • Designed audit programs to assess the effectiveness of the compliance program and continuously institute improvements to ensure the program met or exceeded industry standards.
  • Designed, and implemented comprehensive ethics and compliance programs to meet all mandatory requirements for global publicly-traded large companies and a privately-owned, PE-backed government contractor.
  • Created Codes of Conduct, policies, and customized risk-based ethics and compliance training programs based on benchmarking best practices.
  • Recommended improvements to a private University’s centralized compliance program to align with the Department of Justice’s criteria for evaluation of a corporate compliance program.
  • Conducted compliance program assessments at large and small Defense contractors to identify gaps in programs and areas for improvement to satisfy the 18 requirements in the mandatory clause, "Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct,” FAR 52.203-13.


We advise government contractors at the forefront of our nation’s cybersecurity defenses and provides advice on regulatory, agency, and contract-specific cybersecurity requirements.  We partner with trusted cybersecurity technical experts to bring a complete toolkit to address clients’ needs.  We also draft cyber policies and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable requirements and certifications.

  • Led a client’s response to a major cyber incident affecting U.S. Government agency sensitive information, including conducting an internal investigation, responding to Congressional inquiries, Agency, and Inspector General investigations, and advising business leadership on strategy and remediation.
  • Assisted a Top Ten defense contractor in developing internal processes for identifying and analyzing cybersecurity incidents for required disclosures.
  • Worked hand-in-hand with a technology firm to guide a major government contractor to establish compliant cybersecurity systems, including DFARS rules for safeguarding information and addressing supply chain risk.
  • Represented a defense contractor accused of false certifications around cyber compliance, managing the response to OIG and Justice Department subpoenas and requests for interviews.

Enterprise Risk Management

Government contractors face significant strategic, financial, operational, and legal risks.  We offer a tailored, disciplined approach to managing the most significant risks that might prevent a contractor from achieving its strategic or financial goals.  Our attorneys conduct full risk assessments, help clients prioritize risks, and develop mitigation plans to reduce likelihood and impact.  We also evaluate current ERM programs to identify gaps and areas for improvement and advise clients on designing programs to reflect best practices.

  • Designed, implemented and managed enterprise risk assessments for large multi-billion dollar government contractors based on five-step methodology in COSO framework: identification, assessment, prioritization, mitigation, and monitoring.
  • Conducted surveys and interviews of senior leaders and stakeholders to identify the top risks with the greatest likelihood and/or impact on organization.
  • Developed “risk scales” with executive team to define the level of risk appetite for the company.
  • Convened workshops with executives to prioritize risk and develop mitigation plans with risk owners.
  • Developed reports to present to the executive team and Board of Directors to track the progress of mitigation plans through completion, thus eliminating or minimizing risks to company.
  • Conducted an evaluation of the pre-pandemic ERM program at a private University and recommended tools to strengthen its program.

Export Controls

We advise clients as to whether their products and services are controlled by Department of State (International Traffic in Arms Regulations or “ITAR”) regulations or Department of Commerce (Export Administration Regulations or “EAR”).   If these regulations do apply, we have the expertise to guide clients through applicable licensing and approval requirements and provide compliance advice.  Working with lower-cost consultants, we prepare applications for licenses, Technical Assistance Agreements (“TAA”), Manufacturing Agreements, and other approvals from State and Commerce Departments.  We also negotiate settlements with enforcement officials to resolve alleged violations of export control laws.

  • Advised a contractors whose employees (foreign nationals) stole controlled technical data from company computers in violation of ITAR and Arms Export Control Act. The Department of State initially imposed a multi-million-dollar penalty on the contractor. We demonstrated that the company had policies, procedures, training, firewalls, restricted access protocols, and automated controls that met or exceeded industry standards at peer defense contractors. As a result, enforcement officials eliminated all fines and penalties.
  • Assisted multi-national organizations in developing procedures to comply with export laws governing foreign nationals and deemed exports and trained employees on compliance with laws.
  • Negotiated with State Department enforcement officials to eliminate fines and penalties for violations involving foreign nationals spanning two decades.
  • Developed automated controls on foreign nationals to prevent violations of export control laws.
  • Resolved allegations of multi-million-dollar violations of ITAR deemed export rules to avoid all fines and penalties.
  • Obtained favorable classification rulings to minimize impact of burdensome regulatory requirements.

Grants and Cooperative Agreements

The U.S. government spends more money on grants and cooperative agreements than on procurement contracts.  We assist non-profit organizations that perform a wide variety of programs, from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the distribution of HIV/AIDs medicines, to research and development on alternative energy sources, to international education such as the Fulbright Scholar program.  We help NGOs comply with the Uniform Guidance, investigate and resolve allegations of wrongdoing, and resolve cost audits and disallowances that could have devastating impacts.

  • Represented an international education NGO in responding to an Inspector General audit report recommending disallowance of $35+ million in cost share. The auditors took an overly-restrictive view of the documentation necessary to establish qualifying cost share expenses and in-kind contributions. We were successful in arguing that the grants officer should disregard the audit report.
  • Assisted a notable Washington think tank in preparing its compliance infrastructure to implement the Stephens Initiative, a grant program co-funded by the U.S. State Department, the Bezos Foundation, and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. The Stevens Initiative builds on the pioneering work of the virtual exchange community, which uses technology to connect young people across continents and cultures.

Hotline Management

A recognized hallmark of a well-designed compliance program is the existence of a mechanism that enables employees to anonymously or confidentially report allegations of misconduct and violations of company policies or the Code of Conduct.  We assist in the design, implementation, and management of this type of “Hotline” and facilitate timely evaluation, investigation, and escalation of Hotline reports.  We are available to consult on Hotline investigations, develop policies and procedures, and to train or mentor in-house staff who manage the Hotline program.

  • Established a robust hotline management program at a large multi-national contractor to provide a range of types of reporting channels for employee complaints and a variety of methods available for such reports.
  • Designed a Hotline management program enabling employees to select from a variety of reporting channels and methods and conducted all-employee training on the reporting channels. An anonymous Hotline report alleging harassment led to the investigation of a senior leader. The internal fact-finding investigation substantiated the allegations, and the CEO and board of directors were briefed and the appropriate disciplinary actions and corrective actions were taken.
  • Developed policies related to Hotline Reporting, Anti-Retaliation, and Investigations for a medium-sized government contractor.
  • Trained and mentored a small company’s new Chief Compliance Officer on effective Hotline management and conducted training for the management team on the Hotline process and the prohibition against retaliation.
  • Analyzed trends in Hotline cases and prepared reports for the Boards of Directors.
  • Created a specialized reporting process for employees who sought to file anonymous complaints and provide capabilities for full investigations of such complaints while maintaining their anonymity.

Internal & Government Investigations

We regularly handle civil, criminal, and congressional investigations, including those by the Offices of Inspector General for the Departments of Defense (Defense Criminal Investigative Service), Army, Air Force, Navy, State, NASA, USAID, Transportation, Justice, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Energy, Veterans Affairs, Small Business Administration, Postal Service, and Peace Corps.  In conducting investigations, we assess the risks and determine legal strategy while engaging with the OIG and DOJ to persuade them to close investigations without action.

  • Represented a major food supplier in parallel criminal and civil investigations relating to two separate federal Prime Vendor contracts and successfully avoided any charges and civil liability despite our client being identified as a co-conspirator in the government’s criminal cases and as a defendant in one of the civil False Claims Act cases in which the government intervened.
  • Represented a defense contractor accused of falsifying (pencil whipping) manufacturing and inspection records of composite aircraft parts. After our client received a target letter, we conducted a full investigation and convinced the government that it could not prove that the records were falsified, that any discrepancies were immaterial, and that a civil resolution was more appropriate.
  • Represented a major defense contractor in a criminal investigation relating to alleged violations of espionage statutes, and successfully convinced the government to close the investigation without any charges, after presenting the government with evidence that all of the myriad components of the allegedly classified information could be individually found publicly.
  • Represented a major, international humanitarian NGO in addressing front-page allegations of sexual abuse by the founder (decades earlier). We led the effort to evaluate the organization’s ethics and compliance plan and made recommendations that ultimately avoided suspension and debarment.
  • Represented an embassy contractor in seven parallel investigations that covered allegations from human trafficking to fraud and bribery. All investigations were successfully completed with no negative findings, fines, or penalties.

Mandatory and Voluntary Disclosures

Based on outcomes of internal investigations, we advise clients on whether the fact-finding yields “credible evidence” of a violation of federal laws subject to the mandatory disclosure requirements in the Contractor Ethics and Business Conduct clause, FAR 52.203-13.  We also recognize that a cooperative approach to sharing information can often lead to a resolution with the government more quickly.  We help clients analyze when a mandatory or voluntary disclosure to the government is warranted and prepare those disclosures while minimizing any follow-on investigation.  Our relationships with inspectors general are so strong that those offices will often defer to the internal investigations that we conduct on behalf of clients. 

  • Filed voluntary disclosures at the Justice Department to inform the government of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; successfully settled disclosures based on immediate corrective and disciplinary actions and showing that the contractor had robust compliance programs that met or exceeded industry standards of peer contractors.
  • An employee reported that a manager had made improper payments to a government official to receive favorable treatment in a procurement. Our internal fact-finding investigation substantiated the allegations. The contractor terminated the employee and, with our help, filed a mandatory disclosure of the facts, the prompt disciplinary actions taken, and other corrective and remedial actions to prevent future problems. The Government declined to take any adverse action against the contractor.
  • Compiled metrics on mandatory and voluntary disclosures to report trends to executive team and board of directors and benchmark disclosures against peer contractors.
  • Trained employees on mandatory and voluntary disclosures so that they could report possible wrongdoing through available channels and the report could be investigated to determine whether a disclosure to the government is warranted.

Overseas Compliance

We advise U.S. contractors working overseas in managing compliance risks of local subcontractors, and advise foreign contractors on how to comply with U.S. standards.  We help U.S. companies understand the risks of doing business abroad and assist in the navigation of U.S. custom and sanctions laws and compliance with a myriad of rules and laws in other countries.  We maintain an extensive network of local counsel for in-country compliance requirements — visas, labor laws, tax laws, and registrations.  We also handle sensitive political issues for contractors operating overseas through cadre of former ambassadors who serve as consultants to our firm.

  • Represented a major international company in helping gain the release of its employees from local jail, using contacts at the U.S. Embassy and foreign political officials.
  • Based on an internal complaint in a multi-national corporation, we conducted an internal investigation of alleged bribery for a contractor in Southeast Asia and identified a series of improper payments made to government officials. The contractor took immediate disciplinary and corrective actions and filed a Voluntary Disclosure with the Department of Justice. Negotiated with enforcement officials to resolve the matter through a no-cost settlement based on the robust internal procedures and controls in place that met or exceeded industry standards at peer companies.
  • Developed an international trade compliance program for a large multi-national government contractor to implement best practices to comply with the FCPA, sanctions laws, and customs laws.
  • Developed and implemented automated controls and tools to conduct due diligence on proposed foreign agents and consultants.
  • Trained foreign nationals in Russia and China on FCPA requirements and corporate compliance procedures.

Security Clearances

Our attorneys and subject matter experts hold top secret clearances that permit us to work on classified client programs, including special access programs.  We also advise clients on obtaining clearances, compliance with information controls, and overcoming eligibility challenges.  We have deep ties in the intelligence communities in the U.S. and overseas.  And we count among our roster of subject matter experts a former Director of the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency.

  • Advised dozens of companies on the costs and benefits of obtaining personnel and facility clearances, and in working through the administrative processes to obtain such clearances.
  • Advised an embassy construction contractor on structuring its investments, subcontracting, and supply-chain arrangements to avoid and mitigate foreign ownership, control, and influence while operating in sensitive overseas environments.
  • Represented a large defense and intelligence contractor in classified bid protests.

Suspension and Debarment

We represent clients facing potential suspension or debarment from government work.  Our team includes a Former Air Force Suspension and Debarment Official who oversaw hundreds of proceedings and developed what the White House called the “gold standard” of suspension and debarment programs.   We have successfully navigated over one hundred present responsibility proceedings before the Army, Air Force, Navy, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Health Agency, Department of State, Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and USAID.

  • When the USAID Inspector General’s office sought suspension of an international NGO based on fraudulent schemes relating to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, our team traveled extensively to the region for fact finding, reviewed and produced hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, coordinated all aspects of the IG’s special agents, and helped to strengthen the NGO’s ethics and compliance program. While peer organizations faced suspensions, we were able to clear all allegations against our client without any adverse actions whatsoever.
  • Persuaded the Air Force Debarring Official to terminate a Show Cause proceeding threatening debarment of a contractor for false statements in a DoD procurement. Successfully established that our client did not make false statements and that it was presently responsible.
  • Our client, an employee of an Army contractor, was issued a Notice of Proposed Debarment for time mischarging on an Army contract. We persuaded the Army Debarring Official to terminate the proceeding by showing that the evidence of misconduct was insufficient, and that the employee was presently responsible.
  • Persuaded the NASA Debarment Official to terminate the proposed debarment of an Alabama defense contractor based upon allegations of fraud in Small Business Innovation Research projects, and to enter into an administrative agreement in which we were approved to serve as the contractor’s monitor.
  • Persuaded the Navy Debarring Official to terminate a Notice of Proposed Debarment issued against a DoD contractor employee based upon that contractor’s FAR disclosure alleging time mischarging (based upon badging records) on a Navy contract. We established that the employee did not mischarge his time and that he was presently responsible.
  • Proactively resolved a threatened debarment action against a Texas contractor and two of its officers based upon a Department of Justice Non-Prosecution Agreement for ethical violations. We persuaded the NASA Debarment Official that the allegations of ethical violations were baseless and the contractor and its officers were presently responsible.
  • Obtained a termination a Navy show cause letter threatening debarment of an individual defense contractor official three weeks after the issuance of the letter.
  • Represented an individual in response to the Navy’s Notice of Proposed Debarment after his former employer identified him as committing a Procurement Integrity Act violation. The Suspension and Debarment Official found our client presently responsible.
  • Represented an individual in response to the Defense Health Agency’s Notice of Proposed Debarment related to alleged false information in grant submissions. The same day as the in-person meeting with the Suspension and Debarment Official, he concluded that debarment was not in the government’s best interest.
  • Successfully prepared a proactive Request for a Determination of Present Responsibility to a federal Agency at the time of False Claims Act settlement to preempt suspension or debarment proceedings.

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