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Rick Claybrook

Of Counsel

With more than 40 years of legal experience in the government contracts sector, Rick Claybrook has successfully brought protests of procurements over $1billion.  He has never lost a protest defense, and on multiple occasions has litigated claims to judgment or settlement in excess of $1 billion.  Representing clients in all levels of federal and state courts, as well as in domestic and international arbitrations, Rick has logged hundreds of trial days and oral arguments.  He is recognized for his extensive writings about government contracts in academic journals.


Prior to joining Nichols Liu, Rick was a partner at Crowell & Moring, a leading government contracts firm, as well as his own practice Claybrook LLC.   An independent study by SCOTUSblog judged one of Mr. Claybrook’s briefs as the ninth best of the 2017-18 Supreme Court term.  It ranked Mr. Claybrook the third best brief writer and his eponymous firm as the second best amicus firm.  The evaluation of briefs was based on “flow, plain English, punchiness, reading happiness, and sentence length”. Mr. Claybrook has appeared on frequent occasions before the Court of Federal Claims, the Government Accountability Office, the boards of contract appeals, federal district and state courts, domestic and international arbitrators, and courts of appeals. He has also been involved in several mini-trials. Rick is rated AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 by Martindale-Hubbell and recognized by Super Lawyers 2014 as a leader in his field.


Rick has concentrated in bid protest actions and in litigation of contract and subcontract disputes, including with the United States Postal Service. He also has substantial experience in terminations, changes, and other government and commercial contracting matters.


Rick has authored several law review articles, including It’s Patent that ‘Plain Meaning’ Dictionary Definitions Shouldn’t Dictate: What Phillips Portends for Contract Interpretation, 16 Fed. Cir. B.J. 91 (2006); Standing, Prejudice, and Prejudging in Bid Protest Cases, 33 Public Contract L.J. 535 (2004); and Good Faith in the Terminations and Formation of Federal Contracts, 56 Md. L. Rev. 555 (1997). He was graduated cum laude from Wheaton College (Illinois) in 1973 and with honor from Duke University School of Law in 1976. He was a member of the editorial board of the Duke Law Journal, in which he published two articles. Following his graduation from law school, he clerked for the Honorable Gerald Bard Tjoflat of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.


He is a member of the American Bar Association and has served for over a decade on the national board of the Christian Legal Society.



  • Wheaton College (Illinois), A.B. (1973) cum laude
  • Duke University School of Law, J.D. (1976) with honor

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia Bar
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Various U.S. circuit and district courts
  • Competition & Bid Protests
  • Claims
  • Small Business Contract Case. The Air Force repeatedly breached its contract with a small business that supplied telephones in its lodging rooms on several bases in Germany. Over the course of a decade, Mr. Claybrook successfully litigated as lead counsel on behalf of the small business, resulting in the government ultimately paying over $200 million for its breaches. Some of the over 20 published decisions in the case include SUFI Network Services, Inc. v. United States, 817 F.3d 773 (2016), and 128 Fed. Cl. 683 (2016). In the latter decision awarding attorney fees, the judge found Mr. Claybrook and his team to have achieved exceptional results and to be uniquely qualified to have achieved them.
  • Large Business Contract Case. The Navy breached its contract with a large manufacturer to allow it to compete for awards after it spent the money to qualify as a second source for a fighter engine. Mr. Claybrook successfully litigated as co-lead counsel on the merits, after which the case settled for a substantial sum. UTC, Pratt & Whitney, 97-1 BCA 28818 (ASBCA 1997).
  • Postal Service Contract Case. USPS breached its obligation to a large business that had set up facilities around the country to handle and distribute its package mail service. Mr. Claybrook successfully litigated this case as co-lead counsel, achieving successful rulings on the merits, with the case settling shortly before the damages trial for a substantial sum. Emery Worldwide Airlines, Inc. v. United States, 47 Fed. Cl. 461 (2000).
  • “Revising The Tucker Act: Changes For The Better?,” Law360 (June 7, 2012). Authors: Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr. and James G. Peyster
  • “Please Check Your Crystal Ball at the Courtroom Door – A Call for the Judiciary in Bid Protest Actions to Let Agencies Do Their Job,” Public Contract L. J., vol. 38, no. 2 (Winter 2009). Author: Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr.
  • “It’s Patent that ‘Plain Meaning’ Dictionary Definitions Shouldn’t Dictate: What Phillips Portends for Contract Interpretation,” 16 Fed. Cir. B.J. 91 (2006). Author: Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr.
  • “Declaratory Judgment Actions – An Effective Tool for Serious Situations,” The Procurement Lawyer, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Spring 2006). Co-Authors: Frederick W. Claybrook and J. Chris Haile.
  • “Standing, Prejudice, and Prejudging in Bid Protest Cases,” 33 Public Contract L.J. 535 (2004). Author: Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr.
  • “Analysis & Perspective: The Particular Perils of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for Government Contractors,” Federal Contracts Report, vol. 78, no. 21 (2002). Co-Authors: W. Stanfield Johnson and Frederick W. Claybrook Jr.
  • “A Modest Proposal: Why Not Award Lost Profits to a Disappointed Bidder?,” 33 The Procurement Lawyer 8 (Summer 1999). Author: Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr.
  • “The Initial Experience of the Court of Federal Claims in Applying the Administrative Procedure Act in Bid Protest Actions – Learning Lessons All Over Again,” 29 Public Contract L.J. 1 (1999). Author: Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr.
  • “The Termination Loss Ratio Formula: A Suggested Alternative to More Accurately Account for Constructive Changes,” 71 BNA’s Federal Contracts Report 236 (1999). Co-Authors: Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr., and Mark Bleiweis.
  • “Why Not Bring a Bid Protest in the GSBCA – Or in the ASBCA, for That Matter?,” 69 Federal Contracts Report 602 (May 1998). Author: Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr.
  • “Good Faith in the Termination and Formation of Federal Contracts,” 56 M. Law Rev. 555 (1997). Author: Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr.
  • “The Federal Courts Improvement Act Needs Improvement: A Renewed Call for Its Amendment,” 21 Public Contract L.J. 1 (1991). Author: Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr.
  • “Section 1981 and Discrimination in Private Schools,” 1976 Duke L.J. 125. Author: Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr.
  • “Implied Waiver of a State’s Eleventh Amendment Immunity,” 1974 Duke L.J. 925. Author: Frederick W. Claybrook, Jr.
  • “Washington Litigation Departments of the Year: Crowell & Moring General Civil Litigation”  National Law Journal (June 24, 2013)
  • “Air Force Ordered to Pay Phone Contractor’s Atty Fees”  Government Contracts Law360, Quoted (June 20, 2012)
  • “Navy Sued After Yanking $35M Contract From Supplier”  Government Contracts Law360, Quoted (April 4, 2012)

Robert Nichols


Andy Liu


Lynne Halbrooks


Bob Rhoad


Steven Shaw


Rick Beizer

Of Counsel

Michael Bhargava

Of Counsel

Haaleh Katouzian


Sam Van Kopp


Logan Kemp


Sonya Krautner


Sophie Wechsler

Project Manager

Avery Studer

Chief of Staff