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Legal Ethics in Government Contracting

(1581 reviews)

Produced on July 10, 2017

$ 89 Ethics, Contract Law, and Administrative Law In Stock
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Course Information

Time 92 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

In the world of government contracting, counsel must not only navigate traditional legal ethics issues, but counsel also face unique legal ethics issues arising from specific government contracts statutes and regulations as well as the dynamics of having the United States as the “client” of your adversary.  

This program, led by attorneys Eric Leonard and Craig Smith, will explore the potential pitfalls that await government contracts lawyers (whether outside counsel, in-house counsel or government counsel) that assist clients in matters involving debriefings, bid protests, due diligence, subcontracting counseling and investigations. In many of these matters, the stakes are high and there simply is no room for error.    

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Compare government contractor ethics issues to legal ethics issues faced by government contracts counsel
  2. Analyze hypothetical legal ethics issues that can arise for government contracts counsel in the context of the Model Rules
  3. Suggest strategies for mitigating risk to counsel
  4. Discuss current ethics developments and trends 

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Eric Leonard

Wiley Rein LLP

Mr. Leonard represents clients on all aspects of federal, state and local procurement matters, including government contracts compliance issues, compliance with federal labor initiatives, such as the Service Contract Act (SCA), bid protests, contract disputes and termination litigation, mergers and acquisitions, government investigations, suspension and debarment matters and False Claims Act actions. His experience includes representation of clients before federal agencies, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and spans virtually all industries involved in contracting with the federal government.



  • Successfully represented clients on bid protest matters involving multi-billion dollar procurement matters before GAO and at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • Advised numerous clients on a wide range of government contracts compliance issues including development of mandatory disclosure programs
  • Developed government contracts compliance plans and manuals for large government contract clients and conducted compliance audits designed to test a contractor's compliance with applicable federal statutory and regulatory requirements
  • Assisted numerous clients with issues arising under the SCA including assessment of coverage by the SCA and related counseling, representation in connection with Department of Labor SCA compliance audits, and development of tailored strategies for ensuring compliance with SCA fringe benefit requirements
  • Recently served as government contracts special counsel in multi-billion dollar government contracts bankruptcy matter. Developed novel novation strategies in connection with asset sales by the bankruptcy estate and assisted with developing resolution strategies for the settlement of government claims against the estate
  • Assisted numerous clients in preparing responses to grand jury subpoenas and inspector general subpoenas on large-scale government investigation matters at times prompted by underlying qui tam suits
  • Regularly counsels clients on teaming agreement and subcontracting matters, small business questions, and other issues related to compliance with socioeconomic obligations and U.S. preference statutes and regulations such as the restrictions associated with the acquisition of specialty metals


  • Adjunct Professor, George Mason University School of Law (Spring 2007, Fall 2006, Spring 2003).


  • American Bar Association (ABA), Section of Public Contract Law (1997-Present)
  • Co-Chair, ABA, Public Contract, Employment Safety & Labor Committee (2018)
  • Bid Protest Committee (1997-Present)
  • Services Contracting Best Practices Task Force (2011)
  • Editor, Public Contract Law Journal (2000-2005)
  • Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce
  • Co-Chair, GovCon Communications Committee (2008-2012)
  • National Contract Management Association (NCMA) (1997-Present)
  • Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), B2G Committee (2006-Present)
  • Professional Services Council (PSC) (2003-Present)

Craig Smith

Wiley Rein LLP

Mr. Smith counsels and represents government contractors and subcontractors on a broad range of government contracting issues, including bid protests, contract claims, disputes, as well as government and internal investigations.


Representative Experience

  • Litigates bid protests before the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and U.S. Court of Federal Claims (COFC), including multiple GAO protests of Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) awards of Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) contracts.
  • Represents contractors proposed for suspension or debarment and contractors facing potential termination for default.
  • Litigates claims before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA). Assists in multi-year claim resulting in nine-figure settlement payment to contractor.
  • Conducts internal investigations and also represents contractors in investigations by inspectors general (IGs) of cabinet-level agencies, including representation during employee interviews by IG agents.
  • Counsels clients on compliance with the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA).
  • Counsels clients in preparing and maintaining government contracts ethics and compliance programs and performs audits of existing compliance programs.
  • Represents pro bono clients in civil litigation, civil rights litigation, and Social Security appeals.


Professional Experience

  • Research Assistant, Professor M. Elizabeth Magill, University of Virginia School of Law (2007).


Eliot A.

Very practical scope. Very useful.

James Ming C.

Very well presented. I'd watch these presenters in another program.

Frank E.

Good specifics

James A.

Very engaging. The ethics scenarios were interesting and useful to me even though I do not work in government contracting.

Suzanne Y M.

Both speakers were succinct and substantive. Very effective.

Todd V.

Excellent panel. Smooth and knowledgeable. Highly recommend.

Phillip V.

This was an excellent presentation. Thank you.

Vincent C.

Nicely done

Paula N.

Excellent presentation

Carol C.

Excellent treatment of ethical issues everyone who does business with govt needs to know. Analyzed many issues I had not thought about

richard d.


Eric P.

Interesting and informative presentation.

Alan G.

Excellent course.

Lourdes C.

It is good course when the practitioner is representing the contractors and/or sub contractors

Charles M.

Excellent Program

John P.

This was good

Thomas T.

Scenarios were good and explanation on reasons around analysis were also good. Nice job.

Robert B.

Nicely done! Great presentation!

Manisha P.

The course does require some familiarity with government contracting, but for those who have it, this is very good summary and overview of the ethics considerations.

Barbara L.

Extremely informative.

Jackie H.

Very complex area. Covered well in such a short time.

James R.

Very good presentation.

J. Michael S.

good work from actual government contract lawyers.

James J.

Good program. Covered a lot of important issues.

Brian M.

Incredibly impressive. I would appreciate another session on recent decisions in government contracting ethics (since they did not get to that).

David R.

Good use of examples to illustrate points.

Colleen B.

good rapport between the presenters. Both were very good at presenting the material in an engaging way

Andrea W.

Valuable presentation. Thank you.

Thomas D.

These guys really know their stuff in the very arcane world of government contracts and ethics!

John D.

Good job fellas! (I'm in the same line of work.)

Jessica C.

This cle was particularly relevant to my work. I found the instructors to be thorough and engaging.

Margaret H.

Well organized

Paul F.

thorough, good presentations

Alan B.

I liked the informal manner in which the speakers presented the material. Made me feel like they were talking to me from their living room.

William L.

This course was excellent at offering a variety of frameworks through which to consider ethical challenges. All on its own, this course justified my Lawline experience.

Marcus P.

Outstanding !

Aubrey M.

Extremely insightful and a must take for Government Contracts attorney.

Joseph C.

Enjoyed all the instructors. Kept interest. Relevant topics.

Richard R.

Very professional and informative. Thank you

Ruben V.

Very informative in relaxed manner. Good eye on ethics.

Jimmie F.

Great! Fantastic!

david m.

Fascinating stuff. Definitely a different legal world as compared to a consumer bankruptcy practice.

Richard L.

Really good presentation - right on point

Antoine M.

Excellent and thorough presentation

William D.

Well organized discussion with relevant examples.

B.A. S.

It was great having two professors teach the class.

Stephen E.

Good, practical advice regarding potential ethics situations.

Peter A.

I was especially pleased that there were two presenters, given the breadth of the topics involved.

Heidi L.

Architecture in-jokes were amusing.

christopher r.

Great speaking team; really knew their stuff on ethics issues re: government contracts.

Kristina U.

These guys were great. They really understand possible conflicts

Elizabeth F.

Excellent presentations

Carolyn S.

Good course.

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