Venable Launches Broad-Based Government Contractor Services Group

5 min

WASHINGTON, DC (January 27, 2005) – While government contractors often need legal counsel related to their government contracts, Venable LLP knows from experience that these companies often need a broader range of legal advice and counsel. In an effort to provide its government contractor clients with fully integrated and broad-based legal assistance, Venable has formed a Government Contractor Services Group comprised of over 30 attorneys from across the firm. These experienced attorneys represent 17 different legal disciplines that address practically every legal area that would affect clients doing business with federal, state, and local governments.

Venable believes this approach is even more important in today’s environment. “In the last several years, beginning with 9/11 and extending through the Iraq war, the issues confronting government contractors have become so much more complex and challenging,” said Venable business transactions partner Joe Schmelter, one of the group’s co-leaders. “In addition to pursuing procurements, these companies are growing, acquiring other firms, protecting their intellectual property, and managing a diverse workforce. We're trying to make it easier for government contractor clients to access a broad cross-section of related legal services in one place.” Mr. Schmelter routinely counsels government contractors and their management teams in connection with their mergers and acquisitions and commercial loan transactions.

The group is also led by John J. Pavlick and J. Scott Hommer, III, two experienced government contracts partners. Mr. Pavlick served as a lawyer in the Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps and as an Assistant to the Army General Counsel. He also has over 20 years of experience counseling government contractors. Mr. Hommer is on the Executive Committee and the Senior Advisory Board of the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC). He previously served two terms as General Counsel of NVTC.

“It is not uncommon when working with a government contractor to have lawyers from a variety of practices and different firms sitting at the same table. We believe there can be greater continuity and greater efficiency for the client if those various professionals come from one firm, ” Mr. Hommer explained. In this regard, the attorneys who have been brought together to form this integrated team represent focused backgrounds in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions; government contracts; intellectual property protection; technology licensing and transactions; employee benefits and compensation; labor and employment counseling; financial services; commercial and construction litigation; regulatory compliance; legislative and government affairs; international trade and customs; as well as corporate defense; creditors' rights and bankruptcy; and real estate and tax.

“Not only do we offer a broad spectrum of experience, but our attorneys are attuned to the unique issues in the law that affect government contractors,” observed Mr. Pavlick. This is particularly important because there are many commercial companies that are coming to the government marketplace for the first time and they may not be sensitive to the demands placed upon them by overlapping statutes and regulations. “We believe an integrated team approach incorporating these relevant areas of law serves our clients best, ” continued Mr. Pavlick.

Venable currently represents some of the country’s largest government and defense contractors, including Perot Systems Government Services, Inc., as well as companies such as iMapData. Federal contractor clients represent a wide range of industries, including information technology and software development, defense and aerospace, and even large-scale construction and infrastructure providers.

In the past year, Venable attorneys have worked on a number of acquisitions for industry clients such as SafeNet, Inc. (Nasdaq: SFNT) Viisage Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: VISG), Alion Science and Technology Corporation, Haverstick Consulting, Inc. and Perot Systems Government Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Perot Systems Corporation (NYSE: PER).

SafeNet and Viisage are prime examples of the group's benefits to clients. Each acquired government contractors as their method of entry into the federal sector and came to Venable for its combined M&A and government contracts skill and experience. “As Viisage has grown, it is a considerable benefit to have so many of our legal needs met in one place. Venable has extensive breadth and we're delighted to be able to tap into relevant experience as our needs arise,” said Elliot J. Mark, General Counsel for Viisage Technology.

Alion is another example of the group’s work. When the research and technology development firm acquired Identix Public Sector, Inc., a subsidiary of publicly-traded Identix Incorporated, Venable’s government contracts and mergers and acquisitions attorneys worked with its intellectual property licensing lawyers to address the technology ramifications of the acquisition. “Being able to draw on so many experienced attorneys to work specifically on contractor-related matters helps us to think of this practice in a whole new light,” Mr. Hommer said.

“We’re looking at our government contractor clients with a 360-degree view of what their legal needs are,” Mr. Schmelter added. “As the industry continues to attract new entrants with an ever-increasing range of technologies and services, we want Venable to be their law firm of choice.”

For a more detailed description of the group, view its web page at

One of the American Lawyer’s top 100 law firms, Venable LLP has attorneys practicing in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property and government affairs. Venable serves corporate, institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the U.S. and around the world from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and offices in California, Maryland, New York and Virginia.