Government Contracts 2015: Analysis

This year, Public Procurement has been renamed Government Contracts for the sixth edition, listing a comprehensive 368 practitioners from 225 firms across 40 countries in this growing area of public law.

Several international firms stand out for their strength and depth in this field, while a substantial number of individuals are listed from local and boutique firms.

Hogan Lovells boasts a significant and growing practice in procurement with excellence in Europe and the US. Bird & Bird impresses with several leading experts across its European network. Meanwhile, Allen & Overy has leading figures listed in the US, Europe and East Asia.  

Dentons is recognised for its strength in Canada and Europe, while Blake Cassels & Graydon excels as Canada’s premier law firm for government contracts.

The most highly regarded individuals in Europe, North America, the rest of the world and the UK Bar are also recognised in this section.

Lawyer Firm
Jonathan Davey Addleshaw Goddard, London
Totis Kotsonis Eversheds, London
Jan Byok Bird & Bird, Düsseldorf
Patrick McGovern Arthur Cox, Dublin
Carl Bokwall Bokwall Rislund, Stockholm
Anna Kuusniemi-Laine Castrén & Snellman Attorneys, Helsinki
North America
John Chierichella Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, DC
Karen Manos Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, DC
Mark Colley Arnold & Porter, DC
Judy Wilson Blake Cassels & Graydon, Toronto
Robert Bauer Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Toronto
Rest Of The World
Marko Misko Clayton Utz, Melbourne
Claire Tucker Bowman Gilfillan, Johannesburg
Marcos Ríos Carey, Santiago
Carlos Umaña Trujillo Brigard & Urrutia Abogados, Bogotá
Michael Bowsher QC Monckton Chambers, London
Nigel Giffin QC 11KBW, London
Sarah Hannaford QC Keating Chambers, London

Hogan Lovells can lay claim to the largest number of market-leading procurement practitioners in our research. In London, Kate Rees earns ample praise from her peers as “one of the best sources of procurement law expertise in Europe”. She recently represented NATS in the noteworthy High Court proceeding NATS (Services) Limited v Gatwick Airport Limited [2014], which for the first time restrained the contracting authority from entering into a new contract with its chosen bidder. Mark Jones provides “perceptive” regulatory advice for clients operating in the European procurement regime. Alongside them, the “excellent” Ciara Kennedy-Loest, currently based in Brussels, advises public sector purchasers, utilities and bidders in UK and EU procurement law, as well as in litigation before the UK and European courts. Nicolas Pourbaix also devotes much of his time to UK and EU procurement matters. One source noted that the Brussels team is “highly supportive”, while another added that “their written and oral advice is excellent”.

The firm’s US presence is strong with four listings. In the DC office, Thomas McGovern III is the head of the government contracts practice and he takes the lead in bid protests, misconduct investigations, and suspension and debarment cases. Clients praise his “honed litigation skills” and his “expert” handling of disputes. Michael Mason focuses on the area of government contracts and resulting disputes, especially with regard to tender challenges. He is “one of the first lawyers to come to mind” in this area for his “winning courtroom manner” and for the fact that he supports clients “from the first minute to the very last”. Alongside them, Agnes Dover is the director of the government regulatory practice and guides her clients through increasingly complex procurement regulations. She is much in demand for the “perceptiveness and accuracy of her advice”.

Blake Cassels & Graydon excels as Canada’s premier government contracts law firm. The firm also boasts one of the country’s leading lawyers in our research: Judy Wilson. With two decades worth of experience in procurement issues, she is “a pioneer” in this field of law. She is the “first port of call” for implementing procurement contracts, as well as advising on procurement processes and evaluation. Gordon Cameron practises from the Ottawa office and is an “exceptional” litigator, with particular experience in public procurement and contractual disputes. In Montreal, the “highly recommended” Alain Massicotte heads the infrastructure/P3 group and counsels foreign governments on public infrastructure. Graham McLeod splits his time between Bahrain and Toronto, where he advises public authorities, sponsors, equity investors, lenders and key subcontractors in the implementation of large-scale public infrastructure projects, both nationally and internationally. Sources note that his “sharp attention to detail is an asset throughout the procurement process”.

Bird & Bird impresses with a number of leading experts across its European network and for the quality of its services. In London, Roger Bickerstaff consistently draws recommendations for his work, particularly in ICT procurement. He has been involved with a great number of large-scale IT projects, advising public sector contracting authorities and private sector bidders. His “experience and skill ensures that his ability to solve IT procurement issues is second to none”, according to clients. Alongside him, Peter Elliott advises both public and private sector clients on procurement law and, more specifically, on ICT procurement. Sources add that his “sharp mind and clear-sightedness towards legal issues is a highly effective instrument in complex procurement projects”.

Bird & Bird is strong in Germany, according to our research. Jan Byok, head of the international regulatory and administrative practice group, is a stand-out practitioner, receiving widespread praise for his “superb practice” that covers ICT, health, transport, public utilities and defence sectors. The “vastly experienced” Heiko Höfler represents clients in contentious and non-contentious matters involving public procurement. He receives praise from peers as a “high-profile government contracts lawyer with close contacts to the most important institutions.”

Allen & Overy again displays its wide scope in this area with several international listings. In Frankfurt, head of the public law group Olaf Otting is “a high-profile expert in procurement law”. He has dealt with a wide range of projects and transactions in the public sector and sources claim that “he stands apart for the depth of his knowledge in this area”. Pablo Mayor is head of the Madrid public law and regulation sectors department. Sources praise his ability to “supply commercially sensitive and pragmatic advice on procurement matters”. The “excellent” Arent van Wassenaer is active in both sides of the non-contentious and contentious procurement process, advising clients in the projects and utilities sectors.

Dentons has a strong government contracts practice group within Canada and Europe. In Toronto, Paul Lalonde is seen as the “complete package” and someone who is “able to successfully advise on the most complex and detailed government procurement issues”. In Vancouver, John Haythorne, the national leader of the firm’s P3 team, advises on the structure and administration of procurement. “He has an instantly recognisable name, having had a hand in a large number of major procurement projects in the country,” one source said. In Brussels, Mark Clough QC spends much of his time in this area advising on UK procurement matters. One source stated that “he has a holistic understanding of UK and EU regulations and processes, which makes him a valuable source of advice and an indispensable part of the team”, adding that he is also “a pleasure to work with”.

Further recognition goes to our most highly regarded individuals. Jonathan Davey of Addleshaw Goddard draws an impressive amount of praise from across the European market. He regularly advises public bodies, FTSE 100 companies and a major UK infrastructure company on procurement law matters. “He leads an excellent team and has the experience and technical know-how to tackle the most complex procurement challenges,”a source told us.

Eversheds’ new addition Totis Kotsonis is “one of the first names that come to mind for this area of law”. He is “certainly very knowledgeable” and is an “excellent adviser” to public authorities, utilities and contractors on major energy, transport and PPP projects in the UK and abroad. The firm also achieves listings in its offices in Estonia, Ireland and Poland.

At Arthur Cox, Patrick McGovern is “one of the best Irish lawyers of his generation”, according to one source. His experience in public law matters is “second to none” and he regularly advises on major technologies, energy and utilities projects. Aaron Boyle is also highly rated in this sector.

Carl Bokwall is co-founder of Bokwall Rislund, a new competition and procurement law boutique; he is an “excellent strategist and a commercially sensible adviser”, and regularly sought after by companies engaging in the Swedish procurement market.

Anna Kuusniemi-Laine at Castrén & Snellman advises major Finnish and international companies as well as public sector units on Finnish procurement law issues.  Respondents praise her “remarkable understanding of the procurement process” and “ability to deliver through commercially-sensitive planning”.

In DC, John Chierichella of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton “is one of the most instantly recognisable names in government contracts law” and he stands out for his significant position in our research. He supports clients throughout the procurement process, including bid protests, claims and appeals, cost and CAS issues. Jonathan Aronie and Anne Bluth Perry are also recommended at the firm.

Karen Manos is chair of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher’s government contracts group. One of three lawyers recommended at the firm, she has over 30 years of experience advising on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious government contract matters. She is considered to be “the leading authority” on government contract costs and pricing. Clients and peers cite her as “astonishingly quick-thinking”, as well as having “a full comprehension of highly technical issues”.

Arnold & Porter’s Mark Colley chairs the firm’s government contracts and national security practices. He represents clients in bid protests, contract claims and disputes, federal court litigations, and government audits and investigations. Peers claim that he is “an excellent litigator with a substantive knowledge in the area”, which makes him “a formidable opponent”. Also recommended at the firm is Craig Holman.

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg performs well with a total of five listings including one of the most highly regarded lawyers in Canada. Robert Bauer has been involved in a large number of major PPPs in the country. Sources praise his “direct and thorough approach, as well as his outstanding commercial awareness.”

Clayton Utz is a standout firm in Australia for this type of work with a trio of market-leading lawyers including Marko Misko, who is recommended for his “outstanding counsel” on large-scale projects, especially in the defence sector. His practice includes drafting and reviewing tender and contract documentation, negotiating and finalising transactions, as well as addressing issues arising during the tender process.

In Johannesburg, Claire Tucker is head of public law and regulatory at Bowman Gilfillan. She is known in particular for her procurement work in the energy sector. Her knowledge of tender processes and her “vast experience of government entities”, especially the Department of Energy, makes her a “valuable counsel”.

Marcos Ríos at Carey in Santiago is co-head of the government procurement group. He advises foreign and local manufacturers, contractors and suppliers on bidding rules, drafting and negotiation of sale and supply contracts, advice on tax and foreign trade issues, and procurement disputes. Sources regard him as a “responsive, well-informed and technically accomplished lawyer”.

Carlos Umaña Trujillo, managing partner of Brigard & Urrutia Abogados in Bogotá, has a broad practice that is highlighted for his public and administrative law expertise.  His written work and negotiation skills are “excellent” as is his “superlative understanding of the market”.


Monckton Chambers is widely seen as the leading procurement set with two silks and three juniors recognised in our research. “At the very top” Michael Bowsher QC is among the first barristers to cultivate a procurement specialism. Sources note that his “peerless knowledge of the area is indisputable” and in all regards he is “the silk of choice” for non-contentious advice as well as highly complex litigation.

Derived from its long-standing expertise in public law, 11 King’s Bench Walk has been a leading set in the procurement field for many years.

Three silks are recognised in this edition. Praise is particularly high for Nigel Giffin QC, who is widely seen as “pre-eminent” in this field, according to sources. He is “creative, intelligent and seems to have a solution for every problem”.

Sarah Hannaford QC is “the stand-out procurement counsel” at Keating Chambers and “one of the very best” at the bar. She frequently advises and represents government bodies, local authorities and industry clients in UK and EU procurement matters. She is described “as possessing everything a modern barrister should.”

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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