WASHINGTON, DC, April 10, 2012Robert Nichols, a highly regarded government contracts lawyer, is joining Covington & Burling to co-chair and expand the firm’s government contracts practice group.

Mr. Nichols’ practice focuses on government procurement matters, both regulatory and litigation, in the areas of defense and aerospace, large-scale construction and international development.  His experience includes: compliance counseling; litigating and arbitrating claims and terminations; leading teams defending against investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, Inspectors General and Congress; suspension and debarment actions; procurement-related legislation; negotiating contract terms; due diligence for contractor M&A; foreign military sales; security clearance issues; and risk mitigation techniques for contractors working overseas.

“Robert’s talents and experience make him ideally suited to help us build a top-tier government contracts practice,” said Timothy Hester, chair of the firm’s management committee.  “We already have a number of leading practices that have long brought high value to clients in the defense industry, and we expect Robert will take our work in this sector to another level.”

Mr. Nichols has developed substantial expertise in representing contractors around the globe, said Alan Pemberton, co-chair of Covington’s government contracts practice group.  “Robert brings a unique global perspective stemming from his role in advising large foreign contractors working for the U.S. government, as well as advising U.S. contractors either working abroad or making military sales to overseas allies,” Mr. Pemberton said.  “He will be a terrific colleague and a tremendous asset to the firm’s clients as we expand our practice.”

Mr. Nichols said he was drawn to Covington because of its commitment to developing a leading practice in the government contracts field and its dedicated use of inter-disciplinary teams.  “I am deeply impressed by Covington’s preeminence, its institutional goal of growing a top government contracts practice and the strength of the firm’s existing related practices in the national security, white collar, international and litigation areas,” Mr. Nichols said.  “I look forward to expanding Covington’s ability to serve leading government contractors and helping clients navigate the federal procurement maze.”

Mr. Nichols began his legal career as an active-duty military officer serving as a judge advocate general in the Honors Program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with a part-time assignment to the White House.  He then clerked for the Chief Judge Raymond L. Finch of the U.S. District Court for the Virgin Islands.  He has been a private practitioner in the government contracts field for the past 12 years.

Mr. Nichols received his law degree from Arizona State University College of Law, where he was a member of the Law Journal and Order of the Coif, and a graduate law degree, with distinction, in international and comparative law from Georgetown University Law Center.  Mr. Nichols received his undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University, where he graduated summa cum laude and first in his class.

Covington & Burling LLP, an international law firm, provides corporate, litigation, and regulatory expertise to enable clients to achieve their goals.  Founded in 1919, the firm has more than 800 lawyers and offices in Beijing, Brussels, London, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Washington, DC.