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Chambers USA 2020 Recognizes Smith Pachter McWhorter as a Leading Law Firm

Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business recognizes seven Smith Pachter McWhorter PLC lawyers as leaders in their field in its 2020 guide. Chambers USA 2020 has also ranked the firm’s government contracts and construction practice groups. Chambers USA is the preeminent legal ranking of attorneys and law firms with regional and national rankings driven by independent interviews of clients and peers.


What the team is known for:

Well-respected boutique practice with a solid range of government contracts expertise including counseling, litigation, alternative dispute resolution and investigations, with additional expertise in bid protests. Significant capabilities in costs disputes and a notable emphasis on construction and infrastructure projects. Also represents clients in the aerospace and defense, electronics, IT and engineering sectors.


Interviewees say: "The team is experienced, knowledgeable and responds promptly."

An impressed client describes this as a "go-to firm for general government contract disputes."

Work highlights 

Successfully represented Navient Solutions in litigation brought against the Department of Education following a high-profile bid protest.

Individual Rankings

John S. Pachter

(Government Contracts, USA-Nationwide: Senior Statespeople)

Head of department John Pachter has over five decades' experience in the field and is regarded as a "legend in the government contracts world" by interviewees. He continues to represent clients in bid protests and subcontractor disputes.

Stephen D. Knight

(Government Contracts: USA-Nationwide: Band 4)

(Government Contracts: Costs Disputes: USA-Nationwide: Spotlight Table)

Stephen Knight is a renowned government contracts lawyer who is well placed to advise clients on the full range of cost disputes. He is regularly sought out by contractors and subcontractors for his expertise in cost accounting, reimbursement and audit investigations. One client states: "Steve is very knowledgeable, and is good at communicating his ideas and thoughts in a way that is understandable for a lay person."

Jonathan D. Shaffer

(Government Contracts: USA-Nationwide: Band 3)

(Government Contracts: Bid Protests: USA-Nationwide: Spotlight Table)

Jonathan Shaffer handles significant bid protests at the Court of Federal Claims and the GAO, with market sources indicating that "he has credibility with the judges he appears before.They further describe him as "a smart lawyer who knows bid protest law."

Armani Vadiee

(Government Contracts: USA-Nationwide: Up and Coming)

Armani Vadiee is described as "a real superstar" by interviewees and is increasingly recognized as a go-to figure for a wide variety of government contracts issues, ranging from litigation and compliance to cost matters.


What the team is known for:

Specialist construction firm that regularly works with clients on dispute resolution and mandates relating to government contracts. Possesses deep expertise and experience in the mediation and arbitration of major international disputes, including claims for increased costs. Also represents clients in connection with contract drafting, bidding and negotiation.


One client comments: "They have deep expertise and provide good value for money. I have a lot of confidence in their approach and strategy."

Individual Rankings

Richard F. Smith

(Construction: Virginia: Senior Statespeople)

Richard Smith is a "very well-regarded" figure in the Virginia construction space. His practice has an emphasis on dispute resolution related to construction contracts, including acting as a mediator and arbitrator. Interviewees consider him to be "an exceptional attorney" who is "terrific and very knowledgeable."

Brian J. Vella

(Construction: Virginia: Band 1)

Brian Vella has more than three decades of experience handling construction disputes as well as advising on contractual interpretation and risk avoidance strategy. One client reports: "I have the highest respect for him and I rate all of his skills and talent."


Individual Rankings

Iris E. Bennett

(FCPA: USA-Nationwide: Band 4)

Iris Bennett is described as an "experienced investigations lawyer and team player" who "presents concerns in an organized manner that makes clients feel comfortable." She maintains a well-regarded FCPA investigations practice that covers a large range of jurisdictions, aided by her fluency in Spanish. She has experience serving as a corporate monitor and also conducts internal investigations.

Chambers and Partners identifies and ranks the most outstanding law firms and lawyers in more than 180 jurisdictions throughout the world. Leading lawyers are assessed based on legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, commitment, and other qualities most valued by clients. Details on the survey's methodology and Smith Pachter McWhorter’s rankings are available on the Chambers and Partners website.