Attorney Spotlight: Richard Arnholt

October 6, 2017

1. Tell us about your practice.

My practice involves counseling clients on all aspects of their contracts and grants with federal and state governmental entities. While the practice of “government contracts law” sounds narrow, in fact it is incredibly diverse both in terms of subject matter and legal issues. The government spends over $500 billion each year on goods and services from mundane commercial items to cutting edge research and development supporting our military and space programs. Some of the matters I have worked on over the years have involved titanium howitzers, medical imaging equipment, fighter jet sales to foreign governments, military satellite programs, NOAA ships, linguists supporting deployed US forces, while others have involved pest control contracts, purchases of printer paper, pencils, and laptops. 

Regardless of what goods and services are being purchased, each government agreement is subject to a complex web of statutes and regulations that seek to balance efficiency with public policy goals. I assist contractors in every area of their business that is impacted by those rules, including understanding and being compliant with those requirements, litigating against the government and other contractors, responding to administrative actions such as suspension and debarment for contractual and ethical violations, and guiding clients through the complex issues that can arise in acquisitions of government contractors. 

2. What is an interesting trend happening right now related to your field of practice?

The only certainty in the government contracts field is change. Congress and the Executive Branch continuously tinker with the procurement statutes and regulations hoping to improve them (or at least make a show of trying to), so I spend a lot of time helping clients to keep with those revisions. The most interesting trend now is the unwinding of some of the prior administration’s regulations and questions regarding how far that process will go. 

3. Why did you choose to pursue a career in the legal field?

After I got my LL.M. in international and comparative law, I planned to move back to the Middle East and work in project finance. I unexpectedly had an opportunity to clerk for a judge at the Court of Federal Claims, which was my first introduction to government contracts law. She was a great mentor, teaching me the incredible variety of work in the practice area and introducing me to a number of leaders in the government contracts bar. Also, how our government procures the goods and services needed to carry out its missions tied in with my interest in international relations (I was a double major in Economics/International Relations). After clerking, I was lucky to get a position working at a top government contracts practice in D.C. and have been working in the field ever since.