The only thing that might be more challenging than operating a business in the highly regulated government-services sector? Running that company’s legal department. DynCorp International LLC’s eight-person legal department boasts a breadth of experience that could make a 100-person department sweat, spanning everything from antitrust litigation and aviation law to intellectual property and government contracting. Not to mention day-to-day legal oversight for a company with nearly 30,000 employees located all over the world.

General counsel Gregory Nixon said his department’s "secret sauce" is having lawyers with a speciality in a few areas who can easily manage the transition to a number of other practices. "I’m really proud of what a…small cadre of lawyers have been able to do," he said.

Moving documents to searchable databases has helped his team stay nimble, Nixon said, and he’s developed strong relationships with outside counsel, primarily for litigation and government investigations: "I really want an outside firm to invest in understanding our business, not just as a transactional set of eyes or provider of services." Dickstein Shapiro partner Leslie Jacobs Jr., whose firm does a variety of work for DynCorp, said Nixon has encouraged an aggressive approach to litigation. That approach has paid off — in December, the company won the dismissal of a $2 billion mass tort class action in Washington federal court. The department’s small size "forces the team itself, out of necessity, to be more versatile and creative in their problem-solving," Jacobs said. — Zoe Tillman

DynCorp International LLC, a privately held aviation, training and logistics company
Headquarters: Falls Church, Va.
Industry: Government services
Number of lawyers in the Washington area: 7
Number of lawyers in the U.S.: 8
Number of lawyers worldwide: 8