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If there is a dean of the government contracts bar, most would agree the title goes to C. Stanley Dees. The 66-year-old McKenna Long & Aldridge partner has been a leading practitioner in the field for four decades. “It’s never dull,” says Dees, who adds that he finds the practice today “broader and more interesting” than ever. When Dees joined McKenna predecessor Sellers, Conner & Cuneo as a first-year associate in 1963, the D.C. firm had just 14 lawyers. The chance to work with name partner Gilbert Cuneo was a big draw. “He really was the founder of what we know today as the practice of government contracts law,” says Dees. Over the years, Dees has handled a broad spectrum of matters, including what he describes as perhaps the “most complex” bid protest on record. He represented the AT&T Co. in a fight against the General Services Administration and the regional Bell companies, which had been awarded a series of contracts for electronic tandem network switches. In 1988, AT&T won most of the contested awards after the General Services Board of Contract Appeals determined that the selection had not been conducted fairly. More recently, Dees represented AT&T, as well as Lucent Technologies Inc., in a long-running case that addressed a ticklish area of government contracts law: What is the proper remedy for contractors when the government violates the law? In 1987, AT&T had won a fixed-price contract as part of the Navy’s efforts to develop sonar that could detect ultra-quiet Soviet submarines. Unfortunately for AT&T, it spent two to three times the fixed price to perform the contract. AT&T sued the government seeking some remedy and arguing that the Navy had violated the Department of Defense Act by awarding a fixed-price contract without the required approval to ensure a realistic price. Dees argued the case twice before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and twice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit � once en banc. In October 2002, the appellate court finally ruled that AT&T was out of luck because Congress did not intend to create a private right of action for such violations. The Lockheed Martin Corp. has been one of Dees’ long-term clients � the relationship with Lockheed dates back to 1969. Over the years, he has worked for the defense contracting giant on contracts involving everything from helicopters to parking meters. Frank Menaker, general counsel of Lockheed, calls Dees “the lawyer you go to when dealing with issues that require a creative, energetic, and disciplined approach to problem solving.” Dubbing Dees the dean of the government contracts bar, Menaker continues, “His years of experience, numerous contributions to the Public Contract Law Section of the ABA, and willingness to take on and win tough cases qualifies him for that distinction.” Over the course of his career, Dees has also made pro bono work a priority. He was president of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia from 1978 to 1980, and has served on the advisory committee of the D.C. Bar Foundation for many years. Some years ago, Dees even found an opportunity to handle a government contracts matter pro bono. At the request of Patricia Wald, then chief judge of the D.C. Circuit, Dees advised the court on contracting out its cafeteria service. (“But I won’t take responsibility for the food,” he chuckles.) Dees earned his law degree from the University of Virginia. The year before joining Sellers, Conner, he worked as a summer associate for the firm and remembers that he “liked the idea of government contracts, although I’m not sure as a young associate, I knew all that it entailed. But it was certainly a new practice, and this firm was obviously the place where it was beginning.” Well-regarded colleagues today include partners Thomas Papson, Frank Rapoport, and Ray Biagini. What’s kept Dees in one place over the years even as other members of the bar increasingly have jumped from firm to firm? “The opportunity to learn from and then carry forward what I learned from Gil Cuneo [who died in 1978],” Dees says, “and the fact that this firm has so many government contracts attorneys with different specialties � our breadth and depth is very supportive.”

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