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Morrison & Foerster is setting its sights on the public sector. On Friday the firm announced its newest practice, the government business and technology group. Based in McLean, Va., the group will advise clients on the intricacies of government contracting as well as represent them in litigation with government agencies. “Government contracting has emerged as one of the strongest growth areas for the Washington metropolitan region,” said Northern Virginia Managing Partner G. Brian Busey in a prepared statement. “However government business transactions can present significant challenges for companies that do not recognize and manage the differences between government and commercial business.” The group is made up of three attorneys, all poached from Piper Marbury Rudnick & Wolfe. Stan Soya and Rick Vacura both join MoFo as lateral partners, while Holly Emrick Svetz, a senior associate at Piper, signs on as of counsel. According to Busey, MoFo will be hiring at least one more attorney for the new practice in the short term. The trio is currently working out of MoFo’s Washington, D.C., office until the firm can secure more office space in McLean. MoFo’s decision to launch a government contracts group mirrors a general trend in the business world: As the economy slows down, corporations are increasingly looking to the government marketplace as a way to keep sales up. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon are expected to exacerbate this phenomenon, as federal and state agencies devote large sums of money to security and defense initiatives. Busey said the events of Sept. 11 were not the impetus for the decision to launch a government practice; he said the plan had been in the works for months. “It made good business sense before Sept. 11 and the acquisition of this group makes even better sense now.”

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