Maria Panichelli Maria Panichelli, partner and chair of the government contracting practice group with Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel. (Courtesy photo)

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel has brought on a pair of lawyers from Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman to launch a new practice group focused on federal contracting.

Maria Panichelli is joining Obermayer as a partner in Philadelphia and will serve as chair of the firm’s government contracting practice group. Joining her at Obermayer from Cohen Seglias is associate Michael Richard.

In their practice, they handle bid protests, claims litigation and compliance and performance counseling for clients in any stage of a government contracting relationship. Panichelli has clients all over the country, she said, including construction, dredging, information systems and IT, staffing and recruitment, and janitorial contractors.

“Pretty much you name it, if the federal government hires people to do it, we have a client doing that,” she said.

She declined to name specific clients, or note which ones will be following her to Obermayer. Panichelli and Richard were two of nine lawyers in Cohen Seglias’ contracting group, she said.

In its announcement of the new practice, Obermayer said it has long been referring clients to other law firms and attorneys when it came to government contracting matters, and now will be able to handle those issues in-house.

“We are thrilled to now have the ability to address government contracting legal matters within our firm,” Obermayer managing partner Mathieu Shapiro said in a statement Monday.

Panichelli was a partner at Cohen Seglias, where she practiced for seven years. She previously worked an associate at Kutak Rock and Pepper Hamilton.

At Obermayer, she said she hopes to add lawyers to the government contracting group in the future, as the client base grows.

Obermayer, with nearly 120 lawyers in nine offices, is slightly bigger than Cohen Seglias, which has about 70 across nine offices. While Obermayer considers itself to be a full-service midsize firm, Cohen Seglias is best known for its construction practice, though it also does other corporate work.

A spokesperson for Cohen Seglias did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

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