Business of Law

NLJ: Feds spent $3.3 billion on outside legal work over last 5 years

An in-depth study of federal legal spending shows the government has awarded $3.3 billion to more than 4,700 vendors for legal work over the last five years.

The National Law Journal is reporting the findings as part of a yearlong project to examine federal government spending on outside legal work. The NLJ analyzed 67,000 awards.

Most of the money goes to those who help the Justice Department administer the federal program tasked with managing forfeitures, for law enforcement training in countries like Afghanistan, and litigation support for disaster cases including Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to the NLJ.

But a big slice of the federal legal spending pie, about $400 million, has gone to private law firms. And NLJ 350 firms, shared about $220 million of that work.

Hunton & Williams received the largest share of federal government legal work, bringing in $34.7 million. And Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft was awarded $26.8 million for services including legal work helping the Treasury Department stabilize the auto industry.

The NLJ identified more than 1,200 firms and solo practitioners who were awarded part of the $391.4 million during the five fiscal years examined.

For the full report, including lists of the top 50 contractors and law firm contracts, see: “Under Contract: What the federal government spends on legal services.”

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