The attorneys in Ogletree Deakins’ Defense Contracting Industry Practice Group recognize the unique labor and employment legal challenges facing clients in the defense industry. We regularly advise many of the largest defense contractors on emerging compliance issues and defend their interests in judicial and administrative proceedings across the country. Whether it is advising on compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act in the face of federal sequestration, responding to a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) investigation alleging wage and hour violations, dealing with union threats and relationships, assessing the extraterritorial reach of U.S. employment requirements in Iraq or Afghanistan, or defending against a potential False Claims Act and qui tam action, attorneys at Ogletree Deakins understand that when the United States is your primary customer, your company is subject to significant public scrutiny, and the risks can be much greater than the immediate legal issue might suggest. This inherent complexity informs our judgment in developing and presenting creative and successful legal advice and solutions.

We also recognize that many defense contractors consist of multiple business units, sometimes with each business unit having separate leadership, product lines, policies, and a unique culture. A legal approach for one business unit may not be appropriate for another business unit. As a result, when we are retained by a new business unit of a client that is a defense contractor, we invest our time to learn that unit’s business so that our legal assistance and solutions are consistent with that unit’s goals. We also appreciate the increasing cost pressures defense contractors face with changing national priorities and are committed to partnering with them to find cost-effective solutions to their legal challenges.

Employment Law Advice and Advocacy

With some of our defense contractor clients employing in excess of 100,000 employees, we are called upon regularly to assist on all aspects of employment law. Specific areas include:

Affirmative Action and OFCCP Compliance

OFCCP is often a critical compliance challenge for defense contractors. Ogletree Deakins attorneys are involved with OFCCP offices throughout the United States on an almost-daily basis and have developed professional and personal working relationships with many OFCCP managers and staff members, as well as DOL solicitors.

Our affirmative action compliance services and experience include:
Traditional Labor

Ogletree Deakins attorneys have substantial experience addressing traditional labor matters for our defense contractor clients. The attorneys in our Traditional Labor Relations Practice Group have broad experience with all major unions operating in the defense industry throughout the country. We handle the full range of labor challenges that our clients face, whether they are union-free and seeking to remain so or unionized and engaging in collective bargaining, labor arbitrations, unfair labor practice litigation, strikes, and corporate campaigns.

Our experience helping defense contractor clients remain union-free includes:
Our labor lawyers also have considerable experience advocating for our defense contractor clients in unionized settings. This experience includes:
Workplace Safety and Health

Violations alleged by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), OSHA-approved state plans, and similar agencies raise unique issues for defense contractors. The safety and compliance records of defense contractors often undergo special scrutiny, and executive orders requiring this level of scrutiny are increasingly common. Ogletree Deakins has one of the largest and most sophisticated workplace safety practices in the United States, and our attorneys routinely assist defense contractors in managing their OSHA liability.

Employee Benefits

Our Defense Contracting Industry Practice Group also has impressive experience providing benefits advice and counsel. Our attorneys guide defense contractors through the complex benefit compliance regimes they face with confidence. We keep our clients up-to-date with new developments, assist them in developing and administering health and welfare benefit plans, and provide the tools they need to comply with myriad federal and state statutory and regulatory schemes, including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).


With more immigration attorneys than almost any other firm in the United States, Ogletree Deakins provides defense contractor clients with considerable assistance that goes above and beyond visa and Form I-9 application and advice work. We are familiar with the particular immigration challenges that defense contractors often face, especially with respect to positions that require security clearances.


Recognizing our defense contractor clients’ pressing need to control and predict costs, and given the complex legal challenges they face on a regular basis, Ogletree Deakins has become a leader in tailoring alternative fee arrangements. We routinely structure fee arrangements to meet our clients’ needs through fixed fee, capped fee, or portfolio engagements. We are committed to partnering with our defense contractor clients to achieve cost effective results.

Group Insights