Michael E. Barnicle


Michael E. Barnicle is a government contracts trial lawyer who  represents federal government contractors relative to aerospace, national defense, homeland security, cybersecurity, information security, legislative affairs, foreign military sales and international trade matters. He serves as a team lead for the Duane Morris Transportation/Automotive industry group.

After law school and prior to joining Duane Morris, Mr. Barnicle served as a government contracts attorney in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps that included a combat tour in Iraq as a strategic legal advisor to senior military and other government officials.  Due to his government-military experience, Mr. Barnicle possesses unique insight into the complex government contracting and acquisition processes that allows him to anticipate issues, assess litigation risk and develop practical solutions.

Mr. Barnicle's experience includes assisting clients with all aspects of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), contract-related statutes and federal agency policies involving services and supplies vital to national defense and infrastructure. He assists clients throughout the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Mr. Barnicle is recurrently called upon to advise upon matters arising in conflict and disaster areas.

On any given day, Mr. Barnicle advises upon, conducts and manages complex, multimillion-dollar contract cases before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the US Court of Federal Claims, and the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Mr. Barnicle also represents government contractors before federal agencies and various federal district courts throughout the country. 

Mr. Barnicle also oversees and implements various government contract compliance audits, systems and investigations. Specifically, he provides insight and advice regarding compliance issue that may arise from the False Claims Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and various federal ethics regulations. In addition, Mr. Barnicle assists clients with cybersecurity and information security compliance matters as it relates to the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) and Special Publications.

Mr. Barnicle is also very active in, and provides pro bono services to, the military veterans community. In 2007, he co-founded the John Marshall Law School Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic in Chicago. Mr. Barnicle’s recent significant pro bono victories include the reversal of a very complex debt action brought by the U.S. Navy that is now the model for similar cases, and he also participated in the firm’s Kingdomware case before the US Supreme Court that utilized both his military experience and government contracts background in a major victory for veteran-owned small businesses. Mr. Barnicle also regularly assists veterans transition from active duty military to civilian life and the civilian workforce.

Prior to earning his J.D. in 2008 from the John Marshall Law School, Mr. Barnicle graduated with a B.A. in Political Science, with distinction, in 2004 from the University of Kansas.  Mr. Barnicle also studied numerous government contracting and national security matters at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's School in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Areas of Practice

  • Bid Protests: Requests for proposals, requests for quotations, past performance evaluations, solicitation ambiguities, cost/price evaluations, meaningful discussions, technical evaluations, sole source determinations, Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) performance stays and overrides, organizational conflicts of interest and unduly restrictive statements of work.

  • Government Contracts Law and Litigation: Contract claims and appeals, suspension and debarment, obtaining contract payment, non-appropriated fund activities, requests for equitable adjustment (REA), contract modifications and extensions, regulatory compliance, research and development agreements, indefinite delivery – indefinite quantity (IDIQ) award and order issues, engineering and procurement agreements, basic ordering agreement issues (BOA), false claims, security cooperation, changes in work or scope, grants, cooperative agreements and subcontractor claims

  • Construction Law and Litigation: Protests, claims, project delay/acceleration, environmental compliance, design and fabrication, geotechnical reports, earth moving, construction/direct contract change orders, differing site conditions, defective specifications or drawings, international projects and foreign military sales

  • Procurement and Appropriations Law: Antideficiency Act, government appropriations, national defense authorization acts, public private partnerships, Economy Act transactions, property disposition and transfer, federal funding types and sources, funding limits, continuing resolutions and the use of appropriated/non-appropriated funds

Representative Matters

  • Represents subcontractor in breach of contract dispute with prime contract in federal district court.
  • Represents prime contractor in defense of construction design change claims.
  • Represents prime contractors regarding implied government contract claim in federal court.
  • Represents numerous prime contractors in ongoing contract negotiations with various federal agencies throughout the U.S. to resolve disputes and avoid litigation.
  • Bid Protests

  • Won a bid protest challenging the government's past performance, technical and cost-realism evaluations concerning executive administrative services.
  • Won a bid protest challenging the government's technical evaluation concerning explosive bomb containment vessels.
  • Won a bid protest challenging the government's technical evaluation of proposed staffing plans relative to medical support services.
  • Won a bid protest challenging the government's past performance, technical and cost-realism evaluations regarding combat simulators.
  • Won a bid protest challenging the government's evaluation of an environmental remediation services proposal’s technical capability.
  • Won a bid protest challenging the government's past performance and cost-realism evaluations relative to security services contract.
  • Won a bid protest challenging the government's staffing evaluation, past performance evaluation and compliance with contract related statutes concerning administrative support contract.
  • Won a bid protest challenging the government's past performance, technical and price evaluations concerning large machinery equipment purchase.
  • Contract Litigation

  • Won a dismissal motion in the federal court challenging the sufficiency of a breach of contract complaint resulting in two of three counts being dismissed and requiring the plaintiff to re-file its third count that will save considerable client time and money.
  • Won over 10 Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals and Court of Federal Claims contract appeal cases through dispositive motions that resolved all issues while saving the client the time and expense of full litigation.
  • Negotiated numerous prime contract settlement agreements involving government contracts valued in excess of $250,000,000 with terms that the clients found very favorable and that avoided further litigation costs.
  • Construction Projects

  • Numerous projects involving government mandated force protection drawing and specifications.
  • Foreign military sales contract for the construction of schools in Saudi Arabia.
  • Construction and design of nuclear reactors.
  • Construction of military barracks in North Carolina.
  • Construction and design of Air Force plane hangars with blast specifications.
  • Construction of U.S. embassy.
  • Construction of large military training centers in Ohio and Georgia.
  • Suspension and Debarment

  • Successfully overturned U.S. Army proposed debarment of major international biotechnical firm that restored the client to full contract eligibility.
  • Successfully overturned U.S. Navy proposed debarment of personnel relating to the mandatory disclosure of a major national defense aerospace contractor.
  • Cybersecurity, Information Security, and National Security

  • Assists clients with the implementation of cybersecurity and information security safeguarding processes to protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), Covered Defense Information (CDI), and Sensitive Security Information (SSI).
  • Assists clients with administering government contracts and programs in accordance with Defense Security Service (DSS) guidelines and the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM) requirements including the creation of tailored Security Practice Procedures (SPPs).
  • Assists clients with developing compliance programs aimed at meeting the requirements set forth in Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21): Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience and the Department of Homeland Security applicable requirements across critical infrastructure sectors with a focus on the Defense Industrial Base (DIB), Transportation, and Energy Sectors.
  • Conducts internal investigations, advises upon, and provides gap assessments relative to DFARS 252.204-7012, NIST SP 800-171, NIST SP 800-53, NIST SP 800-60, NIST FIPS 199, and NIST FIPS 200.


  • Illinois
  • District of Columbia


  • The John Marshall Law School, J.D., 2008
  • University of Kansas, B.A., with distinction, 2004


  • Duane Morris LLP

    • Trial Attorney, 2014-present
  • U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps

    • Government Contracts Trial Attorney, Washington, D.C., 2012-2014
    • Government Contracts Attorney Advisor, Baghdad, Iraq, 2011
    • Government Contracts Attorney Advisor, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, 2009-2010
  • John Marshall Law School Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic

    • Co-Founder and Advisory Board Member, 2007-present
  • Judicial Extern to the Honorable Charles P. Kocoras, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Chicago, 2006

Pro Bono Activities

  • Co-Leader, National Veterans Legal Clinic Coalition
  • Planner, American Bar Association National Legal Network for Military and Veterans, Their Families and Caregivers
  • Chicago Council of 100
  • Board Member, John Marshall Law School Veterans Legal Support Center Advisory Board

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association, Public Contract Law Section

    • Military and Veterans Affairs Liaison (2015-present)
    • Vice Chair of the Construction Division (2014-2016)
  • Boards of Contract Appeals Bar Association, Member
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Member

Honors and Awards

  • IL Emerging Lawyer in the Commercial Litigation and the Federal Regulatory Law categories for 2015, 2016, and 2017 (top 2% of attorneys younger than 40 years old)

  • Honoree, 2016 Hawks to Watch, University of Kansas (top graduates excelling in their professions that attended the university within the past 15 years)
  • Selected as an Emerging Lawyer in Commercial Litigation and Federal Regulatory Law (top 2% of attorneys younger than 40 years old), Emerging Lawyers — Leading Lawyers, 2015
  • Recipient, Spirit Award, John Marshall Law School Board of Trustees, April 2013 (outstanding contributions to the legal and Illinois veteran communities)
  • Military medals and badges include, but not limited to, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, U.S. Army Parachutist Badge, German Parachutist Badge and Australian Parachutist Badge.

Board Memberships

  • John Marshall Law School Veterans Legal Support Center Advisory Board

  • University of Kansas, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board

Selected Publications

  • Duane Morris Government Contracts and Litigation Blog
  • “Construction Claims Before the Public Building Commission of Chicago,” Procurement Lawyer, ABA Public Contract Law Section, Spring 2016

  • Selected Contributor, Government Contract Law: The Deskbook for Procurement Professionals (4th ed., Section of Public Contract Law, American Bar Association, expected fall 2015)
  • Quoted in “Illinois Holds First Veteran Treatment Court Summit,” eNews Park Forst, May 15, 2015

  • Featured in “Jump Man,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, August 25, 2014

  • “Contract Claims Against the Government,” The Federal Lawyer, July 2013

  • “Military Service and the Law: VA Benefits,” Illinois Institute of Continuing Education, July 2009

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, “Perspectives from Private Industry,” New Developments Course, US Army JAG School, Charlottesville, IL, November 16, 2017

  • Speaker, “Public Private Partnerships (P3s),” ABA Annual Section of Public Contract Law Conference, Chicago, IL, August 1, 2015

  • Panelist, “Introduction to Fiscal Law: Why Fiscal Rules are Just as Important as the FAR,” ABA Section of Public Contract Law Seminar, Washington, D.C., May 20, 2015

  • Panelist, "The Veterans' Perspective — Best Practices for a Successful Transition to Private Practice," National Veteran Legal Career Fair, Washington, D.C., May 2, 2015
  • Moderator, JMLS National Veterans Conference, Clinic Proposal: Getting the Concept Approved Panel, September 26, 2014