Michael E. Barnicle


  • Michael E. Barnicle
  • Phone: +1 312 499 6727
    Fax: +1 312 896 5652

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  • Duane Morris LLP
    190 South LaSalle Street, Suite 3700
    Chicago, IL 60603-3433
  • Duane Morris LLP
    505 9th Street, N.W., Suite 1000
    Washington, DC 20004-2166

Michael E. Barnicle is the Chair of the firm's Government Contracts and International Trade Group and serves as a team lead for the Duane Morris Transportation, Automotive and Logistics industry group. Mr. Barnicle provides a full range of litigation, compliance and corporate transactional services on virtually every facet of government contracting and international trade including industrial security and cybersecurity matters.

Mr. Barnicle represents federal government contractors relative to aerospace, national defense, homeland security, cybersecurity, information security, legislative affairs, foreign military sales and international trade matters. 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.

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. Mr. Barnicle handles complex, high-stakes bid protests and contract appeals cases. 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.

Federal government agencies routinely ask Mr. Barnicle to speak at internal government conferences regarding industry perspectives relative to various aspects of federal government contracting. 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. 

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

  • Government Contracts Counseling and Compliance: Proposal development, contract formation, contract administration, subcontracting, government audits and investigations, cybersecurity/information security, industrial security/classified contracting, cost accounting, procurement fraud (suspension and debarment), Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) intellectual property and data protection rights, capital markets transactions, mergers and acquisitions, assignment and novation, regulatory issues, foreign military sales and more.
  • Government Contracts Claims 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

  • Cybersecurity and Information Security Counseling and Compliance: Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) and Special Publications.
  • 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.

  • International Trade: Export controls (EAR and ITAR), trade and economic sanctions (OFAC), anti-boycott controls, licensing, enforcement actions and governmental audits, internal investigations and compliance audits, disclosures, classification, encryption, compliance due diligence in mergers and acquisitions and other cross-border transactions, and on the design, implementation, and administration of compliance programs.
  • 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

    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

  • 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.
  • 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

  • Regularly advises on self-disclosure requirement and conducts assessment relative to FAR 52.203-13 (the Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct) to prevent suspension and debarment actions.
  • 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 developing DFAR 252.204-7012 solutions, System Security Plans (SSP), Plans of Action and Milestone (POAM) and other information assurance requirements.
  • 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 Foreign Ownership, Control or Influence (FOCI) mitigation strategy that includes the formation and administration of Special Security Agreements (SSAs) and Affiliated Operations Plans (AOP). Such matters include working in close coordination with, and providing legal counsel to Facility Security Officers (FSO).
  • 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 and Board Memberships

  • Co-Founder, the John Marshall Law School Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic in Chicago.
  • John Marshall Law School Veterans Legal Support Center Advisory Board
  • University of Kansas, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board
  • 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.
  • Developed Veterans Cultural Competence and Infinity Programs for clients.
  • Mr. Barnicle also regularly assists veterans transition from active duty military to civilian life and the civilian workforce.
  • Co-Leader, National Veterans Legal Clinic Coalition (2015-2016)
  • Planner, American Bar Association National Legal Network for Military and Veterans, Their Families and Caregivers (2015-2016)
  • Chicago Council of 100

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

  • Recipient, Lawyer Network Annual Award for Cybersecurity Expert of the Year in Illinois, 2021
  • Named to The National Law Journal’s 2020 list of Washington D.C. Trailblazers, 2020
  • "Best in Litigation: Trial Lawyer" Rising Star by Euromoney Legal Media Group, 2019

  • Leading Lawyers' Emerging Lawyer in the Commercial Litigation and the Federal Regulatory Law categories for 2015-2020 (top 2% of attorneys younger than 40 years old)

  • Featured Pro Bono Leader, Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation 2018
  • 2016 Hawks to Watch, University of Kansas (top graduates excelling in their professions that attended the university within the past 15 years)
  • 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.

Selected Publications

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, "Practicing Before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA)," US Army Judge Advocate Officer Graduate Course, April  2020
  • Speaker, “Civil Litigation,” Contract Attorneys Course, US Army JAG School, 2020
  • Speaker, “Contractor’s Perspective,” Contract Attorneys Course, US Army JAG School, 2019
  • Speaker, “Federal Litigation and Industry Viewpoint,” Joint Conference of VA Procurement and Real Property Counsel, Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, 2019
  • 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