Ward and Smith, P.A.'s Government Relations Practice Group assists clients with a variety of government concerns and issues. The group provides legal services in three principal areas: assisting clients with Congressional, legislative, and government agency matters; handling all aspects of government contracts; and representing government entities. In providing these services, our attorneys have the benefit of personal experience in elected and appointed offices; in senior positions in local, state, and federal government; and on corporate boards. As a practice group, the team represents businesses, trade associations, nonprofit organizations, government entities, political action committees, and individuals at the local, state, national, and international levels.
Members of the Government Relations Practice Group participate in legislative lobbying and agency actions at all levels. Through a variety of professional experiences, our attorneys have developed a knowledge and understanding of the personalities and practical workings of the legislative and regulatory processes and the agencies involved in those processes. The practice group has lobbied for complex legislation and has participated in drafting bills and legislation in Congress and at the North Carolina General Assembly. The practice group also supports clients in dealing with regulatory agencies and military commands and with obtaining assistance from their elected officials.
The attorneys of the Government Relations Practice Group are proven problem-solvers, seeking to settle conflicts through discussions and by making the right contacts, rather than through dispute. Our attorneys not only draw on the experience of other attorneys in the Firm such as those in the Business, Construction, Environmental, and Litigation Practice Groups, but also build strong working relationships with government officials and use a network of attorneys, government officials, and interest groups to get the job done. As one practice group attorney observes, "Sometimes 10 minutes of conversation with the right person is worth an hour of research."
One of our clients owned more than 10,000 acres adjacent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and wished to sell the property to the U.S. Government. Our attorneys assisted the family in negotiating the terms of sale and obtaining the necessary appropriation from Congress to close the transaction. Our attorneys worked closely with Congress, the Department of Defense, and the Army Corps of Engineers to complete the multi-million dollar sale.
The Government Relations Practice Group also assists clients in procuring, negotiating, and administering government contracts. The practice group advises clients on federal and state acquisition regulations; works with general contractors and their subcontractors on government contracts; assists in resolving disputes; and, when necessary, in contract terminations and bid protests. The practice group employs a broad and flexible strategy to achieve efficient and effective results.
Ward and Smith represents a major banking institution that operates ATM facilities under government contract on military bases. When the Department of Defense proposed a rule that would eliminate the ability of the client to offer ATMs on military bases, our attorneys worked with Congress and the Department of Defense to revisit the proposed rule, which was subsequently withdrawn.
The Government Relations Practice Group also represents government entities and agencies, including municipalities, public housing authorities, economic development entities, regional water and sewer authorities, state agencies, and boards and commissions formed by the state government. The practice group provides a range of services, including acting as city and board attorneys; counseling governments on planning, land use, and development issues; drafting contracts and inter-governmental agreements; drafting ordinances and policies; providing representation on public policy issues; dealing with matters of procurement, environmental regulations, government mandates, and disbursement of government funds; and assisting local authorities and municipalities on compliance with state and federal laws.
Following the proposal in 2005 to realign or close military bases, the State of North Carolina called on Ward and Smith to organize and lead a team of public officials to counter the military base closings. The team gained support from Congress and city and county governments to oppose closure or realignment of any military assets in North Carolina. Our attorneys appeared before the Base Closure and Realignment Commission, organized government officials to testify on behalf of the State, and submitted written comments and briefs. The State lost no military assets in 2005.
Attorneys in the Government Relations Practice Group bring a range of complementary experience including the following: legal advisor to a number of major North Carolina companies; Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army (the attorney brings extensive contacts around the world); presidential appointment to serve as the Secretary of Defense's representative to the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe; senior policy advisor and chief of staff to the late U.S. Senator Terry Sanford; member of commissions and boards of the state government, the University of North Carolina system, the state Military Affairs Commission, and private business and nonprofit enterprises; a local elected official; a member of the North Carolina World Trade Association; member of boards of for-profit, nonprofit, and educational institutions; chairman of the board of a legal foundation; and member of a business commission.
In summary, Ward and Smith has one of the most effective and successful practice groups of its kind in the State of North Carolina. If your legal needs include the government, the Government Relations Practice Group stands ready and able to assist.