In a noteworthy boost to the California contingent of its nationally recognized Government Contracts practice, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP has added three highly accomplished lawyers with extensive experience developing and executing ethics, compliance and corporate governance programs, both in-house and on behalf of the federal government. All three will be based in the firm’s Los Angeles office.
Joining McKenna as partners are Gary Chadick and Ariana Sarabia, and relocating to Los Angeles is Counsel Todd J. Canni.
For nearly 13 years, Mr. Chadick served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary at Rockwell Collins. His primary responsibilities included leading the Office of the General Counsel organization, which provided global ethics and legal compliance advice and services, leading the company’s ethics and ombudsman programs, and developing and implementing its anti-bribery and export/import compliance policies and practices. He was a trusted advisor to Rockwell Collins’ board of directors and senior management on various legal and ethics matters including implementing best corporate governance practices. Previously, Mr. Chadick was Assistant General Counsel and held other in-house positions for another major defense contractor, Litton Industries (1992-2001). He began his career as an associate at McKenna. In returning, Mr. Chadick will be a leader of the firm’s West Coast General Counsel practice and provide ethics and compliance advice and services to the firm’s global clients.
Ms. Sarabia joins McKenna from global construction firm Gilbane Federal (formerly, ITSI), where she served as Chief Counsel, Corporate Ethics & Compliance Officer, and Corporate Secretary. Her work largely focused on counseling Gilbane’s leadership and board on compliance and ethics matters across business units. Gilbane’s worldwide construction projects span both private and public sector work, including U.S. military bases and sensitive installations in remote locations, as well as large energy projects. Previously, Ms. Sarabia was Western Regional Counsel for another major construction contractor, MACTEC, and Environmental Counsel for a pulp and paper company, Potlatch Corporation. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Sarabia was an engineer in the aerospace industry.
Mr. Canni is relocating from McKenna’s DC office and brings with him a unique government contracts practice focused on traditional day-to-day counseling and performance disputes combined with a deep proficiency in developing/enhancing ethics and compliance programs, mandatory/voluntary disclosures, internal investigations, suspension/debarment inquiries, and litigation involving allegations of fraud, non-responsibility determinations, de facto debarment, and suspension/debarment. Mr. Canni has valuable insight into how the government investigates, litigates and prosecutes procurement-fraud related allegations and how agencies use suspension/debarment, from his prior positions in the Air Force, including Director, Suspension and Debarment Operations, Associate General Counsel, Assistant Deputy General Counsel (acting), and Air Force representative to the Interagency Suspension Debarment Committee. Mr. Canni co-chairs the ABA’s Debarment & Suspension Committee.
At McKenna, the three attorneys will work with regional and national companies on a full range of compliance, regulatory and governance matters. The Government Contracts group, with more than 70 attorneys and professional advisors, is widely regarded as one of the leading practices in the U.S., including a national Tier One ranking by Chambers USA.
McKenna lawyers hold leadership positions in more than 25 ABA committees and are active across all major industry organizations, including the National Defense Industry Association, Coalition for Government Procurement and National Contract Management Association. The firm has litigated more than 700 contractor disputes over the past 20 years, including more than 100 False Claims Act cases. Further description on the group can be found here.
“Providing strategic, high-level counseling to leading government contractors has long been a staple of our national stature as a firm,” said Michael Rizzo, McKenna’s California Executive Partner.
“The Western U.S. in particular remains a major hub for the contractor industry, with a new generation of entrepreneurial and venture capital-backed firms advancing alongside established players in aerospace, specialized technology, cybersecurity, biometrics and other areas. We are extremely fortunate to be simultaneously adding three very experienced, senior lawyers in Gary Chadick, Ariana Sarabia and Todd Canni. Their prominence and years of service within the contractor community will be an incredible value-add to the firm.”
Mr. Chadick commented: “This is a challenging time for businesses that rely heavily on government work. With federal budgets continuing to shrink, competition is greater than ever from non-U.S. players and niche providers. Enforcement has surged in many ways – to confront domestic and international bribery and corruption, financial misconduct and fraudulent behavior.
“I view this as a great time to return to private practice,” he added. “McKenna has one of the longest pedigrees of any law firm with a dedicated practice of servicing the needs of its government contractor clients – going back to the 1950s. I am excited at the opportunity to assist government contractors and commercial firms with navigating the regulatory and compliance landscape, and am especially pleased to be joining McKenna’s Los Angeles office alongside two distinguished and talented professionals, Ariana and Todd.”
McKenna and its legacy firm, Luce Forward, have served companies and families in California since 1873. Its Government Contracts practice remains a national titan after 60 years, serving clients from offices in Washington, DC, Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego and New York.
“Adding Gary, Ariana or Todd to our contractor group in Los Angeles is a significant development for our clients,” said McKenna Chairman Jeffrey Haidet. “Their combined industry experience and skill set is extraordinary and we’re confident their contributions will further expand our capability to serve both government-oriented and commercial companies in the Western region of the United States.”
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