Rick Vacura is the founder and former Chair of the firm's Government Contracts & Public Procurement practice. Mr. Vacura is an experienced trial lawyer who has litigated cases involving major weapons and space systems, software development, communications systems, prime/subcontract disputes, bid protests, injunctive suits, procurement fraud, FOIA actions, and the Federal Tort Claims Act. He has in-depth experience conducting internal investigations involving false claims and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, and defending suspension and debarment actions.
Mr. Vacura regularly serves as the primary government contracts counsel and transactional attorney to clients that range from start-ups to major public companies, providing due diligence reviews for domestic and foreign acquisitions, drafting and negotiating teaming and joint venture agreements, counseling on novation and assignment issues, technical data and nondisclosure agreements, export control, small business, international anti-corruption, national security, and standard domestic and international solicitations and contract/subcontract terms and conditions.
Mr. Vacura has lectured and conducted seminars on a variety of federal procurement topics for eGov, Federal Publications, the Contract Services Association of America, the Council of Defense & Space Industry Associations, the National Contract Management Association and various Department of Defense organizations.
Mr. Vacura has held leadership positions in the American Bar Association's Public Contract Law Section, including the Contract Claims and Disputes Resolution Committee and the International Procurement Committee. He was named a Top Government Contracts Lawyer by the Washington Business Journal and is recommended as a leading lawyer by Chambers USA, Legal 500 US, and Best Lawyers in America.
Mr. Vacura entered private practice after serving as a major in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General's Department.
Represented Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation in a "reverse" Freedom of Information Act case, seeking to enjoin the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's release of confidential commercial pricing information related to the James Webb Space Telescope contract. The Court rejected NASA's arguments that release of the information would not cause competitive harm, and permanently enjoined NASA from releasing the information.
Represented Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) in defeating Sierra Nevada Corp's bid protest filed at GAO challenging NASA's $2.6 billion contract award for the development of a new spacecraft capable of replacing the Space Shuttle and transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
Represented DynCorp International in a successful post-award bid protest at GAO challenging the Department of State's improper discussions with offerors and subsequent award decision of a $131 million task order for life mission and support services in Afghanistan.
Represented SpaceX in defeating Blue Origin's challenging to the terms of a solicitation calling for leases of the LC-39A launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center, thereby paving the way for the client to be awarded a multi-year lease of the facility.
Represented SpaceX in successfully prosecuting a multi-billion dollar bid protest at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims negotiating a favorable settlement resolving the U.S. Air Force's unlawful failure to conduct full and open competition for national security satellite launch services.
Represented information technology reseller in securing a non-prosecution agreement and favorable settlement in the face of potential criminal and civil False Claims Act liability.
Represented General Services Administration Federal Supply Schedule contractor in investigating and defending against False Claims Act allegations by a relator in a qui tam action.
Represent a large multinational Fortune 500 company in an extensive internal investigation and in the DoD/DoJ Voluntary Disclosure Program related to contract noncompliance allegations and potentially involving False Claims Act violations and procurement fraud.
Represented a Japanese manufacturer of precision equipment in an internal investigation into allegations of violation of company rules and applicable U.S. export rules and regulations by the company's Singapore subsidiary. Obtained a favorable result for the client with respect to sanctions imposed by a U.S. government agency.
Mr. Vacura is named a Leading Lawyer in Government Contracts by Chambers USA (2008 – 2018), has been named to Best Lawyers in America (2013 – 2018), and a Client Choice Award winner. In 2018, he was recommended by Legal 500 US for government contracts. He has also been named a Top Government Contracts Lawyer by the Washington Business Journal, recognized in Who’s Who Legal 2016 for Public Procurement and was named a BTI Client Service All-Star MVP, nominated by clients and selected for consistent outstanding client service.
2018 Chambers USA listed Mr. Vacura as a leading lawyer: Richard Vacura is a longstanding figure in the government contracts market. He has a wealth of experience representing clients in the aerospace, defense and government services sectors. Sources describe him as "dignified, studious and very articulate."
2017 Chambers USA listed Mr. Vacura as a leading lawyer: Richard Vacura is regarded by sources as ‘a very strong lawyer’ and a ‘knowledgeable resource.’ Clients further describe him as ‘a levelheaded, calm and sound thinker.’ He is sought out by contractors in the defense, aerospace and IT industries to handle high-stakes litigation and internal investigations.
2016 Chambers USA listed Mr. Vacura as a leading lawyer: The “excellent” Richard Vacura of Morrison & Foerster LLP has deep experience in government contracts disputes and compliance matters. A source describes him as “very timely, very experienced and very knowledgeable,” while another comments: “He has always impressed me as a fine lawyer who represents his clients well.”
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