Elizabeth A. Ferrell

Elizabeth A. Ferrell

Partner - Washington, DC
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1900 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
TEL: 202.496.7544
FAX: 202.496.7756
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Elizabeth Ferrell has almost 30 years of experience representing clients in every aspect of federal procurement. She counsels clients on a wide variety of issues including performance disputes, claims, regulatory compliance, data rights, funding, teaming agreements, cost accounting and audit issues, cost and pricing data issues and False Claims Act matters. Additionally, she has litigated a broad range of disputes including contract terminations, prime and subcontractor requests for equitable adjustments, bid protests, and prime and subcontractor disputes.

Ms. Ferrell is Chair of the Firm’s Terminations and Contract Restructures Group and focuses her practice on engagements involving contract claims, terminations, restructures, and close-outs.  Ms. Ferrell has significant experience in developing effective strategies for addressing contract performance problems and taking steps to protect against a possible termination for default.  Where a default termination has occurred, Ms. Ferrell has been successful in obtaining the conversion of the termination to a termination for convenience, either through negotiation with the government or in litigation.  Ms. Ferrell also regularly represents clients in connection with partial and total terminations for convenience and close-outs after contract completion, including developing strategies for maximizing contractor recovery. 

Ms. Ferrell is experienced in counseling clients on the contractual limits of the government’s unilateral authority to change or restructure contracts, particularly as a result of budget cuts and funding constraints, and the risks created by these alterations to the contractual effort.  She provides legal advice and develops claims where clients have been impacted by budget-driven descoping or quantity reductions, production breaks, schedule stretch-outs, or other changes.

Ms. Ferrell leads McKenna, Long & Aldridge’s cross-practice Cybersecurity team, and counsels clients on cybersecurity legislative and regulatory developments, cybersecurity requirements for government contractors, the development of effective cybersecurity compliance programs and incident response plans, DoD’s pilot cybersecurity program for defense industrial base entities, and protecting the integrity of contractor supply chains.  Ms. Ferrell conducts internal investigations of cyber incidents, and defends contractors when threatened with government monetary claims or possible default termination arising from alleged failure to comply with cyber requirements or after a cyber incident.

Prior to joining McKenna Long & Aldridge, Ms. Ferrell chaired the national government contracts practice at another firm in the District. She served as law clerk to the Honorable Sol Blatt, Jr., United States District Court for the District of South Carolina from 1982 - 1984.

Notable Engagements

Representing a major aerospace contractor in the Court of Federal Claims against the United States challenging a default termination. The litigation has encompassed an unprecedented array of complex issues including: pre-contract assessment of and allocation of contract risk; contract interpretation and waiver of contract requirements and specifications; incremental funding and exhaustion of funds; prime and subcontractor requests for equitable adjustments; prime and subcontractor loss adjustments; defense of government claims; response to an extensive two-year government audit of incurred costs; superior knowledge; state secrets privilege; alternative dispute resolution; and disposition of government property.

Successfully litigating an indemnification claim against the Corps of Engineers relating to the operation of a hydroelectric facility.  The ASBCA awarded the client $234 million on its indemnification claim, plus interest totaling over $100 million.   

Counseled a major defense contractor after a major helicopter program was terminated for convenience. Representation included counseling and client training on preparation and negotiation of a termination for convenience claim and development of a strategy for resolving hundreds of subcontractor claims.

Successfully represented a communications company in Court of Federal Claims and Federal Circuit litigation in connection with breach of contract claims against the U.S. Government. These claims sought multi-million dollar damages for NASA's decision, in the wake of the Challenger disaster, not to proceed with the scheduled launch of a commercial satellite. This was a landmark case that established that the government's action in removing commercial satellites from the shuttle launch manifest was a breach of contract and a sovereign act.

Successfully protested in U.S. District Court, Health Care Finance Administration's contract award for maintenance and enhancement of the Government's Medicare file system as contrary to the evaluation criteria set forth in the solicitation.


Bar Admissions

Court Admissions


Seminars and Presentations:

  • Panelist, “The New Guidance on Cybersecurity Acquisition—What Contracting Professionals Need to Learn Now,” Coalition for Government Procurement Briefing, May 22, 2014.
  • Panelist, “Combatting the Threat,” AFEI Cyberwest, the Southwest Cybersecurity Summit, May 13, 2014.
  • Moderator, "The NIST Cybersecurity Framework:  Getting from Point A to Point B using NIST’s Roadmap for Managing Cyber Risks," ABA Section of Science & Technology Law’s Homeland Security Committee and the Public Contracts Law Section Cybersecurity, Privacy & Data Protection Committee, March 10, 2014.
  • “Performance Problems,” West Government Contracts Year in Review Conference, February 19, 2014.
  • “Health Insurance Exchange/Marketplace Privacy and Security Issues,” Twenty Second National HIPAA Summit, Washington, DC, February 6, 2014.
  • Moderator, "Scared Straight: Why Legal Practitioners Should Care About Cybersecurity," Board of Contract Appeals Bar Association Annual Program, December 18, 2013.
  • Co-presenter, "Cybersecurity: Protecting Your Campus," American Council on Education, November 18, 2013.
  • Panelist, "Government Contracts: Does Uncle Sam Still Want You?"  NLJ Regulatory Summit, Washington, DC, November 13, 2013.
  • Co-presenter, "Government Shutdown Q & A: Navigating in Uncharted Waters," Public Contracting Institute, October 15, 2013.
  • Co-presenter, "Hacking and Cyber Espionage: Prophylactic and Post-Breach Concerns for In-House Counsel," Association of Corporate Counsel, San Diego, CA, September 19, 2013.
  • Panelist, “Remotely Flying the Friendly Skies: Navigating Tort Liability for Manufacturers and Operators of UAV’s in Domestic Airspace,” AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2013, August 13, 2013.
  • Moderator, "How Hackers Crack your IT Networks & Steal your Secrets:  Perspectives from Penetration and Forensics Experts on Cybersecurity," ABA Public Contracts Law Section Cybersecurity, Privacy and Data Protection Committee, July 16, 2013. 
  • "Identifying and Mitigating Cybersecurity Risks," San Diego, June 3, 2013.
  • "The Fiscal Cliff & Sequestration: The Short and Long Term Impacts on Federal Contractors," MAPI Government Contracts Council, April 25, 2013.
  • "The Changing Landscape of Cyber Risks and Opportunities," McKenna Long & Aldridge 2013 Annual Government Contracts Briefing, April 23, 2013.
  • Panelist, “Executive Briefing: Navigating Federal Contracting in the New Budget World,” Bloomberg  Government, April 18, 2013.
  • “Sequestration Survival - What's Next?” GOV CON Briefing, Atlanta, April 3, 2013.
  • "Performance Issues - Good Faith & Fair Dealing and Statute of Limitations," Nash and Schooner Webinar Series, March 28, 2013
  • “The Trifecta of Fiscal Problems & Implications for Government Contractors," Public Contracting Institute, March 4, 2013.
  • "Performance Problems," West Government Contracts Year in Review Conference, February 20, 2013.
  • Panelist, "The Most Important Government Contracts Related Decision of 2012," ABA PCLS Contract Claims and Disputes Resolution Committee, December 15, 2012 and January 23, 2013.
  • "Cyber Warfare & Cybercrimes: Preparing for the Threat," NCMA, Tysons Chapter, November 27, 2012. 
  • “The Budget Control Act of 2011: Preparing for Sequestration,” Berger Group Holdings, Inc., Annual Management Meeting, October 25, 2012. 
  • Panelist, “Budget Outlook and Sequestration: Potential Impacts on Agency Missions and Contractor Support,” Coalition for Government Procurement, Fall Training Conference, October 24, 2012.
  • Panelist, “The Potential Impact of Sequestration on the Non-Defense Federal Agencies,” TechAmerica, October 22, 2012.
  • “Preparing for Sequestration,” Hill & Knowlton, October 19, 2012.
  • “Proposed Rule on Safeguarding Contractor Information Systems,” Coalition for Government Procurement, October 10, 2012.
  •  "Impact of Sequestration on Health Care Budgets,” MLA/Capitol Street Heath Policy Conference, October 3, 2012.
  • “Sequestration Implications—How to Prepare for Looming Budget Cuts,” Manufacturers Alliance (MAPI), September 27, 2012.
  • “Surviving Sequestration: Preparing for the Impact on Procurements,” NDIA Denver Chapter, September 19, 2012.
  • "Navigating Sequestration in the New Era of Fiscal Austerity,” McKenna Long & Aldridge client webinar, July 31, 2012.
  • “The Impending Fiscal Challenges of Sequestration,” TechAmerica, July 17, 2012.
  • “Navigating the New Era of Procurement Austerity,” American Logistics Association, 2012 Congressional Caucus & Public Policy Forum, June 19, 2012.
  • Panelist, “How the Continuing Budget Crisis Will Impact Government Contractors: The Private Bar’s Perspective,” BCA Judges Association Annual Seminar, April 18, 2012.
  • “Cybersecurity: Risks and Opportunities,”  McKenna Long & Aldridge 2012 Annual Government Contracts Briefing, April 17, 2012.
  • “Dollars and Sense: Procurement  In An Era Of  Fiscal Uncertainty,” NCMA Aerospace & Defense Conference, March 23, 1012.
  • "Performance Problems," West Government Contracts Year in Review Conference, February 22, 2012.
  • "Impact of Budget Cuts on Government Contractors: Real Estate Investors Feel the Heat," Colliers International, February 14, 2012.
  • "The Continuing Budget Crisis: How the Super Committee’s Failure Will Impact Government Contractors," NCMA Free State Chapter, January 18, 2012.
  • "The New Age of Procurement Austerity: Implications of the Budget Control Act and Sequestration," BNA, January 12, 2012.
  • Moderator, "What's Next for Contractors in Iraq?" NDIA Legal Committee Meeting, November 16, 2011.
  • "Impact of Budget Cuts and Sequestration on Government Contractors," Government Technology & Services Coalition, November 9, 2011.
  • "Strategies to Prepare for Looming Federal Budget Cuts," Manufacturers Alliance Government Contracts Council (MAPI) Fall 2011 Meeting, November 3, 2011.
  • "The Debt Control Initiative: What it Means for Contractors," National Contract Management Association, October 26, 2011.
  • "The New Age of Procurement Austerity: Preparing for More Budget Cuts and Sequestration," Public Contracting Institute, October 25, 2011.
  • "The Budget Control Act of 2011:  Impact of Budget Cuts and Sequestration on Procurements," TechAmerica, October 10, 2011.
  • "Major Legislative and Regulatory Trends," PLI's Government Contracts 2011, September 14, 2011.
  • "The Debt Ceiling Crisis," TechAmerica, July 21, 2011.
  • "Weathering the Storm: How Contractors Can Prepare for Upcoming Budget Cuts," National Contract Management Association, May 26, 2011.
  • "Weathering the Storm: How Contractors Can Prepare for Upcoming Budget Cuts," National Contract Management Association, Executive Briefing Series, May 25, 2011.
  • "How Upcoming Budget Cuts Will Impact Government Contractors," TechAmerica, May 17, 2011.
  • "The Looming Budget Crisis: What Contractors Can Expect," Federal Publications, April 28, 2011.
  • “2011 Budget Cuts and Funding Shortfalls: The Implications for Government Contractors,” Public Contracting Institute, April 21, 2011.
  • "The Looming Government Shutdown: Where We Stand and What Should Contractors Do?" TechAmerica, April 7, 2011.
  • "What a Government Shutdown Means for Contractors," Coalition for Government Procurement Spring Conference, March 17, 2011.
  • "Effects of a Government Shutdown: How Should Contractors Prepare?" Public Contracting Institute, March 15, 2011.
  • “Implications of a Government Shutdown for Government Contractors,” National Contract Management Association,” March 2, 2011.
  • “Government Contractors and the Impact of a Government Shutdown,” TechAmerica, March 2, 2011.
  • "Performance Problems," West Government Contracts Year in Review Conference, February, 2011.
  • "Looking Ahead: Government Procurement Contracting Updates From the Obama Administration," National Contract Management Association-Huntsville, March 10, 2010.