Michael R. Rizzo

Michael R. Rizzo

Partner - Los Angeles
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300 South Grand Avenue
14th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071
TEL: 213.243.6193
FAX: 213.243.6330
Washington, DC
1900 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
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Michael R. Rizzo leads our Firm's Government Contracts practice on the West Coast. He works with clients to resolve contract disputes in both the public and private sectors. In these endeavors, Mr. Rizzo represents defense contractors, design/build firms, and companies in the transportation and information technology industries who perform federal, state government, local government, and private contracts. 

Mr. Rizzo has 20 years of experience in resolving termination disputes at the federal, state and local government levels. Mr. Rizzo has prepared and litigated successful claims against the Departments of Defense, Energy and NASA for contract changes, defective specifications and delay and disruption arising from the government's administration of major weapon systems and infrastructure contracts. He frequently represents clients under investigation for alleged quality assurance and pricing improprieties and is experienced in developing and managing internal investigations. Mr. Rizzo has served as lead counsel in defending lawsuits filed under the Civil False Claims. 

Mr. Rizzo counsels clients on a variety of federal and state/local government contracts issues, including proposal preparation, TINA, suspension and debarment and cost accounting. He also develops corporate compliance systems which meet both state and federal regulatory requirements.

Mr. Rizzo has been named to the 2013 BTI Client Service All-Star Team for Law Firms.  In this listing, he is recognized as one of the 300 lawyers, nationwide, that BTI identified as a leader in client service based on input and voting by participating corporate counsel. 

Notable Engagements

Mr. Rizzo successfully resolved an eight figure Contract Disputes Act claim arising out of a design-build firm's performance of infrastructure task orders in the Iraq reconstruction effort.

Mr. Rizzo successfully resolved what are believed to be the two largest terminations for default stemming from the Iraq reconstruction effort, obtaining terminations for convenience on behalf of his client.

Mr. Rizzo obtained a judgment in his client's favor in an information technology protest of a solicitation exceeding $300 million under California's Alternate Pilot Protest Program.

Mr. Rizzo has favorably resolved, as lead counsel, recent inquiries into whether his clients should be suspended or debarred, demonstrating their present responsibility and compliance with revised internal controls that Mr. Rizzo formulated.

Mr. Rizzo served on MLA's teams that successfully resolved two of the nation's largest major weapon system terminations and that prevailed in Civil False Claims Act matters before the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court. 


Bar Admissions

Court Admissions


  • "Contract Performance," Federal Publications Seminars, Western Briefing Conference: A Review and Outlook,  December 2012 
  • "Government Contract Disputes, 2010 - 2011 ed., Chapter 17, Subcontractor Disputes," West Publications, November 2010
  • "California Public Procurement Handbook, 2010–2011 ed.," West Publications, November 2010 (with J. Burkholder)
  • "Health Care Exchange, Breaking New Ground," Daily Journal, October 19, 2010 (with F. Micciche)
  • "Erosion of the Sovereign Acts Doctrine?  How Recent Winstar and Spent Nuclear Fuel Litigation Impacts Government Contractors," The Procurement Lawyer, Vol. 42,  No. 3 Spring 2007 (with V. Gomez)
  • "Performance Problems," West Publications Year In Review, February 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 (with T. Abbott or S. Dees and F. Levy)
  • "Contract Performance," Federal Publications Seminars, Western Briefing Conference: A Review and Outlook,  December 2010 and 2009 (with T. Abbott)
  • "Administrative Remedies Aimed at Combating Procurement Fraud - Suspension and Debarment," Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, January 2005
  • "Limitation of Liabilty Case Study," Federal Publications Seminars: 40th Western Briefing Conference on Government Contracts, October 1999 (with J. Gallagher)

Seminars and Presentations:

  • "Contract Performance," Federal Publications Seminars: 2013 Western Briefing Conference: A Review and Outlook, Long Beach, CA (December 5, 2013)
  • "Self-Governance—A Discussion on Ethics & Compliance in Aerospace & Defense,"  NCMA Aerospace & Defense Training Forum 2013, San Diego, CA (March 14, 2013)
  • "Contract Performance," Federal Publications Seminars: 2012 Western Briefing Conference: A Review and Outlook, Long Beach, CA (December 6, 2012)
  • "Understanding Mandatory Flowdowns & Tailoring Subcontract Clauses to Mitigate Risk," Public Contracting Institute, Webinar (May and December 2012)
  • "Contractor/Subcontract Flow-Downs and Negotiation of Subcontractor Terms & Conditions," NCMA, South Bay Chapter (January 2012)
  • "Recent Developments in State and Local Government Procurement,"  ABA's Section on Public Contract Law 6th Annual State and Local Procurement Symposium, Sacramento, CA (May 2011)
  • "Contract Performance," Federal Publications Seminars: 2010 Western Briefing Conference: A Review and Outlook, Long Beach, CA (December 1, 2010)
  • "Strings Attached to Federal Stimulus Funding," CLE Construction Law Conference, San Francisco, CA (March 4-5, 2010)
  • "Performance Problems," Federal Publications Seminars: 2009 Government Contracting Review & 2010 Outlook conference, Los Angeles, CA (December 2, 2009)
  • "The Pendulum Swings Back: Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009," NCMA, South Bay Chapter (June 9, 2009)
  • "Contract Claims/Equitable Adjustments," NCMA, Los Angeles, CA (June 29, 2007)
  • "Teaming to Bid on Large Projects:  A Legal and Practical Perspective," Association of Language Companies Annual Meeting, Pasadena, CA (June 18, 2005)
  • "Conducting the Effective Voluntary Disclosure," NCMA San Fernando Valley Chapter (February 17, 2005)
  • "Organizational Conflicts of Interest," NCMA South Bay Chapter, January 18, 2005 (with K. Slattum)
  • "Handling the CID, Federal Agents, Suspension and Debarment,"  Construction Superconference, December 8, 2000
  • "How Changing Paradigms Within Client Companies are Changing Expectations for Lawyers," American Management Association, San Francisco, CA, November 7, 2000
  • "Government versus Commercial Contracts...Are They Really That Different?" "War Stories and Practical Guidance, Government Criminal Investigations"