Top development lawyers on 'reading between the lines' of oversight and compliance

Members of the U.S Agency for International Development team visits a project site in Burkina Faso. Photo by: US Mission to the United Nations Agencies in Rome / CC BY-ND

WASHINGTON — The legal landscape around development contracting can be tricky to navigate. U.S. global development implementers work in some of the world’s most challenging contexts, on behalf of a U.S. government client that has little tolerance for waste, fraud, or abuse of taxpayer dollars.

Development companies must ensure their operations are in compliance with the laws that govern U.S. government contracting, and they must know how to respond when legal issues do arise.

Devex spoke to three lawyers from a new firm that specializes in representing U.S. government contractors — and which has built a particular competency in the legal issues that tend to create conflict, risk, and liability for companies focused on global development. Nichols-Liu LLP opened its doors in Washington, DC earlier this year.

Robert Nichols, one of the founders, previously led the Government Contracts practice at Covington & Burling LLP and has represented some of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s largest implementing partners. Natalie Thingelstad served as USAID chief of compliance from 2010 to 2014, before joining Save the Children as a risk and compliance officer. Finally, Annie Kim served as a special agent for the Office of Inspector General for USAID and the U.S. Department of Energy.

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About the author

  • Igoe michael 1

    Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.