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Dawn E. Stern

Dawn E. Stern


Global Co-Chair, Government Contracting Sector


Dawn Stern co-chairs DLA Piper's Government Contracts practice.

Dawn Stern is a Chambers-rated government contracts attorney that focuses her practice on providing counselling and litigation representation on a range of government contract matters.

Dawn assists clients at all stages of litigation in bid protests and Contract Disputes Act matters before the United States Government Accountability Office, the Boards of Contract Appeals and the United States Court of Federal Claims. Dawn also supports clients in litigation matters in Federal and State court involving government contracts issues such as disputes between prime and subcontractors arising under government contracts, and in investigations related to government contracts including False Claims Act or other Inspector General matters.

In addition to her litigation expertise, Dawn counsels clients on a wide range of government contracts issues including navigating the compliance obligations of government contractors and negotiations of subcontracts. Dawn also has a specific focus on advising clients on cybersecurity obligations that are unique to government contractors and is rated in Band 1 by Chambers for her Government Contracts Cybersecurity expertise.

Chambers USA has recognized Dawn "for her proficiency in advising government contractors on complex issues of compliance relating to cybersecurity obligation" and because "she is well versed in handling contentious government contracting matters, including bid protests and contract disputes." Chambers has also quoted clients who acknowledge Dawn as "great strategically and a pleasure to work with," "extraordinarily talented. Her writing and research is superb," "think[ing] two or three steps ahead” and able to "make suggestions with awareness of possible implications."

Prior to joining DLA Piper, Dawn served as a Trial Attorney in the National Courts Section of the United States Department of Justice, Civil Division, where she defended the government in bid protest and Contract Disputes Act cases before the United States Court of Federal Claims and United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She also clerked for the Honorable James I. Cohn of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Dawn also serves as the Washington, DC Partner Representative for the firm's affinity group for women lawyers, the Leadership Alliance for Women (LAW).

Bar admissionsDistrict of ColumbiaFlorida
CourtsUnited States Court of Federal ClaimsSupreme Court of the United StatesUnited States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit


Representative Matters
  • Successfully defended against a bid protest filed by our client's former subcontractor resulting in the preservation of an award of a $38-million contract.
  • Successfully protested the Government's failure to conduct a reasonable best-value trade-off assessment resulting in the Government taking corrective action in a $50 million procurement.
  • Secured a preliminary injunction in district court in a dispute between a prime and subcontractor involving the misappropriate use of intellectual property exchanged during the performance of a government contract.
  • Successfully defended against two bid protests challenging a $170 million contract award to our client.
  • Conducted a cybersecurity assessment for a large commercial corporation in order to identify its government contracts cybersecurity compliance obligations and assess the company's receipt and creation of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) or other data requiring enhanced protections, and developed policies and trainings.
  • Served as a member of the firm's team that supported a leading technology company following a highly-publicized cybersecurity breach that impacted a number of its Government customers.
  • Reached a global resolution of six different claims under a Department of Defense contract involving approximately $100 million in government claims and $80 million in contractor claims which resulted in a substantial payment to our client.
  • Defended against a Government claim for disallowed costs of approximately $65 million.
  • J.D., George Washington University Law School 2005
    Order of the Coif
    High Honors
  • B.S., Psychology, University of Florida 2000
    Highest Honors


Chambers USA

  • Band 1, Government Contracts: Cybersecurity (2024)
  • Band 5, Nationwide Government Contracts (2023-2024)

The Legal 500 United States

  • Recommended, Government Contracts (2024)


  • Co-author, "Recent Government Contracts Cybersecurity Developments Demonstrate the Need for Enhanced Monitoring Now," Pratt's Government Contracting Law Report, May 2023
  • Into the Unknown: DoD’s long-awaited cybersecurity rule leaves critical questions unanswered, 5 October 2020
  • Co-contributor, Are pandemic-related contract changes compensable? Two recent, instructive cases, 4 June 2020
  • DoD’s new cybersecurity compliance program . . . What you need to know, 6 November 2019
  • Court finds that failure to comply with cybersecurity obligations can create False Claims Act liability, 20 May 2019
  • The future of DOD contracting, 1 April 2019
  • Contributor, "Court of Federal Claims: Jurisdiction, Practice, and Procedure," Bloomberg BNA, 2016 (Co-Authored chapter 32, "The Judgment Fund")
  • Contributor, ''Cybersecurity: 2015's top legal developments and what they mean for key sectors,'' February 11, 2016


  • Presenter, "Government Contracts: New FAR Rules on Cybersecurity and Supply Chains, AI Guidance," Stafford Webinars, (March 19, 2024)
  • Presenter, "Bid Protests," Pub K’s Government Contracts Annual Review 2024, (February 13, 2024)
  • Moderator, "Perspectives on the DHS Controlled Unclassified Information Protection Rule," ABA PCLS Cybersecurity Committee, (October 18, 2023)
  • Panelist, "CCDR Committee Meeting: Cost Claims in Government Contracts Disputes," (May 17, 2023)
  • Panelist, "Scope of Claim & Contracting Officer's Final Decision vs Scope of Government's Case," (February 16, 2022)
  • Panelist, "CMMC - New Government Requirements for Cybersecurity," (December 13, 2021) 
  • Moderator, "Government Contracts Implications of Cybersecurity Executive Order," ABA Public Contract Law Cybersecurity, Privacy and Data Protection Committee, (June 1, 2021)
  • Moderator/Presenter, "Contract Claims and Disputes Resolution," ABA Public Contract Law Section, (April 21, 2021)
  • Panelist, "Uniting Women in Cyber 2020 Symposium," Federal Publications Seminars, (October 28, 2020)
  • Panelist, "New False Claims Act Cases: Cybersecurity Requirements Expose Contractors to Liability," The George Washington University Law School, (November 14, 2019)
  • Panelist, "Cybersecurity Considerations in Bid Protests," ABA Public Contract Law Section, (November 5, 2019)
  • Moderator, "Agency Counsel Perspectives on Effective Protest Practice," ABA Public Contract Law Section, (February 19, 2019)
  • Panelist, "DoD Contracting: Key Developments and Trends," DLA Piper, (February 7, 2019)
  • Moderator, "Ask the Judges Panel," ABA Public Contract Law Section, Contract Claims and Disputes Resolution Committee, (May 9, 2018)
  • Moderator, The Use of Experts in Qui Tam Actions, Federal Bar Association Qui Tam Section Annual Conference, (February 27, 2018)
  • Panelist, ABA Public Contract Law Section, Bid Protest Committee, Washington, DC, (November 21, 2017)
  • Panelist, "Government Procurement Law Career Panel," The George Washington University Law School, (September 26, 2017)
  • Webinar Presenter, "Government Contracts 101: An Overview of U.S. Government Contracts for Non-Government Contracts Attorneys," Federal Bar Association and MyLawCLE, (March 2, 2017)
  • Panelist, "A Comparison of Bid Protest Regimes Throughout North America – US, Canada and Mexico," ABA Section of International Law, International Procurement Committee, Washington DC, (March 31, 2015)

Media Mentions

Clerk Experience

  • The Honorable James I. Cohn, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (2005 – 2007)

Civic and Charitable

  • Rockville Volunteer Fire Department Administrative Member (2012 – present) and Golf Tournament Co-Chair (2012 – 2015)

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Law360 Advisory Board 2024 [Government Contracting]
  • Vice Chair for the ABA Public Contract Law Section Bid Protest Committee
  • Vice Chair for the ABA Public Contract Law Section Contract Claims and Disputes Resolution Committee
  • Vice Chair for the ABA Public Contract Law Section Cybersecurity, Privacy, and Data Protection Committee
  • Federal Bar Association, Director (2014 – 2017)
  • George Washington University Women in Government Contracts Initiative Steering Committee (2019-2020)
  • Court of Federal Claims Bar Association
  • American Bar Association, International Section, International Procurement Committee, Chair (2014 – 2017)
  • American Bar Association, Public Contract Law Section, Procurement Law Institute 2020, Conference Co-Chair (2020)



+1 202 799 4405
(Work, Washington, DC)