Bloomberg Law
May 9, 2023, 9:30 AM

They’ve Got Next: Five Fresh Faces to Know in
Government Contracts

Lisa Helem
Lisa Helem
Executive Editor

Welcome back to “They’ve Got Next.” In our new installment, we highlight five young lawyers in government contracts that you should know.

Matt Carter of Pillsbury Winthrop; Elizabeth Jochum of Blank Rome ; Umer Chaudhry of Cooley; Tara Hopkins of K&L Gates; and Steve Cave of King & Spalding work at the intersection of litigation, regulation, and government procurement. Their work includes navigating, and often, defending their clients against bid protests.

Carter, a former Division 1 baseball player for Loyola Marymount, goes into game mode when handling bid protests. So far, he’s won more than 30 protest victories at the GAO, he told Bloomberg Government reporter Josh Axelrod. Those wins include defending Cayre Jemals Nick’s $1.3 billion lease for the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s new headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“In any type of bid protest, you have to jump in, it’s a lot of pressure, and I’m able to draw on my experience as an athlete —I’m not fazed in those types of high-pressure situations,” Carter said.

Elizabeth Jochum, a Washington, D.C.-based partner at Blank Rome, is a former reporter with Government Executive, a publication covering government agencies. She told Bloomberg Law reporter Daniel Seiden that her experience learning to digest complex information and distill it has proven useful in her legal practice.

Her wins include defending from protests client Riva Solutions, Inc.'s software contract award under a $2 billion procurement issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

“Especially in bid protests, you’re trying to take what can potentially be a very nuanced issue and grab the GAO attorney or judge’s attention quickly that something has gone awry here. It’s very similar to how you try to quickly grab a reader when writing a news piece,” she said.

For Umer Chaudhry, who last year helped IonQ negotiate its first major quantum computing contract with the US Air Force, it’s all about making his parents, who moved the family from Pakistan to Maryland when he was 10, proud and paying it forward for the next generation of underrepresented lawyers.

“There might be people that have no clue what government contracts law is,” Chaudhry said. “But it’s exposure to the practice area that then can hopefully spark interest.”

Check out all the stories of “They’ve Got Next: Five Fresh Faces to Know in Government Contracts” by clicking on the lawyers’ names below.

Matt Carter of Pillsbury Winthrop
Elizabeth Jochum of Blank Rome 
Umer Chaudhry of Cooley
Tara Hopkins of K&L Gates
Steve Cave of King & Spalding

To contact the reporter on this story: Lisa Helem at

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