Education

  • Minnesota State University, B.S.
  • Willamette University College of Law, J.D.

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Washington
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims

Nicole Owren-Wiest

Partner
nowrenwiest@crowell.com
+1.202.624.2863
Listed by Chambers USA
in Government Contracts
(2014-Present)

Nicole Owren-Wiest is recognized as a national leader in two of the most complex areas of government contracting: cost and pricing, and intellectual property/data rights, and is routinely sought out for high-value cost accounting disputes and recovery claims.

Nicole is nationally ranked by Chambers USA in Government Contracts and one of only seven lawyers recognized in the “Cost Dispute Spotlight” for her depth of experience in cost accounting litigation, including multibillion-dollar disputes involving compliance with the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), cost allowability under the FAR Part 31 cost principles, and defective pricing claims under the Truth in Negotiations/Truthful Cost or Pricing Data Act. In addition to leading the firm’s cost accounting practice, Nicole helps clients develop strategies to maximize available protections in their intellectual property and to navigate the government’s complex data rights rules.

While she is an accomplished litigator, Nicole’s main strength is her ability to combine thoughtful legal analysis with real-world practical advice. Clients turn to her as a trusted advisor for her collaborative approach to resolving complex challenges, avoiding costly litigation, and being “really effective…very experienced…and very strategic.” Clients have commended Nicole for providing “phenomenal customer service,” her sensitivity to business priorities, including “seeing beyond our immediate needs to help us address issues before they become risks or concerns, and for her ability to combine scholarly legal analysis with such practical, solution-focused insight.”

Nicole regularly publishes and is a frequent speaker at government and industry events around the country on government contracts legal developments. She is also frequently called upon to provide on-site training for legal and executive teams on a range of government contract topics.

In addition to a robust legal practice, Nicole is active in firm management. She is a member of Crowell & Moring’s Government Contracts Group Steering Committee, chair of the firm’s Finance Committee, chair of the firm’s Security Committee, and a member (and former co-chair) of the firm’s Talent Development Committee.



Recognition

Recognitions

  • Ranked by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer in Government Contracts (Band 2), 2014-2022; special recognition in cost accounting, 2021 "Costs Disputes Spotlight"
  • Recommended by Legal 500 United States as a leading lawyer in Government Contracts, 2021 & 2022 
  • Acritas Star, Acritas Stars Independently Rated Lawyers, 2019 & 2021 
  • Named to Washingtonian’s "Top Lawyers" list, 2019


Affiliations

Admitted to practice: District of Columbia, Washington, U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Ninth and Federal Circuits, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, U.S. Court of Federal Claims

Professional Activities and Memberships

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Procurement Council, 2013-Present

National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), Procurement Division

  • Contract Finance Committee

American Bar Association, Section of Public Contract Law

  • Vice-Chair, 2022-Present, Acquisition Reform and Emerging Issues Committee
  • Program Co-Chair, Annual Meeting, 2022 
  • Former Co-Chair, 2008-2012; Vice-Chair, 2012-Present; Accounting, Cost and Pricing Committee
  • Former Co-Chair, 2013-2016; Former Vice-Chair, 2016-2022; Research & Development and Intellectual Property Committee 
  • Editor-in-Chief, 2011-2019; The Procurement Lawyer


Representative Matters

Nicole’s counseling and litigation/dispute-resolution practice broadly includes Contract Disputes Act claims, REAs, DCAA cost and pricing audits, DCAA and DCMA business system reviews, TINA compliance and defective pricing investigations, False Claims Act investigations and litigation, data rights disputes, and general contract compliance. Nicole and her teams advise contractors of all sizes across numerous industry segments, including many of the top defense government contractors and small businesses preparing to perform their first federal contract. A sample of Nicole’s recent matters includes:

  • Ongoing representation of a major aerospace and defense contractor in an appeal before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) of a government claim seeking over $2 billion for alleged noncompliance with Cost Accounting Standard 420 due to its method of allocating independent research and development costs to government contracts (ASBCA No. 62094).
  • Ongoing representation of major defense contractor in ASBCA appeal of a government claim seeking recovery of allegedly unallowable costs incurred to continue contract performance during the COVID-19 pandemic (ASBCA No. 63233).
  • Ongoing representation of two major aerospace and defense contractors in separate appeals before the ASBCA involving the government's rights in contractor technical data and computer software (ASBCA Nos. 62496 and 62249).
  • Advising several different defense contractors in connection with separate pension segment closing adjustments under CAS 413.
  • Advising multiple defense contractors in pre- and post-COFD disputes involving allowability of costs under FAR Part 31, and in connection with pre-COFD allegations of noncompliance with CAS 403, 405, 410, and 418.
  • Successful, zero-dollar resolution of threatened government claim for $500 million for alleged noncompliance with CAS 410.
  • Successful settlement and full payment of the government’s share of major contractor’s CAS 413 closing adjustment (totaling ~$16 million).
  • Successful, zero-dollar resolution of a pre-COFD $52 million government claim under a special "price reopener" clause.
  • Successful ASBCA appeal of $24 million government defective pricing claim for major defense contractor.


Speeches & Presentations



Publications



Client Alerts & Newsletters



Press Coverage



Firm News & Announcements

June 15, 2022 Legal 500 United States Ranks Crowell & Moring in Eight Practice Areas in 2022 Guide
June 1, 2022 Chambers USA 2022 Ranks 70 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 37 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
June 14, 2021 Legal 500 United States Ranks Crowell & Moring in Six Practice Areas in 2021 Guide
May 20, 2021 Chambers USA 2021 Ranks 63 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 30 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
April 23, 2020 Chambers USA 2020 Ranks 53 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 21 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
March 16, 2020 Fourteen Crowell & Moring Lawyers Named 2020 Acritas Stars
April 29, 2019 Chambers USA 2019 Ranks 53 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 21 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
February 22, 2019 Law360 Names Crowell & Moring's Government Contracts Group a "Practice Group of the Year" for the Ninth Consecutive Year
May 9, 2018 Chambers USA 2018 Ranks 52 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 24 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
November 30, 2017 Washingtonian Names Five Crowell & Moring Partners to 2017 "Top Lawyers" List
November 6, 2017 Nationally Recognized Government Contracts Lawyer Nicole Owren-Wiest Joins Crowell & Moring