Abram J. Pafford
Abram Pafford is a litigator whose practice spans a number of substantive areas, and he has particular expertise in the areas of government contracts, insurance coverage, and appeals. Prior to forming his own law firm, Mr. Pafford practiced commercial litigation for nearly ten years with Fried Frank LLP and Covington & Burling LLP, two of the nation’s largest and most well-respected law firms.
Mr. Pafford’s practice in recent years has involved a focus on matters in the appellate courts, as well as a leading role in drafting and arguing dispositive motions before trial courts and administrative tribunals. Trial court successes have included successfully prosecuting and defending lawsuits involving claims ranging from fraudulent inducement and tortious interference to breach of contract and alleged violations of the securities laws. Many of these trial disputes have arisen in the context of breakup disputes and control disputes in closely held companies, partnerships, and corporations. Mr. Pafford also has an active practice in assisting Virginia corporations facing regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings, in industries including financial services, real estate, energy, and health care.
At the appellate level, Mr. Pafford served as lead attorney for the team that successfully represented Mississippi resident Cory Maye in connection with the high-profile appeal of Mr. Maye’s capital murder conviction, achieving appellate victories in the Mississippi Court of Appeals and the Mississippi Supreme Court. Mr. Pafford regularly represents clients seeking to appeal their convictions and sentences in state and federal courts, and in recent years has obtained reversals or significant reductions of sentence in cases that involve charges ranging from murder and narcotics trafficking to armed robbery and obstruction of justice. Mr. Pafford has also had a significant role representing parties or amici in other appellate matters before various federal and state appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the Missouri Court of Appeals, the Virginia Court of Appeals, and the Virginia Supreme Court.
While Mr. Pafford’s litigation and advisory practice is generalist in nature, he has particularly extensive experience in representing government contractors of all sizes across the full spectrum of government contract matters. His government contracts litigation experience encompasses the prosecution of claims arising under the Contract Disputes Act, the defense of lawsuits initiated by the Department of Justice under the False Claims Act, and the successful representation of protesters as well as intervenors in pre-award and post-award bid protests before the United States Court of Federal Claims and the GAO. Mr. Pafford has also represented government contractors in a variety of administrative settings, including matters relating to the protection of proprietary contractor information under the Freedom of Information Act, the disputed status of contractors and subcontractors under the Small Business Administration’s size regulations, and the defense of contractors facing potential exclusion from federal or state contracting pursuant to agency debarment proceedings.
Mr. Pafford is also experienced in litigating high-stakes insurance coverage disputes, and he practiced for nearly five years as part of a national insurance coverage litigation group that Chambers USA called “the obvious first choice in difficult situations.” His insurance litigation experience encompasses the representation of corporate policyholders in complex coverage disputes involving hundreds of millions of dollars in underlying environmental and product-related liabilities. In connection with his insurance coverage work on behalf of policyholders, Mr. Pafford served as a Special Attorney General for the State of Minnesota, developing and litigating claims by the State against commercial insurers pursuant to Minnesota laws governing landfill cleanup and remediation.
In addition to his prior law firm experience, Mr. Pafford served as a law clerk to Judge Eric G. Bruggink of the United States Court of Federal Claims and Judge D. Brooks Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Mr. Pafford obtained his undergraduate degree from Liberty University, and his J.D., with High Honors, from the George Washington University Law School. Mr. Pafford is admitted to practice in New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.