Security Clearances

Clearance Holders and Applicants


Our security clearance lawyers represent clearance holders and applicants in every phase of the security clearance process, including:


  • Completing the SF-86, SF-85P, and other related forms
  • Preparing for an interview with an investigator
  • Responding to interrogatories
  • Advising employees on what to expect at a polygraph examination
  • Responding to the Statement of Reasons (SOR) or Letter of Intent (LOI)
  • DOHA hearings and personal appearances
  • Appealing adverse decisions to the DOHA Appeals Board
  • Appealing adverse decisions to the CIA and other intelligence agencies
  • Personnel Security Appeals Board appearances

Employers and Clearance Sponsors

We advise employers who wish to avoid undue delays in obtaining clearances for their employees and maximize the likelihood that their employees will obtain the clearances they seek.


Working to Obtain and Maintain Security Clearances, Suitability, and Fitness for Employees and Applicants


Established by Elizabeth Newman when she joined the firm in 1990, the security clearance practice at Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch, P.C., has provided timely and knowledgeable advice to resolve security clearance problems for more than 34 years. Newman, a nationwide expert on Security Clearance Law until her retirement in 2015, authored the firm’s long-running publication Security Clearance Law and Procedure (Dewey), most recently updated by Elaine Fitch and Mary Kuntz in 2021. Newman was also a founding member of the National Security Clearance Lawyers Association and served as a faculty member of the DC Bar’s Continuing Legal Education program, “How to Represent Your Client Effectively in Security Clearance Cases,” and Vice-Chair for the ABA Defense & National Security Committee. You can read more about Newman’s many contributions to the legal field here. Her expertise and dedication are the foundation for the firm’s Security Clearance practice today.


Government employees, contractors, and military members are increasingly required to obtain security clearances as a condition of employment.


A security clearance investigation examines a person’s loyalty, character, trustworthiness, and reliability to ensure that the individual is eligible for access to national security information. Problems such as financial issues, arrests for driving under the influence, failing to be completely truthful on the security application, dual citizenship, drug and alcohol issues (including marijuana/CBD use that is legal under state or local law), psychological problems, and having connections to foreign countries can keep an applicant from obtaining or keeping a clearance or Public Trust eligibility. These problems can also prevent employers from hiring the best-qualified candidate for a job.


Suitability or fitness is a person’s character or conduct that may have an impact on the integrity or efficiency of the service. Some of the criteria used to assess suitability are similar to those used to determine eligibility for a clearance, including: a history of misconduct or negligence in prior positions; violations of law; lying; alcohol-related problems; using illegal drugs; and trying to forcibly overthrow the U.S. government.


Our attorneys, Elaine Fitch, and Mary Kuntz, co-authored the 5th edition of Security Clearance Law and Procedure with contributions from Elisabeth Baker-Pham and Aaron Herreras Szot.


Our law firm is proud to be a member of the Security Clearance Lawyers Association.


Contact an Experienced Security Clearance Lawyer

To learn more about the security clearance services we provide, call (202) 331-9260 or Contact Us.

Security Clearance Practice

Elaine L. Fitch

Photo of Mary E. Kuntz, Partner, DC employment law firm KCNF

Mary E. Kuntz

Co-chair of the Security Clearance Practice

Photo of Elizabeth M. Baker, associate with DC employment law firm KCNF

Elisabeth Baker-Pham

Co-chair of the Security Clearance Practice

Photo of Aaron Herreras Szot, associate with DC employment law firm KCNF

Aaron Herreras-Szot

Photo of Elizabeth I. Newman, Retired Partner, DC employment lawyers of Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman and Fitch

Elizabeth L. Newman

Retired (2015)