Government Contracts Law Group
Eaton & Van Winkle LLP Government Contracts Law Group assists a broad spectrum of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, with government contracting issues at all stages of the procurement process, from proposal preparation and bid protests through contract claim resolution and close-out.
Our government contracts lawyers understand the complexities of current business and regulatory environments, and we advise clients on how to achieve their goals while remaining in compliance with federal, state, and local government rules and regulations.
Our attorneys provide comprehensive advice and assistance to businesses competing and operating successfully in the public contract marketplace, in a wide array of industries. We have extensive experience assisting marketing and advertising firms, defense contractors, information technology manufacturers and service providers, technology firms, health care providers, resellers, and small business contractors.
Our practice group has been at the forefront of public contracting, having many years of experience in this field. We understand the government contracting process from every perspective. Many of our attorneys have worked, as well, in ancillary fields, including securities law, finance, program management, and in federal, state and private regulatory agencies.
We have acted as corporate structuring and intellectual property counsel and, as well, counsel in contract administration matters. These diverse backgrounds constitute the firm’s government contract practice and enable us to find creative and practical solutions for clients.
As the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services, the United States Government offers tremendous business opportunities for companies in a variety of industries. Even during an economic downturn, the United States Government awards billions of dollars in contracts for supplies, services, infrastructure, and other projects to private sector companies, often making the United States Government the customer of first resort.
Regulation and Ethics Compliance
Companies who are new to government contracting will find complicated rules apply to doing business with the United States Government, including the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and special FAR agency supplements. State and local government agencies, public universities and other instrumentalities also operate under specific procurement regulations. Penalties for wrongdoing, or even for negligent non-compliance, can include fines and imprisonment, as well as debarment from obtaining such contracts.
To succeed in the government contract market, experienced contractors, as well as those who are new to public sector contracting, must understand the rules, implement programs to ensure employees follow the rules, and establish internal controls to strictly monitor compliance.
We counsel government contract clients on a variety of issues related to obtaining and managing their government contracts. We have extensive experience counseling clients on fraud avoidance, on issues related to commercial item supply contracts with the General Services Administration and with other agencies, and issues that arise in fixed-price and cost-reimbursement contracts. We routinely counsel clients in the following areas:
- Contract pricing, cost allowability, and Cost Accounting Standards compliance;
- False Claims Act and False Statements statute issues;
- Service Contract Act and Davis-Bacon Act compliance;
- Socio-economic programs including small business subcontracting plans;
- Procurement integrity;
- Industrial security requirements;
- Import/export regulations, including International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) and Export Enhancement Act (EEA);
- Intellectual property rights;
- Government or internal audits and investigations;
- General Services Administration (GSA) and other agency schedule contracts;
- U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contracts and foreign military sales contracts;
- Software license agreements;
- Training on ethics and contract standards.
Growth Strategy and Development
We have assisted clients ranging from large defense contractors to small information technology start-ups in addressing organic growth and merger and acquisition issues in a broad range of fields including communications, software, medical devices, professional services, transportation, and manufacturing.
We provide guidance and draft agreements which take into account the variety of government regulations that apply to a proposed business transaction. We provide strategic counseling to companies that seek to achieve financial growth through the acquisition of government contract firms and submitted responses to Requests for Proposals and Requests for Information.
Our work in this area includes:
- Conducting due diligence reviews of target companies to confirm the accurate valuation of the company’s government contracts, and to assess risks associated with their performance of government contracts;
- Advising on compliance with government requirements including restrictions on the transfer of contracts involving classified material;
- Providing guidance to clients on transactions subject to federal statutes;
- Assisting both buyers and sellers on resolving issues related to the allocation of liability involving government contracts;
- Obtaining government approval for the transfer of contracts via contract novations;
- Negotiating and drafting purchase and sale agreements, merger agreements, financing agreements and numerous other related documents;
- Advising clients on the registration, preservation, and transfer of intellectual property rights.
Claims and other Matters
Our attorneys represent clients in contract performance disputes in the courts and before the various boards of contract appeal. Matters may include payment disputes, contract or task order specifications, assumptions and party responsibilities during contract performance and contractor certifications. Our work in this area further includes:
- Preparing claims or requests for additional payment (equitable adjustments) related to a change in the scope of the contract;
- Recovering costs incurred as a consequence of defective specifications;
- Defending against government claims of non-performance;
- Responding to breach of contract claims;
- Resolving disputes between prime and subcontractors under government contracts;
- Defending False Claims Act allegations, whether initiated by a whistleblower or by the Department of Justice;
- Responding to Inspector General and grand jury investigations;
- Representing clients in suspension or debarment proceedings;
- Resolving contract termination disputes;
- Representing clients in small business size protests and appeals, and in Mentor/Protégée Program and Alaskan Native Corporation status disputes.
Sometimes a government contractor cannot avoid litigation to vindicate a claim or defend itself. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing companies in contract litigation including bid protests, False Claims Act, US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, prompt payment disputes and intellectual property protection as well as in resolving matters using alternative dispute resolution.
We have filed claims on behalf of our clients all over the country including in the Court of Federal Claims, Government Accountability Office, Contracts Appeal Boards, Washington DC District Court and federal appeals courts and circuit courts.
We assist clients in defending contract awards and in prosecuting bid protests before agencies, at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and appeals in federal and state courts. We have successfully handled bid protests, many involving complex procurement activities:
- We prevailed in protesting a multi-million dollar Army radio device contract award where the government had improperly evaluated the awardee’s conflicts of interest;
- We succeeded in a bid protest challenging a Department of Education staffing contract award where the government failed to comply with solicitation criteria;
- We successfully protested a Department of Veterans Affairs small business set-aside award where the protester claimed that our client was other than small due to affiliation;
- We succeeded in protesting a ten-million dollar task order under a Navy IDIQ as being too restrictive to avoid open-market competition for providing heath and training services and support to soldiers in the field.