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Government Contracts

The attorneys on our Government Contracts team have deep experience in this highly regulated and often strategically critical area of practice. Whether at the federal, state, or local level, our team assists clients with the procurement, administration and regulation of government contracts, as well as with mediation, arbitration and litigation of those processes when necessary. Indeed, close coordination with LeClairRyan attorneys focused on aviation, corporate law, securities, government relations, technology, intellectual property, finance, employment, taxation, immigration, litigation, bankruptcy and more—puts our Government Contracts team in an optimal position to effectively meet our clients' needs.

Our attorneys frequently provide legal advice tailored to our clients' individual business priorities. We serve as advisors in explaining the legal framework to our clients, as counselors in helping them develop appropriate business processes, and as advocates when litigation is necessary. Regardless of the task at hand, we offer effective solutions that directly translate into business value.

Our Government Contracts team has experience in the following areas:

Procurement, administration and compliance

We advise clients regarding the procurement process and regulations involved in seeking business opportunities from federal, state and local governments. Our attorneys understand both the opportunities and risks associated with obtaining and administering business opportunities through governmental entities. We assist clients in responding to particular governmental inquiries, such as Defense Contract Audit Agency audits, and work with clients to ensure that their internal business processes are in compliance and aligned with regulatory and certification requirements. During contract performance, our attorneys help prepare and negotiate contract-related agreements with the government, including confidentiality agreements, non-disclosure agreements and teaming agreements. In addition, we help clients negotiate claims for changes in scope of work and other changed conditions. If necessary, we prepare certified claims, requests for equitable adjustment, termination for convenience claims, and other matters within the purview of the Contract Disputes Act. The attorneys on our Government Contracts team have the experience to pursue any claims denied by contracting officer final decisions in the appropriate Board of Contract Appeals, the United States Court of Federal Claims, or the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 

Litigation

Our team has significant experience in litigating and taking to trial a diverse array of government contract matters, including contract claim disputes and “Reverse-FOIA” challenges. We are also proficient in litigating disputes regarding agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act. While our team has significant trial experience, we nonetheless strive to resolve government disputes through negotiation or the formal mediation process if possible, as these means of resolving disputes are often more advantageous from the client’s perspective.

Freedom of Information Act Requests / “Reverse-FOIA” defense

It is important for Government Contractors to understand how the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) may impact their business. Our Government Contracts team has significant experience in this area and can assist clients with using FOIA affirmatively, to obtain critical information from relevant government authorities, as well as how to defend against the public release through FOIA of confidential, proprietary company information (i.e., “Reverse-FOIA”). Through preparation of detailed submissions providing both the factual and legal basis for withholding certain information from public release, based on statutory authority and/or the application of various FOIA exemptions, our attorneys frequently achieve a favorable resolution in Reverse-FOIA matters without resorting to litigation, resulting in significant cost savings and peace of mind for our clients.

Governmental inquiries and investigations

Our Government Contracts team is experienced in advising clients in assessing how best to respond to governmental inquiries and investigations relating to alleged procurement fraud or other matters. Our attorneys are versed in the appropriate techniques for resolving governmental concerns while maintaining business opportunities. We counsel clients with respect to good business practices, and in responding to issues such as compliance with ethics, including the Contractor Code of Ethics, and procurement regulations. We provide representation to clients that are being informally pursued or formally charged with civil or criminal breaches of procurement-related laws by federal and state prosecutors, or by departmental or agency inspector generals, including investigations of potential False Claims Act violations. Business formation and transactions

We assist clients in the formation of new business entities that will allow them to compete for government contracts and advise them on issues ranging from the requirements for establishing a small business, a Section 8(A) contracting business or one of the many other entities that qualify for certain advantages in the bidding process, including veteran-owned small businesses; service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses; small disadvantaged businesses, and women-owned small businesses. We also advise clients regarding "small business" size determinations. In addition, we assist clients in the purchase or sale of government contracting entities, which typically involve specific government requirements, including the preparation and negotiation of novation agreements to effect such business transactions.

Finally, our team has the experience and knowledge to advise clients regarding compliance with Buy American Act and Trade Agreement Act regulations, as well as customs and U.S. Export regulations, including the Export Administration Regulations, and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which frequently impact both the purchase and subsequent operation of many business entities.

Bid Protests

We counsel clients in the lodging of bid protests involving government contracts. . Our attorneys fully understand the frustration our clients experience when forced to contend with unfair competition. We tackle these situations with speed and determination. And while we often seek to level the playing field without resorting to litigation, we stand ready to vigorously defend our clients' rights, and to pursue action in the appropriate forum.

Security Clearances

Our Government Contracts team is also available to assist federal employees and contractors, as well as military personnel, in all stages of the security clearance process. Our attorneys, many of whom currently hold or previously have held security clearances themselves, can help to obtain any of the three levels of security clearance – confidential, secret, or top secret. We are available to provide assistance at the application stage, including pre-clearance counseling, form preparation and submission, and preparation for interrogatories and investigative interviews. In the event a client is facing denial, revocation, or suspension of a security clearance, we are able to help prepare written responses and to represent clients at post-denial hearings and appeals. Our attorneys understand the importance of obtaining and maintaining security clearances and have both the experience and sensitivity to assist clients with these important tasks. Additionally, our attorneys with security clearances can assist clients in disputes that involve secret information.

Business formation and transactions

We assist clients in the formation of new business entities that will allow them to compete for government contracts and advise them on issues ranging from the requirements for establishing a small business, a Section 8(A) contracting business or one of the many other entities that qualify for certain advantages in the bidding process, including veteran-owned small businesses; service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses; small disadvantaged businesses, and women-owned small businesses. We also advise clients regarding "small business" size determinations. In addition, we assist clients in the purchase or sale of government contracting entities, which typically involve specific government requirements, including the preparation and negotiation of novation agreements to effect such business transactions.

Finally, our team has the experience and knowledge to advise clients regarding compliance with Buy American Act and Trade Agreement Act regulations, as well as customs and U.S. Export regulations, including the Export Administration Regulations and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which frequently impact both the purchase and subsequent operation of many business entities.

Intellectual property

We realize that in today's global business environment, intellectual property can be among the most critical assets of a successful business. We also realize the importance of maximizing the value of those assets and of protecting them from misuse, misappropriation and infringement, particularly in the government contracting arena. We learn our clients' businesses and work to maximize the contribution of intellectual property to those businesses and our clients' growth.

In conjunction with our IP attorneys, our Government Contracts team has experience in providing intellectual property counseling and advice to many different kinds of clients, including pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical device manufacturers, financial institutions and investors, telecommunications firms, consumer and professional products companies of many types, retail and other service providers, national and international franchisors, distributors, trade associations, educational entities, software and hardware vendors, database service providers, internet service and content providers, e-commerce companies, developers and systems integrators, and other technology service organizations. Our attorneys have assisted clients with the protection of data rights in federal contracts, and have advised them with regard to software licensing agreements to ensure that they protect all intellectual property rights in their dealings with the federal government, as well as with state and local governments.

Local and state government contract matters

Our Government Contracts team works closely with fellow attorneys from the firm's administrative and regulatory practices to advise clients on a wide array of local and state procurement-related issues. Our goal is to devise and advocate practical solutions for complex legal issues before regulatory and administrative agencies of state government, as well as in the highly charged political environment of elected state and local governments. While we strive to avoid the courtroom if possible, when required we have successfully litigated cases in the trial and appellate courts, as well as before any number of state and local boards.

Employment, labor and immigration

We counsel our clients on the complex and manifold issues involved in complying with laws and regulations governing employees and employment relationships. Many of these issues center on the Department of Labor's equal opportunity and affirmative action requirements, as enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. In addition, our attorneys advise clients regarding the many employment laws that typically arise in the government contract context, including the Service Contract Act, the Davis Bacon Act and the Walsh Healey Act. Our Government Contracts team is able to assist clients in establishing appropriate employment policies and practices to satisfy all federal employment requirements. We vigorously defend clients that may be the subject of suits for alleged violations of labor and employment laws and regulations. We also work with clients to ensure that they have available appropriate personnel resources, including personnel that may have particular immigration requirements.

SAFETY Act liability management

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Congress created a little known statute, the SAFETY Act, that provides comprehensive protection from civil liability arising out of a terrorist incident. In order to take advantage of this protection, antiterrorism technology, which includes employee security training and emergency response protocols, must be approved in advance by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The LeClairRyan government contracts team can assist with all aspects of the approval process. This includes evaluating antiterrorism systems to determine the appropriate level of certification, acting as a liaison with DHS, drafting the approval applications, and shepherding clients through the approval process.

Representative matters:

  • Handle agency-level protests with various civilian and military agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security
  • Handle protests before the Government Accountability Office, concerning various agencies, including the National Geospatial Agency, the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the Department of Education
  • Successfully negotiate with various agencies to prevent public release under FOIA of confidential, proprietary company information
  • Counsel client on Office of Foreign Assets Control requirements associated with sales to Iran and transactions with Sudan
  • Counsel client on potential contract claims on U.S. Department of Defense services contract
  • Counsel client on potential contract claim on $500 million supply and services contract for U.S. Air Force
  • Provide counsel on contract issues to small business client in 8(A) business development program
  • Advise client on ITAR and EAR compliance regarding software development issues
  • Advise client on settlement issues relating to False Claims Act procurement fraud matter
  • Handle litigation of significant contract claim against the U.S. Air Force regarding software licensing fees
  • Defend size protest before the U.S. Small Business Administration and size appeal before the Office of Hearings and Appeals
  • Assist with investigation by Wage and Hour Division of U.S. Department of Labor relating to Service Contract Act and provide counsel regarding compliance with Davis-Bacon Act
  • Counsel Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern on affiliation and status issues
  • Assisted Ability One Program government contractors with administrative law challenge to agency's decision to elevate Small Business contracting preference over statutory contracting mandate, including obtaining a stay pending appeal of the Court of Federal Claims' decision upholding agency action (appeal pending in the US Court of Federal Claims) and in a parallel U.S. District Court (D.C.) action challenging agency rulemaking
  • Assisted IT supplies/services government contractor in conducting internal investigation regarding alleged improper billing issues and responding to government subpoena concerning same, resulting in successful negotiated resolution
  • Represented small business government contractor against criminal procurement fraud allegations relating to GSA supplies and services contract, resulting in successful negotiated resolution
  • Assisted more than three dozen companies in obtaining over $4 billion in funding for research, development and procurement of public health countermeasures to the federal government, including the majority of the awards made under Project Bioshield

Contact

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    804.915.4132
  • Co-Leader
    703.647.5992
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    202.659.6723