Nationwide Government Contract Experts
Our Government Contracts team is comprised of lawyers with years of government experience. This includes years of active duty time as an Army Judge Advocate and current time in the Army Reserves. We have routinely expertly advised senior military leaders on government acquisitions, government contracts, ethics, post-government employment activities, and fiscal law. Our knowledgebase includes all phases in the procurement and award process; including advice on proposal preparation, contract award challenges, and performance issues.
Serving as the government contract team lead, Noah Fontanez, has a deep understanding of government agency requirements. He is an expert with Federal Aviation Administration regulatory enforcement and has recently served as the United States Army Central Command's Chief of Contract and Fiscal Law. In that role, Mr. Fontanez’ keen understanding of the US defense environment and strong strategic skills are a huge value added to our clients.
Our team of veterans and experienced government agency attorneys have a unique understanding of the current defense strategic and operations environment. We approach from a strategic view, including what is the overall intent, what are the capabilities involved, what are the methods of employment, and how does it interact with the organization as a whole, as well as other stakeholders and partners? With all of that in mind, we are confident we can develop a strategy for success.
Government acquisitions are guided by applicable statutes, fiscal law, Federal Acquisitions Regulations, and component implementing regulations and policy. Some common contracts types are:
Firm Fixed Price (FFP) Contracts - These are generally contracts for supplies or services that are for a specific price. As a result, they are not usually subject to adjustment based on the contractor’s costs of performance. FFP contracts are the federal government’s preferred method because of the low risk involved and definite specifications.
Cost Reimbursement Contracts. – These contracts allow the contractor to be paid for its costs under the terms of the contract. Usually, the terms are based on a ceiling that the contractor shall not exceed without exposing the contractor to the risk of financial loss. These contracts place more of a risk on the government and are used when FFP is not feasible.
Cost Contracts (subtype of Cost Reimbursement Contract) – Cost contracts allow reimbursement up to the awarded amount covering the contractor’s costs. These types of contracts usually involve research and development and non-profit entity work.
Cost Plus Fixed Fee Contracts (subtype of Cost Reimbursement Contract) – These types of contracts are a hybrid that pays the contractor a fixed negotiated fee for its profit plus their costs. This type reduces the contractor’s risk on work performed given the overall costs of the contract.
Time and Material Contracts – Time and Material contracts are acquisitions for supplies or services based on labor hours at fixed hourly rates, overhead, expenses, and profits. In addition, they provide for actual costs for materials and other direct costs like travel and communications. They also include indirect material costs like handling and other costs not included within the hourly labor rate.
Labor Hour Contracts – These are just like time and material contracts except materials are not supplied by the contractor.
Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) – These are essentially on-call contracts based on the government’s need submitted via delivery orders or task orders for goods or services within the period of performance. There is generally no firm quantity and each contract specifies the type of contract authorized, e.g., FFP or cost reimbursement.
A bid protest occurs when there is a dispute over a potential award or actual award of a contract. It can also occur when there is a dispute over the solicitation terms of a contract against actions taken by the federal government.
Solicitation protests must be filed prior to the initial proposals. Award protests must be filed within ten (10) days of when the protestor knows or should have known of the reason for the protest. There are special circumstances that may extend the timeline following a debriefing when one is required. But timelines are generally strictly enforced. So, obtaining an attorney early is critical to the process.
A suspension and debarment is a tool used by the federal government to avoid contracts with contractors that they feel have abused the process through fraud or other prohibited activity. If this occurs, the contractors name will be published within the System for Award Management (SAM). This will prevent the contractor from being awarded contracts.
Suspension or debarment can obviously have serious implications. A suspension is usually an immediate action that is temporary in nature pending the results of a final action. A debarment is more final for a period of years. The decision is typically based on a finding that is supported by the preponderance of evidence.
The suspension and debarment process is generally started with notice to the contractor via Suspension or Debarment letter from the agency Suspending or Debarring Official (SDO). Although a response is not required, it is important to hire an experienced attorney to advise on the process and assist in defending your rights prior to the final agency decision. A well prepared response guided by an experienced attorney is often the most advisable course of action.
Our government contract attorneys are experienced and can guide you throughout the procurement process. We can assist with expertly prepared proposals. If needed, we can advise and assist with preparing and defending bid protests, obtaining temporary injunctions, and defending your rights through a debarment.
These actions generally require immediate attention, so getting an attorney early is the most important step.