Government Contracts

Venable knows that the needs of government contractors are unique. That’s why we’ve built a robust team specifically suited to provide advice in the complex and highly regulated environment in which these organizations operate.

Venable has one of the largest government contracts teams in the country, led by prominent practitioners in this industry, all of whom understand the issues and challenges faced during a contract award.

Our clients range from the largest defense contractors in the world to small, entrepreneurial companies. We represent organizations whose primary customer is the government, as well as companies that are looking to find new markets within the government space. We are committed to developing relationships with clients on a proactive basis, creating strategic plans, and managing legal solutions that identify and solve potential problems before they occur. This efficient and cost-effective approach significantly enhances opportunities for our client’s success.

We Know Washington

Our group draws upon former members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, federal prosecutors, agency counsel, and judge advocates with significant experience, knowledge, and contacts that are highly valuable in dealing with the complexities of doing business with the federal and state governments. This experience gives us access to decision makers who are uniquely positioned to address our client’s issues proactively and can resolve conflicts and disputes efficiently and amicably.

Counseling

We help clients with contract interpretation, solicitation risk assessment, questions regarding the proposal and evaluation process, cost accounting, change orders, protecting intellectual property, and many other issues unique to government contracting. Our clients have immediate access to our wealth of experience in dealing with the challenges that arise from contracts with the Department of Defense (DOD) and civilian agencies. We assist clients navigating the peculiarities of the Homeland Security Act, including obtaining and maintaining SAFETY Act protections. Further, our team is well versed in GSA Federal Supply Schedule matters, particularly in advising clients on how best to structure proposals to avoid price reduction clause (PRC) issues, and addressing PRC, Trade Agreements Act (TAA), and other compliance matters post-award.

Claims Litigation

We teach and advocate risk identification, mitigation, and dispute-avoidance techniques. We also employ alternative dispute resolutions whenever that option is viable. When necessary, our attorneys will argue a case before administrative panels and in court. We represent clients in every major government contract forum, including the Boards of Contract Appeals, the Court of Federal Claims, as well as federal district and state courts. While we will zealously pursue any claims that you may have, we also make certain to preserve your relationships with your government customers.

Investigations

Our goal is to resolve enforcement matters before they become public. We represent contractors in criminal and civil investigations involving export regulations, the Civil False Claims Act (FCA), the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and other issues. We defend clients in whistleblower actions, and inspector general and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigations. Our experience covers the DOD, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and nearly every civilian agency, and involves contracts performed both in the United States and abroad.

Suspension and Debarment

Venable’s experience and reputation enable us to negotiate resolutions with the government in the majority of cases, permitting our clients to continue to perform and compete for government work while demonstrating that their company is a “responsible” contractor. Our team has represented and counseled clients facing debarment by all major DOD and civilian agencies.

Bid Protests

We protect client interests in bid protests at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Court of Federal Claims, and at the agency level. In these proceedings, we defend our clients against a disappointed offeror’s challenge to a properly awarded contract and/or seek to overturn an award when the government’s decision is flawed and not in accordance with the solicitation’s selection criteria or other applicable rules and regulations.

Classified and International Markets

Our team helps government contractors successfully navigate the issues associated with acquisition by, or investment from, foreign interests. We have extensive experience with the Defense Security Service, ensuring that these clients are able to maintain the clearances necessary to perform classified work. We also advise clients in filing notices with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Intellectual Property

Venable’s government contracts attorneys deal with issues at the intersection of government contracts and intellectual property law. We help clients identify and avoid the traps inherent in government contracting, which can often result in the government acquiring extensive rights in inventions, software, and technical data—even those developed entirely or in part at company expense.

Preference Status

Our team represents a number of small, disadvantaged, woman- and veteran-owned, and Historically Under-utilized Business Zone (HUBZone) companies. We assist them in qualifying for official preference status and ensuring that government agencies provide them with the contracting opportunities mandated by statute or executive order. In addition, we protect clients from unfair competition from companies that do not legitimately qualify for preference status.

Experience
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  • Successfully protested the U.S. Department of Treasury, Bureau of Fiscal Service’s award of several $32 million contracts for private debt collection services. The GAO agreed with our client’s argument that Fiscal Service’s assignment of qualitative scores was disparate among the five awardees as compared with the client. Following the GAO’s decision, the client received a contract award. In addition, the GAO ruled that the government should reimburse the client a portion of its fees
  • In May 2018, Venable assisted a client in obtaining SAFETY Act protections for its Background Investigation Services
  • Representing contractor before the Court of Federal Claims in a matter involving an appeal of the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration’s disallowance of approximately $35 million in incurred costs. The matter is consolidated with several related claims under the same contract, with total claims over $100 million
  • Assisted in the representation of a university in response to an audit initiated by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) concerning its claim filed with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for emergency repair and reconstruction related to a hurricane. The FEMA claim totaled more than $302 million. The representation included argument and information to the DHS OIG and FEMA to reduce and/or mitigate potential disallowances and clawbacks. Ultimately, due in part to our representation and advocacy with FEMA, the agency rejected the vast majority of findings and recommendations of the DHS OIG, and the DHS OIG accepted FEMA’s conclusions and closed the audit in its entirety
  • Filed a protest at the GAO challenging the award of numerous indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts by the DHS under the Flexible Agile Support for the Homeland (FLASH) procurement. The procurement was for agile software development, and its total value exceeded $1.5 billion. The client filed several supplemental protests, which contributed to the GAO’s decision to hold an evidentiary hearing. On the eve of the hearing, DHS announced that it was taking corrective action and terminated the awarded contracts. In fact, because of the extensive flaws in DHS’s conduct of the procurement identified in its protest and supplemental protests, DHS made the highly unusual decision of cancelling the entire procurement. DHS is in the process of re-soliciting proposals now under “FLASH II.” Ultimately the GAO granted the request for attorney fees, finding that our client’s protest was “clearly meritorious.” DHS subsequently reimbursed the full legal costs incurred by our client when pursuing the protest
  • Filed a protest at the GAO arising from an unmitigable organization conflict of interest. After the GAO conducted “outcome prediction,” the DFAS took corrective action. Based on the corrective action, DFAS reversed the initial award decision and awarded the contract to our client. Venable also filed a claim with GAO for reimbursement of protest costs due to the agency’s delay in taking corrective action. The GAO granted the request and recommended reimbursement of protest costs where the agency unduly delayed taking corrective action in response to a clearly meritorious protest where the agency failed to properly assess whether the awardee had an unmitigated organizational conflict of interest
  • Successfully protested the D.C. Department of Health Care Finance’s decision to replace the client as a provider of managed care to District Medicaid recipients. The winning protest, brought before the D.C. Contract Appeals Board, hinged on the claim that the contract review process was unfair. The overall value of the awarded contracts was approximately $1 billion
  • Successfully intervened in a protest arising out of the United States Department of the Navy, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic’s award of a multi-million-dollar contract to our client for base operations support services at the Naval Support Activity in Bahrain. The GAO upheld the award
  • Successfully intervened in a protest arising out of the United States Department of the Navy, Naval Facilities Engineering Command’s award of an approximately $515 million contract to our client for base operations support services for the Navy Support Facility in Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory. Because of the Venable team’s effort, the GAO dismissed each protest ground and upheld the award

Recognition
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  • Recognized by Chambers USA
  • Exclusive Sponsor of the 2014 WMACCA Government Contractors Forum

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