The Kanthaka Law focuses its Governmental Contracting and Relations Practice in three areas: Procurement Law and Programs, Regulatory Compliance Programs, and Defense of Enforcement Actions.
GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT LAW AND PROGRAMS
The Kanthaka Law has a team of lawyers with extensive experience in government procurement and fiscal law. We have counseled clients on procurement matters, grant awards, government intellectual property, and fiscal and accounting law, and regulatory issues related to government contracting. These matters have included both classified and unclassified federal projects. Our lawyers also handle government contract disputes in multiple state courts and before a wide range of federal and state administrative agencies.
Many small businesses entering into the world of government contracting quickly find the process daunting and will abandon it. At Kanthaka, our attorneys are here to help you navigate the waters of governmental procurement from initial registration as a government contractor to assisting with writing your proposals in response to solicitations.
The firm provides transactional and litigation support to government contractors at all stages of the contract process, from initial negotiation and bidding through dispute resolution and agency appeals.
Kanthaka can make a difference for small and large businesses interested in obtaining or expanding federal contracting opportunities. We can explain what you need to do to develop a proposal, determine whether congressional assistance makes sense, and develop a pricing and legal strategy. If you are a non-profit or educational institution, we can help you with grants, cooperative agreements and technology transfer issues. For small businesses, we can help you locate the programs that will give you the competitive advantage you need.
Representative topics that our attorneys work include:
- Bidding and bid protests
- Negotiating and reviewing contracts, proposals, equitable adjustments and termination settlements
- Facilitating contract financing by arranging for the assignment of contract payments to lenders
- Litigating contract claims under the Contract Disputes Act before contract appeal boards and the United States Court of Federal Claims
- Preparing contract claims for equitable adjustments for extra work, defective specifications, formal modifications, actual and constructive changes, suspensions and terminations for default and convenience
- Handling disputes between prime contractors and subcontractors, Miller Act claims
The Federal Government has a variety of programs that businesses should include in their strategic development programs.
General Services Administration (GSA) Schedules
For example, the Federal Government besides the solicitation/proposal process has the equivalent of a comprehensive catalog of goods and services. The General Services Administration Schedules Program is not unlike that old time Sears and Roebuck, except its on steroids and brought into the 21st Century.
If you have a commercial product or service, and can meet the qualifications, this is a significant business development opportunity.
Small Business Programs
Small businesses often consider participation in the federal procurement process as too difficult. With a complete understanding of the Small Business Administration programs, especially related to small, disadvantaged businesses, there is no reason small businesses need to avoid governmental customers.
Small business participation in the SBIR/STTR (Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Research) programs is an area of concentrated effort for The Kanthaka Law. Well versed in the program, we have attorneys that have presented at various conferences on SBIR participation and that have been involved in it as the general counsel for technology related firms. The SBIR program is an ideal vehicle for your research and development department to undertake projects from an agency's need analysis and ultimately commercialize the solution and bring it to market.
Small businesses are uniquely positioned to take advantage of government programs that target their business development. Through the Section 8(a) program, various small business set-asides, and a host of other resources and programs, the Small Business Administration's business is small business success. The attorneys at Kanthaka are fully knowledgeable of the programs and offerings of the SBA. Through that knowledge, we can help you with those difficult decisions of how to best position your small business in the governmental contracting environment.
A frequent area of controversy for small businesses as they grow is “size determinations” under the SBA program. Our attorneys are well versed in helping you to avoid the consequences of inadvertent affiliations and to help design business growth strategies that will allow you to take maximum lawful advantage of SBA programs, and contract preferences.
Entering the field of government contracting is fraught with compliance issues for the unwary. Government contracts have requirements concerning Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity, Davis-Bacon Act, Service Contract Act, and a host of additional compliance matters. Record keeping is mandated and there are governmental agencies that will audit your processes. Our team of government contracting lawyers know about the less obvious requirements placed upon government contractors. Often times, just doing good business in the commercial context is not good enough to qualify with in the government procurement arena. Whether it is compliance with “boilerplate” contract provisions or various aspects of the Federal Acquisition Regulations, our attorneys are here to guide you toward compliance.
Labor & Employment
The Service Contract Act, Davis-Bacon Act, special rules concerning collective bargaining agreements, drug-testing, and the hiring of veterans all have unique impact in governmental procurement. Kanthaka lawyers understand the peculiar labor problems of government contractors. These employers are subject to a number of federal statutes and regulations governing many of their labor and personnel practices, including: overtime, affirmative action, minimum wages, drug testing, prevailing wages, strike replacement, the hiring of handicapped workers, and making opportunities for Vietnam-era veterans and Wounded Warriors.
When you start working as a government contractor, it will not be long before you confront the need for a facility security clearance or personnel security clearances. Whether it's a requirement to answer a solicitation or once you have obtained an award you are told you must have cleared personnel or facilities, it will become a requirement. The National Industrial Security Program and its operational manual, the NISPOM, can be overwhelming to a small business. Kanthaka lawyers are ready to help you work through these requirements and work with the Government to get necessary approvals for your program and to maintain its regulatory compliance.
Inevitably, in the course of working with the Government someone in your organization will have difficulty with obtaining or maintaining a security clearance. Whether it is a recent criminal charge or financial issues, when the government feels its information may be at risk, an employee's clearance may be suspended or revoked. This can be a critical issue for a small business. At Kanthaka, we understand the adjudication process surrounding security clearances and the appeal of adverse actions. We can help.
So you are just a small business, you have no idea what letters like ITAR, EAR, FOCI, or FCPA mean. You don't think you are engaged in international trade. You don't have any international customers; you certainly don't develop munitions. You just started developing a GPS/Satellite based application with the help of some university graduate students. Your small business may be running afoul of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations – and the first you will know it is a knock on the door. Kanthaka attorneys provide clients advice on United States regulations related to exports, imports, data flow and data protection, technology transfers, and anti –corruption. Small business, too, can conflict with the regulations especially in the collaborative environment of technology development and transfer. We can help your small business develop scalable training and compliance programs to help you avoid the inadvertent violation of these regulations.
Our services include identification of issues, up-front compliance work and training and, if necessary, administrative, civil, and criminal defense representation for violations of these restrictions.
It seems that a day doesn't go by that another article appears about a business or an entire industry being assailed for a breach of its ethical obligations. Often times, these obligations have been reduced to statutory requirements, and non-compliance can result in serious civil and even criminal consequences. Our government practice attorneys have had experience in resolving the difficult ethics questions that government contracting raises. Whether it's under the Ethics in Government Act, the False Claims Act, the Hatch Act, Federal Procurement Policy, or the Joint Ethics Regulations, our government practice attorneys are ready to help. Prior to joining the firm, our governmental practice group lawyers were either ethics counselors for federal agencies or worked on the prosecution of ethics violations by government employees and contractors. The need for ethics training and compliance programs impacts nearly all businesses doing transactions with the Federal Government.
DISPUTES AND DEFENSE OF ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS
Unfortunately, there come times when disputes arise between the contractor and the government customer. Unlike other customers, the government customer has the ability to bring significant punitive actions against its contractors.
Debarments and Suspensions
At Kanthaka, our attorneys are ready to work for the favorable resolution of these disputes and enforcement actions. We have the experience to provide for the rigorous defense of actions and prosecutions brought under the civil and criminal False Claims Act, Forfeiture Act and Truth in Negotiation Act. Our attorneys can assist debarred or suspended contractors re-establish their rights to do business with the government and represent contractors in agency suspension and debarment proceedings.
Critical to the successful resolution of compliance issues is early internal detection, internal investigation and mitigation of potential violations of law. Often times, otherwise disastrous consequences for your business interests can be avoided by self-reporting of violations along with well-reasoned and developed mitigation/rehabilitation programs.
Defense of White Collar Crime
There are times when the conduct of employees will be viewed as criminal violations of law by either themselves or the company they work for in contracting with the government.
When criminal charges are brought against your employees or your company, it is time for attorneys well versed in government contracting and criminal defense. Such is the case at Kanthaka. We have lawyers well versed in these highly technical and complex prosecutions and their defense.
Additionally, with former staff judge advocates within our firm, we are ready to come to the aid of those service members facing the military justice system over allegations of procurement fraud and other aspects of the contract management and fiscal law. With the extension of UCMJ jurisdiction over DoD civilian employees and DoD civilian contractors accompanying the armed forces overseas during contingency operations, this capability has assumed increased importance.