Since 1987, Sherman & Howard L.L.C. has provided a wide range of legal services to its corporate clients regarding virtually all aspects of government contracts and related areas of law. We have broad experience with complex issues regarding the award, administration and disputes related to federal procurement. Our clients include large corporations, small businesses and sophisticated non-profits. Several of our attorneys have extensive government contract experience resulting from their prior service as both senior civilian and military government attorneys. As a result, we understand the perspective of government attorneys, contracting officers, program personnel and senior government executives when representing our clients. We have used this extensive experience to create one of the first full-service government contract practices in Colorado.
The attorneys in our Government Contract Practice Group have experience in the following areas:
Major Weapons Systems
We have extensive experience regarding various Department of Defense major weapons systems, as both government attorneys and outside counsel to defense contractors. Our experience includes Air Force programs such as GPS, numerous classified programs, C-5A, C-17, F-16, F-15, B-1 and B-2. One of our attorneys served on numerous Air Force Source Selection Advisory Councils and advised senior Air Force Source Selection Officials, including the Secretary of the Air Force, on a wide range of weapons systems procurement. We also have experience with military launch vehicles, including the Titan IV and various classified payloads. Finally, we represent numerous clients who provide cutting-edge technology such as night vision, electro-optical tactical equipment, security and surveillance systems, military infrastructure and weapons systems bed-down facilities.
We routinely review solicitations for clients and provide risk analysis for experienced contractors and corporations unfamiliar with government contracts. Our typical risk analysis identifies key areas that may pose significant challenges or risks for offerors in preparing proposals and performing subsequent contracts. We also provide advice regarding the evaluation criteria used during competitive procurements and focus on the unique requirements imposed by the Federal Acquisition Regulations (“FAR”) and various agency FAR supplements.
Teaming Agreements/Joint Ventures
We provide advice regarding the unique requirements related to teaming agreements and joint ventures for companies that decide to combine their efforts when submitting proposals. We have drafted and negotiated numerous teaming agreements, joint ventures and non-disclosure agreements on behalf of both prime contractors and subcontractors.
Bid and Size Protests
Due to the competitive nature of most government contract procurements, we have successfully filed and defended bid protests on behalf of our clients in appropriate circumstances. Our experience includes numerous agency protests, and when necessary, protests with the Government Accountability Office. We also have successfully filed and defended SBA size protests and appeals.
As a result of the government’s commitment to award contracts to small businesses, we have developed significant expertise regarding virtually all small business issues. We have guided various small businesses through the maze of Small Business Administration (SBA) regulations to become qualified small businesses. We have assisted 8(a), VOSB/SDVOSB, WOSB/EDWOSB and HUBZone small businesses in determining qualifications, in submitting proposals on small business set-asides and in subcontracting with large businesses to meet federal subcontracting requirements. We have advised both large and small businesses regarding the SBA’s 8(a) Mentor/Protégé program. Finally, we have dealt directly with various SBA District Office personnel on behalf of our small business clients.
In support of our large business clients, we have reviewed and drafted small business subcontracting plans. We also have reviewed and drafted numerous subcontracts for both large and small businesses to ensure compliance with mandatory FAR flow-down requirements.
We have provided advice regarding virtually all federally-mandated socio-economic programs and requirements. In addition to small business requirements, we routinely advise clients regarding the Service Contract Act, Davis-Bacon Act, non-discrimination requirements imposed by the OFCCP, and the Buy American Act.
We have advised numerous clients regarding the unique federal requirements impacting contract performance. We routinely advise clients regarding the FAR Cost Principles, Cost Accounting Standards, Technical Data, and various mandatory reporting requirements.
Due to the importance of complying with various FAR notice requirements, we frequently assist clients in working through difficult contract performance issues with various Federal agencies to ensure the required procedures are followed, such as notice requirements imposed by the FAR Changes Clause.
Fraud, Waste and Abuse
Codes of Conduct
As a result of the government’s intense focus on fraud, waste and abuse, we have increasingly been involved with allegations of criminal conduct related to the award and performance of government contracts. As preventative measures, we have drafted and reviewed numerous codes of conduct mandated by FAR 52.203-13. We have assisted clients in instituting corporate compliance programs and provided extensive compliance and ethics training to employees.
Internal Investigations/Mandatory Disclosures
We have conducted numerous internal investigations to determine whether improper conduct has occurred and, if so, whether mandatory disclosures are required. When necessary, we have prepared and submitted mandatory disclosures to various OIGs and worked with IG investigators and attorneys. We have also advised clients to make voluntary disclosures when such disclosures are appropriate. On behalf of our clients, we have dealt directly with Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys in both the Criminal and Civil Divisions. In addition, we have significant experience dealing directly with federal investigative agencies, including the FBI, DCIS, AFOSI and CID.
We have successfully represented several corporate clients and individuals in suspension and debarment actions before Air Force and Army Suspending and Debarring Officials. In doing so, we have negotiated administrative agreements in lieu of suspensions or debarments.
Claims and Litigation
We have significant experience involving contract disputes with the federal government. Working with numerous large contractors, we have prepared and negotiated requests for equitable adjustment (REA). If negotiation of REAs is unsuccessful, we have prepared numerous certified claims under the Contract Disputes Act. When necessary, we have litigated complex claims in federal district courts, the COFC, ASBCA and CBCA. When subcontractors’ claims are involved, we have prepared and negotiated pass-through agreements on behalf of both prime contractors and subcontractors. Finally, we have represented prime contractors and subcontractors in private disputes litigated in federal and state courts or in contractually mandated arbitration.
White Collar Criminal Matters
We have successfully represented both large and small government contractors in matters involving allegations of criminal conduct related to government contracts. Those matters have involved, by way of example, alleged violations of the Procurement Integrity Act, the criminal and civil False Claims Acts, Qui Tam lawsuits, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and related Title 18 criminal statutes. For instance, several of our attorneys represented a government contractor in a qui tam federal False Claims Act case that was tried for several weeks before a jury in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. A key issue in the case, whether the individual plaintiff was an appropriate qui tam plaintiff under the FCA, was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in our client’s favor. See United States ex rel. Stone v. Rockwell International, 549 U.S. 457 (2007). Finally, we have successfully defended claims against our government contract clients alleging price fixing and bid rigging.
On extremely short notice, we have represented clients when federal search warrants have been executed. Subsequently, we have advised clients on document retention requirements and briefed senior corporate executives on compliance requirements during ongoing criminal investigations. We have successfully negotiated plea agreements and civil settlements with DOJ and numerous U.S. Attorneys.
We have represented clients regarding compliance with U.S. export laws, including the Arms Export Control Act and implementing International Traffic In Arms Regulations. We have guided clients through the ITAR registration process, obtained export licenses and prepared and provided export requirements training. We have advised clients on the requirements of the FCPA and conducted FCPA internal investigations. Finally, we have assisted clients in business transactions resulting in foreign ownership and control of U.S. defense contractors.