Meet Our Bid Protests Experts
As the Managing Partner with more than twenty-five years of experience in all aspects of federal government contracting. Barbara is a leading attorney for bid protests. She is a nationally known expert on GSA and VA Schedules and the Service Contract Act, and she has served as an expert witness for federal government contracting cases. She has a proven track record of solving complex issues for clients. Barbara was named a top attorney for federal contracting by Smart CEO magazine in 2010, 2012 and 2015. She holds a Top Secret Security Clearance.
Heather Mims is a senior associate attorney at Centre Law & Consulting. Heather has extensive experience litigating bid protests before the Government Accountability Office. She also has experience working with contractors on claims and appeals, government contract terminations, and subcontract disputes. Heather also works with government contractors to develop enforceable teaming agreements and subcontracts. Heather is a top-rated attorney selected to Rising Stars for 2019-2020 by Super Lawyers.
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Additional Government Contracts Legal Services
Our government contract attorneys represent clients around the world and domestically in claims, disputes, requests for equitable adjustment, contract terminations, and settlements.
In summary, a claim against the U.S. Government is a written demand for payment that is governed by the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The FAR states in subpart 2.101: “Claim” means a written demand or written assertion by one of the contracting parties seeking, as a matter of right, the payment of money in a sum certain, the adjustment or interpretation of contract terms, or other relief arising under or relating to the contract. However, a written demand or written assertion by the contractor seeking the payment of money exceeding $100,000 is not a claim under 41 U.S.C. chapter 71, Contract Disputes, until certified as required by the statute. A voucher, invoice, or another routine request for payment that is not in dispute when submitted is not a claim. The submission may be converted to a claim, by written notice to the contracting officer as provided in 33.206(a), if it is disputed either as to liability or amount or is not acted upon in a reasonable time.
Centre Law and Consulting has over 20 years of experience in government contract dispute and litigation. While our primary goal is to resolve each issue with the contracting officer, sometimes litigation is unavoidable. When this happens, we will work with you to quickly select the best judicial forum for prompt and fair resolution.
We also have substantial experience in arbitrations, mediations, and other forms of alternate dispute resolution, including international arbitrations and mediations. Our team includes two former clerks at the Board of Contract Appeals, a former Court of Federal Claims clerk and a former DOJ Commercial Branch litigator. We understand government contract litigation and its processes. Whenever litigation is being contemplated or pursued, we assist with the preparation for negotiations and remain alert to the strategic considerations and opportunities for favorable settlements or alternative mechanisms that will help avoid protracted disputes.
The Service Contract Labor Standards (SCLS) formerly known as the Service Contract Act (SCA) applies to every contract entered into by the United States or the District of Columbia, where the principal purpose of which is to furnish services in the United States through the use of service employees. Contractors and subcontractors performing on such Federal contracts must observe minimum wage and safety and health standards and must maintain certain records unless a specific exemption applies. The Act requires minimum monetary wages for non-exempt service workers, as determined by a Department of Labor wage determination (WD) or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and requires employers to provide Health and Welfare benefits.
Centre Law and Consulting conducts compliance reviews for contractors and defends investigations and actions brought by the Department of Labor against contractors for alleged SCLS violations. SCLS compliance is especially difficult because the regulations touch various departments within an organization including accounting, human resources, program management, contracts and executive management. Without an overhead look at all departments and the knowledge of where to look, violations can be undetected for years.
Our attorneys and staff are prepared to help you through your SCA issues, whether you have a legal issue, want to ensure SCA compliance, or need SCA training.
Centre attorneys have extensive experience in small business subcontracting issues. We have years of success assisting clients determine eligibility for the small business programs, capture set-aside dollars, establish mentor-protégé relationships, review subcontracting plans and defend size protests. Centre has expert attorney who understand the various size standards and requirements applied by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) in determining whether a business can be classified as small for purposes of government contract opportunities.
Government contract businesses that are other than small must ensure that they are doing their best to meet subcontracting goals set forth in each contract. The Centre Law & Consulting team possesses the necessary knowledge and background to help these contractors navigate important laws and regulations regarding small business subcontracting plans. In addition, Centre Law & Consulting advises small business clients on how to take advantage of opportunities that are available as a result of subcontracting plan requirements.
Centre’s professionals have prepared, negotiated and interpreted subcontracts and teaming agreements for over 20 years. Our experience ensures that these agreements are not only well-crafted and legally sound but are also an invaluable tool for both parties to expand business and contracting opportunities.
Subcontracting and teaming are integral aspects of the federal procurement industry. Whether the relationship is formulated in order to meet small business subcontracting goals or to take advantage of a teaming partner’s complimentary capabilities, the success of each arrangement depends largely on the functionality and effectiveness of the agreement that governs the relationship between the parties. Indeed, the relationships between the federal government, prime contractors, subcontractors, and teaming partners are complex. Beyond the drafting and preparation of the agreements themselves, there are unique regulatory hurdles that can cause everlasting conflict and problems in the contracting relationship. In addition to the crucial application of contract flow-down clauses in subcontracts, contractors must understand the effects and importance of executing comprehensive teaming agreements and subcontracts that include all of the terms, conditions, and provisions that are essential to a successful partnership for government business.
Terminations, suspension and debarment are discretionary adverse administrative actions which prevent private companies and individuals from participating in Federal Government contracts, subcontracts, loans, grants and other assistance programs. Often, they can have a devastating effect on hard-working individuals or companies doing business with the Federal Government. The effect of termination, suspension or debarment by a Federal agency is government-wide. Centre’s objective is to quickly develop evidence in mitigation, extenuation, and rebuttal to show present contractor responsibility and to secure the best possible result with minimal personnel and business interruptions. With over two decades of experience, our attorneys can provide you the expert legal counsel in any termination, suspension or government contract debarment case.
Government contracts for the purchase of goods and products commonly require certification that the contractor’s products comply with the Buy American Act (BAA) or Trade Agreements Act (TAA). This certification is a frequent challenge of rivals in bid protests before the GAO. Suddenly discovering a central product is illegible for sale to the government can be devastating for many contractors. Centre trains compliance to the acts, advises on specific solicitation certifications, and advocates for proper interpretation of the statutes for our many clients selling to the federal government.