To help you navigate the rough seas of doing business with the federal government in the Trump administration, Washington PTACPacific Northwest Defense CoalitionAGC of Washington, and the Government Contracts team at Oles Morrison have assembled a group of nationally recognized government contracts professionals for a seminar covering topics relevant to government contractors across all industries.

Session topics include:

  • Federal Design-Build Challenges | Doug Oles, Partner, Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP   |   With a long history in design-bid-build construction, federal agencies have struggled with the design-build project delivery system. This session will highlight some of these key challenges, and how contractors can avoid falling victim.
  • DCAA Audit & Investigation Essentials | David Yang, Partner, Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP; Tony Worick, Manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers  |  The session will cover the types of audits and investigations conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), what you should expect during them, best practices for maximizing your position while minimizing risk, and a look at the key DCAA trends from FY2018 as well as what we can expect from DCAA in FY2019.
  • Are You Sure That Your Small Business Size Certification Is Accurate? | Dominique Casimir, Partner, Arnold & Porter; Adam Lasky, Partner, Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP     SBA’s complex size and affiliation rules lead many federal contractors to inaccurately certify that they are small, which can lead to FCA liability and debarment. This session will provide a guide to SBA’s Affiliation Rules, plus best practices for managing the accuracy of your size certifications and mitigating/correcting inaccurate certifications.
  • Panel: Roadblocks to Commercial Items Contracting | Howard Roth, Of Counsel, Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP; Laurie Davis, Sr. Contract Specialist; Shaun Kennedy, Senior Attorney, Ball Corporation   |   This session provides private and government sector perspectives on recent changes in commercial item contracting and provides practical tips for making commercial item determinations (i.e., price reasonableness, commerciality, of-a-type, etc.).  The panel will also address to what extent the Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Palantir will affect commercial item purchasing. 
  • Lunch Speaker: Understanding Your Obligations and Potential Compliance Gaps Regarding Bribery, Gratuities, Kickbacks and Other Government Contract Ethics | Paul Bowen, Partner, K&L Gates LLP   |   Conducting business with the government requires strict compliance with all ethical business practices. This includes avoiding, detecting, and, in some cases, reporting bribery, illegal gratuities, and kickbacks. This session will help you understand the key ethical obligations in government and recognizing compliance gaps in your ethics program.
  • Labor Compliance Pitfalls: Obama-Era Challenges and Regulations Remain | Eric Crusius, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP   |   This session will cover how to spot and comply with various government contracts-specific labor requirements, including the Service Contract Act, Davis-Bacon Act, and Fair Labor Standards Act, plus new regulatory requirements such as mandatory sick leave and minimum wage. In addition, Eric will discuss the Top 10 labor compliance pitfalls in government contracting.
  • Navigating Tariffs, Shutdowns and Other Sovereign Acts | James Nagle, Of Counsel, Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP   |   Acts by the government in its sovereign (public, as opposed to contracting) capacity, such as tariffs, government shutdowns, or new EPA or OSHA rules, can throw a monkey wrench into a contractor’s planned costs and schedule. Learn how to anticipate, plan for and react to such acts, which is indispensable to a contract’s and contractor’s success.
  • Keynote:  Hot Topics in Procurement Reform | Prof. Steven Schooner, Nash & Cibinic Professor of Government Procurement Law and Co-Director of the Government Procurement Law Program, The George Washington University Law School    |   Our distinguished keynote speaker will discuss and provide commentary on the hottest topics in federal procurement reform, including the proposed Section 809 Panel reforms, which could change the face of government procurement.

Two Ways to Attend:

  • In-person, AGC of Washington (Second-floor Conference Room, 1200 Westlake Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109).  Parking will be validated.
  • Live Webinar

When:

  • October 25, 2018
  • 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. PST (Breakfast and Lunch included)
  • Networking Reception: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Click HERE for the program flyer and complete schedule.

Click HERE to Register.

Questions? Contact Tiffany Scroggs at 360.464.6041 or via email at tscroggs@thurstonedc.com

So-called “sovereign acts” may soon affect the performance of a wide swath of government contracts by shielding the federal government from the fallout of President Trump’s newest tariffs. The sovereign acts doctrine is rarely discussed, but it can have a profound impact on contract profitability.

While a contractor might normally be granted additional compensation when its performance is hindered by government action, the sovereign acts doctrine protects the government from liability where the impact on a particular contract results from the government’s “public and general acts as a sovereign.” In other words, because the federal government’s legislative and regulatory powers take precedence over fidelity to any particular private contract, the government is not responsible when its higher-order actions happen to disrupt contract performance.

In March 2018, the Trump administration began imposing tariffs on steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) imports. These tariffs have since been expanded to a number of close U.S. trading partners, including the European Union, Canada, and Mexico. On July 6, the Trump administration also set a tariff of 25% on approximately $50 billion in Chinese imports, and has announced an additional 25% tariff on approximately $200 billion in Chinese consumer goods.

The question of whether a particular federal action is “public and general” enough to trigger the doctrine varies from case to case, but there is a substantial possibility that tariffs on imported steel and other building supplies may qualify. This would leave contractors to cover recent increases in materials costs that flow directly from these trade policies.

While these national-scale government actions are certainly the most visible examples of the sovereign acts doctrine, contractors should also be prepared to confront more localized government actions that benefit from the same defense.

Work site access restrictions are a common example of such “local” sovereign acts. For example, in Conner Bros. Const. Co., Inc. v. Geren, the Army and one of its commanders made the operational security decision to exclude construction personnel from a worksite within an Army base in the days following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This was deemed a sovereign act that precluding recovery for the contractor’s delay damages, though the contractor was allowed additional time to perform.

Similarly, in Garco Const., Inc. v. Secretary of the Army, (which also involved administrative deference issues that we have covered in previous posts), the sovereign acts doctrine protected the Army from liability after the more stringent enforcement of its existing base access policy barred entry for a large number of subcontractor workers.

While it can be difficult to plan for circumstances like these, contractors should keep a close eye on the price risks that they and their subcontractors accept when bidding on federal contracts. If there is a substantial chance that an imminent sovereign act could interfere with performance, contractors would be well-advised to ensure that their bids reflect contingencies that account for this possibility.

To learn more about how the sovereign acts doctrine could intersect with these new tariffs, or for information about the potential impact of other governmentwide disruptions, consider attending our upcoming seminar, Navigating Federal Government Contracts Northwest 2018.” The seminar/webinar will include a keynote speech by James Nagle specifically addressing the application of the sovereign acts doctrine to government shutdowns and other current or looming political disputes. 

Join Oles Morrison partner Adam Lasky for Road Map to Federal Bid Protests, a webinar presented by the Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition (PNDC), on Monday, September 17, 2018, from 11:00AM – 12:15PM PDT.

This webinar will provide contractors a look behind the curtain at GAO and U.S. Court of Federal Claims bid protests. Attendees will leave with a much better understanding of how the bid protest process really works at the federal level. The webinar will also cover how contractors can best prepare for a protest by maximizing their debriefing; analyzing which protest avenues are most advantageous; recent protest trends; and debunking common protest myths.

Click here to register for the webinar.  The webinar is Free for PNDC members, and $35 for non-members

To help you navigate the rough seas of doing business with the federal government in the Trump administration, Washington PTAC, Pacific Northwest Defense CoalitionAGC of Washington, and the Government Contracts team at Oles Morrison have assembled a group of nationally recognized government contracts professionals for a seminar covering topics relevant to government contractors across all industries.

Session topics include:

  • Navigating Tariffs, Shutdowns & Sovereign Acts
  • Roadblocks to Commercial Items Contracting
  • Design-Build Challenges
  • Small Business Certifications & SBA Affiliation Rules
  • Cost/Pricing Audits & Investigations
  • Bribery, Gratuities, Kickbacks and other Government Contract Ethics
  • Labor Compliance Pitfalls (SCA, DBA, FLSA)
  • Hot Topics in Procurement Reform

Speakers:

Two Ways to Attend:

  • In-person, AGC of Washington (Second-floor Conference Room, 1200 Westlake Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109).  Parking will be validated.
  • Live Webinar

When:

  • October 25, 2018
  • 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. PST (Breakfast and Lunch included)
  • Networking Reception: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Click HERE for the program flyer and complete details.

Click HERE to Register.

Questions? Contact Tiffany Scroggs at 360.464.6041 or via email at tscroggs@thurstonedc.com

With every new administration, there is both great uncertainty and opportunity in federal government contracting. To help you navigate the rough seas of doing business with the federal government in the Trump administration, Oles Morrison is partnering with the AGC of Alaska and Alaska PTAC to host a half-day seminar/webinar on August 15, 2018, with nationally recognized practitioners who will cover topics relevant to government contractors large and small.

Session topics include:

  • A Primer on Subcontract Disputes and Pass-Through Claims on Federal Projects
    Howard Roth, Of Counsel, Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP
  • Keys to Succeeding in SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Joint Venture Programs
    Adam Lasky, Partner, Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP
  • Pricing Change Orders, REAs and Claims
    Aaron Raddock, CPA, CFE, CFCM, Managing Director, Industry Specialty Services – Government Contracts, BDO USA LLP
  • Complying with the Mandatory and Voluntary Disclosure Rules in Federal Contracting
    David Yang, Partner, Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP

Three Ways to Attend:

  • In-person, AGC Anchorage (8005 Schoon Street, Anchorage, AK 99518)
  • In-person live stream, AGC Fairbanks (3750 Bonita Street, Fairbanks, AK 99701)
  • On-line live stream

When:

  • August 15, 2018
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time (9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PDT / 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT)

Click HERE for the program flyer and complete details.

Click HERE to Register.

Questions? Contact Kimberley Gray at 907.561.5354 or kimberley@agcak.org.

Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker, LLP, one of the West Coast’s most respected law firms, is pleased to announce that attorney David Yang has joined the firm as a partner.

Yang’s practice focuses on government contracts where he advises clients on all critical aspects of their business, whether the issues involve compliance, intellectual property, prime-subcontractor matters, cost accounting, claims, bid protests, false claims act or other disputes.

Yang has litigated on behalf of contractors before a diverse range of courts, boards and arbitration panels. He focuses on bid protests, where he has successfully protested and defended billions of dollars’ worth of some of the largest defense and civilian procurements in recent history before the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, where he served as a law clerk early on in his career.  In addition to his expansive protest work, Yang has recovered millions of dollars in Contract Disputes Act claims before the boards of contract appeals and also routinely defends contractors in False Claims Act cases in federal courts nationwide.  Yang has strategically obtained dismissal of several multimillion-dollar FCA lawsuits through the effective and efficient use of pre-trial motions.

Prior to joining Oles Morrison, Yang was a partner at an AmLaw 100 firm in Washington, D.C. He also served as a law clerk for the Honorable Mary Ellen Coster Williams at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Yang received his law degree from George Washington University Law School, with high honers, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington

The addition of David Yang expands Oles Morrison’s already skilled government contracts team, which, in addition to Yang, is led by Adam LaskyHoward Roth and Jim Nagle.

About Oles Morrison

With deep roots in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP has built a legal practice with a focus on construction, government contracts, commercial litigation and real estate transactions. Our experienced team has been helping domestic and international companies of all sizes to resolve legal issues on a wide variety of complex public and private projects while protecting their business interests for 125 years.

On May 1, 2018, Oles Morrison partner Adam Lasky will be on a panel discussing “Tips for Avoiding Litigation on Federal Construction Projects,” together with Paul Varela (Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino), Neil O’Donnell (Rogers, Joseph O’Donnell, PC), and Jennifer Fiore (Dunlap Fiore, LLC), at the AGC Federal Contractors Conference 2018.  Adam and the panel will be discussing a number of topics relevant to construction contractors doing business with the federal governent, including false claims act liability, pass-through claims, and releases.

Click here for registration information.

In the RAND Corporations’s 2018 report on DoD bid protests, RAND highlighted some concerning statistics regarding bid protests filed by small businesses. RAND discovered that more than 50% of protests were being filed by small businesses (more than double the percentage of prime contract dollars going to small businesses), and at GAO protests filed by small businesses tended to have significantly lower sustained and effectiveness rates, and were 50% more likely to be dismissed as “legally insufficient.” As a result of these findings, and others, RAND recommended that Congress consider approaches to reduce and improve bid protests from small businesses.

Please join the ABA Section of Public Contract Law Small Business Committee’s panel for a broad discussion of RAND’s findings and recommendations specific to small business protests, and the feedback RAND received concerning these recommendations. In addition, the panel will examine other approaches under consideration that were not included in the report, and will open the floor to a discussion on ideas to reduce and improve bid protests from small businesses.

Moderator

Panelists

  • Brian PersonsSenior Management Scientist, RAND Corporation (Co-Author of the RAND Report)
  • Jessica TillipmanAssistant Dean for Field Placement and Professorial Lecturer in Law, The George Washington University Law School

This event will take place in-person (Morrison & Foerster LLP, 2000 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 6000, Washington, DC) and by teleconference (Call-in: 855.890.6636 Participant Code: 7037607325), Noon – 1:00 pm EDT (9:00 am – Noon PDT) on Thursday May 3.  If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP to TFouch@mofo.com.

Oles Morrison partner Adam Lasky will co-present with Shene Commodore, president of Commodore Consulting, LLC during National Contract Management Association’s “Maximizing Teaming Under SBA’s Joint Venture Rules” webinar.

Hear about new rules and major changes the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has made to its joint venture programs.

Learn:

  • SBA’s teaming regulations,
  • Joint venture requirements,
  • Principles for establishing joint venture programs, and
  • How to draft agreements that comply with SBA regulations

Click here to register for the webinar.

Oles Morrison attorney, Jim Nagle, has been tapped to give the keynote presentation at the Alliance Northwest 2018 Conference on March 15.  Jim’s keynote, “Contracting in the age of Trump,” will cover President Trump’s impact on the regulatory process, the Buy American act, the role of contractors in fulfilling the work of the executive branch, and how budgetary priorities sets an array of challenges and opportunities for everyone involved in the contracting process. Any new administration, especially one of a different political party than its predecessor, involves different priorities and often total reversals from the previous president’s. The Trump administration is no exception but its impact on procurement both what is being purchased and the process is monumental.

The Alliance NW Conference is the premier government contracting event in the northwest, bringing together prime contractors, government agencies and small businesses for a full day of relationship building and educational opportunities.

A nationally recognized attorney and thought leader in government contract law, Jim Nagle is sought after for his valuable counsel as consultant, expert witness or arbitrator/mediator by the government and its federal contractors. He has unrivaled experience working on supply, services, international, major systems and construction contracts. Throughout his distinguished career, Jim has represented owners, contractors, subcontractors, sureties, architects, engineers and all parties in the contracting process. Prior to joining the firm, he served as chief of the Logistics and Contract Law Branch of the Department of the Army staff and as a trial team chief in the Army’s Contract Appeals Division.

Jim is committed to sharing his extensive knowledge of government contract law to advance the next generation of attorneys. He is the author of seven books on federal contracting and more than 100 articles that have appeared in publications such as Public Contract Law Journal, Military Law Review, National Contract Management Association (NCMA) Journal, and Contract Management. Jim is a coveted lecturer on federal government contracts and construction law. He regularly teaches a course on Government Contract Law for Educational Services Institute on behalf of George Washington University and has taught Government Contracts for the University of Washington and Seattle University.