Government Contracts

Bass, Berry & Sims’ Government Contracts Practice Group assists clients in meeting the demanding and ever-changing regulatory environment of contracting with federal, state and local governments. Whether we are guiding companies through their first-ever bid protest or government claim, conducting internal investigations and litigation related to procurement fraud, responding to allegations of False Claims Act violations, guiding clients through mergers and acquisitions, or assisting clients to ensure compliance and manage risk that comes with doing business with the federal government, our team is intimately familiar with the full spectrum of issues that impact government contractors.

Our clients include public and private businesses ranging from small and emerging businesses just entering government markets to Fortune 500 companies with complex government contracting issues. We represent clients in a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, information technology, management consulting, defense, biotechnology, electronics, healthcare, construction, logistics support and cyber security.

In order to meet the diverse needs of our clients, our Government Contracts practice often collaborates with other practice areas within the firm, including Labor & Employment, Compliance & Investigations, Intellectual Property & Technology, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Business Disputes. By drawing on the experience of attorneys across other disciplines, we are able to present an integrated and cost-effective solution for our clients’ business needs.

In 2022, Chambers USA ranked the firm’s Government Contracts group as a “Highly Regarded” practice in the Nationwide category. According to Chambers research, the firm has a “respected practice, noted for its aptitude in advising clients on a host of issues, including bid protests, contract formation and transactions. Draws clients from a range of sectors including defense and national security. Clients consider them to be a ‘top-notch firm,’ and also noted: ‘The entire firm was quick to respond to our many requests, and provided exceptional advice.'” (from Chambers USA 2021)

Areas of Focus

  • Bid Protests, Litigation & Dispute Resolution
    • Prosecuting and defending federal and state level bid protests at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC) and various state venues.
    • Representing companies in disputes with federal and state agencies, including if necessary, litigation at the CFC, a board of contract appeal or in federal or state court.
    • Resolving commercial disputes related to government contracts, including prime-subcontractor disputes.
  • Commercial Items & the Federal Supply Schedule
    • Advising companies on the sale of commercial items and services under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 12, including counseling on commercial software license agreements.
    • Advising on proposals to obtain a General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract, negotiating the “basis of award” customer and recommending procedures to comply with price monitoring requirements.
    • Representing contractors in GSA pre- and post-award audits and investigations concerning FSS contracts.
  • Contract Formation & Administration
    • Reviewing and assessing federal and state level solicitations and bid proposals to maximize success and limit regulatory burdens.
    • Assisting in negotiation of prime and subcontract awards, including advising on Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) flowdown requirements.
    • Drafting and negotiating teaming agreements, nondisclosure agreements and joint venture relationships.
  • Ethics, Compliance & Corporate Training
    • Drafting Codes of Business Ethics and Conduct and the related internal policies and procedures, including ethics and compliance training programs.
    • Analyzing Organizational Conflict of Interest issues that may arise in government programs and recommending methods to mitigate the actual or potential conflict.
    • Counseling clients on unique requirements on gratuity and gift restrictions and post-government employment hiring.
  • Facility Security Clearances & FOCI
    • Advising on all aspects of facility security clearance (FCL) application process, to include completion of SF-328 and other required documents.
    • Counseling foreign owned companies on procedures to pursue classified work and obtain an FCL.
    • Negotiating foreign ownership control or influence (FOCI) mitigation agreements with the Defense Security Service.
  • FAR Cost Principles & Cost Accounting Standards
    • Counseling clients on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)’s unique set of cost allowability principles and the applicability of Cost Accounting Standards to a companies’ government contracts portfolio.
    • Assisting businesses in responding to Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) audits and/or questions regarding incurred cost submissions.
    • Providing training on cost principles, Truth in Negotiations Act and the Cost Accounting Standards.
  • Intellectual Property & Data Rights
    • Counseling on issues involving intellectual property developed or delivered under government contracts, including protecting intellectual property rights to software and hardware customized for government customers, invention disclosure, and how to properly mark technical data delivered under government contracts.
    • Drafting intellectual property clauses for subcontracts and teaming agreements.
    • Advising on unique funding opportunities such as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, and how to maximize related intellectual property rights.
  • Internal Investigations & Mandatory Disclosure
    • Conducting internal investigations of alleged wrongdoing relating to any aspect of government contracts or grants, including allegations of False Claims Act violations, procurement fraud, product substitution and ethical violations.
    • Counseling clients regarding whether “credible evidence” of a violation exists that triggers the mandatory disclosure obligations under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).
    • Guiding clients through the disclosure and government investigation process.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
    • Identifying and analyzing risks associated with specific government contract types and compliance obligations.
    • Analyzing regulatory, accounting and tax implications of alternative structures and addressing issues related to dispositions.
    • Negotiating transaction documents unique to government contractor acquisitions.
    • Assisting in required notices and filings with regulatory agencies.
    • Working with clients on post-closing obligations and rights.
  • Small Business Programs & Size Standards
    • Advising businesses on how to participate in various small business preference programs, including Small Business Administration (SBA)’s 8(a) Business Development program, the Veteran Affair’s (VA) Veterans First Contracting Program, Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) set aside programs, and SBA’s HUBZone program.
    • Representing companies in SBA size determinations and size protests at SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals.
    • Counseling on the unique size standard affiliation issues that can impact a small business’ continued eligibility for set aside contracts.
  • Suspension & Debarment
    • Counseling clients on whether to affirmatively engage suspending and debarring officials (SDOs) regarding issues that might impact a contractor’s “present responsibility.”
    • Responding to federal and state SDO show cause notices and notices of suspension or proposed debarment and, when necessary, negotiating administrative agreements to resolve government concerns.
    • Appearing before federal and state SDOs, including the Air Force, Army, Navy, Defense Logistics Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, Homeland Security, Small Business Administration, among others.
Richard W. Arnholt
Adam Briscoe
Brian M. Dobbs
Brian R. Iverson
Thaddeus R. McBride
Todd R. Overman
Erica Vick Penley
Roee Talmor
Ryan D. Thomas