On Thursday, June 16, I will be recording a Continuing Legal Education course titled, simply, "Government Contracts 101."
Going back to basics is important for new contractors and for lawyers unfamiliar with government contracts. Contracting with the federal government is not like a business deal between two companies or a contract between a consumer and a commercial contractor. Thus, advising a government contractor is not like advising another business client. In this course, I will explore those differences. Among other topics we will discuss the unique rights that the government gives itself, what a contractor needs to know to protect itself, and what the risks are for a contractor that does not understand its legal obligations.
Government contracting is highly regulated. There are laws and regulations governing how contracts are solicited, how offers are submitted, how those offers are evaluated, how an award is made, and how and when a disappointed bidder protests. That "when" is very important, as different protest issues have different timeliness requirements.
Once the contract is won, there may be special cost accounting requirements. There also may be rules about how contract funds may be spent. One of the most unique features of government contracts is the government's right to make unilateral changes to the contract and to have those changes implemented even before a price and schedule have been agreed upon. Contractors and their lawyers need to know how to protect their interests in such situations. This includes knowing whose change orders to follow and whose orders not to follow (and how to follow up on the latter type of order.)
And there's much more, including special labor law requirements that apply to government contractors plus many opportunities to get in trouble and go to jail that non-government contractors don't have. Hopefully, no one will be doing that after taking this class.
Contracting with the federal government is not like a business deal between two companies or a contract between a consumer and a commercial contractor.
Originally Published 15 June 2022
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