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Government Contracts

Bracewell’s government contracts team assists clients of all sizes navigate the ever-changing federal statutory and regulatory landscape. Our lawyers bring an insider’s perspective to this highly regulated environment that gives us a unique understanding of the challenges faced by companies operating in the public-sector marketplace. As a result, we help to secure complete and efficient solutions that further our clients’ business goals.

Our team has deep relationships with federal agencies and provides the full range of services to help companies operating in this sector. We advise clients on ethics and compliance, governmental/internal investigations, False Claims Act, bid protests, claims and disputes, mandatory disclosure and suspension and debarment. We work with clients in the management and operation of national labs, privatization/public private partnerships, cost allowability determinations, foreign military financing and the Anti-Deficiency Act. Our lawyers are highly experienced with handling data rights and intellectual property issues, defective pricing and the Truth in Negotiations Act, grants, cooperative agreements, commercial item contracting, Government Services Administration (GSA) and Veterans Administration (VA) schedule contracting, GSA leasing, domestic preferences (Buy America Act, Trade Agreements Act, Berry Amendment) and the Procurement Integrity Act.

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Our lawyers understand how bid protests impact our clients’ federal business and we have substantial depth, experience, and success pursuing and defending bid protests before federal agencies, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the United States Court of Federal Claims, and appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  Our lawyers are recognized leaders of the bid protest bar, and we have over the years built excellent relationships with federal agencies, the GAO, and the courts that enable us to advocate effectively whether serving in the role of intervenor or protester.

With a myriad of regulations attached to government funding, successfully advising clients on the unique risks facing government contractors and grantees requires a deep understanding of the highly-regulated public sector environment. We have advised numerous clients on establishment of compliance programs, drafting codes of conduct, policies and procedures required under the Federal Acquisition Regulation, as well as conducted corporate compliance reviews and training.  In addition our government contracts team has conducted internal investigations, and advised clients on their disclosure obligations.  We have also successfully represented clients in investigations pursued by the Department of Justice, the SEC and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for numerous federal agencies and other public governing bodies in numerous matters involving such issues as procurement fraud, procurement integrity, Anti-Kickback Act, the Byrd Amendment, public corruption, bid rigging, small business disputes, and cost accounting questions.

The False Claims Act is the government’s primary enforcement tool for combating fraud and abuse in government-funded programs and contracts relating to such varied areas as health care, defense and national security, food safety and inspection, federally insured loans and mortgages, highway funds, small business contracts, agricultural subsidies, disaster assistance, and import tariffs.  Bracewell’s lawyers have represented numerous entities and individuals from a broad range of industries in False Claims Act matters, ranging from government investigations to trials and appeals. 

Bracewell’s Government Contracts and Corporate lawyers work as an integrated team to provide complete solutions when representing clients in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and other investments in public and private companies that conduct business in the government space or participate in government-sponsored programs. We have substantial experience in advising clients on a variety of statutory and regulatory implications that arise when acquiring, selling or investing in entities doing business with the government.  The lawyers in our Government Contract Group are experienced in conducting due diligence on a company’s government contracts to identify and help quantify the unique risks faced by companies doing business with the government. Some of our lawyers have high-level security clearances so that we are able to support our clients’ needs when the transactions implicate the most sensitive classified contracts.

Litigating contract matters against the federal government requires a high level of experience.   Our team of seasoned lawyers has litigated numerous matters related to our clients’ public sector businesses.  Our experience includes successfully prosecuting contract claims under the Contract Disputes Act and defending clients against government claims before boards of contract appeals and in federal courts.  Our lawyers have successfully prosecuted and defended bid protests before agencies, courts, and the Government Accountability Office.  We have also successfully represented our clients’ interests in prime/subcontractor disputes, and, defended clients in criminal and civil investigations, and False Claims Act cases arising out of government contracts and grants.

Each year, the federal government purchases more than $30 billion through General Services Administration Multiple Award Schedule contracts and an additional $15 billion through the Department of Veterans Affairs Schedules. Bracewell’s government contracts team has guided companies, both large and small through the Commercial Sales Practices Form, disclosure of pricing information, negotiation of basis of award customer, pricing changes under the Price Reductions and Economic Price Adjustment clauses, and compliance with the Trade Agreements Act. We have also extensively assisted clients in preparing and responding to  Contractors Assistance Visits, pre-award and post-award audits, as well as Inspector General audits, reviews, investigations and disclosures.

We have represented numerous entities and individuals in suspension and debarment matters before various federal agencies.  We have advised clients during investigations on the administrative risks and strategies for avoiding being excluded from public sector business, as well as represented clients after they have been suspended or proposed for debarment.  We have helped negotiate several administrative agreements on behalf of clients to avoid being excluded.

Experience

Recent Notable Matters

Public key infrastructure company —  successfully represented company that provides Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) support to the Department of State in a four-day jury trial over breach of contract matter

Technology services and solutions company —  provided government contracting advice to company that provides engineering, programmatic and information technology products to the government

Satellite communications company —  counseled start-up that provides next generation satellite communications services to government agencies on federal procurement matters

Cannon Design, Inc. — provided advice regarding closeout of Administrative Agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs

Power generation company provided general government contracting compliance advice

University provided advice leading to a winning proposal to operate one of the largest National Labs

Security services provider —  represented a government contractor related to its contract to deliver fuel to bases in Iraq

Communications network provider  provided federal contract and E-Rate compliance advice

Data analytics company  provided assistance with GSA Schedule contracting and the adoption of company software for federal contact centers

Job Corps Contractor represented company in a successful appeal of a Department of Labor contracting officer decision that denied an overhead and general and administrative claim on a Job Corps contract to the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals

Information technology company —  assisted with contract counseling issues related to Defense Information Systems Agency and Department of the Navy technology contracts

Large technology hardware company assisted with numerous agreements using Other Transaction Authority

Industrial gas company — represented company in a Department of Energy cooperative agreement for the Future Gen clean coal demonstration project*

Aramark Corporation — represented company in a qui tam case alleging overcharging Medicare and Medicaid patients on a hospital food-service contracts at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Court granted motion to dismiss.*

Basic Contracting Services, Inc. — represented Navy security contractor in qui tam case alleging false certifications related to training and guard pay. Court granted motion to dismiss.*

Large public university system — successfully represented system in a National Science Foundation Office of the Inspector General investigation related to the university’s federally funded research projects*

Cartwright International Van Lines — represented company in a criminal price fixing conspiracy charges related to freight forwarding of military personnel household items. Negotiated settlement of criminal charges as well as parallel civil False Claims Act case.  Also, negotiated an administrative settlement agreement with the Army to avoid debarment related to criminal plea.*

Electric and natural gas utility — counseled company with regard to a Department of Energy grant for Smart Grid demonstration project in Houston*

Chrysler Corporation — successfully represented company in a qui tam case alleging intentional defective pricing by Chrysler’s electronics subsidiary on a military contract. Case settled prior to trial.*

Government contractor — Defended client contractor in a grand jury investigation into alleged antitrust violations related to state human services contracts. Department of Justice prosecutors closed the investigation without any charges being filed against the company or any individuals.*

D.H.B Industries — Represented one of several bullet-proof vest manufacturers in industry-wide False Claims Act investigation into Zylon vests sold to federal and local law enforcement agencies. Case settled prior to complaint being filed.*

Former Oracle executive — Represented individual in a qui tam suit related to overcharging for software on GSA schedule contract. Case settled prior to trial.*

IT Services firm — conducted an internal investigation on a classified contract related to a whistleblower’s claims concerning falsified time charging, resulting in the government electing not to pursue any charges*

Publicly traded company — Successfully defended client in an eight-year grand jury investigation jointly conducted by the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General into alleged bid rigging related to Air Force government contracts. Prosecutors closed the investigation without any charges being filed against the company or any individuals.*

Publicly traded IT services firm — Handled one of the several industry-wide False Claims Act cases claiming overcharging on government contracts related to travel rebates. After the Department of Justice investigation, the government and relator voluntarily dismissed the case against our client before seal was lifted.*

* Work completed prior to Bracewell

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