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The Solo Attorney's Emergency Guide to Government Contracts
By Jon W. van Horne
E-Book (available as PDF files)
About the Author
The Solo Attorney’s Emergency Guide to Government Contracts is exactly what the title suggests, a brief introduction to government contract law for the attorney who doesn’t practice in that area and has no particular interest in to doing so. The Emergency Guide also identifies situations that require prompt action to protect a client’s interests even before the government contracts expert can be called in to help. While the Guide is primarily intended for the solo or small firm attorney, any attorney without immediate access to government contracts expertise will benefit from this brief introduction to the practice area.
Why an “Emergency Guide”? This brief guide is for the benefit of general practice attorneys, primarily small firm or solo attorneys, who neither know nor care to know much about government contracts. The purpose of this short document is to alert lawyers who do not practice government contract law to issues that could be critical to their clients' concerns. For example, there are some issues that are exceedingly time sensitive, with deadlines as short as 72 hours. There are circumstances where government contract obligations entail potential criminal liability. Additionally, there are situations where government contract issues insert themselves into other legal matters such as mergers and acquisitions, and financing arrangements. This guide will provide preliminary information to avoid client disasters until government contracting specialists can be consulted. Red Flags There are a few situations that require immediate and serious attention in government contracting: Notice that the client has lost a competition requires action with deadlines that can be measured in hours. See the section on Bid Protests. Any allegation or hint of an allegation of fraudulent actions by the client can have business-killing implications regardless of the client's guilt or innocence. See the section on False Claims Act and Qui Tam Actions. Any indication that the client has been the victim or beneficiary of industrial espionage relating to the competition for a government contract; violations can invoke penalties with draconian remedies. See the section on Industrial Espionage in Government Contracting. Other situations may require prompt action or counseling, but either the deadlines or risks involved are such that the client can be dealt with on a more normal basis.
Jon van Horne has practiced government contracts law since 1972 as a government attorney, in-house counsel and law firm partner. Jon has been practicing as a solo attorney since 2004. Since 2008, Jon has also been an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland University College Graduate School. Jon and his wife Pamela live in the Washington DC area.
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