GAO Denies Protest Challenging SAM Registration

One of the first things a prospective government contractor (including a joint venture) must do to be eligible for an award is to create a business profile in the System for Award Management (or “SAM”). Before making an award, in fact, the contracting officer is obligated to verify the prospective contractor is registered in SAM.

Not only must a business be registered in SAM, but its registration should be up-to-date. It’s an enduring myth of government contracting that a business’s SAM profile only has to be updated annually. But as FAR 4.1201(b)(1) instructs, an offeror’s SAM profile has to be updated as necessary to ensure that it is “kept current, accurate, and complete.”

What happens if a prospective awardee fails to update its SAM profile? Can a disappointed bidder challenge the basis of the award? The answer, according to GAO, is “it depends.”

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DoD Mentor-Protege Program: Major Changes Finalized

The DoD has issued a final rule making major changes in the DoD “Pilot” Mentor-Protege Program.  The rule took effect on March 23, 2018.

Among the major changes, DoD has both expanded and contracted the universe of potential proteges–and has included a mandatory certification that seems to completely misunderstand the SBA’s joint venture rules and processes.

Here is my take on the good, the bad, and the ugly from the final rule.

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Government Contracts Joint Ventures: Our New Handbook is Now Available

I am excited to announce the publication of Government Contracts Joint Ventures, the first in a new series of new government contracting guides we’re calling “Koprince Law LLC GovCon Handbooks.”  Packed with easy-to-understand examples and written in plain English, Government Contracts Joint Ventures should help you maximize your understanding of this important option for pursuing federal contracts.

What does the Handbook contain?  I’m glad you asked.

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Joint Ventures & OCIs: A Cautionary Tale

For small government contractors, joint ventures can be an important vehicle for successfully pursuing larger and more complex opportunities.  As the SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protege Program enters its second full year, the popularity of joint ventures seems to be increasing significantly.

But joint ventures aren’t immune from the FAR’s rules governing organizational conflicts of interest. In a recent decision, the GAO held that an agency properly excluded a joint venture from competition where one of the joint venture’s members–through its involvement in a second joint venture–had assisted in the preparation of the solicitation’s specifications.

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How Joint Ventures Really Work: My “Game Changers” Podcast

Ah, joint ventures.  Few topics in government contracting these days seem to cause as much confusion.  And that’s due, in large part, to some common misunderstandings I hear repeated over and over.

Recently, I joined host Michael LeJeune on the “Game Changers” podcast to talk about some of the most common areas of confusion regarding joint ventures.  What is the relationship between joint ventures and the SBA’s new All-Small Mentor-Protege Program?  How do the rules for joint venture work share operate?  What are some frequent mistakes companies make when they draft joint venture agreements?  And so on.

My podcast is available now on the Federal Access website.  Click here to give it a listen, and while you’re there, check out the many other great podcasts featuring a range of government contracts thought leaders.

GovCon Voices: Getting Your Joint Venture Ready In Time For The Next Big Opportunity

Joint ventures can be extremely powerful in helping small businesses capture larger government contracts. Yet, few small businesses know how they work, and even fewer understand the critical timeline and milestones required to have everything in place in time to capture those large opportunities.

In this article, we will discuss why understanding the timeline is so important if you want to leverage your JV for a big win.

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Thank You, SAME Seattle Post!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to the Pacific Northwest for the SAME 2017 Small Business Symposium, hosted by the SAME Seattle Post.  I gave two talks at the Symposium: the first focused on the legal requirements for joint ventures and prime/subcontractor teaming arrangements, and the second on the SBA’s new All Small Mentor-Protege Program.

A big “thank you” to Julie Erickson for organizing the event and inviting me to speak, and thanks also to Thomas Nichols for his kind introductions at both talks.  And of course, thank you to all of the contractors, government officials and clients who attended the sessions and asked such insightful questions.

I’ll be sticking around Kansas for the next several weeks, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll be taking a break from speaking about government contracts.  Please join me and the Kansas PTAC for in-depth sessions on the government’s four major socioeconomic programs: 8(a), SDVOSB, HUBZone, and WOSB.  These sessions will be held in Wichita and Overland Park; click here for details and to register.  Hope to see you there!