Five Things You Should Know: Tips for Understanding and Using the FAR

Government contracting officials receive detailed training on the FAR. So do employees of some large contractors. But for many others in government contracting, particularly small businesses, there is no formal FAR training. For them, the FAR can seem overwhelming, even scary.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: the FAR is massive. In print form, which is how I read the FAR early in my career, you’re looking at a veritable brick of a book. You’d undoubtedly get some very nice definition by using copies of the FAR for bicep curls.

But, big as it is, the FAR isn’t quite as impenetrable as it might seem at first glance–especially if you know a few tricks. Here are my top five tips for understanding and using the FAR.

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Introducing Our GovCon Teaming Resource Guides!

When it comes to federal contracting, teaming is an invaluable strategy for many businesses–large and small alike. But the rules and processes surrounding teaming can be complex and confusing, even for experienced contractors.

That’s why Koprince Law has teamed up ourselves–with the government contracts experts at The Pulse of Government Contracting to create special, in-depth Teaming Resource Guides for federal contractors and subcontractors. After an introduction to the basics of teaming, Part I of our series focuses on joint venturing, while Part 2 is a deep dive into prime/subcontracting teaming.

You can check out our Teaming Resource Guides by clicking here. And while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the other services our friends at Pulse offer to federal contractors!

Event: Responsibility in Government Contracting, Hosted by Govology

To be awarded a government contract, a company must do more than submit the winning proposal — it must be “responsible.” The concept of responsibility in government contracting is far-reaching and can include such things as having adequate financial resources, a satisfactory ethical record, acceptable past performance, and even required security clearances.

On July 15, please join me and Chris Coleman as we discuss this cornerstone of government contracting in a session hosted by Govology. Chris and I will cover responsibility in-depth, including what is inclued in the FAR’s definition of responsibility, how the government evaluates responsibility, and how a small business can challenge a non-responsibility determination through the SBA’s Certificate of Competency process.

It’s easy to register: just click here. See you on July 15!

Five Things You Should Know: Eligibility for Small Disadvantaged Business Self-Certification

The Administration’s recent announcement that it plans to boost Small Disadvantaged Business contracting by 50% means that we may see increased interest by government agencies and large prime contractors alike in doing business with self-certified SDBs.

But my guess is that the Administration’s push will come with additional oversight, too–after all, increasing the goal isn’t worth much if the government cannot be confident that the contracts it counts toward its SDB goals were awarded to eligible entities. In my experience, many contractors check the SDB box in SAM without fully understanding what it takes to be an eligible Small Disadvantaged Business under federal contracting laws.

So before you click that box (or re-click it on your next SAM update) here are five things you should know about eligibility for self-certified SDB status.

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Event: 8(a) Program Conversation with Teresa Moon of Parabilis

For disadvantaged small businesses, the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program can help level the playing field by providing powerful benefits, including access to sole source and set-aside contracts. And in the wake of the Administration’s announcement that it will attempt to boost SDB contracting by 50%, this could be the right time for many businesses to consider an 8(a) Program application.

On Wednesday, June 30 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, please join me as I discuss the 8(a) Program with Teresa Moon of Parabilis. As a back-and-forth conversation (not a webinar), this promises to be an informative and fun event. Click here to sign up. See you on June 30!

Five Things You Should Know: Common Misconceptions About SBA’s Affiliation Rules

Avoiding affiliation with other companies can be critical to qualifying as a small business under the SBA’s rules for government contractors. But not all SBA affiliation rules are intuitive, and in my career as a government contracts attorney I have seen the same misconceptions about the affiliation rules come up time and and time again.

So without further ado, here are five common misconceptions about the SBA’s affiliation rules.

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Happy Anniversary, SDVOSBs: The Supreme Court’s Kingdomware Decision Was Five Years Ago Today

For SDVOSBs and VOSBs, June 16, 2016 was a monumental day. That morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision in Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States, holding that the VA must follow the law by putting “veterans first” in VA contracting.

Koprince Law LLC was honored to submit an amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting Kingdomware, and my colleagues and I were thrilled with the Court’s 8-0 decision. Click here to check out my post from June 16, 2016 proclaiming “Victory!” for SDVOSBs and VOSBs in this watershed case.

The Kingdomware decision didn’t (and couldn’t) solve every problem that some SDVOSBs and VOSBs have had with VA’s contracting practices, but five years later there is no doubt in my mind that the Court’s decision has been the driving force behind a large increase in VA’s SDVOSB and VOSB contracting. Happy anniversary!