Submit Bid Protests That Increase Your Chances of Prevailing.
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Filing a bid protest after you find out that the government has awarded your competition the bid brings surprise and alsofrustration. Deciding whether or not to file a GAO bid protest requires you to act quickly. You know that something went wrong during the bidding stage. For example, you may believe that the agency failed to consider critical parts of your bid; you may believe that your technical proposal or past performance was not evaluated in accordance with the solicitation requirements. Filing a GAO protest requires specific facts and legal theory to avoid dismissal. Getting your attorney on board quickly also helps you to meet the short deadlines.
The following are actions that you must immediately take before filing a protest.
- Request a Debriefing: For negotiated government contracts under FAR 15, you must immediately request a debriefing from the agency. The information you receive can immensely improve the weight and substance of your bid protest.
- A required debriefing suspends the protest filing deadline until you receive it.
- Immediately fax the request for a debriefing after you are aware of the award.
- Never wait until you receive an award letter. Check agency websites for award information.
- Ask questions about how you were evaluated and where you fell short in the decision process (this can give clues to mistakes made by the agency.)
- Write facts on why you believe the agency made a mistake in your bid. Be able to point to solicitation requirements plus you response.
- Your bid protest must articulate what the agency did wrong.
Agencies Make Mistakes With Bids
Government contracting agencies make mistakes during the bidding stage. Unfortunately, the burden is on you to prove them. Uncovering the mistakes while meeting tight deadlines creates additional stress and anxiety. Nevertheless, you want to protect your rights and gain the additional company profits as planned to begin with. Getting legal advice can benefit with the following:
- Uncover unlawful agency actions;
- Seek admission to the protective order on your behalf (this is a critical part of the process – contractors generally cannot be admitted);
- Support your case with credible case law;
- Develop detailed facts to support your position;
- Have the ability to consider internal source selection materials to bolster your case;
- Assess the legal and factual basis for filing your protest (you must have both);
- Analyze the solicitation requirements versus the agency’s actions; and
- Respond to agency motions and attempts to dismiss your case.
Questions to Consider Before Filing a Bid Protest
- Can you file a protest?
- Did you stand a substantial chance of getting the award?
- What procurement laws did the agency violate?
- Is your case a pre-award protest or post award protest? Timing deadlines are critical here.
- How much is at stake and is it worth fighting for additional company profits?
- How will filing a protest impact current relationships with the agency?
- What are your chances of winning? See statistics.
- Will your attorneys have enough time to prepare a strong complaint – you must contact them early.
Lean the most dangerous trends facing government contractors in bid protests, and how knowing those trends can increase your profits in your recent bid.
The government bid protest lawyers at Watson & Associates, LLC focus on getting to the bottom of your situation to discover whether there is foul play by federal agencies. With law offices in Washington DC and Colorado, our attorneys are positioned help small businesses and large DOD contractors across the country to navigate through the complex protest regulations. See examples of favorable case outcomes.
Our lawyers can help with:
- Overly restrictive requirements
- Sole source decisions
- Competition in Contracting Act violations
- Obvious and vague solicitation requirements
- Improper agency evaluations
- Competitive range determinations
- Lack of meaningful discussions
- Organizational Conflicts of Interest
- Improper past performance evaluations
- Disparate treatment and inconsistent evaluations.
- Improper best value determinations and cost-technical trade-offs
- Native American government contracts
Call Toll Free for a Free Initial Consultation – 1.866.601.5518.
Small Business Size Protests (Never file at GAO)
If you have reason to believe that another business does not meet the small business size standards, you can file a size protest with the SBA. Our lawyers have successfully filed and defended these types of bid protests. Get help with:
- Initial size evaluations and preparation;
- Response during SBA investigations;
- Size appeals after an adverse decision.
Do You Have a Valid Reason to Protest?
The Agency will try to dismiss your case early
Filing a bid protest takes deep legal analysis. For example GAO bid protest regulations require you to present a legal and factual basis to support the challenge. This one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.
- Conclusory statements will get your protest dismissed
- Simply stating that the Agency should have done things differently does not meet protest filing requirements.
- You must demonstrate that the Agency either (a) did not follow its own solicitation criteria (b) violated procurement law or statutes (c) Abused its discretion or acted unreasonably
Can You File the Bid Protest?
Deciding whether to file a protest requires you to be an “interested party.” This means that you must show that you are “an actual or prospective bidder or offeror whose economic interest would be affected by the award of the contract or by failure to award the contract.”
- If you are a prospective bidder who has expressed an interest in competing, you can be considered as having a direct economic interest in a case at GAO.
- Subcontractors cannot file a protest
- You must show a substantial chance of winning
- Failure to establish this requirement gets your case dismissed.
Is Your GAO Bid Protest Letter Legally Sufficient?
An effective GAO bid protest letter is crafted with specific facts and application of those facts to case law and statutes. This is where having a government contract law attorney can be beneficial. Failure to meet the procedural rule will get your case dismissed.
Meet Protest Deadlines or Give up Your Rights
GAO bid protest regulations set forth detailed and tricky timeliness requirements for filing bid protests. At the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, there is not a timeline per se. However, cases are often thrown out if you wait too long to file. Having a government contract protest lawyer can save much headache and confusion.
- Apparent and defective solicitations must be protested to GAO prior to bid opening or the time set for receipt of initial proposals.
- Other than defective solicitations must protest to GAO not later than 10 days after the basis of the protest is known.
Exception: The normal 10-day timeliness rule is tolled when you have asked for a requested AND required debriefing (competitive proposals).
Note: IF GAO has dismissed your protest as untimely, Call us at 1-866-601-5518.
Where can You File Your Bid Protest?
Depending on the outcome you are looking for, budget, and amount at stake, a careful analysis by an experienced bid protest lawyer may be necessary. Finding the right place to file can be essential to the outcome.
You can file (1) an agency protest; (2) a General Accountability Office (GAO) protest; (3) file at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and (4) for small business size protest, you MUST file at the Small Business Administration. Watson’s bid protest lawyers have significant experience at the various levels. Filing in the right place also means having the means to assess the various decisions on your specific issue.
Are You Looking to Defend or Intervene to Protect Your Award?
If you are fortunate enough to become the successful bidder, you can find yourself defending a bid protest. Government contract law allows you to intervene or defend your position. Intervention allows you to fight for your rights and make arguments as to why your award should stand.
- At the COFC, a party may intervene as of right or permissively.
- At GAO, an awardee in situations where contract award has been made; or
- When no contract award has been made, all bidders who appear to have a substantial chance of receiving the award if the protest is denied.
- The agency’s interest may not be the same as yours
- Your protest defense lawyer may see legal arguments missed by the agency
- You have a statutory right to intervene and protect your company’s profits.
Avoid Common Agency Tactics to Dismiss Your Protest
GAO bid protest regulations and litigation are extremely tricky. They also create fatal landmines. As bid protest attorneys, Watson guides you away from the common tactics used by federal contracting agencies to get your case dismissed.
For example, agencies immediately see if your protest is formed as a “mere disagreement” with the agency decision. This is why having actual facts to support your claim is critical.
- Agencies will look to see if you are represented by a government contracts attorney. If you are not, the contracting agency knows that you cannot get access to the protected source selection materials. As a result, you will be faced with motions upon motions to which you have to answer. This one reason why you should consider retaining a bid protest law firm that understands the rules.
- Agencies will seek to twist your position and then argue that your case is late.
Why Get Access to Agency Source Selection Materials Can Be Critical to Your Outcome?
Getting into sensitive source selection material in a government bid protest is allowed to develop allegations in the original complaint. As a contractor, you personally will not be allowed to have access to the Protective Order.
Generally, only the bid protest attorneys are allowed to see such procurement sensitive information
- Protest lawyers are generally the only ones that can see sensitive source selection materials.
- Without being allowed into the Protective Order, you are left with only your original allegations and no access to important proof.
- Protest decisions are primarily based upon what the agency record shows.
Taking advantage of this critical aspect of any GAO protest will give you the ammunition that opportunity to uncover any mistakes that agency has made. More importantly this access will allow you the proof to back up you allegations.
Our Law Firm Experience
With law offices in Washington, DC and Colorado, the government contract bid protest attorneys at Watson & Associates, LLC offer more than 40 years combined experience in the practice area. Some of legal team members have actually sat on source selection teams and were heads of agency contracting departments. We understand the laws that impact companies during the bidding stage. The law firm has helped small businesses and large DOD contractors to obtain favorable outcomes. Many of our cases have been quickly resolved by agencies taking corrective action. This helps you because it reduces the amount of litigation expenses and attorney fees. We offer flat rates in some cases. Save time and money when the stakes are high.
Get Help Regardless of Your State
If you are seeking an experienced Washington, D.C. firm, Watson & Associates’ GAO protest lawyers, government contracts law firm, and SBA size-protest attorneys provide cost-effective and comprehensive bid protest procedure representation to contractors in Denver and Washington D.C., Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington, DC, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Our US firm also helps DOD contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq construction efforts.
Our government contract bid protest attorneys and consultants also help contractors in the following cities: Anchorage, AK; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Colorado Springs, CO; Dallas, TX; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, IN; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Philadelphia, PA; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Santa Clara, CA; and Tampa, FL.
Call Our Washington DC Bid Protest Attorneys
Fight for your company’s contract award and exercise your legal rights. To avoid missing a deadline and to get experienced government contract protest professionals on your team, contact the COFC or GAO protest attorneys at the law firm of Watson & Associates toll free at 866-601-5518 or 202-827-9750 in Washington DC.
Watson & Associates litigate bid protests at the GAO, Court of Federal Claims, Agencies and SBA.