As a federal government contracts attorney, Jo Spence serves as Of Counsel to Watson & Associates, LLC and focuses her practice on service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) and veteran-owned small business (VOSB) government contract concerns, pre-award and post-award contract claims and disputes, contract and regulatory compliance, organizational conflicts of interest, alternative dispute resolution, and litigation. Ms. Spence is a fearless fighter who has dedicated her legal career to protecting the rights of those engaged in federal government procurement.
On behalf of hundreds of large and small federal government contractors, Ms. Spence has tirelessly advocated for the protection of the procurement process, the assurance of procurement integrity, implementation of full and open competition, and the exercise of fairness and good faith in business dealings with the federal government. Having served on the government’s side, Jo is now in a unique position to represent and advocate for federal contractors when there is an adverse decision
REPRESENTATIVE LEGAL EXPERIENCE
- As a former Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) attorney, Ms. Spence has first-hand knowledge of the internal operations of the federal government and its procurement processes. As legal advisor to agency acquisition directors, contracting officers, contract specialists, source selection evaluation boards (SSEB), and source selection authorities (SSA),
Ms. Spence sought to ensure that sealed bids and proposals received from small and large businesses were properly reviewed and given full consideration for award, if otherwise eligible for award. She also ensured that no stone was left unturned during the evaluation of offers and that contractor proposals were evaluated in accordance with the criteria set forth in the solicitation, as required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the Competition in Contracting Act. With a keen eye for detail and detecting errors, Ms. Spence never hesitated to request or direct that corrective action be taken when such action was warranted and necessary to protect not only the integrity of the procurement process, but the government contractor from losing revenue and potentially millions of dollars.
- As a VA subject matter expert, Ms. Spence provided comments on draft legislation and congressional inquiries related to the Small Business Administration (SBA)and small business government contracts. She routinely responded to the concerns of SDVOSBs and VOSBs whose applications to the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) were delayed, determined to be incomplete or denied. Upon inquiry with the CVE, Ms. Spence often requested assurances that the applicant would get the attention and assistance needed to secure verification from the CVE which would allow the company to compete for set-asides and sole source awards as part of the Veterans First Contracting Program.
- Spence served as lead counsel on some of the largest procurements in VA history including the Veteran Enterprise Contracting for Transformation and Operational Readiness (VECTOR) contract, a $25 billion multiple-award contract set aside for SDVOSBs. Ms. Spence provided advice and counsel to the SSEB and the SSA throughout the review and evaluation of over 600 proposals and the issuance of nearly 70 contract awards for a variety of support services.
- Spence is a staunch proponent of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and the use of ADR to resolve contract claims and disputes. She has advocated for the use of ADR to resolve federal government concerns regarding contractor performance, as an alternative to contract terminations or performance-based debarments.
- Spence is an experienced negotiator and mediator with an established track record for successfully resolving contract and employment disputes. She provided mediation services to DoD agencies world-wide and advised Board judges and government contract attorneys on ADR processes and procedures.
- As an experienced suspension and debarment attorney who often worked with small and large businesses looking for alternatives to being suspended or debarred, Ms. Spence combined her mediation and suspension and debarment skills to provide solutions. She conducted what is believed to be the first mediation involving a federal government contractor proposed for debarment which resulted in the execution of an Administrative Compliance Agreement that allowed the contractor to continue performance under its government contract. In another instance, she led a team of auditors, corporate officers, and senior government officials toward resolution of a matter that involved a voluntary disclosure by a large DoD contractor that the government had been mischarged.
- Ms. Spence is an experienced government contractor defense litigator and has appeared before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA), the General Services Administration Board of Contract Appeals, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, the Government Accountability Office, and the Court of Federal Claims (COFC).
AREAS OF PRACTICE:
- SDVOSB/VOSB Contract Concerns: VA CVE Application Disputes, Set-Aside Eligibility, Sole Source Awards, Award Challenges, Small Business Size Determination Challenges, Litigation and Appeals
- Federal Commercial Contracts
- Pharmaceutical and Medical/Surgical Supply Contracts
- Information Technology Contracts
- Bid Protests
- Pre-Award and Post-Award Claims and Disputes: Mistakes in Bid, Requests for Equitable Adjustment, Change Orders, Terminations, Stop Work Orders
- Unsuccessful Offeror Debriefings: Technical and Past Performance Ratings/Risk Assessments, Lowest Price Technically Acceptable Offer, Cost/Technical Tradeoff
- Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Protection of Proprietary Data
- Contract and Regulatory Compliance
- Government Contract Novations
- Organizational Conflicts of Interest and Mitigation Plans
- Teaming Agreements, SDVOSB Joint Ventures and Subcontractor Agreements and Subcontracting Plans
- HUBZone Program
- Software License and Data Rights Agreements
- Federal Government Investigations: False Claims Act, Procurement Integrity Act, Competition in Contracting Act, and other Violations
- Suspensions and Debarments
- Alternative Dispute Resolution and Litigation
- Crisis Management and Liability Risk Assessment: High Profile Investigations, Contract Terminations, Suspensions and Debarments
George Washington University National Law Center, Juris Doctor
Contact VA SDVOSB Government Contracts Attorney Jo Spence Online or Call 1-866-601-5518.