• Has the competition challenged your awarded contract for violating the SBA small business size standards and you are confused about the process or next steps after an adverse SBA size determination?
  • Need SBA small business size protest lawyers that understand the dangerous nuances of SBA affiliation rules?
  •  Are you contemplating filing a NAICS code small business size standard bid protest but not sure how to make your case?

SBA Small Business Size Protest LawyersWhether you are the protestor or intervenor, the amount of OHA  court decisions show that litigants experience a substantial amount of adverse decisions because either the initial protest was speculative and unsupported or the contractor intervenor did not adequately respond to the SBA’s investigation regarding small business subcontracting relationships.

  • In any situation, to prevail in an SBA size protest case, the parties must have more than just allegations.
  • If you are responding to the SBA’s protest investigation, you have to do more than just provide the requested documents. Preparing an argument to support your position is quite helpful.
  • Instead, each case on appeal to OHA must overcome the requirement for legal merit or a showing that the SBA committed legal or factual error when making its small business size determination.
  • Without these basic approaches, either side stands a great chance of losing their case.
  • You should not wait to go through a small business size determination to learn how to position your company for getting government contracts.

Locations offices in Washington D.C., and Colorado

 Watson  Associates, LLC provide our clients with experienced SBA small business size standards attorneys that understand the law and governing small business size regulations. Part of our ability to get favorable results for our clients include us first looking to see: 

  • If your case has legal merit and has sufficient evidence to avoid a motion to dismiss.
  • If the size protest is speculative or does not have enough factual and legal support.
  • Whether our clients can put forth a sound enough position to convince the court

SBA Small Business Size Standards & Bid Protest Intervenor Attorney Services

Litigating NAICS code small business size standard disputes involve a myriad of legal theories that can be confusing to government contractors when analyzing government contracts small business requirements. With law offices in Washington DC and in Denver, Colorado, Watson & Associates’ SBA size determination attorneys can help you with the following:

  • Affiliation and Ostensible Subcontractor Rule violations (13 CFR 121.103)
  • Small business designation and company classifications for family-owned business relationships
  • SBA guidelines with newly formed organizations
  • Primary and vital contract performance of your small business concern 
  • Economic dependency
  • Totality of the circumstances 
  • Small business subcontracting disputes
  • 8a Program and SBA affiliation
  • SBA law about identity of interest
  • Improper SBA size determinations
  • SBA OHA appeals regarding small business concerns
  • Improper NAICS business size classification decisions
  • Appeal of OHA decisions to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

To speak with an SBA size protest attorney about government contracts small business requirements or SBA small business size standards, call 1-866-601-5518 for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.

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FAR small business bid protest regulations COFC and GAO lawyers As government contract lawyers with over 30 years of experience, Watson & Associates, LLC frequently litigate and appear before the various forums such as the US Court of Federal Claims, ASBCA, CBCA, SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals, and the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

When litigating legal issues related to government contract small business size standards requirements, our SBA attorneys frequently provide legal advice and representation for small business concerns in a wide variety of subcontracting legal theories such as totality of the circumstances, small business size protest based on common managementnewly organized concern rule, Ostensible Subcontractor Rule and Affiliation , meeting the SBA small business definition by showing sub contractors performing primary and vital contract requirements; and identity of interest appeal cases; size appeal protest cases based on mentor protégé affiliation; and small business designation argument when rebutting legal presumptions by showing clear lines of fracture.


Are You Performing Primary and Vital Requirements?

The SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals has recognized that the “primary and vital” contract requirements are those associated with the principal purpose of the acquisition. Not all the requirements identified in a solicitation can be primary and vital. When there is a small business set aside, courts in a small business size protest cases look at each case’s facts

  • The mere fact that a requirement is a substantial part of the solicitation does not make it primary and vital under the SBA size standards rule.
  • In evaluating claims under SBA affiliation rules, the appeals court will base its analysis on the solicitation and proposal before it.

Does Affiliation Not Impact My Company Under the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule?

If your proposed subcontractor is a small, similarly-situated entity that follows the relevant rules, the ostensible subcontractor rule does not apply. See  Appeal of The Frontline Group, SBA No. SIZ-5860 (2017) 

As a Small Business, Are You Found Affiliated When You Hire the Incumbent Employees?

The SBA can find affiliation under the affiliation under ostensible subcontractor rule if your company plans to hire the large business incumbent’s workforce en masse, and almost entirely rely on that large business as subcontractor for managing the contract. See Appeal of Automation Precision Technology, LLC, SBA No. SIZ-5850 (2017).

Also, the SBA can find affiliation under the ostensible subcontractor rule if the subcontractor was the incumbent contractor and prime’s proposed workers were former subcontractor employees. See Appeal of Charitar Realty, SBA No. SIZ-5806 (2017).

Can You Be Found in Violation of the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule If As the Prime You Only Manage the Contract?

More than likely yes. The SBA can find you affiliated with the subcontractor if you are only responsible for management while your subcontractor provides all primary and vital requirements of the contract. See Appeal of Hamilton Alliance, Inc. SBA No. SIZ-5698 (Dec. 8, 2015).


The standard of review at the size appeal level is where many contractors fall short.

When the SBA issues an adverse small business size standard determination,  Watson will file an SBA OHA size appeal on your behalf.  Per 13 CFR 134.314, government contractors have the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, all elements of the appeal.

  • Companies must show that the SBA size determination was based upon a clear error of fact or law. 
  • SBA OHA will not overturn an area office’s small business size determination unless the OHA judge finds a definite and firm conviction that the SBA area office erred in making its key findings of fact or law. See Size Appeal of Taylor Consultants, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-4775, at 11 (2006).

You cannot be a small business concern if: Another company controls, or has the ability to, control your business under 13 CFR 121.103. This can include business loans, hiring management employees from the incumbent; stock ownership and business ownership that leads to negative control; you have other spousal businesses. If your facts violate any of the SBA rules, then you will be considered other than small.

Small Business Size Protest Guidelines for Contractors – Intervenor Lawyers

If you are the successful offeror of a government contract award and another bidder has filed a size small business size protest against your company alleging violations of small business size protest regulations, our SBA bid protest lawyers can represent your company as intervenor counsel and apply the relevant SBA guidelines for small business contractors.

  • As intervenor lawyers, we aggressively help you to respond to the SBA investigation and the protestors allegations.
  • We also help you to preserve your rights to appeal at the SBA level (many bid protest lawyers miss this important requirement.)


Given the flexibility and expertise to address the various legal issues that come up in SBA size protest cases, clients can rely on us potentially resolve legal issues that may involve various moving pieces. There are many commercial attorneys that are not always experienced with NAICS small business size standard regulations and government contracting.

Speak to an Attorney & Get a Free Initial Consultation

To meet federal small business size standard guidelines, call our government small business lawyers and SBA Size Protest Attorneys at 1-866-601-5518 to schedule a FREE Initial Consultation.

More Information About SBA NAICS Size Standards and NAICS Code Size Protests

Learn About The Deadliest Mistakes Made When Hiring Incumbent Personnel Under the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule.

Find out what date counts for SBA size small business standards.

Learn more about our SBA HUBZone certification services


For Help meeting US Protests and the SBA small business definition and NAICS code SBA small business size standards under 13 CFR 121.103, Call our SBA small business size protest lawyers today for help with small business size determination litigation and appeals.