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Documents With Short Approval Deadlines Must Be Carefully Drafted

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2015 | Government Contracts

Short deadlines leave little room for error. When the government gives a contractor a short document approval deadline, the contractor’s initial submission should strictly follow regulations because there may not be time for required revisions, as an 8(a) joint venture found out recently.

In that case, the only remaining approval the JV needed to be awarded an 8(a) Army contract was the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s approval of the 8(a) JV Agreement. Unfortunately for the JV, the SBA by law had
only five business days to approve the agreement. Because the JV had not properly drafted the agreement it originally submitted to the SBA, five business days was not enough time for the SBA to review and approve a revised agreement. After time ran out on both the SBA and the JV, the Army awarded the work to another 8(a).
The JV’s loss of the Army contract was unfortunate and probably preventable. The agreement initially drafted by the JV and sent to the SBA for approval omitted several provisions specifically required by SBA regulations. If
experienced legal counsel had been involved in the drafting of the JV agreement from the start, these required clauses would have been included in the initial JV agreement, and the short SBA deadline would most likely not have prevented the JV from getting the work.
The decision shows that getting experienced legal counsel to carefully draft foundation documents is essential to winning government contracts, especially when approval deadlines are short and leave little time for error.
Terrence O’Connor is the Director of Government Contracts for Berenzweig Leonard, LLP, a business law firm in the D.C. region. Terry can be reached at [email protected].
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