The Administrative Law/Government Contracts Practice Group is committed to providing a comprehensive range of services and experience to entities seeking or doing business with the government sector. To assist our clients, our activities are oriented towards assisting the client in participating in the procurement planning process, from the initial decision of the governmental entity to the purchase of the service or product through bid solicitation and implementation.
Our clients include private companies who do business or seek to do business with State and Local governments as well as those who require assistance with respect to their existing public contacts, including compliance and performance related issues.
What We Do
In many instances, publicly advertised bids are neither the only, nor most practical mechanism for the procurement. We frequently advise our clients and work with government entities in formatting other legally available forms of purchasing. These may include:
- Waivers of advertising
- Pilot or experimental projects
- Use of existing agreements from other governmental entities
- Other forms of public-private cooperation
Even within the confines of advertised bid regulations there are often opportunities for utilizing different legal methods of finalizing contractual arrangements including negotiations, pre-qualification, and best and final offer structures.
We have found that the purchase decision is often made or lost on the ability of the client to understand, and thus properly structure, its bid in response to the specifications. Therefore we:
- Advise and work with our clients to assure certainty of the specification requirements
- Attend bidders conferences
- Ask questions
- Seek clarifications
- Challenge the specifications prior to bid submission if necessary
The Administrative Law/Government Contracts Practice Group advises clients on the viability of their own bids in situations where they have either been rejected or otherwise bypassed for award. Likewise, we have challenged awards to other vendors on the basis of noncompliant bids, bid irregularities, vendor qualifications and on the basis that the client’s bid comprises the most advantageous offer for the governmental entity.
In the public procurement setting, there are technical rules governing bid preparation and relating to the conduct of business with government entities for which strict compliance is required. Failure to comply by the unwary bidder can, and often does, result in automatic rejection of a client’s bid. Such items include:
- Bid execution and delivery
- Bonding requirements
- Shareholder disclosure certifications and affirmative action certifications
- Program compliance
The firm advises clients in all facets of these rules from proposal preparation and obtaining needed certifications, to the defense of, or challenge to, a proposal based on noncompliance and the potential application of exceptions to these rules.
Post Award Issues
The firm’s representation of its clients does not end with the contract award. The firm often assists clients with post award issues relating to:
- Contract compliance
- Negotiation of change orders
- Term extensions, penalties, mitigation
- Contract related issues with the government entities
- Hill Wallack LLP has represented the operator of the State’s privatized automobile inspection stations in connection with its state contract since their inception in August 1998. We have represented them in connection with the negotiation of numerous contract amendments and the response to various subpoenas and appearances before the State Commission on Investigation in its review of the contract. Additionally, we have represented the operator in numerous administrative proceedings involving the interpretation of the contract as applied to the operator and its managers in various contexts and in many contract interpretation disputes.
- As a result of a protest drafted by Hill Wallack LLP attorneys, a local golf course was granted their request to rescind an award for the management and operation of their facility. The Department of Environmental Protection, Natural and Historic Resources Division agreed with Hill Wallack LLP’s arguments regarding materially deficient financial statements and incorrect scoring calculation and, therefore, rescinded the contract award. The Department specifically found that there was a failure to submit the required certified, reviewed or compiled financial statements and that this failure was material and not waiveable, thereby requiring the intended award to be set aside.
- Seminar: HW Partners Patrick D. Kennedy and Maeve E. Cannon presenting on Public Contracting Law in New JerseySeptember 12, 2014
- Sponsorship: Photo: MidJersey Chamber of Commerce - Doing Business with the Port Authority of NY & NJJune 27, 2013
- The battleground for state contracts may turn nuclearJanuary 31, 2014
- Important Notice to all New Jersey Government Vendors: Division of Purchase & Property Issues New Electronic Procurement SystemJanuary 17, 2014
- New Law Lets Local Units Bypass State Cooperative Purchasing ContractsJanuary 18, 2012
- Division of Purchase & Property Issues New Contracting RulesJanuary 11, 2012
- Division of Purchase & Property Issues New Contracting Rules, Including Fee Assessment on All VendorsDecember 23, 2011
- State Agrees With Hill Wallack LLP'S Advice on Fair & Open Government Contracting ProcessesOctober 24, 2011