Law360 Rising Star: Elizabeth N. Jochum

Blank Rome partner Elizabeth N. Jochum was profiled as a 2022 Government Contracts Rising Star by Law360, notably honoring her as one of the top five government contracts attorneys nationwide under the age of 40. (See Law360 Names Elizabeth N. Jochum a 2022 Government Contracts Rising Star)

In her profile, Elizabeth talks about why she’s a government contracts attorney, her biggest recent case and other important cases throughout her career, and her proudest moments as an attorney.

You can read an excerpt on our website

Register Your Affirmative Action Plan Now!

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Merle M. DeLancey Jr. 

Federal government contractors and subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a federal contract or subcontract with a value of $50,000 or more measured during any 12-month period are required to develop a written Affirmative Action Program (“AAP”) within 120 days from the start of the federal contract.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) has established a Contractor Portal for federal government contractors to register and certify that they have developed and maintained affirmative action programs at each of their establishments or functional units: OFCCP Contractor Portal. Contractors that do not register and certify are more likely to be selected for an OFCCP AAP audit.

The deadline to register and submit AAP certifications is June 30, 2022.

DoD Offers Guidance for Contractors on Inflation and Economic Price Adjustment Clauses

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Amanda C. DeLaPerriere 

On May 25, 2022, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) issued a memorandum recognizing that contractors are not immune from the “period of unusually high” inflation. The memorandum, titled “Guidance on Inflation and Economic Price Adjustments,” provides guidelines on when relief from cost increases due to inflation is appropriate and provides considerations for the proper use of economic price adjustment (“EPA”) clauses when entering into new contracts.

For existing DoD contracts, whether contractors can get relief from inflation depends on the type of contract.

Continue reading “DoD Offers Guidance for Contractors on Inflation and Economic Price Adjustment Clauses”

June 28, 2022: “Emerging Issues and Trends in Government Investigations and Fraud Enforcement”

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Jennifer A. Short headshot image

Blank Rome partners Jennifer A. Short and Justin A. Chiarodo, chair of the firm’s Government Contracts practice group, will serve as presenters for the CLE/CPD online webinar, Emerging Issues and Trends in Government Investigations and Fraud Enforcement, hosted by the Association of Corporate Counsel’s National Capital Region (“ACC NCR”) on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. EDT.

For more details, visit our website.

Blank Rome’s Government Contracts Practice and Attorneys Highly Ranked in Chambers USA and The Legal 500

Chambers USA 2022

Chambers USA 2022 recognized Blank Rome as a leader in Government Contracts nationally in “The Elite Legal Rankings” and ranked Justin A. Chiarodo and David M. Nadler.

Chambers noted that clients say that Justin “is a skilled and service-minded lawyer who cuts to the chase and avoids red tape” “He is an excellent leader and superb relationship partner” and that Dave “is a terrific lawyer who anticipates issues and is forward-thinking about his advice.”

To view all of Blank Rome’s Chambers USA 2022 rankings, please visit our website.


The Legal 500 United States 2022

Blank Rome was ranked as a “Recommended Firm” in the area of “Government: Government Contracts” and several of our Government Contracts attorneys were highly ranked and recommended in The Legal 500 United States 2022, including:

“Leading Lawyers”: The Legal 500’s Guide to Outstanding Lawyers Nationwide

  • Justin A. Chiarodo
  • Scott Arnold

“Next Generation Partners”: The Legal 500’s Guide to Up-and-Coming Lawyers Nationwide

  • Dominique L Casimir (Government: Government Contracts)

Recommended Attorneys

  • Dominique Casimir
  • Justin Chiarodo
  • Luke Meier
  • Scott Arnold
  • Stephanie Harden

Key Lawyers

  • Scott Arnold
  • Dominique Casimir
  • Luke Meier
  • Stephanie Harden

To view all of Blank Rome’s Legal 500 United States 2022 rankings, please visit our website.

June 23, 2022: “Significant Regulatory and Litigation Developments—from Bid Protests to Vaccine Mandates—and Beyond”

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Justin A. Chiarodo will serve as a panelist at American Conference Institute’s 13th Advanced Forum on DCAA & DCMA Cost, Pricing, Compliance & Audits, being held June 22 and 23, 2022, in Arlington, VA.

Justin’s session, “Significant Regulatory and Litigation Developments—from Bid Protests to Vaccine Mandates—and Beyond,” will take place on Thursday, June 23, from 11:50 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

For more details, visit our website.

NISPOM Creates New Requirements for Senior Management Officials

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Michael Joseph Montalbano

In February 2021, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) promulgated 32 C.F.R. Part 117. This move converted the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (“NISPOM”)—the rules that govern personnel and facility security clearances—from DoD policy into federal law. The move originally garnered little attention because the new regulations include virtually all requirements that were in the prior NISPOM. DoD, however, embedded new requirements with potentially significant implications for cleared contractors and their senior management officials (“SMO”). And the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (“DCSA”) is now signaling that it will hold SMOs accountable if they fail to meet these requirements.

A cleared contractor’s SMO is the person “with ultimate authority over the facility’s operations and the authority to direct actions necessary for the safeguarding of classified information in the facility.” § 117.3(b). Typically, the SMO is the individual who holds the top position at a company, such as a chief executive officer or majority owner. Prior to the promulgation of Part 117, the SMO had discretion to delegate responsibility over the contractor’s industrial security program to another employee. Section 117.7(b)(2) of the new NISPOM regulations has put an end to that practice.

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60-Second Sustains: Insight Technology Solutions, Inc.

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Elizabeth N. Jochum ●

Insight Technology Solutions, Inc.
B-420543.2

  • Insight Technology challenged a solicitation requirement that offerors possess capability maturity model integration (“CMMI”) level 3 certification at the time of proposal submission.
  • GAO denied the argument that the certification requirement was unduly restrictive of competition overall but agreed with the protester that requiring the certification at time of proposal submission, rather than at time of award, was unreasonable.
  • GAO found nothing in the record to support a need for the certification prior to the start of performance, much less before award.
  • The agency argued earlier certification was necessary to allow it to evaluate offerors, but GAO found no reason the objective determination of whether the offeror possessed the certification would need to be completed until immediately before award, at the earliest.
  • GAO recommended the agency amend the solicitation to allow certification at time of award or performance.

Cost Realism: Frequently Asked Questions

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David L. Bodner ●

Understanding the basics of cost realism can help offerors submit more competitive proposals and withstand cost realism challenges to award. The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) cites cost realism as one of its “most prevalent reasons for sustaining protests” in its Fiscal Year 2021 Bid Protest Report.

What is a cost realism analysis?

A cost realism analysis is a FAR 15.404-1(d)(1)-prescribed proposal analysis technique where the agency determines if the proposed costs are realistic for the work to be performed. In a cost reimbursement contract, an offeror’s proposed costs are not controlling because agencies are responsible for all actual and allowable costs. A cost realism analysis determines if an offeror is proposing unrealistically low costs to secure award. An agency cost realism analysis evaluates each offeror’s proposed cost elements (e.g., direct costs, overhead, G&A, material and subcontracting, etc.) for the unique technical approach proposed to determine the expected cost of performance. If the agency determines a proposed cost element is unrealistic, the agency can adjust the offeror’s evaluated cost, typically upward. The agency uses each offeror’s evaluated cost to select the best value awardee. However, the contract award reflects the awardee’s proposed total cost.

Continue reading “Cost Realism: Frequently Asked Questions”

60-Second Sustains: Office Depot, LLC

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Samarth Barot and Elizabeth N. Jochum

Office Depot, LLC
B-420482

  • Office Depot challenged GSA’s attempt to use a single blanket purchase agreement to purchase both hardware/industrial supplies and office supplies, arguing that the evaluation scheme was unreasonable because it was predicated on consideration of incomplete historical sales information for the office supplies.
  • The protester argued that the market basket to be used for evaluation was based on historical sales of hardware and industrial items, to the exclusion of data on office supplies, which resulted in a market basket which didn’t reasonably represent the likely purchases of office supplies.
  • GAO agreed that the Agency had unreasonably relied on limited historical data regarding office supply sales to predict its future buying needs and that it had no (or virtually no) basis for forecasting estimated quantities of office supplies.
  • GAO recommended GSA conduct additional market research and revise the solicitation with a reasonable representative sample of estimated hardware/industrial items and office supply purchases.
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