The risks are too high not to have a contracts attorney as part of your team. Debarment, suspension, fines and possible criminal sanctions are all possibilities for improperly managing government contracts. Recent increases in set aside contracting have encouraged some to apply for HUBZone, 8A, and Disabled Veteran status for their companies under fraudulent circumstances. The Small Business Administration has begun cracking down on companies who are not properly complying with requirements. Meantime, the GSA is investigating many cases of other types of improper conduct under regulations such as the Price Reduction Clause, and the Fraudulent Claims Act. The DCAA is investigating fraud in defense contracting. Overall, enforcement of regulatory and statutory mandates is increasing.
Obviously, the best way to survive a government investigation or audit is to have proactive contracts management processes and procedures in place, preferably reviewed by a qualified Government Contracts Attorney. You need someone to review your prime contracts, subcontracts, modifications, document retention requirements, accounting procedures and retrieval processes. You must ensure that your non disclosure agreements and teaming agreements accurately reflect the terms and conditions of the prime or subcontract. And while you’re at it, it is essential to ensure that your intellectual property is protected.
In addition to contractual issues, how much additional legal exposure is your company looking at? What would happen to your business if just one of your customers filed suit against you? What would happen if someone filed a challenge to your domain name? What if your customer who signed a $100,000 contract with you suddenly decided not to pay? How about a trademark suit? How much would it cost you to rename your product, your business, or your service?
Your business can’t afford NOT to have an attorney have a look at the health of your entire business and its practices. The very existence of your company may turn on whether or not a lawyer has caught and changed one small line of a contract, or a letter in a product name. Think of your legal costs as you think of preventative medical care. A check up with a well rounded business attorney is much more cost effective than waiting for a catastrophe.
As a business owner, you want a business attorney who understands your day to day operations, your cash flow issues, and your desire to avoid conflicts. You want a business lawyer who has actually run a successful business. You don’t want a large litigation firm, whose job is to help you AFTER an issue arises. You want a business minded attorney who is an expert on prevention who will find and fix potential problems BEFORE they become too costly for your bottom line.
Barry Law has special rates and flexible payment terms for small business start ups. Whether you need an attorney for an hour, for a day, or even longer, try us out. You’ll be very glad you did.