Tara is a trusted and experienced attorney who counsels and represents government contractors and subcontractors on the full range of government contracting issues, including bid protests, contract claims and disputes, construction, cost allowability and compliance issues, and strategic alliances such as teaming agreements and subcontracts.
Tara represents a wide variety of companies that do business with the federal government, ranging from small and emerging tech companies looking to break into or expand their stake in the federal marketplace, to well-established defense, professional services, and information technology contractors, to construction contractors and subcontractors. She regularly helps clients navigate some of the most nuanced areas of government contract law, including other transaction (OT) agreements, small business regulations, supply chain issues, and Eichleay damages.
Tara’s practice also includes high-stakes litigation on behalf of contractors, including multiple several-week trials related to construction and commercial item contract disputes at the Boards of Contract Appeals, as well as teaming agreement disputes pursued in state and local courts.
Bid Protests and Intervention
- Regularly represents clients in bid protests before the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (COFC), federal government agencies, and state and local administrative entities.
- Litigates bid protests on behalf of protesters as well as intervenors, including in post-award protests related to alleged organizational conflicts of interest (OCI), the adequacy of discussions, agency evaluations of proposals, and best value decisions.
- Represents clients in pre-award protests, including challenges to the terms of a solicitation and elimination from a competitive range.
- Counsels clients through the life cycle of contract award and any related protests, including assistance navigating debriefing requirements, analysis of potential protest grounds and available forums, and related matters.
Contract Claims and Disputes
- Assists clients in analyzing, preparing, submitting, and negotiating requests for equitable adjustment and certified claims related to issues arising in contract performance.
- Represents government contractors in a wide variety of disputes with the government, including claims, terminations, cost disallowances, and contracting officer final decisions before the Boards of Contract Appeals and the COFC.
Construction Contract Counseling and Disputes
- Represents construction contractors, subcontractors, owners, developers, design professionals, and insurers in construction disputes before the Boards of Contract Appeals, in federal court, and in arbitrations.
- Counsels and helps contractors navigate construction-specific rules and regulations, including analysis of legal risk related to multiphase design-build projects.
- Represented a construction contractor and subcontractor in a three-week hearing at the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) related to expansion of a medical center, including, among other issues, excusable and compensable delay, constructive changes, and Eichleay damages.
- Represented a large construction contractor in a six-week hearing at the CBCA regarding issues arising under a significant U.S. embassy project, including differing site conditions; delay; including Critical Path Method (CPM) analysis; superior knowledge; and changed conditions.
- Negotiated a favorable settlement for an Indonesian construction company in an arbitration related to a USAID contract for the design and reconstruction of a road following an earthquake and tsunami.
Regulatory and Compliance Counseling
- Advises clients on OCI identification, avoidance, and mitigation, with particular attention to the types of activities and contract work that can give rise to a biased ground rules OCI, impaired objectivity, and unequal access to information .
- Counsels clients on domestic preference requirements and country of origin issues under the Buy American Act (BAA), the Trade Agreements Act (TAA), the Berry Amendment, and others.
- Advises clients on supply chain issues, data rights, and cybersecurity, including compliance with Section 889.
- Counsels clients on issues related to the government’s acquisition of commercial products and services, as well as issues related to GSA Schedule contracts, including commercial sales practices (CSP) disclosures, compliance with the Price Reductions Clause (PRC), audits, Transactional Data Reporting (TDR), and other Schedule contracting issues.
- Advises clients regarding cost allowability issues and compliance issues, including submission of certified cost or pricing data under the Truthful Cost or Pricing Data Act (previously Truth in Negotiations Act, or TINA), allowability of costs incurred under FAR Part 31, the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) audits, and business system audits.
Teaming Arrangements and Other Strategic Alliances, Including for Small and Emerging Businesses
- Assists clients in crafting, negotiating, and, if necessary, litigating a wide variety of business agreements, including teaming agreements, subcontracts, and nondisclosure agreements.
- Conducted a multi-week trial and won all 13 counts for a government contractor in litigation over teaming agreement, employee noncompetes, and theft of trade secrets. Futrend Technology, Inc. v. MicroHealth LLC, 2020 WL 4982524 (Va. Cir. Ct.).
- Assists companies entering or considering entering the federal marketplace with a wide variety of government contract issues, including training and counseling on standard contract clause requirements, development and implementation of compliance programs, and regulation and oversight of the supply chain.
- Counsels clients on small business subcontracting and socioeconomic obligations, including as part of strategic planning for corporate reorganizations, mergers, and acquisitions.
- Professorial Lecturer in Law, The George Washington Law School (2009-Present)
- Bid Protest Advocacy (Present)
- Government Contracts Cost & Pricing (2016-Present)
- Scholarly Writing, Federal Circuit Bar Journal (2009-2017)
- Research Assistant, Professor Peter Raven-Hansen, The George Washington Law School (2007-2008)
- Judicial Intern for the Honorable Richard J. Leon, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (2007)
- Legislative Assistant to Chairman Gordon H. Smith, Senate Special Committee on Aging (2004-2006)
- Legislative Correspondent, Office of U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald (2003-2004)
- American Bar Association (ABA), Section of Public Contract Law
- Editor-in-Chief (2017-Present), Managing Editor (2015-2017), and Associate Editor (2011-2015), Public Contract Law Journal
- Bid Protest Committee
- Contract Claims and Disputes Resolution Committee
- Commercial Products and Services Committee
- International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
- Business Litigation Committee
- Construction Law and Litigation Committee
- National Contract Management Association (NCMA) (2010-Present)
- Recognized by Law360 as a “Rising Star” in Government Contracts Law (2021)
Listed by Chambers USA as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” in Government Contracts (2021)
- Recognized by The Legal 500 US in Government Contracts (2019-2021)
- Named one of DC’s “Rising Stars” for Government Contracts by Super Lawyers magazine (2015-2020)
- Named a Washington Power Player Finalist by SmartCEO (2014)
J.D., with honors, The George Washington University Law School
A.B., magna cum laude, Princeton University
Editor-in-Chief, Public Contract Law Journal
- Law Clerk for the Honorable Mary Ellen Coster Williams, U.S. Court of Federal Claims (2010-2011)
Bar and Court Memberships
- District of Columbia Bar
- Virginia Bar
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and District of Maryland
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims
Related News & Insights
- EventThere's No "I" in Teaming Agreements: Key Considerations and Documents for Government Contractors and Prospective PartnersLawlineAugust 30, 2021
- EventHello (Goodbye) to OCIs: Navigating and Mitigating Organizational Conflicts of Interest in the Federal MarketplaceLawlineJuly 13, 2021
- PodcastTeeming with Teaming Agreements: Navigating Strategic Alliances in the Federal MarketplaceWiley Government ContractsDaniel B. Hassett, Tara L. WardJuly 12, 2021
- Press ReleaseWiley’s Tara Ward Profiled by Law360 as a Government Contracts ‘Rising Star’June 18, 2021