Penn State
Lewis Katz Building, University Park, PA
twitter   facebook   linkedin   Instagram   webmail
Give Now Apply Now

Government Contracts Practice & Litigation

Course Abbreviation: 
GOVPL 950 (Spring 21 GOVPL 997)
Credit Only: N Anon Gr: Y

In this seminar, students will receive an introductory overview into the world of Government contracts.  You will learn about the applicable statutes and regulations, and the policies that underlie many aspects of federal contracting.  You will appreciate the broad impact of the “Changes” clause, which affords many rights to the Government but also is the source of many theories of recovery for the contractor.  The Government’s “termination for convenience” rights, even when the contractor has done nothing wrong, will be covered.  The importance of the “Contracting Officer” in the procurement system will be addressed.  You will explore the choice of forum issues confronting contractors who contemplate filing a bid protest or contract appeal.  You will learn about the Government’s remedies against corrupt contractors, such as suspension and debarment, the False Claims Act, and the forfeiture of claims statute.  Pennsylvania procurement law also will be discussed, and contrasted to Federal procurement.  At the conclusion of the seminar, students should be equipped to consider and pursue Government contract positions in private law firms, contracting entities, or public agencies.  An alternative objective is to become familiar with a major area of business law in the modern world.

Due to the size and importance of federal procurement, a significant practice area has developed in Washington, D.C. (although opportunities also exist elsewhere).  Most large law firms in D.C. offer separate departments of specialized lawyers who practice Government contracts, both in counseling and litigation.  The U.S. Department of Justice (which defends the Government in many contract disputes), and other federal agencies hire staffs of lawyers in Government contracting.  Companies selling to the Government have corporate counsel who practice Government contracts.  Clerkships for judges who decide Government contract disputes also are attractive.

Thomas C. Wheeler