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The Procurement Lawyer Winter 2024

News from the Chair, Winter 2024

Eric Whytsell


  • The Model Procurement Code update project will address current legal thinking and the realities of modern procurement methodologies, which could shape the nature of state and local procurement for years to come.
  • A separate “Special Working Membership Groups” will focus on understanding and responding to government attorneys, in-house attorneys, and law firm attorneys member group needs.
  • The American Bar Association’s newly designed website highlights member content, spotlights contributing members and professional profiles, and offers improved search filters.
News from the Chair, Winter 2024
Scott Cramer via Getty Images

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In my last column I shared my excitement about the future for the members of the Section of Public Contract Law. Happily, I can report that the Section’s glass was significantly more than half full for the past several months and there are more good things ahead!

The Section hosted a stellar Public Procurement Symposium in New Orleans in November. For me, one of the most gratifying aspects of the Symposium was the number of first-time attendees and first-time speakers that I met. It was wonderful engaging with them, hearing about their practice in government contracting, introducing them to other attendees, helping them make connections, and welcoming them to the Section. You may come to a conference not knowing anyone but that will certainly change before you depart--the Section welcomes one and all. To no one’s surprise, the Symposium content was excellent and thought-provoking. While we don’t offer a virtual option for our three annual conferences, we have been working on providing insight into some of the quality content to those who weren’t able to attend. Content from one of the symposium sessions, “How Appropriations and Fiscal Law Is Adapting to an Increasingly Uncertain and Rapidly Changing World”, was transformed into an article that is featured in this issue, allowing more members to benefit from the insights offered at the Symposium. We hope to replicate this effort moving forward to highlight the excellent programming and speakers/contributors at our conferences.

This winter issue of The Procurement Lawyer also includes a couple of new features–-one of which details the Section’s recent efforts preparing comments to regulatory agencies in response to their proposed rules, and another which spotlights the work of our Contract Claims and Disputes Resolution Committee.

Looking forward, the Section has a number of efforts and activities on the horizon related to our membership, engagement, and sustainability goals. First, after many months of ad hoc meetings between a group of Section members (led by Ben Bare of the Housing Authority of the City of Harford, Connecticut), and the members and staff of the National Association of State Procurement Professionals (NASPO), the Model Procurement Code (MPC) update project is finally kicking off. The MPC was first created by members of this Section in the seventies and updated in 2000. Our 2024 update project is much needed to reflect current legal thinking and the realities of modern procurement methodologies, which could shape the nature of state and local procurement for years to come. If you have any interest in the project, I’ll put you in touch with the right folks so you can join a subcommittee working on the procurement aspects in which you’re most interested. Numerous Section members have already joined the effort, but the more the merrier!

Second, we have created separate “Special Working Membership Groups” to focus on more fully understanding and responding to the respective and specific needs of three member groups: government attorneys, in-house attorneys, and law firm attorneys. Our Membership Officer, Brad Jorgensen, will lead the efforts to engage with members of the various groups and advise Section leadership on how the Section can better serve them in their practices.

Third, the Section’s webpages will soon be migrated to the ABA’s newly designed website, which is focused on highlighting the quality content produced by our members and shining a spotlight on the contributing members and their professional profiles. In support of the ABA’s goal to have all Section content on the website searchable by topic, the Section officers have been assisting our staff in this herculean effort of reviewing and tagging all content using a standard set of topics and subtopics specific to government contracting. We look forward to the Section’s migration to the newly designed site, and then using the improved search capabilities and viewing all the profiles of our talented Section contributors.

Speaking of news, here’s some: The Federal Procurement Institute (FPI) is scheduled for March 6-8, 2024, in Annapolis, Maryland. In its 30th year, the FPI never fails to deliver excellent programming, engaging dialogue, and valuable insights and information about a wide variety of both evergreen and cutting-edge government contracting issues. Next to the excellent programming, we have the very best networking events you can find–-evening receptions, no-host dinners at local Annapolis establishments, networking lunches and numerous casual get-togethers, to name a few. We hope to see you there.

After FPI, we will close out the spring season with the Section’s second-annual Committee Showcase, so be on the lookout for detailed information about the Showcase offerings.

For all these reasons, the Section leaders and I remain very bullish on the future of the Section and excited about working with you to achieve our goals. If you’d like to become more involved in the Section, please email Section Director Patty Brennan.

We welcome your participation.