The Honorable Jeri K. Somers (Ret.) is a Partner in the firm’s Government Contracts practice. She provides a full range of government contracts’ legal counseling and litigation services to clients of all sizes in numerous industries including cybersecurity, telecommunications, aerospace and defense, construction, and engineering. She advises and represents clients in all areas of public contract law (federal, state, and local), with experience in the areas of bid protests, contract performance, disputes, government claims and terminations.  

As the former Chair of the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA), she has deep experience hearing and deciding contract disputes between government contractors and civilian federal government agencies under the Contract Disputes Act.  Chief Judge Somers is a frequent author and lecturer on government contracts law and, since 2008, has been a professorial lecturer in law at the George Washington University Law School and an adjunct professor at the American University Washington College of Law.  During her time on the CBCA bench, Judge Somers presided over high-stakes trials issued decisions in cases arising under the Contract Disputes Act and other unique statutory schemes. Before her appointment as chair of the CBCA, she served as vice chair from 2008 until 2017. Prior to the creation of the CBCA in 2007, Judge Somers, served as an administrative judge on the Department of Transportation Board of Contract Appeals.

Judge Somers started her legal career as a lawyer in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps. While on active duty, Judge Somers provided legal advice on international law of war issues, served as a prosecutor and defense counsel, and ultimately litigated cases before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. After transitioning to the Reserves, Judge Somers served in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)’s Commercial Litigation Branch, where she litigated on behalf of the U.S. in the Court of Federal Claims and in appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, including some of the most high-profile government contracts cases of the era. She then spent six years as an AUSA in the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria division). She also worked as a lawyer in private practice before her appointment to the DOT Board in 2003. Meanwhile, Judge Somers served for many years as the Staff Judge Advocate for the DC Air National Guard and provided critical guidance to the Commanding General during the attacks of September 11, 2001. Prior to retiring in 2008, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Judge Somers served as a military judge in the USAF Reserves. 

Representative Experience

  • Presided over high-stakes trials with millions of dollars at stake while on the CBCA bench and issued decisions in cases arising under the Contract Disputes Act, including those involving the Price-Anderson Act, and others requiring the interpretation of other unique statutory schemes. As chair, led the management of the CBCA, which has worldwide jurisdiction, and oversaw its budget.  
  • Provided legal advice on international law regarding war issues, served as a prosecutor and defense counsel, and litigated cases before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals while a lawyer for the U.S. Air Force in the Judge Advocate General Corps.  
  • Litigated on behalf of the U.S. in the Court of Federal Claims and in appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, including some of the most high-profile government contracts cases of the era while serving in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)’s Commercial Litigation Branch. 
  • Litigated all manner of disputes, including one of the last “Scanwell” bid protest cases in U.S. District Court while an AUSA in the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria division). 
  • Provided critical guidance to the Commanding General during the attacks of September 11, 2001 while serving as the Staff Judge Advocate for the DC Air National Guard.  

Publications and Speeches

  • “Complexities of Hybrid Work: What Does The New Workplace Look Like?,” Co-moderator, Women, Influence & Power in Law, October 07, 2021 
  • Judges Panel: ADR for Cases Pending Before the Boards of Contract Appeals and Court of Federal Claims, October 26, 2021 
  • “Pub K Annual Review," Panelist, Claims and Disputes panel, January 27, 2021 
  • The Modernization of Government Contract Appeals and the Federal Circuit, 69 AM. U. L. REV. 1056, Author, 2020 
  • Foreword:  The Boards of Contract Appeals:  A Historical Perspective, 60 Am. U. L. Rev. 745, Author, 2011 
  • From JAG to Judge, Perspectives, Vol. 16, No. 4, Spring 2008 
  • Year in Review: The Federal Circuit’s 2020 Government Contract Law Decisions, 70 Am. U. L. Rev. 1465, Co-author with Jedidiah Blake II, Matthew Gurr, & W. Benjamin Phillips III*,  2021 

Civic Involvement

  • George Washington University Law School 
    • Government Contracts Advisory Board 
    • Professional lecturer 
  • American University Washington College of Law 
    • Women’s Government Contracts Advisory Board 
    • Adjunct Professor 
  • Girl Scouts National Capital Region, Women’s Advisory Board 
  • Arlington Food Assistance Center, Chair 

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Bar Association 
    • Fellow 
    • Member, Public Contract Law Section 
  • Federal Bar Association, Member 
  • Northern Virginia Black Attorneys Association, Member 
  • Asian American Pacific Bar Association, Member 
  • Virginia Bar Association, Board of Governors

News, Events & Insights

Education

American University Washington College of Law, J.D.  

George Mason University, B.A. 

Previous Experience

  • Jenner & Block, Partner

  • U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, Chair 

  • Department of Transportation Board of Contract Appeals, Administrative Judge 

  • U.S. Air Force, Judge Advocate General Corps 

  • U.S. Department of Justice, Commercial Litigation Branch  

  • DC Air National Guard, Staff Judge Advocate  

  • U.S. Air Force, Military Judge 

Admissions

  • District of Columbia 
  • Virginia 
  • U.S. Supreme Court 
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit 
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Fourth Circuit 
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims 
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia 
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland 

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