Tamara McNulty is a Partner in our Litigation Practice focusing on construction law and government contracts. Ms. McNulty has practiced law in both Am Law 100 firms and as senior in-house counsel. Her practice is international in scope, providing legal services both in the United States and to companies working around the world.
Ms. McNulty is a highly experienced litigator who has tried numerous cases in both state and federal courts. She advises clients on construction claims for contract extras, delay damages, impact damages, assessment of liquidated damages and substantive law surrounding these issues and tries cases on these issues. She asserts claims to various boards of contract appeals as well as the Court of Federal Claims, and she asserts and defends bid protests at both the state and federal levels. Ms. McNulty works with her clients from the onset of projects to avoid potential claims and disputes down the line. She also regularly assists clients in drafting and negotiating complex contracts for major infrastructure, energy, water, environmental and threat reduction projects around the world. Additionally, Ms. McNulty is experienced in mediations, arbitrations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution and was formerly an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association’s Construction Law panel.
Ms. McNulty was the former Division Senior Counsel for Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp. (the Federal Corporation of Black & Veatch) reporting directly to the President of BVSPC and served on the BVSPC Executive Leadership team and the BVSPC Board of Directors. As the lead division counsel for BVSPC, she was involved in all aspects of BVSPC’s legal matters, including investigations, ethics and compliance, human resources and business transactions. As in-house counsel, Ms. McNulty has managed multi-million-dollar litigation, including managing outside counsel, litigation budgets, plans and discovery. She has investigated and provided legal analysis and advised on ethics and compliance investigations, CDA claims, bid protests, requests for equitable adjustments and design errors and omissions claims and recommended resolution strategies for these matters. Ms. McNulty has also trained business unit operating staff on contract interpretation, government contract law issues, contract management processes and ethics and compliance matters in both the classroom setting, in one-on-one mentoring and during working sessions.
Representing a Native American contractor in a claim against its defaulted subcontractor’s surety for costs to correct and complete the subcontractor’s work on multiple federal projects.
Drafting various form contracts for use on federal projects, including, but not limited to, a design-build subcontract between contractor and designer, IDIQ contracts between contractor and its subcontractor on a construction project, and a design-build subcontract between the contractor and its constructor.
Providing training to multiple Native American businesses on issues related to construction, such as contract terms, change orders, and issues specifically related to Federal construction projects.
Drafting proposed change orders on various projects to be submitted to the Federal Government by several different Native American businesses.
Advising a Native American contractor on issues related to Joint Ventures and its impact on small/disadvantaged/native business set-asides.
Advising a Native American contractor on a Request for Equitable Adjustment to the Department of State for a project in Juba, South Sudan which was impacted by the country’s shut-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Represented an Alaska Native contractor in responding to a non-party witness subpoena in a trade secrets litigation.
Assisted an Alaska Native contractor in drafting multiple requests for equitable adjustment on contracts with the Department of the Navy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the United States Air Force.
Led the team that successfully defended and won on summary judgment a $266 million dollar qui tam action alleging false claims under and implied false certification theory. The case was then upheld on appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Advised on legal issues and negotiated multimillion-dollar contracts and subcontracts for U.S. Government projects ranging from USAID infrastructure and energy projects in Afghanistan and the West Bank, biological and nuclear threat reduction programs for DTRA in multiple international locations, environmental remediation projects for EPA, as well as various architecture and engineering projects for the Corps of Engineers and the Department of Defense. Advised on legal issues relating to contracts with MCC, World Bank and EBRD for contracts in multiple international locations.
- Chief legal advisor to the Ethics and Compliance Committee of the federal services corporation of one of the largest architecture, engineering and construction companies in the world. In that role she led and coordinated all ethics investigations, supervised determinations of the committee, made appropriate disclosures to the Federal government, when necessary. She was responsible to ensure that the ethics and compliance training met Federally-mandated standards and was appropriately implemented. She provided training to all employees of the corporation on various ethics and compliance issues.
- Responsible for crafting a first of its kind subcontract with the Afghan Public Protection Force for security services upon the ruling by the Government of Afghanistan that private security companies would no longer be allowed to operate on U.S. Government projects in Afghanistan. This included resolving issues related to choice of law, default, insurance, and mandatory FAR flow down issues when contracting with a parastatal entity.
- Represented an energy savings performance contractor in the legal management of a more than $95 million U.S. Navy project in Yokosuka, Japan, handling the drafting and negotiation of changes and REAs.
- Represented an owner of a multimillion-dollar, multi-prime construction project in Prince George's County, Md., initially drafting the contract. She later assisted in the default termination of a contractor and the re-letting of that contractor's work. She successfully defended the client against the claims of contractors and in asserting the affirmative claims of the owner in court, in mediation and arbitration.
- Represented the owner of a multimillion-dollar construction project of a senior living facility in Montgomery County, Md., drafting and negotiating the contract, assisting with insurance claims under the builder's risk policy and delaying issues with the construction manager.
- Represented an MBE subcontractor on its wrongful termination claims against the general contractor and payment bond claims against its surety.
- Represented an energy-saving performance contractor in preparing and negotiating REA for owner caused delay damages at a federal nuclear facility in Texas.
- Successfully defended, on behalf of a large staffing services client, a GAO bid protest by an unsuccessful bidder on a $22 million, multi-year services contract for the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC).
- Successfully represented a contractor in defending a GAO protest by an unsuccessful bidder for a landscaping contract at Arlington Cemetery.
- Successfully protested a GSA award of a janitorial services contract by arguing the source selection official failed to document the rationale for source selection consistent with the differential weighting of technical evaluation factors.
- Successfully represented an international building systems manufacturer and contractor in its defense against the bid protest of the award of a multimillion-dollar energy savings performance contract in Massachusetts.
- Represented a major surety company defending against claims of $1.7 million in completion costs by a Fortune 500 energy savings performance prime contractor on a federal project that defaulted its mechanical subcontractor, resulting in an arbitrator's determination that default was wrongful and the prime contractor had violated the covenant of good faith and fair dealing against both the subcontractor and surety. The arbitrator awarded 93 percent of the requested costs and attorney fees -- in excess of $1.2 million -- to the surety and subcontractor.
- Represented a contractor and its surety in the resolution of numerous payment and performance disputes arising out of seven construction projects and resolved more than 20 separate matters, resulting in a net savings to both clients of millions of dollars.
- Acted as counsel for a prime contractor on the Kennedy Center Site work renovation and led in authoring the prime contractor's Request for Equitable Adjustment in the range of $10 million, resulting in a favorable settlement.
- Served as counsel for a first-tier subcontractor on the Kennedy Center Opera House renovation and led in authoring the subcontractor's REA, resulting in the successful settlement of a claim after mediation.
- Served as counsel for a major Canadian surety sued by an owner for more than $1 million related to a defaulted curtain wall contractor, resulting in a dismissal and summary judgment of all claims against the surety.
- Served as counsel in a jury trial against a developer charged with racial discrimination, resulting in the jury returning a verdict for the developer in less than half an hour that was later upheld on subsequent appeals.
- Served as counsel for a surety in the defense and resolution of numerous payment and performance disputes arising out of a construction project at the University of Virginia, resolving several disputes by negotiated settlement and resolving one claim via settlement after trial of the matter.
- Successfully represented a surety and its principal/contractor in asserting the no-damage-for-delay clause of its principal and defending the victories in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
- Successfully argued a creditor's motion for summary judgment in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, resulting in a $6.7 million non-dischargeable judgment against the debtor.
Honors & Awards
- Chambers USA Leading Attorney in Construction Law (2010)
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated
- Outstanding Leadership Award, Washington Building Congress (2017)
- Charter Fellow, Construction Lawyers Society of America (2017)
Publications and Speeches
- Speaker, “Risk, Liability, Current Issues & Practical Tips for Contracts,” National Electrical Contractors Association, NECA Live 2020 (October 2020)
- Author, “Claiming COVID-19 Damages Against the Government: Don’t Give Up Just Yet,” Networked and Connected Newsletter, Maryland Construction Network (August 2020)
- Speaker, “FAR Part 23, Environment, Energy and Water Efficiency, Renewable Energy Technologies, Occupational Safety, and Drug-Free Workplace,” Webinar Series Get “FAR” Sighted In 2020 (May 22, 2020)
- Author, "Maryland Construction Law," HLK Communications (January 2007, 2nd Ed. 2015. 3rd Ed. 2020)
- Author, “This too Shall Pass Through: Pass Through Claims and Liquidating Agreements,” VSB Public Contracts Meeting (September 2019)
- Author, “Indemnification Clauses in Your Construction Contracts: Beware of over-indemnification,” Networked and Connected Newsletter, Maryland Construction Network (February 2019)
- Instructor, “EEO Overview and Addressing Harassment in the Workplace,” Client employee training, Philadelphia, PA (September 2018)
- Panelist, “Strategies for Success in the Construction Industry and Beyond,” Washington Building Congress Program for Young Professionals (May 2018)
- Author, “Severin Strikes Again!” ASM Newsletter (April 13, 2018)
- Panelist, “Grabbing the Lion by the Tail: Pass-through Claims and Liquidating Agreements,” ABA Forum on Construction Law Midwinter Meeting, Fort Myers, FL (January 2018)
- Author, “The Clauses You Accept Are What You Get,” ASM News, (November 30, 2017)
- Panelist, “In with the New and Out with the Old: How will the Trump Administration’s Regulatory Policies and Priorities Change Government Contracting?” ABA 23rd Annual Federal Procurement Institute, Annapolis, MD (March 2017)
- Instructor, “Contracts – Your Roadmap for Successful Execution,” Black & Veatch Project Manager Training (December 2014, January 2015)
- Panelist, “The Wow Factor: Look and Speak Like a Leader 2.0,” 10th Annual Women in Construction Leadership and Networking Conference (October 2015)
- Author, “Virginia,” Chapter 49, State-By-State Guide to Construction Contracts and Claims, Aspen Publishing, (October 2005, updated 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2nd Ed. 2013; 2014)
- Panelist, “Breaking Up Instead of Building Up - Complicating Factors in Terminations of Government Construction Contracts,” ABA 20th Annual Federal Procurement Institute, Annapolis, MD (March 2014)
- Instructor, “The Standard of Care for Architects and Engineers on Federal Government Projects,” Black & Veatch Project Manager Training (January 2014)
- Panelist, “International Arbitrations,” Associated Owners and Developers Conference (February 2013)
- Speaker, “Recent Developments in the False Claims Act”, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry Fall Conference, Boston, MA (October 2012)
- Speaker, “Discovery in Construction Arbitration: When is Enough, Enough?” Presented by: American Arbitration Association (October 27, 2011)
- Instructor, “Communications, Attorney Client Privilege & Federal Ethics and Compliance,” Client training Overland Park, KS; Arlington, VA; and Alpharetta, GA; multiple sessions at each location (August 2011; September 2011; October 2011)
- Moderator/Speaker, “Riding Out the Storm: Emerging Business Models and Metrics in a ‘Post-Recession” World,” 5th Annual Women in Construction Leadership and Networking Conference (November 2010)
- Author, “Pennsylvania,” The Design-Build Deskbook (4th Ed.), ABA Construction Industry Forum (2010)
- Author, "Surety Bonds,” Chapter 23, Federal Government Construction Contracts, ABA Forum on Construction, Bastianelli Ed. (March 2003, updated 2010)
- Speaker, “Government Contracting in the Age of Stimulus: Are You Ready for Transparency - Recent Changes to FAR, the False Claims Act, and Recent Federal Case Law Impacting Government Contractors,” New York, NY (June 23, 2009)
- Author, “President Obama Signs into Law the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act,” (May 27, 2009)
- Author, “Congress Continues its Efforts to Stem Perceived Fraudulent Activity in Federal Procurement,” (April 2, 2009)
- Author, “President Obama Issues Memorandum Directing Federal Procurement Reform,” (March 4, 2009)
- Author, “Supreme Court Clarifies the Extent to Which the False Claims Act Applies,” (June 27, 2008)
- Speaker, "Killer Contract Clauses," Professional Women in Construction's (PWC) Capital Region Chapter seminar, Washington, DC (July 10, 2008)
- Moderator/Speaker, “Energy Savings Performance Contracting: Panacea or Pandora's Box?” Construction SuperConference, San Francisco, CA (December 11, 2008)
- Panelist, “Proving and Defending Complex Claims: Cumulative Impacts, Acceleration, Inefficiencies,” Associated Owners & Developers National Conference East, Atlanta, GA (September 22-23, 2008)
- Instructor, “Communications Do's and Don'ts,” “Attorney-Client Privilege in the Corporate Setting,” “Construction Scheduling Issues,” and “Recent Changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations and Recent False Claims Act Cases Affecting Federal Contractors,” Client annual training meeting, Framingham, MA (June 2008)
- Speaker, “Creating and Managing the Schedule,” Associated Owners and Developers Conference, Atlanta, GA (September 2007 and October 15-16, 2007)
- Speaker, “Subcontract Clauses: Tricks and Traps,” Insulation Contractor's Association of America Meeting (June 2007)
- Speaker, “Key Provisions in Subcontracts,” Lorman Education Services - The Fundamentals of Construction Contracts in Maryland (March 2004 and March 2005)
- Panel Moderator, “Do You Want the World to See Your Dirty Laundry - Electronic Communications and Document Retention Policies,” National Bond Claims Association Annual Meeting (October 2005)
- Author, “Virginia Construction Law,” HLK Communications (October 2005)
- Author, “Sarbanes-Oxley: How It Will Affect Contractors and Sureties,” The Construction Lawyer (January 2003)
- Author “The Surety Manual - A Basic Users Guide for Obligees and Payment Bond Claimants,” The Construction Lawyer (January 2002)
- Speaker, “Sarbanes-Oxley: It Will Affect Sureties Too!” National Bond Claims Association Annual Meeting (October 2002)
- Speaker, “The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Design-Build Method,” Construction Management/Design Building in Virginia, Lorman Education Services (December 2002 and 2003)
- Speaker, “Surety and Insurance: Performance Bond Sureties and Their Role,” Construction Law: Can This Job Be Saved? Lorman Education Services (June 2002)
- Speaker, “Cinderella's Shoes Are Too Small: The Surety's Limited Right to Assert the Pay-When-Paid Clause Defense of Its Principal,” National Bond Claims Association Annual Meeting (October 2000)
- Chairman, Washington Building Congress Foundation: Responsible for raising funding for WBC Foundation’s mission of supporting charitable, educational, and scientific progress in the building industry.
Memberships and Affiliations
- American Bar Association
- Member, Forum on the Construction Industry
- Working Committee Member, Division 4 - Project Delivery Systems
- Working Committee Member, Division 12 - Owners and Lenders
- Steering Committee Member, Division 13 - Public Contracts Law
- Member, ABA Public Contract Law Section
- Vice Chair, Construction Division
- National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Instructor for Advanced Trial Skills Program
- Washington Building Congress, Past Chairman of the Board
News, Events & Insights
- University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D.
- University of Wisconsin, B.A
- Black & Veatch Corp., Senior Division Counsel
- Duane Morris LLP, Partner
- Venable LLP, Partner
Areas of Practice
- Washington, DC
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
- U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin