Steven Koprince

Steven Koprince

Small Business and Government Contracts Attorney at Petefish, Immel, Heeb & Hird, LLP

Lawrence, Kansas (Lawrence, Kansas Area)
Law Practice

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Steven Koprince's Overview

  • Partner at Petefish, Immel, Heeb & Hird, LLP
  • Publisher at SmallGovCon Blog (
  • Small Business & Government Contracts Attorney at PilieroMazza PLLC
  • Attorney at Akerman Senterfitt
  • Attorney at Wickwire Gavin, PC

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Steven Koprince's Summary

As a government contracts attorney, I help businesses, especially small businesses, navigate the murky waters of federal government contracting.

A significant portion of my work consists of providing advice and counsel to contractors in dealing with regulatory red tape and compliance demands, such as avoiding affiliation and ostensible subcontractor affiliation and complying with the FAR's limitations on subcontracting.

My work as a government contracts lawyer also focuses on the SBA's small, disadvantaged preference programs. I help clients prepare 8(a) applications, pursue HUBZone certification, and obtain service-disabled veteran-owned small business verification from the VA's Center for Veterans Enterprise. I also prepare compliant 8(a) joint venture agreements and service-disabled veteran-owned joint venture agreements meeting the SBA's and VA's regulatory requirements.

The federal marketplace is highly competitive, even for seasoned and knowledgeable contractors. When the competition heats up, and a small business needs to file (or defend) a GAO bid protest, SBA size protest, or SBA size appeal at the SBA's Office of Hearings and Appeals, I make sure my clients get the fair shake they deserve. In addition, I prepare and defend SBA eligibility protests, including HUBZone protests, service-disabled veteran-owned small business protests, and women-owned small business protests.

Born in Illinois and raised in North Dakota, I bring a Midwestern approach to my work as a lawyer--straightforward, approachable (I avoid "legalese" whenever possible) and always friendly, even when deadlines are tight.


Federal government contract compliance, small business issues, 8(a), HUBZone, service-disabled veteran-owned small business and women-owned small business programs, GAO bid protests, SBA size protests, SBA OHA appeals, HUBZone protests, SDVOSB protests, WOSB protests, 8(a) requests for reconsideration, 8(a) suspensions, 8(a) terminations, HUBZone decertifications, NAICS code appeals, joint venturing and teaming, federal mentor-protege programs, novations.

Steven Koprince's Experience

Partnership; 1-10 employees; Legal Services industry

May 2012Present (2 years 5 months) Washington D.C. Metro Area

My attorney work at Petefish, Immel, Heeb & Hird, LLP focuses on representing government contractors, particularly small businesses. My practice includes:

FAR, Small Business and Regulatory Compliance, including:
• SBA size and eligibility requirements
• Avoiding affiliation and ostensible subcontractor affiliation
• SBA 8(a), SDVOSB, HUBZone and WOSB rules
• FAR ethics and conflict of interest rules
• Service Contract Act
• Davis Bacon Act
• Non-discrimination and affirmative action rules
• Subcontracting requirements
• Many others

GAO Bid Protest Attorney:
• Evaluating potential GAO protests
• Preparing and filing GAO protests
• Intervening in (defending) GAO protests

SBA Size Protests Attorney and SBA OHA Size Appeals Attorney:
• Preparing SBA Size Protests
• Defending SBA Size Protests
• Preparing SBA OHA Appeals
• Defending SBA OHA Appeals

Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Programs Attorney:
• SDVOSB Compliance
• SDVOSB Protests
• Defending SDVOSB Protests
• VA CVE Applications
• VA CVE Requests for Reconsideration
• SDVOSB Joint Venture Agreements

SBA 8(a) Program Attorney:
• SBA 8(a) Compliance (including business activity targets, excessive withdrawal rule, ownership restrictions, etc.)
• SBA 8(a) Program Applications
• SBA 8(a) Program Requests for Reconsideration
• SBA 8(a) Program Mentor-Protégé Agreements
• SBA 8(a) Joint Venture Agreements
• Appealing SBA 8(a) Program Suspensions
• Appealing SBA 8(a) Program Terminations

HUBZone Program Attorney:
• HUBZone Compliance
• HUBZone Applications
• Responding to HUBZone Decertifications
• HUBZone Protests
• Defending HUBZone Protests
• Responding to HUBZone Program Examinations

Women Owned Small Business Program Attorney:
• WOSB Compliance
• WOSB Certifications
• WOSB Protests
• Defending WOSB Protests
• Responding to WOSB Program Examinations

Joint Venture Agreements

Teaming Agreements



NAICS Code Appeals


SmallGovCon Blog (

May 2012Present (2 years 5 months)

I am the publisher and author of SmallGovCon, a blog focusing on legal news and notes of interest to small businesses involved in federal government contracting. The blog covers topics including:

• SBA Size and Affiliation Rules
• SBA OHA Size Protests and Appeals
• Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Program
• 8(a) Program
• GAO Bid Protests
• HUBZone Program
• WOSB Program
• Suspensions, Debarments and Penalties
• NAICS Code Appeals
• Statutes and Regulations

New posts appear on the blog most weekdays, and I welcome comments and feedback. Visit SmallGovCon at

Small Business & Government Contracts Attorney

PilieroMazza PLLC

January 2009April 2012 (3 years 4 months) Washington D.C. Metro Area

Attorney practice focusing on federal government contracts law, including SBA OHA appeals, SBA small business protests, GAO bid protests, 8(a) program, HUBZone program, service-disabled veteran-owned small business program, women-owned small business program, FAR compliance, and related matters.

Privately Held; 1001-5000 employees; Law Practice industry

June 2006December 2008 (2 years 7 months)

Represented small businesses, public and private owners, general contractors, and subcontractors in practice emphasizing government contracts, construction, and related matters.


Wickwire Gavin, PC

September 2005June 2006 (10 months)

Represented public and private owners, general contractors, subcontractors, consultants, design professionals, and government contractors in litigation practice focused on construction and government contracts matters.

Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Legislative Office industry

January 2001July 2002 (1 year 7 months)

Advisor to Member of Congress on issues including labor and employment, economic development, telecommunications, transportation, and education.

Steven Koprince's Skills & Expertise

  1. Government Contracts
  2. Small Business Law
  3. Teaming Agreements
  4. Subcontracting
  5. Small Business
  6. Government Contracting
  7. Procurement
  8. Government Procurement
  9. Employment Law
  10. HUBZone
  11. SDVOSB
  12. Federal Contracts
  13. Service Contract Act
  14. Non-disclosure Agreements
  15. Dispute Resolution
  16. Bid Protests
  17. FAR
  18. Litigation
  19. Joint Ventures
  20. Legal Writing
  21. Federal Government Contracts
  22. Contract Management
  23. Program Management
  24. Contract Law
  25. Government
  26. Federal Government
  27. Corporate Law
  28. Defense
  29. Corporate Governance
  30. Appeals
  31. DoD
  32. Legal Research
  33. Intellectual Property
  34. Arbitration
  35. Contract Negotiation
  36. Economic Development
  37. Administrative Law
  38. Federal Law
  39. Construction Law
  40. Trade Secrets
  41. Commercial Litigation

View All (41) Skills View Fewer Skills

Steven Koprince's Publications

  • Past Performance: Three Ways for New Businesses to Improve Their Scores

    • Set-Aside Alert
    • July 2009
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    New federal contractors can be caught in a "chicken and egg" scenario: they need strong past performance scores to win contracts, but can't gain past performance until they win a contract. This article offers some suggestions for new businesses to escape the past performance conundrum.

    The article was republished by NAVSEA's small business office.

  • As Agencies’ Use of IDIQ Contracts Expands, Will Increased Contractor Protest Rights Follow?

    • The Procurement Lawyer
    • 2009
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    In recent years, federal agencies have increasingly relied upon Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity, or IDIQ contracts, to procure services. The article discusses whether contractors' bid protest rights have kept up with this contracting practice.

  • Beating Rich: Three Ways to Recover Attorney’s Fees Under the Miller Act

    • The Federal Lawyer
    • February 2009
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    In a case called F.D. Rich Co., the Supreme Court held that plaintiffs cannot recover attorneys' fees in Miller Act payment bond cases. But every rule has its exceptions, and this article examines three ways Miller Act plaintiffs can recover their fees, Rich notwithstanding.

    The article was republished in The Clause, the quarterly publication of the Board of Contract Appeals Bar Association.

  • Bonding Assistance for Construction Contracts: The Affiliation Problem

    • Set-Aside Alert
    • February 2009
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    Small government contractors often have difficulty securing the necessary bonds to complete federal construction contracts. But when small contractors turn to large businesses for bonding assistance, they can unwittingly run afoul of the SBA's affiliation rules. This article, co-authored with Antonio R. Franco, explores the "affiliation problem" inherent in bonding assistance, and offers some practical guidance.

  • The Slow Erosion of Suretyship Principles: An Uncertain Future for “Pay-When-Paid” and "Pay-If-Paid” Clauses in Public Construction Subcontracts

    • Public Contract Law Journal
    • 2008
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    Prime contractors on federal and state construction contracts often insert "pay when paid " or "pay if paid" clauses in their subcontracts to limit their payment risks. Recently, however, a number of courts have refused to allow payment bond sureties to rely upon these clauses to defend against subcontractors' claims. This article explores those cases, against the backdrop of the longstanding principle that a surety's liability is coextensive with that of its principal.

    The article was cited by the Ohio Court of Appeals in JJO Construction, Inc. v. Michael J. Penrod, et al., No. 93230 (Oh. Ct. App. June 10, 2010).

  • Is Your Pay-When-Paid Clause Worthless?

    • Constructor Magazine
    • February 2008
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    What good is a pay-when-paid subcontract clause if the payment bond surety cannot enforce it? Published in Constructor Magazine, the member publication of the Associated General Contractors of America, this article warns general contractors about the limits of pay-when-paid clauses.

  • Federal Small Business Contract Eligibility: Is Your Business "Small"?

    • Nolo
    • March 2011
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    The federal government does not have a one-size-fits-all standard for qualifying as "small" for small business set-aside contracts. Instead, the SBA determines size on a contract-by-contract basis. This article explains how to determine whether your business is "small" for purposes of a particular federal procurement by correctly calculating your average annual receipts or number of employees in accordance with the SBA's size regulations.

  • Fighting Back: Contractors Can Use Tort Law to Challenge Claims of Fraud, Deceit, and Dishonesty

    • ConstructionRisk Report, Vol. 10, No. 2
    • March 2008
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    Sometimes, a seemingly straightforward claim for breach of contract takes a wrong turn, and a contractor finds itself facing unfounded claims of fraud, deceit, or dishonesty. This article explores legal options contractors may be able to take to go on the offensive and fight such claims, such as causes of action for defamation, commercial disparagement, and tortious interference with business relationships.

  • SBA Small Business Size Protests: How to Prepare and File

    • Nolo
    • April 2011
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    If your company loses a competition for a federal small business set-aside contract, you may be able to file a SBA size protest, asking the U.S. Small Business Administration to investigate the awardee's small business size. This article explains the unique requirements (and short deadlines) of the SBA size protest process from the perspective of a SBA size protest attorney.

  • Staying Small and SBA's New Size Standards

    • Set-Aside Alert
    • April 29, 2011
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    Small government contractors can become victims of their own success by growing to large to receive set-aside contracts in their industries. This article explores ways small government contractors may be able to forestall exceeding a size standard threshold, and discusses help on the way in the form of increased SBA size standards in certain industries.

  • The Ins and Outs of Filing Size Protests with the Small Business Administration

    • The Federal Lawyer
    • May 2011
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    Written primarily for an audience of attorneys, this article provides an in-depth look at the process of preparing and filing a size protest with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

  • Restrictions on Gifts to Federal Employees From Government Contractors

    • Nolo
    • May 2011
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    If your company does business with the federal government, even a nominal gift to a federal employee could run afoul of federal law. This article explains the restrictions on gifts to federal employees by government contractors, as well as some commonsense exceptions.

  • The HUBZone Program: Six Myths Debunked

    • Set-Aside Alert
    • July 2011
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    The HUBZone program has many unique and confusing requirements. Oftentimes, contractors misunderstand the rules. This article discusses six common HUBZone misconceptions, and the corresponding realities about how the HUBZone program's rules work. The article was the basis for November 2011 presentation to the Department of Defense Mid-Atlantic Regional Council (please contact me for a copy of the presentation).

  • Go Team! Creating Compliant Prime/Subcontracting Teams on Small Business Set-Aside Procurements

    • Contract Management Magazine (NCMA)
    • September 2011
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    Drawing on the size appeal decisions of the SBA's Office of Hearings and Appeals, as well as the author's experience as a SBA OHA appeals attorney, this article explains when a prime/subcontract team on a small business set-aside procurement crosses the line into impermissible ostensible subcontractor affiliation.

  • Little-Known Compliance Issues In SDVOSB Joint Ventures

    • Law360
    • May 2012
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    This article discusses two little-known compliance issues service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses should know about when forming joint ventures for SDVOSB set-aside contracts.

  • The Small-Business Guide to Government Contracts

    • AMACOM Books
    • June 5, 2012
    Authors: Steven Koprince

    The Small-Business Guide to Government Contracts covers key rules and regulations applicable to small government contractors, to help them play by the rules and keep their federal contract awards coming. Topics include size standards, general affiliation, ostensible subcontractor affiliation, ethics, wage and hour requirements, the 8(a) Program, SDVOSB Program, HUBZone Program, WOSB Program, and more. The book is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as other booksellers.

Steven Koprince's Education

Duke University

B.A., Political Science


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