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Title 10 Part 719 → Subpart E

Title 10 → Chapter III → Part 719 → Subpart E

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 10 Part 719 → Subpart E

e-CFR data is current as of December 5, 2019

Title 10Chapter IIIPart 719 → Subpart E


Title 10: Energy
PART 719—CONTRACTOR LEGAL MANAGEMENT REQUIREMENTS


§719.40   What effect do the regulations of this part have on cost allowability?

Contractor and retained legal counsel compliance with this part is a prerequisite for allowability of legal costs. However, compliance with this part does not guarantee that legal costs will be determined to be allowable. Only the contracting officer has the authority to determine allowability of costs in accordance with 48 CFR (FAR) part 31 and (DEAR) part 931 and all other applicable contract terms and conditions.

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§719.41   How does the Department determine whether fees are reasonable?

In determining whether fees or rates charged by retained legal counsel are reasonable, the Department may consider among other things:

(a) Whether the lowest reasonably achievable fees or rates (including any currently available or negotiable discounts) were obtained from retained legal counsel;

(b) Whether lower rates from other firms providing comparable services, at appropriate competency and experience levels, were available;

(c) Whether alternative rate structures such as flat, contingent, and other innovative proposals, were considered; and

(d) The complexity of the legal matter and the expertise of the law firm in this area.

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§719.42   What categories of costs are unallowable?

(a) Specific categories of unallowable costs are contained in the cost principles at 48 CFR (FAR) part 31 and 48 CFR (DEAR) part 931 and 48 CFR 970.31. See also 41 U.S.C. 4304.

(b) Costs that are customarily or already included in billed hourly rates are not separately reimbursable.

(c) Interest charges that a contractor incurs on any outstanding (unpaid) bills from retained legal counsel are not reimbursable.

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§719.43   What is the treatment of travel costs?

(a) Travel and related expenses must at a minimum comply with the restrictions set forth in 48 CFR 31.205-46, or 48 CFR (DEAR) 970.3102-05-46, as appropriate, to be reimbursable.

(b) Travel time may be allowed at a full hourly rate for the portion of time during which retained legal counsel performs legal work for which it was retained; any remaining travel time shall be reimbursed at 50 percent of the full hourly rate, except that in no event will travel time spent working for other clients be allowable. Also, for long distance travel that could be completed by various methods of transportation, e.g., car, train, or plane, costs charged by retained legal counsel or any agent of retained legal counsel will be considered reasonable only if the individuals charge no more travel time than it would take to utilize the fastest mode of transportation that is cost-effective. For example, if retained legal counsel travels for 10 hours by train when a cost-effective flight that would take two hours to get to the same destination is available, the attorney may charge a maximum of two hours for the time spent traveling.

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§719.44   What categories of costs require advance approval?

(a) To be considered for reimbursement, costs incurred by retained legal counsel for the following require advance written approval from Department Counsel or the submission of subsequent specific justification to Department Counsel when circumstances out of the contractor's control make advance approval unobtainable:

(1) Computers or general application software, or non-routine computerized databases, if they are specifically created for a particular matter. For costs associated with the creation and use of computerized databases, contractors and retained legal counsel must ensure that the creation and use of computerized databases is necessary and cost-effective. Use of databases originally created by the Department or its contractors for other purposes, but that can be used to assist a contractor or retained legal counsel in connection with a particular matter, should be considered. Contractors and retained legal counsel must ensure that DOE is provided the discretion to obtain unlimited access to and dominion over any computers or general application software, or non-routine computerized databases specifically created for a particular matter;

(2) Secretarial and support services, word processing, or temporary support personnel;

(3) Attendance by more than one attorney at a deposition, court hearing or interview;

(4) Expert witnesses and consultants;

(5) Trade publications, books, treatises, background materials, and other similar documents;

(6) Professional or educational seminars and conferences;

(7) Preparation of bills or time spent responding to questions about bills from either the Department or the contractor;

(8) Food and beverages when the attorney or consultant is not on travel status and away from the home office;

(9) Pro hac vice admissions; and

(10) Time charged for law students' or interns' services.

(b) Requests for fee increases by retained legal counsel, other than those under contract directly with the Department, must be sent in writing to the contractor, who will review the request for reasonableness. If the contractor determines the request is reasonable, the contractor must seek approval for the increase from Department Counsel before it authorizes any increase. Contractors should attempt to lock in rates for partners, associates and paralegals for at least a two year period.

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§719.45   Are there any special procedures or requirements regarding subcontractor and retrospective insurance carrier legal costs?

(a) The contractor shall establish a monitoring system for significant matters in litigation which are handled by subcontractors other than retrospective insurance carriers whose contracts provide for the reimbursement of legal costs. The purpose of this monitoring system is to enable the contractor to be regularly informed of the progress of the Significant Matter, to monitor the associated costs and help ensure that they are reasonable, and to report on the progress of the Significant Matter and the associated costs to Department Counsel.

(b) The contractor shall require retrospective insurance carriers and other subcontractors whose contracts provide for the reimbursement of legal costs to request prior permission from the contractor to enter into a settlement agreement with, or make any payments to, claimants or third-parties if:

(1) In the case of a subcontractor other than a retrospective insurance carrier, the settlement or payment amount is likely to reach $25,000 or more; or

(2) In the case of a retrospective insurance carrier, the settlement or payment amount is likely to reach $100,000 or more.

(c) The contractor shall require the insurance carrier or other subcontractor to submit all documentation described in §719.34 and to provide the contractor with a copy of the executed settlement agreement within seven days of execution, which the contractor will promptly forward to Department Counsel. The contractor shall not authorize the subcontractor to enter into a settlement agreement or make a payment to a claimant or third-party that is likely to reach or exceed the above-stated threshold amounts without first obtaining the approval of the Department Counsel.

(d) Upon request from Department Counsel, the Contracting Officer, or other authorized representative of the Department, the contractor shall provide detailed cost information regarding particular legal matters handled by retrospective insurance carriers or other subcontractors whose contracts provide for the reimbursement of legal costs.

(e) The contractor shall provide reviewed costs and status updates for all significant matters in litigation handled by subcontractors whose contracts provide for the reimbursement of legal costs in accordance with §719.51. The contractor is not required to provide cost and status updates for matters handled by retrospective insurance carriers except upon the written request of the cognizant Contracting Officer or Department Counsel.

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§719.46   Are costs covered by this part subject to audit?

All costs covered by this part are subject to audit by the Department, its designated representative, or the Government Accountability Office. See §719.21.

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§719.47   What happens when more than one contractor is a party to a matter?

(a) If more than one contractor is a party in a particular matter and the issues involved are similar for all the contractors, a single legal counsel designated by the General Counsel must either represent all of the contractors or serve as lead counsel, when the rights of the contractors and the Government can be effectively represented by a single legal counsel, consistent with the standards for professional conduct applicable in the particular matter. Contractors may propose to the General Counsel their preference for the individual or law firm to perform as the lead counsel for a particular matter.

(b) If a contractor, having been afforded an opportunity to present its views concerning joint or lead representation, does not acquiesce in the designation of one retained legal counsel to represent a number of contractors, or serve as lead counsel, then the legal costs of such contractor are not reimbursable by the Department, unless the contractor demonstrates that it was reasonable for the contractor to incur such expenses.

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