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How to Read and Interpret Government Contracts

December 17 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Most contract disputes and misunderstandings concern the meaning of the contract. Contract interpretation is not the exclusive domain of the lawyers. Rather, it is an essential skill set for successful contractors and government acquisition professionals – all of whom need to be familiar with these principles in order to spot, avoid, and resolve potential problems over the meaning of the contract and the parties’ obligations, and because they are the ones on the front lines of contract and proposal writing, contract interpretation, and contract execution.

This course covers the principles of contract interpretation, as they are applied every day in federal government contracting. These principles of contract interpretation are not in statutes, the FAR, or in any regulations. They are in the decisions of the judges.

The principles will be discussed in the context of how they apply to intrinsic evidence (the contract documents) and extrinsic evidence (information and considerations from outside the contract) and will include practical exercise to enhance the learning experience.

Learning Objectives

This seminar will thoroughly familiarize and explain the following:

  • The processes, nature, and realties of interpretation
  • Communication scenarios that are prone to misunderstandings
  • The key foundational issues of understanding a contract, including the objective approach to interpretation, the rules for defining the content of the contract and the federal courts’ rule on using information from outside the contract for interpretation – the Plain Meaning Rule
  • The principles of interpretation – with real world illustrations taken from federal contract disputes
  • The rule of interpreting ambiguities against the drafter (the Doctrine of Contra Proferentem) and the great exception to the general rule in federal contracting
  • Subjects that are frequently involved in interpretation disputes, to including disputes over the formation and type of government contract, the contract authority of government personnel, order or precedence clauses, and clauses that shift the risk to contractors


December 17
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Event Categories:
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Washington, DC – PCI
1725 I (Eye) Street NW
Washington, DC 20007 United States
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Delivery Method
In-Person Seminar