Karlee Starr Blank Associate

Karlee focuses her practice on federal procurement and construction. She combines her international experience and substantive legal knowledge to help achieve the objectives of transnational clients with compliance and investigation issues, and to help clients prevail in disputes against the federal government.

She is admitted to practice before the United States Court of Federal Claims, and has a particular interest in litigating complex bid-protest actions, including corrective action decisions.

Karlee has experience advising on bid protests and complex litigation involving the Contract Disputes Act, patent and trademark licensing issues, Fair Labor Standards Act claims, CERCLA claims, spent-nuclear fuel, regulatory takings, as well as tax disputes and military benefit disputes. She also has extensive and substantive experience with construction-law matters.

She has worked on mitigating risks to American law firms collaborating with overseas legal counsel, including anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Karlee has written extensively about the federal Miller Act, and is proficient in matters of contract interpretation, pre-litigation dispute resolution and drafting requests for equitable adjustment, formal claims preparation and contractor certification, litigation before the boards of contract appeals as well as the Court of Federal Claims, and public contract provisions under the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

Karlee joined McGuireWoods from the United States Court of Federal Claims where she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Mary Ellen Coster Williams. Before that, she was an associate at a boutique construction and government contracting law firm where she practiced in the government contracts, construction litigation and contract-drafting practice groups.

Prior to matriculating at Duke University School of Law, Karlee served as the Program Development Manager and co-teacher of an international venture-planning bootcamp in India, Turkey, and the United States.  While a student at Columbia University, Karlee was awarded a Weatherhead Institute East Asian Studies Grant to develop and deliver solar-powered heating technology to an orphanage in a Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture within the People’s Republic of China.

“I believe that the best advocate for a federal contractor is a dedicated team of attorneys with diverse perspectives and practice specialties who understand the contractor’s business, the contractor’s litigation objectives and concerns, and is able to effectively collaborate with all parties involved.”


Advised a prime construction company on a State Department contract for the renovation of the American Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in drafting requests for equitable adjustment.

Represented a prime contractor in negotiating a Termination-for-Convenience Settlement Agreement under a State Department contract for renovations to the American Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Represented two subcontractors in connection with enforcement of a teaming agreement for a steel fabrication and erection contract at a ballistic missile site in Redzikowo, Poland.

Advised a construction contractor through complex ASBCA litigation involving delay claims, a cumulative-impact claim, differing site conditions, and interference.

Represented an American joint venture awarded a USAID contract in connection with an international arbitration involving an Indian subcontractor for the construction of the Gardez-Khost National Highway in Afghanistan.

Advised a USAID contractor in reporting a subcontractor’s potential ethical violations to the Inspector General’s Office.

Represented a manufacturer, distributor and producer of high performance architectural building products in complying with ICE requirements during an ICE investigation into the company’s hiring practices.

Advised a veteran-owned consulting firm on obtaining veteran-owned small business (“VOSB”) certification, and compliance with the requirements for maintaining certified status.

Advised a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee as a member of the Special Counsel team on suretyship issues after a major electrical contractor defaulted on its obligations under multiple construction projects.

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims

Selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, Construction Law, 2021, 2022

Named to "Washington, D.C. Rising Stars," Criminal Defense: White Collar, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2020, 2021

  • Author, New Rules for Small Business Government Contractors, McGuireWoods Legal Insights, January 16, 2019
  • Author, New GAO Protest Rules Take Effect May 31, McGuireWoods Legal Insights, May 30, 2018
  • Author, New GAO Bid Protest Rules Take Effect May 1 — What Contractors Need to Know, McGuireWoods Legal Insights, April 24, 2018
  • Co-author, Chapter 38 - When and How to File a Federal Contract Claim, Construction Law Handbook, December 18, 2017
  • Author, "Toil or Trouble: ‘Labor’ Under the Federal Miller Act," Under Construction, March 8, 2017
  • Co-author, Chapter 2 - Claim Identification and Notification, American Society of Civil Engineers Press, 2016
  • Co-author, Sandpapering: How Much is Too Much, ABA Forum on Construction Law 2016 Fall Meeting, October 7, 2016
  • Contributing author, Chapter 39 - When and How to File a Federal Contract Claim, Construction Law Handbook, Cumulative Supplements for 2014, 2015, and 2016
  • Duke University School of Law, JD, 2015
  • Columbia University, BA, Political Science, East Asian Studies, cum laude, Dean’s List, 2012

Member, ABA Forum on Construction Law, 2016-present

Member, Professional Women in Construction, 2013-2017; Board Member, 2016-2017

Member, PADI Diving Society, 2013-present

  • Panelist, "How to Effectively Prevent Construction Disputes: Practical Tips and Strategies Explored," The Knowledge Group, March 31, 2021
  • Presenter, Seminal LGBTQ+ Legal Cases: U.S. & UK, Webinar, June 24, 2020
  • Presenter, "The Types of ‘Labor’ and ‘Materials’ that Support a Payment-Bond Claim under the Federal Miller Act," ABA Forum on Construction Law, Division 9 Webinar, September 21, 2016
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