The Honorable Jeri K. Somers (Ret.) is a partner in the firm’s Government Contracts Practice and former chair of the US Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA). She has deep experience hearing and deciding contract disputes between government contractors and civilian federal government agencies under the Contract Disputes Act. Chief Judge Somers, who has more than thirty years of litigation experience, has an extensive working knowledge of requests for equitable adjustments claims, appeals, and cost-related matters.
During her time on the CBCA bench, Judge Somers presided over high-stakes trials with millions of dollars at stake, and issued decisions in cases arising under the Contract Disputes Act, including those involving the Price-Anderson Act, and others requiring the interpretation of other unique statutory schemes. As chair, she was also responsible for the management of the CBCA, which has worldwide jurisdiction, and its budget.
Judge Somers is widely known and respected in the government contracts community. Before her appointment as chair of the CBCA, she served as vice chair from 2008 until 2017. Prior to the creation of the CBCA in 2007, Judge Somers, served as an administrative judge on the Department of Transportation Board of Contract Appeals.
Judge Somers’ impressive record across her 35 years in legal practice began when she served in the US Air Force as a lawyer in the Judge Advocate General Corps. While on active duty, Judge Somers provided legal advice on international law of war issues, served as a prosecutor and defense counsel, and ultimately litigated cases before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.
After transitioning to the Reserves, Judge Somers served in the US Department of Justice (DOJ)’s Commercial Litigation Branch, where she litigated on behalf of the US in the Court of Federal Claims and in appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, including some of the most high-profile government contracts cases of the era. She then spent six years as an AUSA in the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria division), litigating all manner of disputes, including one of the last “Scanwell” bid protest cases in US District Court. She also worked as a lawyer in private practice before her appointment to the DOT Board in 2003. Meanwhile, Judge Somers served for many years as the Staff Judge Advocate for the DC Air National Guard and provided critical guidance to the Commanding General during the attacks of September 11, 2001. Prior to retiring in 2008, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Judge Somers served as a military judge in the USAF Reserves.
She has been a professorial lecturer in law at the George Washington University Law School since 2009, where she also serves on the school’s Government Contracts Advisory Board, and as an adjunct professor at the American University Washington College of Law since 2018. She is actively involved in the American Bar Association’s Public Contract Law Section, the Federal Bar Association, the Northern Virginia Black Attorneys Association, the Asian American Pacific Bar Association, and the Women’s Advisory Board for the Girl Scouts National Capital Region. Judge Somers is currently the chair of the Arlington Food Assistance Center, a charitable organization whose mission is to provide dignified access to free groceries for families in need. Judge Somers recently served on the board of governors for the Virginia Bar Association, and remains active with the VBA on the special issues advisory group.