Michelle Kantor
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Michelle F. Kantor

Member; Chair, Federal Government Contracting and Procurement

EMAIL mkantor@mcdonaldhopkins.com

PHONE 312.642.6482


Michelle Kantor is a Member at McDonald Hopkins LLC and is the Chair of the Federal Government Contracting and Procurement practice group for the firm. Michelle has more than 28 years experience practicing in government contracting, procurement law, corporate law and litigation.  She represents prime contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, professional service providers, laboratories, technology companies, security companies, consultants and other businesses in matters including, WBE/DBE 8(a) and other certification submissions and appeals, government regulatory compliance, small business programs, size protests, bid protests, warranty and other contract and payment disputes,  change order disputes and Requests for Equitable Adjustment claims, regulatory violations, response to government investigations, proposed suspensions and debarment actions, and other related disputes.  Michelle also reviews and negotiates government contracts and other commercial contracts.  She also acts as general counsel to companies regarding corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions, succession planning and other legal needs. 

Michelle prepares and negotiates Joint Venture and Teaming Agreements, construction and design professional agreements and other commercial and government project agreements. Michelle assists clients in Federal, State and local government contracting and procurement, SBA 8(a), HUBZone, SDVOSB, WOSB & EDWOSB, WBE/MBE/DBE and small business (SB) certifications and appeals, Federal government Mentor-Protégé submissions, Mentor-Protégé agreements and supplier diversity programs.  Michelle also assists clients in FAR interpretation and compliance; and training in FAR and Ethics and Codes of Conduct.

Michelle serves as General Counsel to the Federation of Women Contractors and on the Chicago Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) Advisory Committee.  Michelle is also a Director of the Women Construction Owners & Executives (WCOE) where she serves on the legislative committee.  Michelle was an instructor for Minority and Women Business Management Training Institute sponsored by Turner Construction for 16 years.  Michelle designed and implemented the training instruction for the MGM MIRAGE & Perini Building Company Las Vegas, CityCenter Project Construction & Business Management Training Program, where she was also an Instructor.  Michelle has also served as Deputy Director for the City of Chicago, DCAP and Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Buildings and served as Internal Counsel for three years.

Michelle has received the Lifetime Advocate Award from the Federation of Women Contractors for her work in promoting, counseling and advocating for women, minority, and veteran owned small business firms. In April, 2013, Michelle was honored and received an award in 2015 as the Outstanding Volunteer at CEED 31st Annual Women’s Business Development Award, Novi, MI. Michelle’s is a frequent speaker at seminars, conventions, webinars & trade associations nationwide.  

Michelle earned a J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago Law School in 1987 and a B.A. from Bradley University in 1981. She received Mediation Training Certification from the DePaul University Dispute Resolution Center in 2001.  


Admissions - Court

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Washington D.C.
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar Member)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
  • Illinois Supreme Court
  • Department of Veterans Affairs, Accredited Attorney: Veteran Claims

Admissions - State

  • Illinois


  • Loyola University of Chicago Law School
  • DePaul University Dispute Resolution Center
  • Bradley University
  • Hofstra University

Honors and Awards

  • Named one of the "Most Influential Women Lawyers in Chicago" by Crain's Chicago Business (2017)
  • Selected for inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers (2015-2018)
  • Center for Empowerment & Economic Development (CEED), Business Training & Professional Development Outstanding Volunteer (2015)
  • Life Time Advocate Award – Advocating for Women, Veteran and Minority Businesses (2013)

Professional Membership

  • Court of Federal Claims Bar Association
  • Federation of Women Contractors (FWC) General Counsel
  • Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), Lifetime Member
  • WBENC - WBDC Local Corporate Business Partner, Advisory Committee
  • Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)
  • SDVOB Elite of Illinois, General Counsel
  • Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing 

External Publications

  • "The ABC’s of Diversity Certifications & Teaming Arrangements: Opportunities for Large and Small Contractors and Suppliers", ASA Chicago Edition, Winter 2010
  • "Contracting with the Government", Smart Business Magazine, 2009
  • "Structuring Construction Deals, Key Legal & Practical Issues to Address", Inside the Minds: Aspatore Books, 2007
  • "Construction Contract Fundamentals", Lorman Education, May 2005
  • "Outsourcing Professional Services: Legal Issues to Consider", NAPM Chicago Purchaser Magazine, 2002


Speaking Engagements

  • Government Protests and Debriefings: What to Do and How to Do It, WBDC Workshop, Chicago, IL, April 12, 2016
  • Bid, Size & NAICS Protests: When, How and Why to Protest, National APTAC Spring Conference St. Louis, MO.  April 4, 2016 
  • New and Important Federal Laws & Small Business Program Updates, State of Nevada PTAC, Las Vegas, NV  April 1, 2016.
  • Joint Ventures, Teaming and Mentor-Protégé Agreements for WOSB's, US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE and PTAC)   Nashville, TN, March 17, 2016
  • New Changes to the WOSB/EBWOSB, Joint Venture Agreements & Other Federal Contracting Law Updates. Arizona PTAC, SBA, Phoenix, AZ, March 3, 2016
  • WOSB Program updates, WBDC Luncheon, Cleveland, OH, February 29, 2016
  • FAR and Federal Government Law Training, Chicago, IL, January 22, 2016
  • Joint Ventures & Teaming Agreement: Legal & Practical Tips APTAC Fall 2015 Training Event, Washington, DC, November 8-11, 2015
  • Bid, Size and NAICS Code Protest – Why, How and When to Pull the Trigger and Recent Protests of Interest, Proposed Suspensions, Debarments, Terminations for Default, Ethics Violations and Negative Past Performance Reports;  New and Important Federal Laws and Small Business Program Updates; 2015 National Veterans Small Business Engagement (NVSBE), Pittsburgh, PA, November 17-19
  • New DBE Laws and Good Faith Effort Compliance, Federation of Women Contractors, Chicago, IL October 13, 2015
  • New WOSB, Joint Venture and Other Important Federal Laws and Program Updates, Great Lakes Women's Business Conference, Novi, MI, September 29-30, 2015
  • Joint Ventures, Teaming, Mentor Protégé Agreements & Federal Laws Impacting Your Bottom Line, PTAC, Frankfort, KY, August 27, 2015
  • Which Certification is Right for You, Business Smart Week, Detroit, MI, August 3-7, 2015 
  • Teaming Agreements, A&E Federal Projects Source Selection Workshop, Phoenix, AZ, July 30, 2015
  • New Federal Laws That Can Impact Your Business, 2015 DOE and SAME Great Lakes, Energy Forum and Small Business Industry Days, Chicago, IL, April 14, 2015
  • Construction Subcontracts: Legal Risks and Tips, IDOT workshop, Chicago, IL, April 7, 2015
  • New DBE Laws and other Federal Laws impacting Construction Contractors, WCOE Women Build America 2015 Leadership Conference, Washington, D.C., March 29, 2015
  • New and Important Federal Laws that Affect Small Businesses Workshop, PTAC and WBDC Chicago, IL, March 25, 2015
  • Understand and Negotiate Your Contracts, WBDC Leadership Institute for Women Keynote Speaker, Indianapolis, IN, WBDC and CEED Michigan, March 10, 2015, WBDC Leadership Institute for Women Keynote Speaker, WBDC and CEED Michigan, Grand Rapids, MI, March 12, 2015
  • Teaming & Joint Ventures on Government Contracts to Grow Your Business, SBA Annual Lenders Awards Luncheon, San Diego, CA , February 18, 2015
  • Federation of Women Contractors: DBE New Rules/Protect your Certifications, Chicago, Illinois, February 2015
  • Joint Ventures, Teaming and Affiliation and New Federal Small Business Contracting Laws, APTAC National Conference, Washington, DC. Nov. 11, 2014 
  • NDAA & Federal Contracting Law Updates, SAME Phoenix Post, Small Business Symposium, Phoenix, AZ, Oct 10, 2014 
  • Ethics in Federal Government Contracting, SAME Phoenix Post, Small Business Symposium, Phoenix, AZ, Oct 10, 2014 
  • FAR Training Course, Taught 5 hour course at Lehigh University, Allentown PA, Sept 24, 2014 
  • Joint Ventures and Teaming: Legal and Practical Tips, Ohio University PTAC and Columbus SBA, Columbus, Ohio Sept. 10, 2014 
  • New Federal Laws that Can Impact Your Small Business and New Protest Decisions of Interest, Business Smart Week, Federal Reserve Bank, Detroit, MI, August 7, 2014 
  • Joint Ventures and Teaming for Contracts, Federal Reserve Bank, Detroit, MI, August 7, 2014 
  • Protecting and Preserving your Small Business Certifications Business Smart Week, Federal Reserve Bank, August 4, 2014 
  • Legal Issues Involved in Joint Ventures & Teaming Arrangements Success, PTAC and Native American Indian Chamber of Commerce National Conference, Palm Springs, CA, July 22, 2014
  • Joint Ventures, Teaming and Mentor Protégé Relationships: Legal & Practical Tips, & New Laws That Can Impact Small Business, Native American PTAC, SBA Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ, April 28, 2014 
  • NDAA, New Federal Laws and Updates, APTAC National Conference, San Francisco, March 25, 2014 
  • Federal Joint Venture & Teaming Agreements: Legal and Practical Tips; SAME & USACE Small Business Conference; Nashville, Tennessee, March 12, 2014 
  • 8(a) and other Small Business Certifications & Benefits, PTAC and Women’s Business Development Seminar Workshop, Chicago, Illinois, February 19, 2014 
  • Federal Contracting News, Laws and Updates, MIDWEST SBLO Group, PTAC, College of DuPage, Illinois, February 12, 2014 
  • Joint Venture & Teaming Workshop, PTAC & WBENC, Chicago, Illinois, February 6, 2014 
  • USACE Construction Roundtable; Joint Ventures and Mentor Protégé Programs, Hyatt Regency, Cincinnati, Dec 5, 2013 
  • New Defense Authorization Act and Other Recent Federal Contracting Laws, Kittyhawk SAME Post, Cincinnati, Ohio, Dec. 6, 2013 
  • 5% Rule: WOSB Federal Contracting Program Updates and Opportunities, MICEED, PTAC and Michigan WBDC, Regional Conference, Sept 26, 2013, Novi, Michigan 
  • Joint Venture, Teaming Agreements and Mentor Protégé Programs, Michigan PTAC and SBA, Livonia Michigan, Sept 17, 2013 
  • Getting Your House in Order Before You Bid for a Federal Contract, PTAC – Chicago & Women’s Business Development Center, Aug 28, 2013 
  • Teaming Joint Ventures and Mentor Protégé Program Updates, SDVOB Elite National Conference, Sand Diego, CA. August 25, 2013 
  • Ethics and Business Code of Conduct Workshop, New Federal Laws, Bid and Size Protest Workshop, and Joint Ventures and Teaming Workshop, National Veterans Small Business Conference (NVSBC), America's Center Convention Complex, St. Louis, August 5-8, 2013 
  • 5% Rule: How to Navigate and Secure Federal Contracts, New Woman Owned Small Business Workshop (WOSB), PTAC and WBDC Chicago, Illinois July 25, 2013
  • Legal Agreements for Teams, Chicago Urban League, Chicago, Illinois June 29, 2013
  • WOSB Federal Contracting Program Updates and Opportunities, Women Construction Owners and Executives Annual Conference (WCOE), St. Regis Hotel, Washington D.C., April 24, 2013 
  • WOSB Federal Contracting Program and Recent Updates, WCOE, Washington D.C. April 23, 2013 
  • New Defense Authorization Act and Federal Law Updates Society of Military Engineers, Phoenix Post, April 12, 2013 
  • Federal Small Business Teaming, Joint Ventures and Mentor Protégé Programs, Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Detroit Post, April 4, 2013 
  • Updates on Various Federal Contracting Laws & Recent Bid & Size Protest Decisions, Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Detroit Post, April 4, 2013 
  • Teaming, Government & Corporate Small Business Contracting & Next Steps, WBDC, Lear Corporation, Southfield, Michigan, March 7, 2013 
  • Teaming, Government & Corporate Small Business Contracting & Next Steps, WBDC, Herman Miller, Inc., Zeeland, Michigan, March 5, 2013 
  • Teaming, Government & Corporate Small Business Contracting & Next Steps, WBDC, Duke Realty, Indianapolis, Indiana, February 28, 2013 
  • Federal Contracting Opportunities, WBDC, Chicago, Illinois, December 6, 2012 
  • Government Contracting, Subcontracting Plans and Teaming, Legal Issues for Illinois Structural Engineers Half Moon Seminars, Wheaton, Illinois, November 28, 2012 
  • Tribal Contracting Opportunities,8(a) Certifications Tribal Economic Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 2012 
  • Teaming, Affiliation and Recent Federal Laws, National HUBZone Conference, Washington, D.C. September 5-7, 2012 
  • Teaming, Joint Venture and Mentor Protégé Program Benefits and Rules, Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), Memphis, Tennessee, August 15, 2012 
  • Teaming for Contracts, WBE and other Small Business Certifications, Women’s Business Development Center, Aon Center, Chicago, Illinois, August 2, 2012; Target Financial Services, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 7, 2012; Rubin Brown, St. Louis, Missouri, August 9, 2012; Harley-Davidson, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 16, 2012 
  • Small Business Certifications, Set-Asides, Teaming and Mentor Protégé Program, 9th Annual National Convention of Service Disabled Veterans and Small Business, Las Vegas, Nevada, July 2012 
  • Corporate Structures, MBE/WBE certifications and Contracting Law, Chicago Urban League, June 2012 
  • National Veteran Small Business Conference and Expo, Detroit, Michigan, June 2012 
  • Tribal Government Federal Contracting and Supplier Diversity Programs, Michigan Tribal Government Forum, Lansing, Michigan, May 17, 2012 
  • Government Contracting and Small Business Certifications American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona, Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, March 16, 2012 
  • Small Business Certifications, Set-Asides, Teaming and Mentor Protégé Programs, 2012 Rocky Mountain Society of Military Engineers Training, Phoenix, Arizona, March 14, 2012 
  • Key Federal Contracting Laws and Bid Protest Updates: Society of Military Engineers, Regional Great Lakes Conference, Northbrook, Illinois, March 6-7, 2012 
  • Understanding & Negotiating Subcontracts for DBEs, Illinois Department of Transportation, Chicago, Illinois, January 30, 2012 
  • Government Contracting and Teaming, WCOE National Conference, Washington, D.C. February 6, 2012 
  • International Teaming and Joint Ventures, United States and South Africa International Women’s Business Conference, Chicago, Illinois, October 2011 
  • Teaming, Joint Ventures and Mentor Protégé Programs, WBENC, WBDC, Chicago, Illinois, October 2011 
  • Women-Owned Small Business Contracting Program (WOSB) WBDC, Chicago, Illinois, October 2011 
  • Mentor Protégé Agreements Workshop Facilitator, SAME Great Lakes Regional Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 2011 
  • Joint Ventures and Mentor Protégé Programs, SDVOSB Service Elite National Convention, Chicago, Illinois, July 22, 2011 
  • Drafting Service Agreements and Work Scope, BOMA National Convention, National Harbor, June 2011 
  • Federal Teaming, Joint Ventures and Subcontracting Workshop, Federal Certifications and Audits Workshop , Key Federal Contracting Laws, Workshop, SAME Midwest Small Business Expo, March 16-17, 2011 
  • New Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) and the 8(m) Program; Small Business Set-Aside Certification Criteria and Audits; Teaming, Joint Ventures And Subcontracting; New Federal 2010 Small Business Jobs Act Presentation; Key Federal Contracting Laws that Everyone Must Know, Small Business Symposium, Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), Phoenix, Arizona, February 18, 2011 
  • Key Federal Acquisition Rules Relating To Procurement, Teaming and Set-Aside Contracts, National Web Seminar for National Society of Professional Engineers February 15, 2011 
  • Key Federal Acquisition Rules Relating To Procurement and Set Aside Contracts, Women Construction Owners and Executives (WCOE) Annual Conference, Washington D.C., February 7, 2011 
  • Joint Ventures, Mentor/Protégé Programs & Strategic Partnerships, WBDC, Chicago, Illinois, January 2011 
  • HUBZone and other Federal Certification & Set-Asides, Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing, Chicago, Illinois, November 2010 
  • SDVOSB Certification Criteria and Protecting Your CVE, SDVOSB Elite Conference, Foxwoods, Connecticut, August 19, 2010 
  • Construction Law & Contracts, USDOT DBE Bonding Program, Chicago, Illinois, July 2010 
  • Construction Law Contracts, Turner Construction Management Training, Chicago, Illinois, July 2010 
  • Construction Contracts & MBE/WBE/DBE Certifications Illinois Tollway Authority Conference, May 2010 
  • Federal Government Contracting and Legal Issues, Structural Engineers Association of Illinois, February 2010 
  • Construction Law, Illinois Department of Transportation, Feb 2010 
  • Government Certification Rules – Getting Certified & Rules To Keeping Your Certifications, DBE Annual Conference, Illinois Department of Transportation, Springfield, Illinois, March 2010 
  • Federal and Public Government Contracting National Web Seminar Part 2, November 2009 
  • Federal Government Contracting National Web Seminar Part 1, October 2009 
  • Construction Law and Contracts: Protect Your Bottom Line, Illinois Department of Transportation Chicago, DBE Workshop Series, Chicago, Illinois, February 2009 
  • Drafting the Scope of Work, BOMA Chicago, Brown Bag Lunch, June 2008 
  • Construction Law and Contracts, U.S. Department of Commerce, Women and Minority Contractor Model Development Program, Chicago, Illinois, February 2008