Trial Attorney
Tim Portrait

Location: Washington, DC

Office: Office of General Counsel

Position Summary: As a trial attorney, I evaluate whether SBA should enter litigation based on a particular set of facts, recommend whether SBA should settle claims or property damage brought against the Agency, and represent the SBA in Court. Trial attorneys either litigate for SBA by themselves (if they are Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys) or support the efforts of U.S. Attorneys to litigate on behalf of the SBA. 

What inspired you to join SBA? I began my career in state government and then joined the private sector. As I was sifting through real estate closings and wills and trusts one day, I became aware of an opening in the regional counsel’s office at the SBA. The possibility of once again wrestling with great issues and great ideas, this time in the Federal Government, moved me to apply.

What excites you the most about your career at SBA? I recognize that small business is a mighty engine for job creation, but what really impresses me is that it gives everyone who is prepared to work hard and take risks, the chance to be in charge of one’s own destiny. De Tocqueville said that we were “a nation of shopkeepers” and I don’t think he meant it in the purely economic sense. When an American decides to take on the risk of opening a small business, it is an expression of faith in self and the country. So when I work for SBA, it seems to me that I am helping to power the American Dream.

Have you had an opportunity to develop something new and innovative? After I completed my work in the Excellence in Government Fellows program, the General Counsel invited me to chair a task force on co-sponsorships.  SBA’s co-sponsorship program faced challenges. After conducting research, the team discovered the problem and formulated a solution. The team wrote a policy notice on logos which liberalized the use of the Agency’s logo and developed an SOP on gift acceptance. 

How have you seen SBA grow and evolve over the years? I’ve seen SBA go to the mat with other agencies over issues related to procurement objectives, and the voice of the Administrator is now heard at the President’s Cabinet table. SBA is now a player in the counsels of law and policy, and is not afraid to play hard. That makes SBA a considerably more exciting place to work than it was in 1990.