Legal RFP

Ten Things: Running a Legal RFP Process the Right Way

It used to be that companies selected outside counsel based on things like relationships, reputation, and tickets to sporting events/fancy dinners.  Those days are fading fast, especially beginning around 2008 and the resulting aftermath of the “Great Recession.”  That’s not to say that the above are no longer important (who doesn’t like front row NBA tickets?), but more and more the selection of outside counsel is based on the same principles and processes the company uses generally to select any vendor.  This includes the use of RFPs (Requests for Proposals) to search out and find the best firm for the problem at hand.  Like many things involving the business part of the law, in-house lawyers aren’t particularly good at this process – for now.  I remember utilizing the RFP process while in-house on a number of occasions.  We were okay at it, but not great.  We got better over time as we learned a lot of lessons during the process – especially from dealing with the results of our process (which is a big clue that we did not always get a gold star for our efforts).  Regardless, more in-house departments are starting to use the RFP process – either on their own initiative or because they were “persuaded” to by senior management or other circumstances.  If you do it right, the RFP process can deliver tremendous value to the legal department and the company.  This edition of “Ten Things” walks you through how to run a legal services RFP process the right way:

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