A well-written, well-managed RFP is always worth the time if material legal spend is involved. Good things happen when in-house lawyers run RFPs. RFPs deliver in-house lawyers key insights, an understanding of critical expertise, material savings and value added services. It is true, however, that not all RFPs are well-written or well-managed. When this happens, RFPs can be a waste of time.
If an RFP is poorly scoped, it is likely a waste of time.
A confusing scope will lead to a wide range of responses from firms. Without clear assumptions, law firms will make whatever assumptions they feel are appropriate about the work at hand. The net: it will be difficult to compare the offers. In frustration, the client may revert to its incumbent.
If an RFP does not require apples-to-apples comparisons, it is likely a waste of time.
If the law firms are given a lot of latitude in how they are able to respond, the in-house team again will get a wide range of proposals that are likely to be virtually impossible to compare. It is possible to maintain apples-to-apples comparisons and also allow the firms to illustrate how they will approach the matter, bring key expertise, strategic insight, etc.
If an RFP is a cattle call, it is likely a waste of time.
It is unusual when a BanyanRFP client runs an RFP with more than eight (8) participants. Our clients connect with each firm personally and do not issue an RFP without a personal invitation. When it comes to legal RFPs, the law firm participants often do not know how many firms have been invited. It is good question for the firms to ask. If a firm knows it is one of sixty participants, it likely will conclude it isn’t worth the time to respond.
If an RFP is asking too much, it is likely a waste of time.
The more discrete the RFP, the more efficient the process for the law firms. Individual matter RFPs are typically straightforward. When a panel update is in order, the in-house teams who try to “get ‘r done” in a single RFP covering multiple different practice disciplines are most likely to have regrets. An RFP this broad and complex will be difficult to navigate and nearly impossible to analyze once responses are returned. The in-house team is destined to get volumes of information back from each firm and feel overwhelmed by the responses. As a result, the in-house team may end up aborting the process.
Want to guarantee a well-written, well-managed RFP process? Give BanyanRFP a call. It will be well-worth your time.
Kathy Heafey is the President of BanyanRFP, a consultancy fueled by a cloud-based platform. BanyanRFP makes running RFPs to hire outside counsel painless. Prior to leading BanyanRFP, Kathy enjoyed over 20 years in management roles, most recently on margin management and continuous improvement initiatives that enabled $20MM in annual cost savings. She is now helping in-house legal teams save millions of dollars as they find best-fit counsel for their legal wo
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