RFP for Legal Services? How to Improve the Proposal Process

In today’s fast-moving business world, corporate and governmental procurement departments use the Request for Proposals (RFP) process to meet legal and litigation goals. RFPs seeking legal services can be an excellent starting point to increase your firm’s business. First, you must know who might issue an RFP for legal assistance and why. Below is a non-exhaustive list of why organizations enlist the help of law firms through RFPs requesting legal services.

  1. The organization needs to revamp (and often reduce) the providers it currently uses. This typically happens to consolidate existing work, increase the value of providers, reduce cost and/or seek fresh perspectives.
  2. The organization is unhappy with existing providers or the cost of services.
  3. The organization seeks expertise in a subject matter that the current team of providers does not have the appropriate expertise to handle. Consequently, they need to hire an outside law firm (with a particular strength and skill set).
  4. The organization has come across new regulations that may substantially impact their operations. Outside counsel must help navigate the changing regulatory landscape successfully. 

While these are valid reasons for initiating the RFP process, the procedure can be taxing for law firms. Since corporate procurement departments often handle legal RFPs, many firms can’t ask questions and clarify requirements. Additionally, law firms commonly find the process frustrating. This happens because some corporate procurement departments issuing the RFP don’t understand the nuances of legal services.

One way to tackle this issue is for procurement departments to clearly outline their objectives and expectations, including deliverables. Procurement departments should always incorporate the following elements:

  • Information on the department’s top priorities and goals to help the law firm target these specific priorities
  • Questions that are specific, meaningful and helpful in understanding exactly what a law firm (or consulting firm) can offer
  • A description of how the procurement department plans to evaluate submissions and make final decisions
  • A detailed explanation of the department’s process and criteria for making selections

By incorporating the above, law firms can better understand and respond to the questions. Subsequently, the procuring department will be able to evaluate more qualified and comprehensive responses.

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Invest Your Time and Resources Wisely

Another issue is that many law firms feel they’re over-investing time and resources into a process that does not yield the results they are after.

Each time you receive an RFP, you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel. The goal is to create future efficiency and reuse that content for other opportunities. Oftentimes, RFPs are requesting the same information as the one you previously received. The only differences include nuances to the Scope of Work or minimum requirements. Once we have outlined your firm’s Executive Summary, including the Scope of Work and client references, we can use this terminology repeatedly to answer subsequent RFPs. This resource library makes it easy to respond to multiple legal RFPs efficiently and cost-effectively.

Work with an Outside Firm

Similar to how law firms specialize in corporate or criminal law, some firms specialize in RFPs (like, for example, The Bid Lab!). These consulting firms are dedicated to helping their clients navigate the RFP process across all industries. 

Working with an outside firm allows legal firms with high internal costs to work with experts. These experts can navigate the detail-oriented components of an RFP. This enables their internal team to focus on legal (and billable) work. Rather than wasting valuable attorney time sorting through and answering a bid, an outside firm’s experts do that time-consuming work for their clients.

Simply put, effective RFP development requires a sophisticated skill set, especially for specialized professional services. As a result, it’s important to hire professionals who know exactly how to produce RFPs and winning proposals. Just as you would advise a client not to go to court without legal counsel, we would advise you not to submit a bid without an expert.

And that’s where The Bid Lab comes in.

The Bid Lab’s team of RFP experts works with clients to efficiently organize, outline, and write detailed RFP responses. In turn, our clients continue focusing on their own billable clients while we put our years of bidding experience to work. We work hard for our clients, and by using our proven process to assist with every step along their bid journey, we are able to save our clients’ precious time and money. Read how our Bid Manager services benefited this New York legal service firm. We even built Bid Banana, the user-friendly RFP search engine, so our clients could easily find and land the contract of their dreams.