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Request for Proposal - Resource Overview 

05-18-2020 13:40

This resource overview provides best practices for engaging with law firms or service providers when you are procuring services and products. 

An RFP, Request for Proposal, is the preferred way that most companies procure services and products from external sources. An RFP is a document that describes a project’s needs and asks for solutions from qualified vendors. It is a tightly structured process whereby an in-house legal department evaluates a number of law firms, or service providers, who have submitted proposals to obtain legal products, services, or advice from the company. A well crafted RFP is designed to understand the capabilities of different companies when selecting a firm, or provider, to provide a solution, or service. Legal departments send out RFPs for different types of work and projects and each operates somewhat differently from the others mostly due to timing issues and scope.

Here are common examples of when a legal department may request support from an external source.

  • Panel Selection – To create a panel of preferred law firms that can handle most, if not all, of the company’s outside legal work (including for specific types of matters or in specific geographies). The RFP process here is generally longer and more involved post-selection because there is likely no particularly urgent matter involved and, once selected, panel counsel will be on the panel for several years and will be deeply integrated with the in-house team.
  • Specific Project – For just one matter or other project. Legal may go only to firms or providers that they have an existing relationship with, or they may open the project up to new providers to provide a proposal.
  • Specialty Area – Identify experts to handle certain types of matters, ones that may require the law firm to have a special industry or regulatory knowledge – knowledge that isn’t commonly found at most firms. Examples include tax law, competition law, and so forth. The process can move quickly, or slowly, depending on the circumstances.
  • Technology – Identify providers of technology solutions that improve the efficiency of legal processes and workflows. Examples include Bots, Contract Lifecycle Management, Data Analytics, eBilling, Matter Management, Legal Hold, and Workflow Automation.
It is important for you to extensively gather the requirements and expectations for the work or project to properly create a scope of work and detailed questions to be asked of the responding firms, or providers. Creating the RFP questionnaire can be a difficult and overwhelming process. But don’t worry — CLOC has you covered! We have created and gathered various RFP templates that can be used depending on the support you are looking for. These templates provide a standard format, along with common questions to simplify the creation of your RFP.


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