How to streamline RFPs for legal services and effectively collaborate with outside counsel for better spend management

Aug 4, 2023

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Getting your Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for legal services in good shape ensures your legal function is on the front foot when engaging and managing relationships with outside counsel and it is vital to achieving effective spend management.

However, RFP processes and relationships with outside counsel typically fall short by the means (or systems) in which RFPs are scoped and raised, and the collaboration capabilities, or lack thereof, with outside counsel.

The risk when RFPs for legal services are done wrong

When RFPs are tracked manually via spreadsheets, email, or across a range of point solutions, the ability to effectively scope, provide key information, send, and collaborate from one place can be challenging and time consuming.

In fact, The 2023 In-House Legal Technology Report reveals that 28 percent of in-house legal professionals spend three or more hours per day searching through emails and other systems to determine contract and matter history or advice from outside counsel. This suggests that a streamlined approach to preparing and managing RFPs and managing relationships with outside counsel can go a long way to save time and money for in-house legal teams.

Then there’s the legal waste and administrative and organizational risk; seeing important documents lost, and key information and data slipping between the cracks. You may also encounter scenarios where outside counsel require more information, challenging their ability and time to adequately advise, and resulting in unwanted back and forth, adding to the emails and communications that must be tracked, potentially increasing your legal spend.

The good news is that this can be avoided; you can have collaborative relationships with outside counsel all while achieving effective spend management.

Let’s take a closer look at how this can be achieved.

If you’re keen to learn more about RFPs, including how to minimize legal waste, unify your systems, and streamline your workflows, join many other in-house legal professionals and gain the Connected Legal Certification.
Learn more here

What to consider when creating an RFP for legal services

A good place to start is by evaluating your RPFs:

  • ensure all required information is provided to outside counsel – this includes identifying what information they do not need to receive; having a full picture enables them to provide a response that is accurately priced
  • provide a clear structure for responses – to ensure you are evaluating like-for-like
  • provide realistic time frames for asking questions and submitting responses – if your time frame is unrealistic, it will be reflected in the number and quality of responses you receive
  • let respondents know if procurement is involved – if a non-legal evaluator is involved, it may influence how they draft their responses
  • if you have any pricing expectations, make them known – but also provide space for respondents to clarify their pricing proposal

The benefits of approaching your RFPs with these considerations in mind is two-fold.

For starters, the selected law firm has a more detailed understanding of the requirements before they start work, reducing the chances of any unpleasant surprises for both outside counsel and your legal function. This should lead to more effective and efficient service delivery, resulting in a lower spend for your legal function and a better outcome for your team.

Secondly, having a more rigorous structure ensures law firms work harder to clarify issues or identify opportunities than if they were required to work off a more generalized RFP, which in turn will lead to better outcomes for the business.

Streamlining RFPs with a legal workspace

Since we’ve identified the pitfalls in using emails, spreadsheets, and point solutions, and you’ve got a sound understanding of what an RFP should include, we can pivot our focus toward streamlining your RFP process.

The key to achieving this is to consolidate all your workflows in one place, a legal workspace like LawVu if you will. A legal workspace like LawVu is purpose-built for in-house legal and the day-to-day work you do. This means when streamlining RFP processes with LawVu you can:

  • replace your email and Excel spreadsheets – which can be cumbersome and result in lost information
  • ensure you are notified when questions or responses are received – efficient prompts let you know when important due dates are drawing near
  • consolidate your workflows so everything is in one place, including your RFPs, contracts and matters, and spend management solutions. This means your legal function is better connected to the business and external resource
  • as everything is stored in one place, your legal workspace becomes a much richer source of data and information than spreadsheets and email
  • this data can be used to measure success – such as informing you whether or not the RFP yielded a positive outcome or was in line with your spend expectations
  • as this data is stored in the workplace it is retrievable and as such can be used to inform future decision-making, helping you to constantly iterate best practice approaches

By consolidating your workflows and streamlining your RFP processes with a legal workspace, you can effectively scope and provide the right information to raise RFPs and successfully collaborate with outside counsel, saving your legal function, and the wider business, time and money.

Want to learn more about streamlining your RFPs for legal services?

If you’re keen to learn more about RFPs, including how to minimize legal waste, unify your systems, and streamline your workflows, join many other in-house legal professionals and gain the Connected Legal Certification.

The Connected Legal Certification is free and on-demand, so you can earn CPD/CLE points and get certified in your own time.
Click here to get certified

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