Many law departments may find it useful to obtain information from a set of law firms who might be retained in the future. To speed up the competitive bid processes that are to come, the department might want to gather some demographic and cost information from a number of law firms, some of whom may be asked to compete later for a specific matter.
The Request for Information (RFI) asks for background, qualifying information such as experience in area of law, lawyers who specialize in that area, conflicts of interest, and billing rates. With that foundational information in hand, the department can narrow down which firms will receive an RFP and will only ask them to update their information and focus on the particular matter. This approach is different than selecting a panel of law firms (See my post of Mqay 13, 2007 on panels of firms.).