Terms of disparagement slouch in every time you read about the last stage of a competitive bid: when the finalists bring their team members to meet with the selection group from the law department. Whether it is a “beauty contest,” a “dog-and-pony show,” a “beauty parade,” or a “Wizard of Oz charade,” those necessary evils are reviled by law firms (See my post of Aug. 20, 2006: I dislike the term beauty contest; May 30, 2005: “beauty parades”; July 21, 2008: bait and switch; and Oct. 11, 2008: dog-and-pony.).
Still, in-house counsel know full well they need to meet the lawyers they will work with, rely on, and pay large sums, so the final, stilted presentations continue to take place (See my post of April 2, 2005: presentations by panel hopefuls; and May 19, 2006: Nestle’s presentations.).
Whatever you can do to have the firm send the lawyers who will actually do the work and get them off their rehearsed and controlled messages will help you figure out if the group is compatible with your needs (See my post of Aug. 4, 2007: have the core team appear; and Jan. 19, 2008: script the meetings.).