Five questions no Request for Proposal should ask

Law departments deserve information from prospective law firms and service providers and law departments have a right to ask them probing questions. Nevertheless, having reviewed several RFPs lately, I object to several questions. The following questions, modified only slightly, are blatantly intrusive and unfair. Even procurement managers should blush.

  1. Whom do you regard as your major competitors?

  2. How do you compare your firm or company against your major competitors?

  3. What are your key strengths relative to theirs?

  4. What is the contact information for one client that has ceased to do business with you within the last two years?

  5. What are the attrition rates over the past two years among your employees who would be working on our matters?

Put yourself in the shoes of the respondents and see whether you feel these questions in an RFP are over-reaching or fair (See my post of March 30, 2008: RFP with 22 references.). What you will most likely get back are evasive or platitudinous responses that will not help you.

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