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A better technique to rank law firms on their RFP metrics

Whenever law firms submit metrics in a competitive bid, you can rank the firms on those metrics. For example, if you ask each firm to tell you how many lawyers they have practicing in a certain area of law, then under the assumption that all things being equal more lawyers equals more talent, you can rank those firms from one on up to as many firms as propose. The last step is to add each firm’s ranking on each question and thereby establish an overall rank order.

Since ranking positions each firm exactly the same distance apart there is an improvement you can try (See my post of Oct. 17, 2005: ratings compared to rankings; June 10, 2007: a better way for surveys to rank; March 10, 2005: setting priorities; and April 8, 2007: ranking compensation by practice area.). Add the total number of lawyers stated by the firms and divide each law firm’s number of lawyers by that total. Each law firm will then have a percentage of the total.

If you have several quantitative questions in your RFP and in a like manner you calculate a percentage for each firm, when you add all the percentages for any particular firm you will see bigger differences between the firms than when you merely add their rank numbers.

Even with subjective questions you can have readers rank the responses, but you cannot take the additional step of creating and comparing percentages.