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A rule of thumb for presentations by law firms – 1/3rd talk, 2/3rd answer questions

We all know the canard about two ears and one mouth, but it’s right. When your law department asks a law firm to present its capabilities, whether during an RFP process (an invitation to tender in the UK) or otherwise, tell them how to plan the distribution of their time. Talk some; listen and reply more. The recommendation comes from Law Bus. Rev., Winter 2009 at 40, without discussion.

It is hard for distinguished partners, proud of their firm and capabilities, to stop spouting and to take questions. Even when asked something, they too often go on too long. Not that a selling presentation is a deposition – just give the bare facts and wait for the next question – but neither is it a time for soapboxes and long-windedness. Those who attend from the legal department should interrupt disquisitions and drive for direct answers to the questions that matter. Discussion, creativity, style, and nimbleness during the pitch distinguish a firm far more than PowerPoints.