Law departments that invite competitive bids should strive for transparency. All the law firms invited to propose should be given an equal opportunity to learn as much information as possible. To that end, the department should tell the firms the names of the firms it has invited to compete.
A spurned firm that has long served the department might be embarrassed if its failure to make the cut becomes public, but likely as not, even if concealed, the distressing news will eventually seep out. Furthermore, if the firm’s performance did not warrant an invitation, it should expect to pay the piper.
On the positive side, when the competing firms can gauge who else is taking part, they sharpen their competitive pencils and recognize that disclosure is fair and open.