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How law departments weight the components of law firms’ proposals

From my consulting projects, I observe, and advocate, allocations of the following percentages of importance to the key factors.

• 50 percent to the experience of the firm in whatever area of law is covered by the RFP. Experience depends on how much work of a similar kind the firm has done, how recently, and whether lawyers who will work on the department’s matters did that work.

• 30 percent to staffing, which includes personal chemistry (See my post of Feb. 5, 2007 on the inclusion of psychometric data in proposals.) and the backgrounds of the specific lawyers who will work on the matters. Institutional experience and knowledge is important, but human beings will actually work on the upcoming matters.

• 10 percent to the economic terms. Cost is most often talked about, but for major corporations riding herd on millions of dollars of legal spend, their lawyers care most deeply about expertise and staffing, which should correlate closely to results achieved.

• In the allocation of the remaining 20 percent, law departments look at such factors as a firm’s technology capabilities, diversity and pro bono efforts, environmental programs, and the subjective feel they develop for how well the firm presented itself and its proposal materials.