Many posts on Law Department Management concern Requests for Proposal (RFP), which are a popular tool of general counsel. Some general observations about RFPs have deserved comment (See my posts of Oct. 26, 2007: seven tips for more effective RFPs by a law department; Aug. 9, 2006: RFPs compared to targeted talks; May 3, 2007: confidentiality agreements preserve the secrecy of RFPs; Oct. 29, 2006: untrue that “a lot of RFPs are simply fishing expeditions”; Aug. 10, 2007: RFPs every three years to obtain discounted rates from firms; March 26, 2007:Services that are excluded from the coverage of an RFP process; and May 3, 2007: RFPs: format requirements can be inside or outside the bun.).
Competitive bids that use an RFP process are common and legitimate (See my posts of April 5, 2005: lackluster response levels by law firms to requests for proposals; March 17, 2006: RFPs and effort set in motion for firms; April 5, 2006: top 10 desiderata for law firms when they respond to RFPs; May 9, 2007: low numbers of responses to the many RFPs issued.).
Without dispute, the content of the RFP matters (See my posts of Nov. 9, 2006: provide data on spending and matters; Sept. 13, 2006: disclose the names of firms invited to bid competitively; May 3, 2007: unfair question to ask for competitors; July 29, 2007: beyond the traditional RFP; March 13, 2007: broad, essay questions as part of a RFP; and Dec. 5, 2005: use hours of lawyer work, not amounts paid.).
Once you collect the responses, it is of course vitally important how you evaluate them (See my posts of Feb. 6, 2007: weight the components of law firms’ proposal; Dec. 18, 2006: technique to evaluate competitive proposals; Nov. 28, 2007: fair use of ideas in law firm proposals; Oct. 1, 2005: exclusion of good idea by an unsuccessful bidder; and March 13, 2007: you can’t remove subjectivity from review process.).