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Widespread RFPs compared to targeted talks

Newsworthy these days are the gargantuan efforts by large law departments to spray RFPs to dozens of law firms. The widely cast net aims at many of the incumbent firms of the law department and pulls in some new firms. The logistics, administrative efforts, time, and cost match the expansive scope of the RFP dragnet.

By contrast (and to trawl for more metaphors), a law department might hurl a few harpoons. Pick the three or four law firms who serve you the most, tell them the dollar savings you need to achieve, and let them respond. They have the most at stake – but only if your law department is genuine in its willingness to walk away from them – and they have the best knowledge of the legal work you will need. This targeted technique demands more of high-level lawyers than does the labor-intensive RFP method, but it might well bring home the richest haul.