Data + DEI: Refuting 4 Common Myths About DEI and RFPs in Legal

DEI has gotten a lot of attention in recent months. But even with some negative publicity, many corporate legal teams remain committed to their DEI goals.

While PERSUIT does not provide any advice in relation to DEI goals or policies (yeah, our legal people told us we had to say it 🤷‍♀️), corporate legal teams using PERSUIT do have several tools available to help them meet their diversity goals, including:

  • Adding client-specific DEI questions in their RFPs
  • Using PERSUIT’s DEI module
  • Identifying and inviting NAMWOLF firms to the RFP process

By aggregating and anonymizing our data on how our clients are using these tools to engage diverse firms and time-keepers on PERSUIT, we are able to refute several common myths about diverse-owned firms and the RFP process. 

Here’s what we shared at the recent 2023 NAMWOLF (National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms) conference.

Myth 1: Only large firms can win during an RFP process

While larger firms may have more name recognition, that doesn’t mean they are awarded work on PERSUIT at a higher rate than NAMWOLF firms.

The data:

  • On average, law firms are selected between 27% and 30% of the time when participating in competitive RFPs on PERSUIT, no matter where they’re ranked in the Global 200 (See our most recent firm benchmarking report for detailed win rates among different cohorts).
  • NAMWOLF firms, by comparison, are selected 32.6% of the time for all matters and 34.3% of the time for RFPs valued at over $250,000.

Myth 2: Diverse-owned firms don’t have the resources to compete with larger firms

It is true that larger firms have more resources to devote to the process of securing work from corporate legal teams. But diverse-owned firms are also very responsive when invited to participate in an RFP.

The data:

  • Even when invited to RFPs with a turnaround time of less than five days, NAMWOLF firms submit a proposal over 90% of the time. 

Myth 3: Corporate legal teams have limited visibility into the capabilities of diverse-owned firms

It may be true that corporate legal teams are not as familiar with the capabilities of diverse-owned firms as they are with large firms. But it is not true that corporate legal teams lack visibility into the capabilities and experience of NAMWOLF firms. That’s especially true of legal teams using PERSUIT’s DEI capabilities: 

The reality:

  • CLTs who’ve made DEI part of their standard selection process gain exceptional visibility into the capabilities of firms and associates within firms from diverse background.

Myth 4: RFPs are always about the price

“It’s all about the price” is the most common myth surrounding RFPs, and it applies to more than diverse-owned firms.

The data:

  • The lowest bid is selected on PERSUIT only about 50% of the time.

If price were the only reason corporate legal teams ran RFPs, we’d expect to see the lowest priced proposal win the vast majority of the time.

In reality, corporate legal teams use RFPs to evaluate firms across a variety of criteria, including experience, expertise, qualifications, and DEI — in addition to price.

Learn more about how MillerKnoll is using PERSUIT to meet its DEI commitments here.