Engaging outside counsel in the current environment can be a cumbersome process.
Now that organizations are implementing better governance around engaging their firms for matters, many attorneys and legal operations professionals are in need of resources to upskill and evolve their legal department.
Request for Proposals (RFP) are the industry standard for how clients approach and assess their law firms. Although RFPs have been used for some time now, many organizations aren’t focusing on the key considerations when deploying RFPs.
The particulars of the matter or portfolio, scope of work, pricing, expertise, strategy, and even the structure or format of the RFP are all vital when you engage your outside counsel.
Having just surpassed over $10 billion in proposal value, we’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a great RFP.
PERSUIT is constantly on the front line with our clients who are among the most innovative and impactful legal departments in the world.
One of the primary ways we support our clients is through PERSUIT’s Template Library. Our library houses hundreds of pre-drafted templates based on practice area, RFP type, pricing structure, and provides our clients with a solid foundation and flexibility to create their own custom templates.
Here are a few of the highlights that make the PERSUIT Template Library uniquely valuable to our clients.
Ability to Manage and Ramp up Your AFA Program
Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFAs) are something that the legal industry is familiar with when it comes to pricing legal work. However, it is not widely adopted because it is difficult to determine how fees should be structured or allocated across the phases and tasks.
PERSUIT’s templates provide a recommended Alternative Fee Arrangement structure and also include instructional language and clauses that provide guidance to clients and firms to operate and manage the AFA.
We have also leveraged the learnings from all of the RFPs we’ve facilitated to develop a mechanism to address significant changes to matters which have a complex scope of work. This means that our templates can be deployed across the full spectrum of legal matters, even those that were not historically fit for AFAs.
Here are three key features of our templates that guide and enable our users to more effectively engage their outside counsel.
1. Structured Pricing
Our templates include a recommended baseline structure that provides clients with best practice language and instructions for firms. Having the structure clearly outlined and defined in our templates enables clients to easily compare and contrast the proposals from their firms to optimize the outcomes in our virtual pricing room (automating negotiations between peer firms).
2. Material Deviation Language
Changes in scope of work throughout the matter could significantly impact your spend if not appropriately accounted for at the outset of the engagement. Clients often have to rely on billable hours to account for any changes.
PERSUIT’s approach is to structure the pricing in such a way that provides visibility into the cost of the key activities and cost drivers in a matter. Our templates are built so that clients and firms understand what is going to move the needle on the cost of legal services and to provide a mechanism of adjusting the pricing based on this information.
3. Qualitative Information
The questions clients ask their outside counsel are also important. Aspects such as a firm's qualifications, experience, strategy and approach for successful outcomes are important to understand when selecting a firm.
PERSUIT’s templates also include core questions and access to a more extensive question bank. These questions are developed through our experience across all the RFPs we’ve supported and are designed to provide clients with the answers their in-house team needs to make a decision.
Scalable RFP/RFI Program
Legal departments are responsible for mitigating risk in their organizations. This means that not only do they have to deal with a wide spectrum of challenges, but time and efficiency are key in order to overcome them.
Our clients may receive a new lawsuit or complaint and need to respond in a few days. Others may need counsel to review new regulations and provide guidance to their organization. Some clients are looking to renegotiate their rates or establish panel firms.
Each of these scenarios are among many other activities and challenges that PERSUIT’s template library enables.
We empower in-house teams by allowing them to leverage the learnings concentrated in our templates.
Instead of starting from scratch or relying on a disjointed approach, our templates have pre-drafted text to guide clients and allow them to customize it to their specific needs. Clients also have the ability to preserve their own custom templates for later use in the library.
The platform stores contact information from each firm our clients engage allowing legal departments to quickly and efficiently scale their RFP and RFI program to handle any future opportunity.
Clear and Consistent Terms Across Practice Areas
Legal departments use PERSUIT for all types of engagements, negotiations and practice areas, but across all of the templates, there are a few things that remain consistent.
Our clients use the template library to establish their department’s priorities for reviewing and selecting firms (e.g. expertise, jurisdiction, price, diversity, etc.). They outline these priorities in their custom templates. This allows them to quickly scale and guide their entire department and the firms about how they score and select outside counsel.
Clients are also able to standardize the language across the various matters or AFAs types through their custom templates. The library allows clients to set up their own internal guidelines, and outline them and store them for similar matters.
Data Governance Around Legal Spend
Still not convinced by the benefits outlined above?
Ultimately, the consistency of each of the terms will only lead to better and more consistent data around your legal department spend, areas of law your legal department covers, and how you are selecting outside counsel.
Understanding your legal spend and savings by evaluating firm performance across the platform is crucial for in-house teams to analyze current and future budgets.
Standardizing your templates across your team will only provide more transparency and accuracy of this data in the long run (it also makes for a great conversation with outside counsel over dinner).
PERSUIT’s templates are the first step in accurately evaluating how you want to engage with outside counsel.
Once your department has determined what priorities will make the most sense for each type of engagement, the templates are customizable to those parameters, providing you with an efficient, one-and-done approach to sending out your next RFP.