Right Firm, Right Price - Best Practices for RFPs

How to put your best foot forward on PERSUIT

As the leading enterprise platform for competitively sourcing outside counsel, PERSUIT’s Client Success team advises F500 and Global100 clients on the best practices for finding the right firm, at the right price, on a matter-by-matter basis.

Guiding in-house counsel through thousands of RFPs and proposals valued, in total, at over a billion dollars, we’ve been able to identify the best practices firms can use to build valuable relationships and showcase their expertise on PERSUIT. 

Here are some insights from a recent webinar with two of our clients, Lexer Mayers, the Assistant GC of Exelon and Jeff Shapiro, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Employment and Benefits at UNFI. 

Make a positive first impression

For Lexer Mayers, PERSUIT marks the beginning of the relationship-building process between client and firm. Firms, through the proposals they submit on PERSUIT, have an opportunity to make a positive first impression as they present their experience and their proposed solutions on the matter.



Go beyond Marketing

Similarly, for Jeff Shapiro, PERSUIT presents an opportunity for firms to really go beyond the glossy marketing brochures - that’ll never move the needle for him - to provide specific and thoughtful initial assessments of the matter and the value they can bring as a strategic partner. 



Let’s have a look at some of the tactics you can use to make a positive impression with your PERSUIT proposal to a potential client like Lexer or Jeff. Here are the 3 main takeaways on increasing your odds of winning a matter on PERSUIT.

Think past the immediate proposal

Whether you’re selected for a specific matter or not, your proposal leaves a lasting impression with a client or prospective client. For both Jeff and Lexer, a thoughtful and strategic proposal will pay dividends in the future by helping solidify a firm’s spot on the shortlist for future matters through PERSUIT, even if they aren’t selected for that specific matter. Additionally, for firms who may have done well on previous matters, Lexer cautions those firms to not rest on their laurels by taking a cookie-cutter approach on future proposals. Continue to lean into each proposal and present your insights as a prospective partner. 



Specifically, Lexer is interested in learning about a firm’s trial strategy (even if unlikely), rather than simply focusing on the process for early settlement.



Lean in to Alternative Fee Arrangements

It’s no surprise to the legal community that there is a growing chorus of corporate counsel expressing their desire to move away from billing by the hour in favor of alternative fee arrangements (AFAs). 

For Jeff, he’s found success requesting fixed fees for litigation matters through PERSUIT, and is leaning more towards seeking AFAs.



From Lexer’s perspective, asking for fixed fees at the task level, e.g., fixed fee per deposition broken down by fact witness and expert witness, allows both sides of the engagement to have predictability on pricing. In fact, many of PERSUIT’s clients utilize a Material Deviation clause, that accounts for material changes to the assumptions in the original scope of work so that one party is not bearing more risk than the other. 



Leverage the Auto-Negotiation/Reverse Auction to your advantage

While PERSUIT’s Auto-Negotiation/Reverse Auction feature ranks firms according to price, clients are not bound to select the lowest bidder. In fact, many of our clients, like Jeff, utilize the feature to enable competition among the firms to establish a real-time market spread for their specific matter. 

In most RFP processes, firms don’t have an opportunity to see the bid spread among their competitors to assess where they fall on that spectrum (sidebar: PERSUIT’s founder/CEO Jim (former Biglaw managing partner) started the company because he was often left in the dark on the competitiveness of his bids). PERSUIT’s Auto-Negotiation/Reverse Auction feature gives firms visibility into where their pricing stands in relation to their peers. It also provides them with the opportunity to make strategic adjustments to gain an edge, if they so choose. 

Similarly, many clients, like Lexer, who use the Reverse Auction regularly, find value in how the process encourages firms to think strategically about the phases they can adjust pricing on to stay competitive.



Ultimately, the outside counsel bidding process is a competitive one, and PERSUIT’s technology adds a layer that streamlines and facilitates that process. Within this new framework, clients like Jeff and Lexer enjoy greater efficiency and transparency while reviewing and evaluating firm proposals. This gives them the ability to select the best firm for their matter in a holistic way. 

On the law firm side, PERSUIT presents a unique opportunity for each participating firm to engage in a competitive process that focuses on merit and price transparency above all else -- which is why firms that put their best foot forward (not just the lowest bidder) will gain the ultimate edge in this process.

If you want to watch the full playlist of clips from this webinar, you can do so here.

Jerry Zhang