Is Your Law Firm RFP-Ready? (Part 1)

With the great recession of 2008, RFPs to hire outside counsel emerged as an important tool. The need for cost-savings has not diminished. The current economic headwinds paired with the carry-on impacts of COVID-19 have made RFPs to hire outside counsel an even more critical piece of the budgeting process. BTI Consulting recently reported that litigation is likely to surge through 2021. To help control costs AND find the best counsel, more companies are issuing RFPs to hire outside counsel. In many cases, RFPs are being sent to firms that clients already know and trust. As legal budgets tighten and more specific expertise is needed, clients are looking to broaden their reach. They are also seeking additional firms to add to their rosters or even to replace firms with whom they are dissatisfied. Clearly, this is a double-edged sword for law firms. Opportunities are increasing, but so are the number of competitors. Whether you’re an incumbent or a newcomer, the big question remains: is your law firm RFP-ready?

In this three-part series, I show how RFP-readiness helps a law firm:

  • Focus on relationships that increase invitations to participate in RFPs and position its attorneys as experienced and trusted advisors;
  • Eliminate the barriers to entry in the RFP process;
  • Deliver a persuasive and profitable proposal.

Part 1: Focus on the Right Relationships

There are practical things every firm should do to be RFP-ready. The first is to align your marketing and business development efforts with the practices most likely to be of value to companies that issue RFPs. This means coupling press releases, website content, blog posts, articles, and seminars/webinars with attorney business development aimed at the companies and industries that have those needs. This shouldn’t necessarily be to the exclusion of other efforts, but it will be necessary to narrow your focus and elevate your visibility in targeted areas in order to be in-the-mix with firms who may already be well-known for this kind of work.

Focusing your marketing efforts will increase your visibility and credibility in the areas that you’re best suited to effectively compete for. This coupled with intentional networking and business development aimed at industries and companies requiring your services increases your likelihood of being invited to participate in RFPs. At a minimum you’ll be invited to respond and, in the best case scenario, you hired directly–without and RFP–since you’re focused on providing the specific, client-centered service they seek.

It’s time to ask yourself:

  • Are you focused on the right relationships?
  • Is your marketing aligned with your business development?
  • How well are you navigating business development in the pandemic?

Let’s talk! Contact me to help get your firm RFP-Ready.

Up next: Eliminate the Barriers to Entry in the RFP Process.

Published by Kristo Sween

Law firm marketing and business development professional, RFP guru, voice actor, healthy lifestyle advocate.

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