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Legal Service Tenders: How to source lawyers for your panel

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You wouldn’t think twice about contract or Legal Service Tenders when managing your portfolio of business projects – and choosing your law firm(s) shouldn’t be any different.

Businesses need value for money and one way of doing this is to establish a regular legal procurement process that helps maintain high quality services and competition on fees.

Whether your business is new to the idea of creating a process for your legal tender services or, you’re looking to review your existing law firm panel, a competitive legal tender process is becoming increasingly common in today’s market and there are many factors to consider.

Businesses design their law firm panels in different ways.

Here are some key issues to consider with your legal tender and procurement process;

Have the firms delivered a focused and value add pitch?

A law firm that carefully prepares a coherent and structured legal tender, with obvious evidence of value, is likely to have the same level of diligence and organisation in working for you.

Is what they’re offering what you need?

Legal knowledge is a given but is your business looking for general or specialist legal advice and support?

In addition, do the firms pitching for your work have the necessary resources to actually deliver your business requirements within specified deadlines?

Does your business have a specific requirement for local/regional area knowledge, international reach and industry sector expertise?

It is crucial that the firm you choose can deliver on those business areas (and commercial expectations) which are important to you.

How does the Legal Service Tenders value proposition match up?

Can these firms deliver at both strategic and operational levels in your business?

What additional innovation, added value or business benefit does the firm bring?

Level of personal contact and relationships

What is the likely level of interaction with individual fee-earners?

Investing time and effort to develop strong and sustainable business relationships will reap benefits in the long-term.

Questions to consider may include whether the law firm intends to send you a secondee or deliver training to staff.

Does the law firm pledge the likely availability of lawyers at the end of the telephone to answer questions?

Price & Value of Legal Service Tenders

Fee arrangements are clearly crucial.

It was recently reported that Royal Dutch Shell has appointed a global sourcing officer to proactively manage its pricing arrangements, drive down costs and ensure greater value from appointed panel firms.

If you have a high volume legal requirement then it’s possible to negotiate volume discounts.

Aim for a “menu” of fixed fee services to provide certainty with your legal costs but in the event there is a need to agree an hourly rate, make sure it’s in exchange for an assured level of business and customer service.  Also, understand the value proposition of individual lawyers and law firms – he/she might have a higher fixed fee/hourly rate but will that result in an overall better value service for your business?

Are you a cultural fit and do they have a vision for the future?

It helps if both of your organisations are heading in the same direction. There is little point instructing a law firm that uses antiquated management systems if you are a technology-led organisation.   Equally, how innovative is each firm and what are their thoughts about improving the efficiency of legal services? 

The legal sector is undergoing a huge change of technology, innovation and expectations.  If you’re about to sign up to a long term contract or relationship, make sure they plan to move with the legal times.

Remove the procurement hassle, draft in external help

The legal tender process is time consuming can soak up a significant amount of resource.  It might also be a process of which your team is inexperienced and/or would like additional support in finding, comparing and selecting the correct lawyers.

If this is the case, then consider retaining external advisors who can help you manage the process.

They will have experience of how to source the right lawyers, compare both price and value and take out the time consuming elements of the wider process.  Enabling you and your team to focus your time on the key decision points of your legal tender.

LawyerFair is an example of what is available in the market.  A free service that helps companies source, compare and manage the legal procurement process.

Article written by LawyerFair : A legal procurement and comparison service for business owners.

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