Building Bridges: 3 Tips for a Smooth Legal RFP

Do you remember what it was like to be in private practice and on the receiving end of an RFP? Did it trigger feelings of hope or dread? Maybe you couldn’t wait to submit, or maybe you got a pit in your stomach and were thankful that the marketing team would handle the majority of the all-too-often convoluted request.If you were left to go it alone, you would cross your fingers and hope that the client was thoughtful in how they structured the RFP and mindful of how they managed the process.

As you consider running an RFP today, it’s worth taking a brief step back and making it a positive experience for all parties. Most of the time when you launch an RFP you will invite firms that you know and trust to participate. As you will need each of these firms’ support in the future, the best path forward is one of bridge-building. Here are three simple reminders to make your RFP process run smoothly for you and the firms you invite:

  1. Above all else, do your homework and have a clear understanding of your needs. The best processes are the ones in which the client has crystal clear understanding of the nature and scope of the legal work. The more specific you can be in the scope of work, the fewer questions you will receive from the firms during the process and the better information your will receive back in the proposals. Any background information you provide the firms is always welcomed.
  2. Be clear about timing and how your decision-making process will unfold. No one likes to be left in the dark. Everyone likes to be prepared for what comes next (e.g. in-person interviews, additional qualitative questions, etc.).
  3. Once you have made your decision, it is a best practice to contact all the firms who responded to thank them for their efforts and to share the outcome. If you have the time, it is helpful to the firms to connect with you to understand what they would have needed to do to win the business. They invested hours of time in preparing the proposal, but can learn volumes by you sharing your perspective for even ten minutes as the process wraps.

About the author – Dave Sampsell is a 20-year lawyer with extensive experience managing large, complex legal engagements around the world and overall corporate legal budgets. He presently serves as General Counsel of a NASDAQ listed company and is a Founder and Principal of BanyanRFP. BanyanRFP saves companies time and money through an easy-to-use, private and secure online application for the creation and processing of legal services RFPs. For more information, visit

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