Survey: Are RFPs for legal services on the rise?

November 4, 2019 RSS

Many clients and purchasers of outside legal services send request for proposals (RFPs) to law firms and alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) before hiring them. Why would they introduce a more complex process with more decision makers? Clients want to increase predictability, transparency, and control over total fees and costs for an individual matter or case, a portfolio of matters/cases, or for all the outside legal work the company or entity sends out each year.


History of RFPs in legal

The trend of using RFPs to select and hire outside counsel started about 25 years ago in a January 1994 article in  The Wall Street Journal titled, More Clients Ask Firms to Bid For Work. More than 25 years ago, it summarized the reluctance and caution of law firms participating in the RFP process, as reported in Of Counsel, a Wolters-Kluwer publication survey of corporate legal and law firm respondents. As most business professionals and lawyers will tell you, this early reticence to participate did not prevent it becoming a mainstream practice.

Legal’s current stance on RFPs

The conventional wisdom is that now, more than ever, law firms and ALSPs are receiving more RFPs for new work. What is your point of view on the trend? Is this the new normal, a passing fad, or only the beginning of a complete shift in how legal services are bought and sold?


We recently joined forces with PERSUIT and ALM Legal Compass to co-sponsor and conduct a new survey: How is Corporate Legal Using RFPs + Law Firm Trends to measure how law firms and corporate legal departments are engaging within the RFP process.

This survey seeks to uncover:

  • The rate of increase in the receipt of RFPs by law firms
  • The greatest challenges law firms face regarding handling and responding to RFPs
  • The rate of increase in corporate legal departments using RFP to retain outside legal services in 2020
  • And more!

 Who should participate to this survey?

  • Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)/Chief Business Development Officer (CMBDO)
  • Requests for Proposal (RFP) specialist
  • Chief Administrative, Operating or Executive Officer (CAO/COO/CEO).

By participating in this survey, you will receive:

A complimentary executive summary of the survey results via email by Friday, December 6, 2019. All responses will be tallied and summarized without disclosing company, firm or respondents’ names or information.

Take the survey

I look forward to sharing the results of this survey with you and thank you for participating. Please explore more information about the legal RFP survey, its goals and potential findings here.

Written by: Darryl Cross

Practice Group Leader, Professional Service Firm Leaders & Partners

Darryl helps leaders improve performance for today’s modern professional services firms with collaboration, technology, and teams. Combining his 30 years of experience and research-proven, scientific methods, Darryl offers a unique approach to improving performance. He has spoken to over 10,000 lawyers and business executives from over 100 countries on how to balance business, body, and soul to maximize performance and results. Darryl is a certified business coach with the Association for Talent Development and has recently been inducted as a fellow into the College of Law Practice Management.


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