NEW BOOK: Legal Procurement Handbook

Our new book is out!

Since legal fees have become significant line items in many companies, top management at more and more companies mandates procurement to help source legal services.

But where to start to consolidate cost? Improve efficiencies? Increase predictability? Monitor budgeting to get the right firms for the right matters at the right price? The Legal Procurement Handbook has answers.

Whether you are new to legal procurement, need new ideas for taking sourcing legal services to the next level, or need to understand what procurement wants. The Legal Procurement Handbook is for you.

The Legal Procurement Handbook was published by the Buying Legal Council, edited by Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein with forewords by Prof. Stephen Mayson & Tom Sager. It includes 27 articles by 27 legal procurement experts. (198 pages)

Get your own copy: Order on Amazon or contact us for bulk orders.

The Legal Procurement Handbook addresses the key challenges and opportunities that buying and selling legal services creates – from relationship building and management, to financial and strategic decision-making.

The Legal Procurement Handbook is packed with best practices, practical approaches, success studies, and new legal procurement research: learn how industry experts addressed challenges and found solutions for buying and selling legal services.

The Legal Procurement Handbook answers many legal procurement questions, from which tools should be used for measuring alternative fee arrangement (AFAs), to new metrics for legal procurement, to successful bidding strategies and alternatives to discounts.

The Legal Procurement Handbook contains the insight of experts working in legal procurement and with legal procurement. It offers advice for both those tasked with buying legal services as well as those competing for work when procurement is involved. It seeks a win-win approach and encourages communication and collaboration between professional buyers of legal services and sellers of legal services.

The Legal Procurement Handbook is the must-have desk reference for the modern legal procurement professional as well as competitive law firms.

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Marketing Education for Lawyers

Spring Semester 2015 is just starting — with it, a new class of 2Ls and 3Ls studying “Law Firm Marketing” at Fordham Law School. In this course, students will complement their legal knowledge with the theory and practice of marketing and business development as they relate to law firms. This course sets out to give them a fundamental understanding of the necessary marketing and business development skills in today’s competitive marketplace.

“Law Firm Marketing” is perfectly in line with Howard Breuer‘s recent article in Law360 Law Schools Are (Finally) Teaching ‘The Biz’ Of Lawyering: “While a student at Harvard Law School, Eva Hibnick took business and marketing electives at Harvard Business School and MIT. However, it wasn’t until a couple of years later, when she left a big law firm to join a startup, that she realized how important personal branding, networking and marketing were. As a junior lawyer, I had zero LinkedIn connections,” Hibnick says. “After one year in the startup world, I had over a thousand.” …

Breuer continues: “The students in these programs “appreciate that we are aware of the challenges of the market and that we’re not simply throwing up our hands and saying, ‘Good luck to you,’” according to Sean Scott, a senior associate dean at Loyola Law School, which started a couple of business-skill programs for their students and graduates in the past three years.” …

Howard also mentions my course: “In New York, Silvia Hodges Silverstein has taught the courses “Law Firm as a Business” and “Law Firm Marketing” at Fordham Law School since 2010, and the course “Law Firm Financial Management” at Columbia Law School since 2013. She says she and her friend Heidi Gardner, (an assistant professor who just shifted over from Harvard Business School to Harvard Law School and teaches law firm economics, strategy, marketing and collaboration), are co-authoring the first textbook on law firm business management because “Heidi and I are convinced (these classes) will be part of every law school program in the near future.” She adds, “I believe that those are skills that everybody needs to have in their toolkit whether you’re working as an associate or hanging out your own shingle. You always need to know how to develop your business. These are skills that will be serving them for the rest of their careers.””

It’s a matter of days until my students have many LinkedIn connections and even start blogging — inspired by Kevin O’Keefe (Real Lawyers Have Blogs) who’ll guest lecture on the first day of class.



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7 Red Flags that you Should Not Participate in this RFP

RFPs -requests for proposal- are often used by procurement to choose suppliers. They are now a very common and accepted tool in legal services. However, participating in an RFP takes a lot of time and effort. Lawyers often ask how they can tell whether or not to participate in a particular RFP.

I strongly believe that few legal procurement-issued RFPs are “wired” — as in promised to someone else already: Even if the company already has a preferred firm in mind, clients can be won over if they get more compelling offers. Legal procurement’s corporate mandate is not to support particular suppliers, but to make choices more objective and get the best price. Procurement hence likes to regularly bring in new suppliers.

Having said that, how can you protect yourself against tire-kicking? Here are 7 red flags that tell you that you may not have a good chance to win this RFP:

  1. You are not allowed to contact staff in case you have questions.
  2. Very short and inflexible deadlines. This can favor an incumbent firm who is expecting the bid.
  3. Evaluation is outside the norm. For example, if pricing is typically weighed at 40% and on this RFP it’s at 10%. What’s the reason?
  4. Too much detail that makes the RFP overwhelming.
  5. Page limitations that make it impossible to respond to all of the requirements. Only an incumbent firm will know what to focus on and what they can skip without being “noncompliant.”
  6. The RFP asks for a fixed fee but refuses to give appropriate information for proper scoping.
  7. “Processes” specified in the RFP can’t be mapped unless you have worked with the company before and know how they work.

How can you protect yourself and avoid wasting your time? Have a solid, strategic go/no-go approach to RFP participation and stick to it.

If you want to know more about legal procurement and RFPs, attend the BUYING LEGAL COUNCIL conference in New York on 2/2/15. Click here for more information on the program.

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