Responding to a Request for Proposal / RFPWhen it comes to request for proposal responses, length does not equal quality. Let me say that again.  Just because you write a long proposal doesn’t mean you have a better proposal.  Indeed, our cloud RFP software limits the number of questions and the lengths of responses.  We are that committed to streamlining and improving the process.  One particular section of responses that always falls victim to this problem is the experience section.  Always.  Attorneys love to list each and every case  or deal they have handled.  While this will showcase that you have extensive experience generally as a lawyer, the goal of an RFP is to obtain the specific matter at issue.  To that end, I have three tips to follow when responding to a request for proposal.

1)     Pick only the best representative matters.  And make them stand out.  Don’t let them get lost in a laundry list.  Read the RFP, determine the true nature of the matter at issue and then spend some time with your experience list.  Find the best matches and discuss them.   By keeping the focus on these cases, you will not only keep the inside counsel’s attention, you will also show them that you value their time.   Remember, a RFP response may be the first piece of your work product a potential client sees – don’t miss the opportunity to impress.

2)     Connect the dots.  Seriously, it may not be obvious why a particular matter is relevant.  Explain this for the potential client.  If your case summary sounds like a Lexis headnote, you have done something wrong.  Help the reader see why the past matter shows why you are right for this matter.

3)     Explain how you achieved the end result in each matter.  This is your opportunity to stand out.  Don’t just say “we won.”  Show how you won.  What was unique about your strategy.  What ways did you manage costs, communicate better, leverage technology. How will you use this experience to succeed in the potential matter.  Make clients visualize you handling their matter – and you will likely get that matter.

Ryan Bowers

Founder of and author of the RFPattorney Blog. Over 8 years of experience practicing law, including past experience at an international law firm, a national law firm, and a small firm. Currently GC and VP Operations for large mechanical construction company. Midwesterner, home renovator, golden retriever wrangler, new dad, Wolverine, & avid hockey fan.

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