'It’s too painful' – why the RFP process is broken and how it can be fixed
RFPs have swept the legal market, but they are causing pain for law departments and law firms alike. If they are here to stay, what needs to change?
In 2013, executives and in-house leaders at 3M decided they needed to drastically reduce the number of law firms on the Minnesota-based manufacturing company’s preferred network panel. The list of 300 firms would ultimately be cut to about 80. The carving knife? A request for proposal (RFP) that featured more than 50 questions.
Including all those questions seemed like a good idea at the time. But when the RFP responses began flowing in, they were hundreds of pages long. Many were filled with marketing literature that was readily available on a firm’s website and of little interest to the company’s decision-makers, says Maureen Harms, associate general counsel and managing counsel at 3M’s corporate headquarters in St Paul.
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