Thank you, Lisa! And good morning! I am very happy to be here! The competition and the work we did together was one of the most enjoyable consulting experiences I’ve ever had. Your firm had a great story to tell. David Ivey and all you guys had tremendous “fire in the belly.” You all worked so hard and were so responsive as we prepared the proposal and got ready for the interview. When Baker Hostetler eventually won that competition against a field of nearly 80 other firms, we almost weren’t surprised. This is what I do for a living. Since 1991, I’ve helped law firms compete against other firms in over a thousand competitions. Many of those have been RFP competitions . Many others have been informal competitions to which a few firms were invited without the burden of responding to an RFP. Others have been pro-active competitions where we were trying to win a new client or gain a bigger share of a client’s legal representation. And even a few times they were what I call predatory competitions , where we’ve tried to persuade a business client to move its representation from a competitor firm to our own. Ultimately, I’ve helped my employers and my clients win nearly half a billion dollars in new business. I’m very happy about that. But my clients and I have been just as pleased with the fact that, no matter whether we won or lost, we always learned something about how to do it better the next time out. Here’s the message I bring you today: As you already know, you won’t win everything you compete for. It’s just not possible. But since it’s costly to compete (in terms of your own energy, time, money, and even, when you win, in terms of conflicts that the new relationship can create), you have to maximize your ROI from every competition you enter. And your potential ROI from every competition includes learning how to do it better next time.
Transcript of "Recent Trends in Legal Services New Business Competitions Slide 1 "
Recent Trends in Legal Services New Business Competitions Presentation by Ann Lee Gibson, Ph.D. By Invitation of LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell At Simmons & Simmons London June 7, 2007
HOURLY RATE REDUCTIONS LAW FIRM CONVERGENCE APPLIED TECHNOLOGY WORK PROCESS REENGINEERING PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENTS VALUE-BASED BILLING RISK/REWARD SHARING Source: A New Era—The DuPont Legal Model , page 17 Productivity Curve ENHANCED PRODUCTIVITY STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
More RFPs issued lately <ul><li>In the last 2 years, most Am Law firms have received 2 to 3 times more RFPs than before. </li></ul><ul><li>RFPs are being issued by banks, manufacturers, pharmas, telecoms, investment funds, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Clients now start with a short list of firms. </li></ul>
RFPs expensive for clients too <ul><li>A few bad consultants are out there advising companies – creating RFQs (not RFPs) that don’t distinguish among firms and too-long, onerous processes. </li></ul><ul><li>Some companies are fascinated with really bad Excel worksheets as RFP response templates. </li></ul><ul><li>Recent RFP horror stories – consultants fired and rehired, RFPs with hundreds of questions, no interviews conducted, winning firms fired months after being hired, etc. </li></ul>
Clients want … <ul><li>Lower legal costs </li></ul><ul><li>Great firms, not just hot lawyers </li></ul><ul><li>Legal knowledge systems </li></ul><ul><li>Improved legal processes </li></ul><ul><li>Lawyer diversity </li></ul>
Entrepreneurs still distinguish themselves <ul><li>Those with inside knowledge have a big advantage. </li></ul><ul><li>Savvy solutions (not just qualifications) can beat incumbents. </li></ul><ul><li>Still boils down to sales ability – however that translates well to the client. </li></ul>
Firms investing in tactical competitions resources <ul><li>Proposal writers, editors, project managers </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers and competitive intelligence analysts </li></ul><ul><li>More business development managers </li></ul><ul><li>Expertise and qualifications databases </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal templates and boilerplate </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal and document automation software </li></ul>
Firms starting to get more systematic with competitions <ul><li>Is this RFP worth the effort? </li></ul><ul><li>If we do decide to compete, what should we do first, second, third … eighteenth? </li></ul><ul><li>What role must firm management play in determining pricing decisions, business conflict assessments, staffing? </li></ul>
Firms still not strategic enough <ul><li>How does this RFP (and this client and this type of work) align with our business plan? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the firm’s appetite for managing its business plans? </li></ul><ul><li>Who in the firm is answering the hard questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where is the money? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who’s got the most interesting work? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are clients paying the most money for? </li></ul></ul>
Pricing still hard to talk about <ul><li>Most firms discount fees, even those that deny it. </li></ul><ul><li>Hourly rates are still rising – many Am Law firms’ top partners’ hourly rates pushing $1,000 / hour. </li></ul><ul><li>Clients still lobby for alternative pricing, but most accept discounted hourly rates and volume discounts. </li></ul>
What firms are doing (a little) better <ul><li>Research and competitive intelligence – everybody’s doing research, and some firms are actually developing actionable intel. </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews – create two-way conversations about this client’s issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Proposals – offer solutions and legal approaches responsive to this client’s challenges. </li></ul>
What firms still need to (greatly) improve <ul><li>Don’t wait for RFPs – go pitch your best clients now. </li></ul><ul><li>Decide if RFP is worth the effort. </li></ul><ul><li>Interview prospective client to learn vital intel before they compete. </li></ul><ul><li>Use RFP opportunities to pitch higher value work. </li></ul><ul><li>Debrief all competitions, win or lose. </li></ul>