Marc Anderson, lead solicitor at Royal London Group Legal, offers his top five pointers for law firms looking to put in an extra-powerful performance on the pitch
Honesty is the best policy
A competitive tender will often see any invite in to present preceded by a written submission. Before an external legal provider invests time in this process, and in consequence asks the client to invest their time reviewing it, what is most refreshing is an upfront confirmation if the proposed work opportunity is not something they want to pursue, for whatever reason. An early discussion around the fact that the work does not align with the firm’s core offering, business model, and so on, is appreciated, as opposed to a submission that’s clearly merely a firm going through the motions. There is also nothing worse than a legal provider clearly pricing itself out of the running. Being bold enough to be honest at the start of a process can avoid bad feeling all round.
Understand what you’re pitching for
The presentation needs to both address the issues and questions raised in the invitation to tender documentation, and complement and support the written response submitted by the legal provider. Things can quickly unravel where it is clear that those presenting have not got a clear grasp of what it is they’re actually pitching for.
Preparation is clearly key, insofar as the expectation is that whoever presents is fully in tune with the submitted written response and able to elaborate on what has previously been stated, rather than delve into entirely new areas. Alarm bells are also ringing when literature is brought in that talks about services entirely different from those that have been sought. Get the job first, worry about the cross-sell later!
Bring substance and some style
When presenting, talking over and even disagreeing with one another (not as uncommon as you might think!) isn’t going to enhance your chances. Substance is key, but it’s also doing a legal provider’s chances no favours if the presentation is found wanting stylistically. Furthermore, it does not look great when individuals are present but barely, if at all, engaged as part of the presentation or Q&A. Personally, I love to hear from the more junior members of the team, as this provides a real insight into the culture of a firm and what they will truly be like as a supplier and partner
It does not look great when individuals are present but barely, if at all, engaged
Who is coming in with you?
Innovation, process improvement and technology are all increasingly important for an in-house function when it comes to entrusting work to an external provider. But let’s not lose sight of what is still, more often than not, underpinning all of this – the supply of legal expertise and advice. So, while you may bring along your innovation manager, legal project manager and business executive, please don’t forget the value in having a lawyer present who has experience of the work in question – and all the better if it is intended that they will be working on the account!
Please don’t make me feel bad about pricing
While we, the client, want to feel valued and to know we are getting good value, it can irritate when the legal provider perhaps makes a little too much of the fact that they are providing the most generous pricing model the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, this can be all the more embarrassing when others match or undercut it, just without the equivalent fanfare