Law firms are responding to more RFPs and requests for alternative or appropriate fee arrangements than ever before, but are legal departments getting what they need from these approaches?

Going through a request for proposal or law firm panel review can involve a lot of pain and agony, leaving the winning parties with a sense they have made it through the marathon and now the rewards — in the form of work — will come naturally. But many in-house counsel have observed that once a law firm panel review or RFP for legal services is complete, there is a tendency for complacency to set in. Firms get on the approved list and there is an assumption the work will flow without any further care and feeding on their part. That’s not always the case. It seems there is much room to grow on both sides of the table when it comes to how law firms and in-house work together in the process of procuring legal services.

According to Nancey Watson of NL Watson Consulting Inc., law firms are responding to “more and more RFPs” and the complexity of RFPs is getting more difficult for firms to respond to. At a recent Legal Marketing Association conference held in Toronto, Watson led a discussion panel with in-house counsel and procurement professionals who help manage external counsel. She asked them about how their organizations are handling fee arrangements and RFPs.

What was clear was that much like any other kind of relationship it’s the care over time that counts. And in a legal market where new players are entering the playing field all the time, no one can assume the work will just flow. “There’s always someone inventing a better mousetrap,” says Richard Brzakala, director, external legal services, CIBC. “We don’t want to be in just a transactional relationship with our firms — we look to them to expand the relationships and help us in other areas.”

Read the original article on the Canada Lawyer website here.