When it Comes to the “Other RFP”, Cash is King: eDiscovery Best Practices

When most people in the legal profession hear the acronym “RFP”, they think of “Request for Production”.  But, there’s another “RFP” – “Request for Proposal” – which is how many law firms and corporations solicit bids for work to be performed in legal technology and electronic discovery.  That “RFP” can be difficult, time consuming and expensive to manage for the requesting party and even more so for the providers responding to the RFP.  Here’s a company that can save time and money during the RFP process and it currently has a special offer for law firms and corporations requesting these services.

ClariLegal was founded by Cash Butler to help corporations, law firms, and providers using services – related to eDiscovery, investigations, cybersecurity and other vended services – to improve timeliness and effectiveness all while reducing costs.  Cash is an industry veteran having over 20 years of successful management experience with companies including eDiscovery providers SteelPoint, Zantaz, Lextranet and Merrill Corporation.

Cash is difficult to miss at a legal technology event – he’s gregarious and larger than life (and, yes, he played hockey and a little football growing up).  Even his name is unique – Cash.  Having spent years in legal technology, Cash has seen how inefficient the process of selecting providers can be, which is why he founded ClariLegal.

“Each vendor responding to RFPs uses its own terminology and has different line item pricing”, says Cash.  “This makes the process very time consuming and confusing for both the customer and the vendor, and, unfortunately, they have all come to accept the inconsistencies as ‘coming with the territory’”.

To address these inconsistencies, ClariLegal has built an online vendor management platform that simplifies and normalizes RFP and bidding processes between legal service buyers and the responding providers, driving quality and consistency into the buying, selling, and managing of legal services.

How does it work?  “To start the process, the company requesting services completes a job request which identifies the services being requested, the scope of the engagement, the target date to start and complete the project and the bidding time period”, says Cash.  “They can even use ClariLegal to communicate with the vendors and answer their questions in our centralized platform.”

Here’s an example of a project defined and scoped within ClariLegal:

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So, how much can the customer save using ClariLegal to request legal services?

“We generally save companies between 25 and 60 percent by comparing vendor bids”, says Cash.  “Believe it or not, we actually saved one company 92 percent.  You would be surprised how much vendor bids can vary.  And, with the strain on company budgets because of the current pandemic driven economic downturn, the ability to reduce costs for necessary legal services is more important than ever.”

But, as is the case with traditional RFPs, that doesn’t mean that the customer always chooses the lowest bidder.  “With ClariLegal, you get to see how many years the company has been providing eDiscovery services, what references they have, what certifications their team has, what additional training they have, what work (if any) they outsource and several other attributes about the providers to make an informed selection based on value.”

Here’s an example of a Bid Comparison screen from ClariLegal:

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So, what’s in it for the providers?  “Responding to RFPs is such a difficult and time-consuming process for vendors that I’ve seen many of them decline to bid on those RFPs because they can’t justify the effort”, says Cash.  “But, with ClariLegal, we do in days what can take weeks.  In some cases, we have transacted business in as few as four hours.  This makes it ‘low hanging fruit’ for vendors to bid and hopefully land a new client or perform repeat work for satisfied clients.”

Having been on the provider side, I can attest to how difficult the RFP process typically is and we chose not to bid on several projects because the level of effort was so large and typically involved multiple people within the organization to complete our response.  Despite our best efforts to standardize our approach to RFP responses, it was difficult because the RFPs were so diverse and different.  I can see how ClariLegal would make it much more appealing for providers to participate in the RFP process and for customers requesting services to compare apples to apples in evaluating providers.

Hmmm, maybe his name should be “Time Butler”?  Then again, “time is money”, so “Cash Butler” seems appropriate.  😉

ClariLegal typically gets paid a commission by the provider who is selected by the company requesting services and normally charges for corporations and law firms for access to the platform as well.  However, for a limited time, ClariLegal is currently offering corporations and law firms six months free access to the platform to use it on a pilot basis.  ClariLegal will also be offering free assessments and consultations to corporations and law firms regarding their legal vendor management and general discovery needs.  So, if you’re a corporation or law firm, there has never been a better time to try ClariLegal to streamline your RFP process.

So, what do you think?  Do you find the process for Request for Proposals to be cumbersome and costly?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

4 comments

  1. Doug, great post. Having lived in the RFP space for many years during my law firm career, I get it. An RFP, particularly a large-scale RFP, can be cumbersome, awkward, confusing, and way too time consuming. I would not do it again if I had a choice. And Cash is king!

  2. Thanks, Mike! You saw it from the law firm side, I saw it from the provider side. Not an easy process for anybody, so a site like this which simplifies the process is valuable across the board.

  3. Great to see this representation of Cash and ClariLegal. Having spoken with Cash on numerous occasions (and they were lengthy, enjoyable conversations) I can attest to the fact that his knowledge in this space is expansive, extremely knowledgeable and on-point when it comes to the corporate point of view. That is rare. The RFP process is painful for all parties. I highly recommend ClariLegal whichever seat you sit in: corporate, vendor or law firm.

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