May 30, 2022
A decent legal proposal - everything you need to know to get a relationship off on the right foot
Knowing how to request for proposal for legal services is key. It is a way to start a relationship on the right foot between a legal team and another company. However, when it comes to the world of law, many get overwhelmed and intimidated when choosing legal representation. The majority of the time, this fear is unwarranted and a fear of the unknown.
However, that being said, it can be a bit of a leap into the unknown to sign up for legal services. A request for proposal, legal services wise, can therefore seem like a bit of a shot in the dark for many. The true test of the legal services chosen will be when those services are needed - and only then does the true quality of the legal team show. You do not want to be in the middle of a legal mess, only then to realize the ineptitude of your law firm.
Legal proposals can help to iron out such issues, however, for potential clients of legal companies. On the flip side, knowing how to write a legal proposal is a great way of improving a company’s chances of winning business. Given that a proposal will be the first, or at least first written, correspondence a potential client has with a firm, they are critical to get right from the beginning. It is perhaps an overused phrase, but first impressions really do count!
What is a legal proposal?
Let’s not overcomplicate things. A legal proposal is a document that makes an offer for legal services. Importantly, a proposal is not a legally binding document. The proposer may withdraw their proposal at any time before it has been accepted by the potential client. That being said, the proposer should notify the client that they are withdrawing their proposal - for politeness if nothing else.
Some may ask what is the legal term for “proposal letter”. Often in the hope of giving it added gravitas. However, in our view, this is unnecessary. It does not have another technical term. A legal proposal letter will simply outline the proposed terms and conditions in the final legal proposal.
How to make a legal proposal
Knowing how to write an effective legal proposal will materially improve your chances of you or your firm winning business. In doing so you then help increase your firm’s income and bottom line, which is ultimately why the majority of us are in business. And, if a legal proposal is structured correctly and turned into a contract - either on a consultancy basis or otherwise - it can be agreed to exceptionally quickly.
Bearing that in mind, ensure you include the following information in your proposal and ensure you structure it in a way that is easy to understand. Using a clear structure can help get your point across to potential clients, making it far easier for them to understand your proposal as a whole. You do not want to miss out on otherwise lucrative accounts, just because your potential client does not understand your proposal.
Who you are
Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, you need to write down who you are and who your firm is. Outline this section as quickly as possible, but try not to miss out any details that may help persuade your potential client to sign up to your firm. So, do you have a highly diverse team? What is your experience? Saying who you are is also an opportunity to show off - as modestly as possible - about your good points.
What your client’s problem is
While it may seem obvious to you what your client’s problem is - i.e. they need legal representation or a better legal representation team - they actually may not know their legal vulnerabilities. You need to highlight this to them in a clear way so they understand why their current situation cannot continue.
Identifying their problem is also a good opportunity for you to showcase how well you have researched them. Doing so means you will not waste their time with a meaningless proposal that does not answer their needs. Additionally, it is also flattering - and a reflection of your due diligence and professionalism. Plus, everyone likes to have their ego massaged.
Why you can help solve that problem and how
Following identification of your potential client’s legal problem, you need to break down how you intend to solve their issue. Be that simply with reliable legal counsel or to help them resolve any negative legal situation in which they have found themselves. That being said - you do not want to give them any free legal advice, so this section must strike a fine balance!
How much your services will cost and how you structure your fees
Finally, you need to talk about money.
Put a price on how much solving your client’s problem may be. Your proposal letter is not binding, so your potential client may come back to you with a conditional acceptance. They may use your proposal as a starting point for negotiations with you. However, ensure that you explain your costs and fees - particularly how you structure them. It could be that you are paid on an hourly basis or as a retainer. Being as clear as possible helps to reduce any negotiation time, and also gives your client an idea of whether they are able to afford even your negotiated fees. If you have structured and written your proposal well enough, you will hopefully find they are more than willing to pay you what you want.
Overall takeaways to creating legal proposals
Legal proposals are a way for law firms and legal teams to outline their services and how much those services will cost. While some proposals will require more personalization than others, a great deal of what is included in a proposal can be standardized and repeated in future proposals. As a result, legal proposals can be created using a template as a starting point - if not totally automated and autogenerated when possible. Using templates and resources that Contractbook’s software and products provide, is a key way to quicken the pace that a legal proposal is sent out - and subsequently agreed.
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