Q. Why do I need a legal business process outsourcing consultant when I can create this Request For Proposal (RFP) and run the evaluation myself at no additional charge?
A. Yes, you can do it yourself, but that leads to more questions: Ask yourself,
- “Do I have the time to devote to the project?” A consultant would devote the time to it – leaving you free to take care of the day-to-day details of your job.
- “Do I have the expertise to handle the process?” Mattern & Associates has managed more than 450 RFPs.
- “Can I realize similar savings that engaging a consultant would yield?” In situations where Mattern has been brought in after a firm has started an RFP process, we have been able to improve pricing and terms over 50% of what the Firm had been able to get on their own.
Lastly, we find it is helpful to ask yourself the following question – “Why do your clients hire your firm to handle a matter instead of having their in-house counsel handle it?” Most likely you would say that your clients hire your firm because your firm has expertise in this specific situation, the resources available, and most importantly – the experience. In addition, your firm handles these types of matters every day, whereas your clients handle them once every five (5) years.
Q. What resources and contacts does such a consultant have, over and above what my staff and I would have ourselves?
A. Having negotiated more than 450 contracts, Mattern & Associates has independent benchmarking data at its disposal to determine the best terms and conditions, based upon what other firms of similar size and/or geographic region are getting. In addition, we have a team of employees with expertise in outsourcing, records and information governance, litigation support, reprographics, etc. Lastly, we have leverage with the vendors. Your firm most likely handles one outsourcing contract every three to five years — Mattern, at any given time, has more than a half dozen in play.
Q. Approximately how much additional money would I save by hiring an outside consultant to handle my RFP?
A. Mattern & Associate’s typical legal business process outsourcing RFP engagement yields our clients’ savings of 26% (average savings over the last 36 RFPs Mattern has handled). We find this is approximately 50% more than your firm will attain on their own.
Q. Won’t I be endangering some of my employees’ jobs by hiring such a consultant?
A. The work done by Mattern is in concert with firm employees. This allows you and your employees to focus on the daily activities that you do best, rather than immersing yourself in a tedious process that comes only once every three to five years. Ultimately, the decision is for you and your employees to make. Also, you are in the driver’s seat for implementing the recommendations that Mattern details.
Q. How can I thoroughly evaluate the capabilities, credentials, references and performance of a consultant?
A. There a number of questions/steps you can use to evaluate a consultant.
Questions to ask:
- How is the consultant compensated? Is their compensation structured so that they are unbiased? (If they are paid a on a percentage of savings, it might influence how the vendor information is presented.)
- How is the consultant involved after the contract? Are they willing to assist in managing the contract they negotiated and get involved in vendor performance issues? Do they provide performance reports, scorecards, etc?
- What subject matter expertise does the consultant have on-staff to assist in the project?
- Are they experts in the industry? Do they speak, write and get published?
- Ask for references – and call them. Solicit references from firms they do not list as references but you know where they have provided consulting.
- Check out their website –- Are they thought leaders? Do they educate the industry? Do they name their clients?
- Ask the vendors that will be involved what they think of the consultants.
Q. Can’t I just create my own RFP by asking for sample RFPs from colleagues at other firms, or from using documents we’ve used before as templates?
A. No two outsourcing agreements are exactly the same, and most vary widely. There is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to RFPs or outsourcing agreements. The experts at Mattern know the questions to ask, the terms to look for, and the language to be included in a contract to give their client the most flexibility and savings in an ever-changing environment. Also, just because your back or middle office is working now, doesn’t mean it is the right situation for your firm for the next five (5) years. A good consultant will be bringing these types of solutions to the table. You also have to be careful about possible copyright infringement.
Q. Is my fee really going to be reimbursed by the vendor we choose, or is the vendor simply building in the cost so I end up paying it anyway?
A. The vendors that participate in the RFP process are notified through the RFP that the Mattern fee is to be reimbursed at contract execution. That being known gives the vendor the opportunity to take the fee into consideration when offering their very best pricing. It should be assumed that the vendors cover the fees in the costs. The bottom line is that the client has the option of having the fee reimbursed, thus saving them the out-of-pocket expense. Alternatively, some of Mattern’s clients choose to pay the fee themselves, leaving it out of the vendor agreement all together. The choice is yours. On an ancillary note, if you look at the fee as a percentage of the total contract value it is typically around 1-2%. Even with the fee built in, we deliver on average 26% savings which illustrates how overpriced your contract is currently.
Q. I am concerned about involving an outside party in confidential matters such as pricing negotiations, client cost recovery policies, workflow and technology. How do I know I can really trust these consultants with sensitive information?
A. Many clients require Mattern to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that protects them from having their specific information shared with a third party. Even without an NDA governing the relationship, Mattern consultants exercise the utmost discretion when it comes to sensitive client issues.
Q. A large firm has lots of resources, so our management expects us to handle our own RFPs and analyses. How do I convince the firm’s managing partner that it’s worthwhile and beneficial to hire an outside consultant?
A. Chances are your firm hires real estate brokers to assist you in finding and evaluating real estate and the same with your health care. Your outsourcing contract is probably in the top five expense areas of the firm behind wages, rent and insurances. Why wouldn’t you bring in the needed expertise who knows the market, has the necessary benchmarks to provide educated recommendations, and has negotiated over 450 contracts with the vendors you are considering – ensuring your firm is receiving best possible pricing and terms?
Q. If I’m happy with my current support services vendor, why wouldn’t I simply renew with them? They are telling me that I do not need to do an RFP and they will provide me with a good deal.
A. Even if you are satisfied with your provider, it’s always a good idea to periodically review terms and conditions, headcount and workflows. Going through an RFP process, especially an open RFP creates a competitive environment typically yielding the best pricing and terms. If your current vendor is providing good service, competitive pricing, and flexible terms – then they shouldn’t have a concern if their contract is reviewed.
Q. What value is a cost recovery study if recommendations conflict with firm’s philosophy on cost recovery?
A. A cost recovery study provides a snapshot of your system/philosophies stacked up against similar firms. It’s never a bad idea to re-evaluate policies given constant changes in technology and climate.
Q. How far in advance should I look into an open RFP or renegotiating my contract?
A. Ideally, one (1) year.
Q. How are your fees structured?
A. Mattern & Associates works on a lump sum (flat fee) based on estimated hours for the project.
Q. Several outsourcing companies tell me I don’t need a consultant – that I can do this on my own with their help. Is this plausible?
A. If a vendor is submitting a competitive contract price and terms and the expertise to get the job done – why wouldn’t they want a Consultant involved? In regards to “their” help – would you go to a car dealer and ask them to help in buying a new car?
Q. What is Mattern Plan B Cost Recovery®?
A. Mattern Plan B Cost Recovery® is a proprietary process that allows your firm to maximize your billable cost recovery revenue by increasing your firm’s utilization of hard costs. This is done by shifting your onsite soft cost recoveries to hard cost disbursements, which historically have a higher realization.