This time of year is budget time at most law firms. Firms are looking in every nook and cranny to find ways to reduce expenses. One of the quickest and most efficient ways to reduce expenses is consolidating services and contracts under a sole source.
The advantages of a sole source–if the contract is structured properly–are:
- Lower pricing. By pooling your spend, your firm should realize double digit savings on most support service items.
- Overall improved services. If the contract and performance standards are structured correctly, then overall firm services should be improved. Certain locations may experience a change in their service levels, but the overall firm’s services should improve.
- Single point of contact. The “one throat to choke” theory of management comes into play here. A single source to address all issues, opportunities and initiatives is a big time saver.
Some of the internal pushback you may hear may sound like this:
- “That vendor can’t service our location.” This may or may not be true, but a truly national vendor can and will find a way to service you.
- “We used this vendor ten years ago and it didn’t work out.” Ten years ago is ten years ago. Maybe the contract wasn’t set-up correctly, or perhaps this vendor has addressed this deficiency.
- “We have been using this regional or local vendor for the past fifteen years and don’t want to change.” Perhaps this vendor can be your sole source vendor? In some cases, your firm’s contract consolidation may be the opportunity that vendor is looking for. If not, then a change to a national vendor may be what benefits the firm as a whole.
- “Our contract doesn’t allow us to make a change.” Without seeing the specific contract it is impossible to comment—but, if a contract is not breakable, then perhaps a phased-in approach is the best solution.
My father used to say, “Don’t stop the parade to pick-up dimes.” The same can be said of sole source contracts. Don’t let a single office derail a contract that will benefit the whole.