Legal Procurement Handbook

Since legal fees have become significant line items in many companies, top management at more and more companies mandates procurement to help source legal services.

But where to start to consolidate cost? Improve efficiencies? Increase predictability? Monitor budgeting to get the right firms for the right matters at the right price? The Legal Procurement Handbook has answers.

Whether you are new to legal procurement, need new ideas for taking sourcing legal services to the next level, or need to understand what procurement wants. The Legal Procurement Handbook is for you.

The Legal Procurement Handbook was published by the Buying Legal Council®, edited by Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein with forewords by Prof. Stephen Mayson & Tom Sager. It includes 27 articles by 27 legal procurement experts. (198 pages)

Get your own copy: Order on Amazon or contact us for bulk orders.

The Legal Procurement Handbook
  • Addresses the key challenges and opportunities that buying and selling legal services creates – from relationship building and management, to financial and strategic decision-making.
  • Is packed with best practices, practical approaches, success studies, and new legal procurement research: learn how industry experts addressed challenges and found solutions for buying and selling legal services.
  • Answers many legal procurement questions, from which tools should be used for measuring alternative fee arrangement (AFAs), to new metrics for legal procurement, to successful bidding strategies and alternatives to discounts.
  • Contains the insight of experts working in legal procurement and with legal procurement. It offers advice for both those tasked with buying legal services as well as those competing for work when procurement is involved. It seeks a win-win approach and encourages communication and collaboration between professional buyers of legal services and sellers of legal services.
  • Is the must-have desk reference for the modern legal procurement professional as well as competitive law firms.


Read Mitch Kowalski's Review (author of "Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century") in the Financial Post

"Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein is no stranger to the purchase of legal services. As the former director of Research Services at Tymetrix, adjunct professor at Columbia and Fordham Law Schools, co-author of a Harvard Business School case on the buying legal decisions of Glaxosmithkline, and now the executive director of Legal Council, Silverstein’s seen it all. So it’s natural that she would pull together a “who’s who” of experts in legal services to create The Legal Procurement Handbook. This book fills a void in the available North American literature on the issue of procurement of legal services – information on this topic is scattered among blogs or magazine pieces.
At first, my eyes glazed over at the thought of an entire book on legal procurement. But thankfully, The Legal Procurement Handbook is divided into 27 bite-sized morsels of legal buying inspiration all of which are highly readable and targeted for the business client, sourcing professional, in-house lawyer or outside counsel. Each article covers a different topic of interest: dealing with alternatives to the mindless discounting of fees, the bidding process for law firms, tools for measuring alternative fees, strategic buying, and LPO sourcing advice, among others, peppered with a number of research reports. The pieces are expertly woven together to give a comprehensive and cohesive picture of what should go into the “buy” decision of legal services.
As Tom Sager, former general counsel of DuPont Co., wrote in his preface, The Legal Procurement Handbook greatly advances “the case for a greater data-driven and disciplined approach to the procure of legal services.” I couldn’t agree more.
This is a must read for every corporate client buying legal services."

Read Monica Bay's Review (Fellow at Stanford's CodeX and former editor-in-chief of Legal Technology News)

"Buying Legal Council was busy last week, with its 'Professional Sourcing and Management of Legal Services' conference in New York City that addressed 'Managing (Supplier) Relationships.'

Last year, the organization published its 'Legal Procurment Handbook,' edited by its executive director Silvia Hodges Silverstein. The book includes chapters from 26 writers, among them Catherine Alman MacDonagh (CEO, Legal Lean Sigma Institute); Toby Brown (Chief Practice Officer, Akin Gump Strauss Houer & Feld); consultant Timothy Corcoran; Danny Ertel (Partner/Founder, Vantage Partners); D. Casey Flaherty (now principal at Procentas ); Lynn Krauss (Assistant GC and Chief of Staff, Dow Corning); Susan O’Brien (now senior vice president, category manager at Bank of America); and others.

Topics address the challenges faced by corporate counsel and their lawyers, such as determining pricing, discounts; bidding; technology; value; alternative fee arrangments, and other related topics.

Why should the CodeX crowd pay attention to this book? Because legal tech startups are going to be change engines in this arena."


Read Stuart Dodds Review in Briefing Magazine (Director of global pricing and legal project management at Baker & McKenzie)
"The Legal Procurement Handbook is by far the most comprehensive collection available to date – ...
In sum, it’s a very timely, useful and thought-provoking book. The topics could help to foster more collaborative relationships both among those in legal procurement, and with their law firm peers."

Take a peak inside the book:

Deliver value through Legal Lean Sigma & project management (Catherine Alman MacDonagh)
This article discusses tools like Lean Sigma, project management, and process improvement that help demonstrate a law firm’s commitment to efficiency, quality, and continuous improvement.

Research report: How clients buy corporate legal services (Dr. George BeatonEric ChinDaria Radchenko)
This article is based on longitudinal research on purchasing behavior of legal services in Australia. It illustrates what drives clients’ perceptions and purchasing and encourages clients and law firms to design their respective purchasing/business development strategies in a manner that co-produces more value.

An alternative to discounts (Toby Brown)
The author offers an alternative to focusing on discounts and hourly rates: careful scoping of matters. This approach will help legal and procurement to work together more effectively, resulting in better cost control and higher quality legal service to the client.

Creating a level playing field (Richard Burcher)
This article offers advice for both law firms and procurement in todays competitive marketplace: it tells law firms how to deal with procurement’s playbook and when to participate in an RFP for law firms. It also offers a list of do’s and don’ts for procurement.

Bidding to win: Step by step (David Clark)
Procurement has changed the way law firms need to market themselves and bid for business. This article leads law firms through the different stages of the bidding process and demonstrates that teamwork between outside counsel and the bid team is necessary to succeed.

CEOs love procurement: How to deal with the consequences (Timothy B. Corcoran)
Managing costs is a priority for all business leaders. When CEOs bring procurement in to manage cost, the author explains that it’s critical to know procurement’s scorecard metrics and understand the value the organization places on various legal services.

Tools for measuring AFAs (Vincent Cordo, Jr.)
This article argues that AFAs need tools to measure the outcome, quality, and value of a matter or portfolio of matters. It offers different opportunities for law firms to improve the situation for both law firms and clients.

Bidding to win: Six winning moves (John de Forte)
This article offers ways for law firms to successfully deal with the ever-increasing number of RFPs issued by procurement: from rigorous qualifying RFPs the firm should bid on, to developing a dialogue with procurement, to measuring ROI.

What’s (much) better than a discount? (Danny Ertel)
Negotiating rate discounts is a zero-sum game clients shouldn’t play with their trusted advisors. This article offers ways to find value that does not come at the expense of outside counsel’s margins: Effective portfolio pricing, joint matter management, and new delivery models. Such proactive collaboration takes time and effort, and should only be done with the right firms—which this article helps identify.

A primer for sourcing LPO services (Danny Ertel)
Legal departments need to get better at budgeting and ensuring they get the right team for each matter. Procurement can help map legal spend and activities against a desired future state. This article gives insight into how procurement can help the legal department unbundle legal processes and successfully source legal process services.

Strategic versus tactical buyers (Geraint Evans)
Procurement’s sophistication has great impact on law firms’ experience when bidding for work and on the legal departments’ peace of mind. This article compares the approaches of tactical and strategic procurement professionals and introduces category positioning frameworks as an instrument of strategic purchasing.

How long does it take to make changes to this document? (D. Casey Flaherty)
Are my lawyers efficient? The author of this article wanted to be sure and developed a technology audit that would tell him whether outside counsel spent their time on value-added work or on wasteful manual labor that any basic, common software could do automatically, faster and (much) cheaper.

Saving the “Trusted Advisor” relationship (Charles H. Green)
Lawyers traditionally see themselves as “Trusted Advisors” to their clients. This article discusses the benefits and risks of “Trusted Advisor” relationships between law firms and clients. It explains what to do when procurement’s approach prevents such a mutually beneficially relationship.

Procurement needs a new metric (Charles H. GreenBill Young)
Procurement’s role has changed, but the measurement and its focus on savings have stayed the same. The article explains that procurement needs a new key performance indicator, one that can be supported by internal audit and that aligns procurement with the interests of its internal clients.

Research report: Legal & procurement in Germany (Markus HartungArne Gärtner)
Legal procurement has become a vital function to manage spend among Germany’s largest companies. This article compares the findings from two research studies (conducted in 2012 and 2014) and concludes that procurement and legal operations need to collaborate and divide up the work to achieve cost cutting, reduction of complexity, and increased efficiency.

How to win GSK’s business (Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein)
Winning business from big, prestigious clients like pharmaceutical giant GSK is rewarding, but the process may be daunting, particularly when procurement is involved. This article reveals how firms can do it successfully: Invest in your business side.

Research report: The state of legal procurement (Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein)
Legal procurement is here to stay and only continues to increase in influence. The findings from three studies on legal procurement give insight into their role, tools, influence, background, and approach. The article offers law firms advice on how they become more appealing to clients when procurement is involved in sourcing legal services.

“I bought the law” – Outside counsel management (Lynn D. Krauss)
Having worked both as in-house counsel and legal procurement officer—long before it became more common—the author combines her skills and knowledge to obtain cost-effective and valuable outside services. This article, an updated version of an article the author wrote in 1999, offers tactics for successful outside counsel supplier management.

What legal procurement really wants (Andy Krebs)
This article explains what procurement professionals want, why they want to be involved in sourcing legal services, and how they can add value. It offers a list of do’s and don’ts for RFPs and insight into procurement’s (legal) supplier management approach.

Research report: Bridging the gap between legal & procurement (Brian Lee)
Legal departments are often reluctant to collaborate with procurement because they value their relationships with outside counsel. This article offers a list of recommendations on how careful management of the legal/procurement relationship can result in great benefits for sourcing legal services.

Procurement & pricing: The benefits of partnering (Steven Manton)
This article argues that a strong relationship between pricing professionals and procurement experts will be beneficial for both law firms and clients: financially astute and business-minded, these experts speak the same language and focus on efficiency and transparency.

Procurement & outside counsel: The benefits of partnering (Colleen F. Nihill)
This article shows how law firms and clients can benefit greatly from improved partnering during the different stages of the legal engagement, from risk assessment of a matter to negotiation, budget preparation, and relationship review.

Achieving value through sensible collaboration (Susan O’Brien)
This case study discusses how procurement in a multinational company was able to successfully apply cost-cutting measures to an area of legal spend. It resulted in both real savings and the desired quality of advice. It also demonstrates the importance of a well-conducted search and selection of law firms and of tracking success.

A primer on reducing outside counsel spend (Susan O’Brien)
This article suggests ways in which procurement can successfully approach the legal category and become trusted advisors to the legal department. It discusses basic practices that can make an impact on reducing outside counsel spend through engagement and billing guidelines, matter management and eBilling systems, competitive bidding, budgeting, and setting up AFAs.

Choosing preferred suppliers abroad (Dr. Ute Rajathurai)
This article shows how a company selected its preferred suppliers in Japan. It guides the reader through the different stages of the process: from preparation, establishing and issuing the RFP, analysis of the firms’ responses, the personal visit to the final decision-making.

Bidding to win: Before, during, and after the RFP process (Melania Wenstrup)
This article shows how law firms can maximize their chances to win RFPs: From actions law firms can take before a company issues an RFP, during the RFP process, to after the RFP is over and the decision has been made.

Successful legal sourcing (Jason Winmill)
Legal procurement varies widely in its approach, skills, focus, scope, impact, and results. For sourcing professionals, it is important to use available tools the right way, aware of common pitfalls. Sourcing can make progress in the legal category with a thoughtful and strategic approach and appropriate resources.