Law Firm Pitches & Tenders: Presenting to Win

LAW FIRMS should invest a significant proportion of their time and turnover managing strategic tenders, undertaking detailed research to build targeted messages and maximise client wins. For fee earners, writing winning pitches and delivering convincing oral presentations is time-consuming, difficult to get right and costly to lose. Clients are also more discerning than ever in their choice of law firms, and new procurement models are making it harder for lawyers to win work in competitive bid and tender scenarios.

Law Firm Pitches & Tenders: Presenting to Win outlines the essential steps that lawyers and bid managers must take to deliver pitch-perfect presentations and increase tender win rates. Each chapter starts with tips on particular aspects of the pitch and presentation process and includes easy-to-use templates that provide a systematic and structured approach.

This report will help you:

  • Ensure that tenders you pitch for are aligned to your firm’s strategy
  • Increase your chances of winning tenders and presentations
  • Reduce time spent by lawyers and tender-writing teams on constructing tenders
  • Reduce duplication of effort in the tender and presentation process
  • Free-up time for bids and presentations you can or should win
  • Reduce overall direct and indirect costs of bids and presentations

Report Structure

1. Strategic context of pitches, tenders and presentations

  • Clarifying the firm's strategy
  • Formulating the pitch strategy in this context
  • Identifying target markets
  • Focusing on particular sectors
  • Deciding which prospects are appropriate
  • Identifying, anticipating and monitoring tenders which are coming up

2. Sources and types of tenders and pitches

  • Tenders can take any form
  • Don't be misled by apparent informality
  • Advertised tenders and pitches
  • Where to look to find the pitches

3. “To pitch or not to pitch?” That is the question.

  • Overcoming the mindset of "if it moves, bid it!"
  • Key initial questions to ask
  • Relevant checklist
  • How to motivate partners to use checklist
  • How to monitor pitches which come in to the firm

4. General tender preparation

  • Creating a tender support function
  • What can be standardised?
  • Who should write what?
  • Developing an approach to difficult standard questions, e.g. "added value"

5. Understanding the prospective client

  • Monitoring strategic pressures on the market, industry, sector
  • Understanding the priorities of the target client
  • Building relationships with people
  • What you need to know about the prospective client
  • Where do you find this information?
  • Take all opportunities offered to get to know them better
  • Researching yourselves 


1. Creating and managing the written tender team

  • Who should be members of the team?
  • Skills and attributes required in the team
  • Project managing the internal tender process
  • Preparation for initial team meeting
    i. Agenda for the team meeting
    ii. Ensuring the discussion is streamlined and productive
    iii. Recording outcomes
    iv. Agreeing the next steps
  • Managing the contributions of all

2. Preparing and structuring the written response

  • Stages in the tender process
  • Analysis range of written responses from short letter to procurement process
  • Reading, analysing and evaluating requirements of documents at different stages
  • Structuring to meet requirements
  • Evaluation criteria
  • Weighting of each criterion
  • Templates for consistency
  • Structuring each section

3. Preparing the fee structure

  • Start immediately
  • Agree approach
  • Give the potential client the structure they ask for

4. Writing, editing and visual presentation of your document

  • Analyse the questions: what is asked for and evaluation criteria
  • Answer the question – just like an exam
  • Use the vocabulary of the reader: warning – there may be several different readers
  • Address the issues
  • Order and priority from the reader's perspective
  • Phrases to avoid
  • Presentation appropriate to readership: graphs, charts, photographs
  • Make it easy for the reader and evaluator
  • “It's not what I want to say, it's what the potential client needs to read”

5. Delivery of documents

  • Pitfalls and how to avoid them on electronic delivery

6. Choosing the winner

  • Use of evaluation criteria
  • Methods of evaluation
  • Time spent by potential client
  • The nail biter of Dutch auctions

7.    Feedback on your written document

  • Ask
  • Interpreting the response, "It was the price."
  • How to use the feedback productively for all future written tenders
  • Communicating the feedback
  • Having a formal, constructive debrief
  • Creating a set of lessons learned
  • Apply those lessons learned in future

STAGE 2 - THE ORAL PRESENTATION – start all over again!

1. Background preparation for an oral presentation

  • Range of beauty parades or oral presentations you might encounter
  • Beware: "Do pop in for a chat.”
  • Key questions to ask at short notice
  • Understand the needs of the potential client
  • Identify their objectives, priorities, concerns, targets and expectations
  • How to find out what they really want
  • How to ask the correct questions
  • Who to ask?
  • Cultural research and requirements
  • Build relationships beforehand
  • Principles and elements of selling
  • The dangers of a re-pitch

2.  Who should be in your team?

  • Try to find out who will be in their team
  • Research their team as much as possible
  • Reflect who will be in their team
  • Who would they like to see?
  • Who would it be helpful for them to see?

3. Specific preparation of the presentation

  • Move on from the written document – that is what got you to the presentation
  • Be prepared for anything
  • Key messages you want to convey
  • Prepare a clear structure and add relevant content
  • Use relevant examples
  • Use of a written document
  • Effective and non-distracting visual aids
  • Prepare an Agenda which is so much more than that
  • Prepare your notes: minimal notes for maximum results
  • Introductions, links and conclusions
  • Prepare two thirds of the time allotted

4. Neglect preparation for Questions and Answers at your peril

  • Anticipate all the questions you might be asked
  • Structuring the answers
  • Nice questions and how to answer them
  • Nasty questions and how to answer them
  • Scenario – “What would happen if …?”
  • Comparative questions that clients might ask all law firms
  • Prepare questions for you to ask the client
  • How to practise presentation and Q&A in the most effective way

5. The 15 second judgement on you

  • Introductions
  • Building a relationship
  • Developing a rapport

6. During the presentation

  • Give a confident presentation – skills and characteristics required
  • Verbal communication
  • Your non-verbal communication
  • Read the body language of the potential client
  • Questions the potential client team may be asking themselves
  • Hidden negative messages of not keeping to time
  • Overcoming unexpected difficulties
  • Answering questions - what should your answer contain?
  • Answering difficult questions - don't give away they are difficult
  • Discuss fees with confidence
  • Ask the client questions - to which you should not know the answer
  • Ask for the work?
  • Clarify and agree the next steps

7. Capitalising on the results of the Beauty Parade

  • Have an immediate debrief of the tender presentation team
  • Ask for feedback - won or lost
  • Clarify the lessons learned from this
  • Prepare a list of feedback questions
  • Ensure the answers are circulated across the firm
  • Ensure these are applied in future

8. Top 10 tips for the way forward

9. Top 10 traps to avoid

Pippa Blakemore,

Publication date:
24th October 2014



About the author:

Pippa is a partner in the PEP Partnership, which specialises in the provision of marketing and business development skills to barristers and solicitors. She is a leading international expert in business development, marketing and sales for lawyers. Pippa has worked for more than 60 law firm clients helping them on more than 90 winning pitch presentations.

She works as an Interim director of Marketing and Business Development for law firms on a strategic, managerial and project basis. She coaches partners, solicitors and barristers to increase their success in every aspect of winning new business and winning more business from current clients, by developing their marketing, sales and management skills. She works with lawyers on every aspect of winning and keeping clients, including workshops on presentation skills, working the room and effective client care.

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