Monday, November 05, 2012

Curmudgeon makes a (decent?) proposal

Even casual readers of these essays will have noted my disparaging remarks, from time to time, about the state of my law practice.

This is not to say that I haven't tried to drum up business -- though I might wish it were not so, man does not live by blogging alone -- but there are over 91,000 lawyers in Illinois now, with the latest crop of newbies being sworn in last week. It's pretty hard to stand out in a crowd, especially a crowd that large.

Still, my business development efforts may have made an impression on somebody because I recently got a solicitation to submit a bid to a public agency for outside legal work.

They're not looking to give me a job, you understand, but this agency invited me to put together a proposal to beg to be hired on a case-by-case basis as one of who-knows-how-many similarly qualified outside firms.

Beggars can't be choosers, right?

Besides, this is pretty heady stuff: Somebody thought enough of me to include me on a list of persons who would at least have the opportunity to compete for some business. I have no idea who it was. I don't know anybody at this agency.

But the downside of not having previously been invited to make a bid for public work is that I don't really know how to do it.

I improvised.

I put together a nice letter and got some supporting materials assembled. I asked for, and received, a couple of really glowing recommendation letters. I printed out my CV -- and actually took the time to review it and refresh my recollection with regard to past accomplishments that I thought might be relevant to the agency inviting the proposal. By the time I was done (the morning the proposal was due) my head was swollen to twice its normal size. Golly, I thought to myself as I reviewed my final product, I've had a pretty good career. I've done some pretty good stuff. Maybe I've got a real shot at getting all sorts of new business.

A cloud passed across the bright sunshine of my thought processes. If I get too much work, will I have to add staff? Where would I put them? Will I have to move again?

Irrational exuberance quickly dissipated the cloud. Those would be good problems to have, wouldn't they? I could pay down my credit cards... with minions on board, maybe I could take a vacation....

I made the requisite number of copies of my proposal (these requests have very specific, even picayune, requirements) and schlepped them over to the office of the agency that had inquired.

Even with all the copies, my package was easy to carry -- barely an inch thick. The morning was crisp and clear, and I was glad I'd remembered to bring gloves from home, especially since the agency's office was probably a mile or so from my office. No, I didn't take a cab -- I can't afford it.

Naturally, I was bringing my proposal in on the last day, during the last hour, permitted for bids to be submitted. (I really am a lawyer, you know.) As I huffed and puffed the last few blocks, I began to wonder if I'd see anyone else bringing in their materials. I wondered if I might recognize someone.

I didn't recognize anyone, but as I was clearing building security I did see a young man coming in with two bankers' boxes on a cart. The air began coming out of my balloon. I wonder if that's a bid package, I thought to myself.

Of course it was.

And, as I was coming out of the building, I saw a young lady groaning under the weight of three oversize clasp envelopes. Another bidder, I thought dejectedly, as I began to wonder what the agency might think of the wispy thin little bit of paper I'd brought in. I hope nobody laughs out loud, I thought.

The Sun had disappeared into the clouds as I walked back to the Undisclosed Location. The wind had picked up, too, and the walk back seemed ever so much longer than the walk over.

1 comment:

Mother of Chaos said...

Wait! It's entirely possible that these pups were overdoing it, you know? I could be wrong and stranger things have happened, but I doubt they toss these things onto a scale and judge them based on weight.

I'd like to hope actual content counts - and frankly, sometimes less is more. It's certainly easier to read, and I would think that the person on the receiving end of All This would be grateful for one that got the job done in a more concise manner.