Request for Proposal for Legal Services

Request for Proposal for Legal Services

Request for Proposal for Legal Services

For the Period: January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2023
Inquiries and proposals should be directed to:
Susan B. Thomas, PhD
Executive Director
Texoma Council of Governments
1117 Gallagher Drive, Suite 470
Sherman, Texas 75090
sthomas@texoma.cog.tx.us
  1. General Information
    1. Purpose. This request for proposal (RFP) is to contract for legal services to be provided for the Texoma Council of Governments for the PERIOD January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2023.
    2. Who May Respond. Only attorneys who are currently licensed to practice law in Texas and maintain an office in the North Texas region (or law firms including such attorneys) may respond to this RFP.
    3. Instructions on Proposal Submission.
      1. Closing Submission Date. Proposals must be submitted no later than 3:00 pm CST on December 29, 2017.
      2. Inquiries. Inquiries concerning this RFP should be emailed to:
        Susan B. Thomas, PhD
        Executive Director
        sthomas@texoma.cog.tx.us
      3. Conditions of Proposal. All costs incurred in the preparation of a proposal responding to this RFP will be the responsibility of the Offeror and will not be reimbursed by the Texoma Council of Governments, (hereinafter referred to as “TCOG”).
      4. Instructions to prospective Contractors. Your proposal should be addressed as follows:

        Texoma Council of Governments
        1117 Gallagher Drive, Suite 470
        Sherman, TX 75090

        It is important that the Offeror’s proposal be submitted in a sealed envelope clearly marked in the lower left-hand corner with the following information:

        Request for Proposal (Date)
        SEALED PROPOSAL FOR LEGAL SERVICES

        It is the responsibility of the Offeror to ensure that the proposal is received by TCOG by the date and time specified above. Late proposals will not be considered.

        In order to ensure a fair review and selection process, firms submitting proposals are specifically requested not to make other contacts with TCOG staff or members of the Board of Directors regarding this proposal. Failure to comply with this request may result in disqualification of the proposal.

      5. Right to Reject. TCOG reserves the right to reject any and all proposals received in response to this RFP. A contract for the accepted proposal will be drafted based upon the factors described in the RFP.
      6. Minority-Owned Businesses. Efforts will be made by TCOG to utilize woman, minority and/or service-disabled veteran owned businesses.
      7. Notification of Award. It is expected that a decision selecting the successful Firm will be made within two (2) weeks of the closing date for the receipt of proposals. It is expected that the contract shall be for a five-year period starting January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2023. TCOG shall have the right to extend this contract for an additional three-year term. Renewal of the appointment/contract will require reauthorization by TCOG’s Board of Directors. If both parties cannot agree on prices for a contract extension, the existing contract will be allowed to expire and the contract work will be rebid.
  2. Description of Entity. The Texoma Council of Governments is a voluntary association of local governments in Cooke, Fannin, and Grayson Counties that works directly with citizens and local jurisdictions to improve and advance economic vitality and quality of life in Texoma. In collaboration with our public and private sector partners, TCOG delivers various programs and services designed to support the health, welfare, and future of our citizens, our communities, and the region as a whole. To this end, TCOG employees work hand-in-hand with elected officials and community leaders to develop sustainable and economically viable community and regional development solutions. Many projects are funded through a state or federal funding allocation to the region. TCOG utilizes these funds to: facilitate the distribution of homeland security funds, criminal justice grants, and rural community development block grants; conduct household hazardous waste collections and recycling and composting demonstration projects using the region’s municipal solid waste disposal fee allocation; and serve as the Economic Development Administration’s designated Economic Development District in Texoma producing the annual Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the region.

    TCOG and our community partners have developed innovative projects to improve quality of life and build the region. One such project is the provision of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) support to rural communities to enhance planning, zoning and other development related decisions. GIS is an essential emergency management tool, and many local emergency managers, 911 dispatchers, fire fighters, and law enforcement officers take advantage of this cutting edge service. TCOG also offers training, strategic planning, and project management services, and through relationships with local higher education institutions including Austin College, Grayson College, North Central Texas College and most recently Texas A&M – Commerce, we are developing a thriving internship program for undergraduate and graduate students alike.

    In addition to the work we perform for our cities and counties, TCOG provides a vast array of direct social services including Section 8 rental assistance (over 600 vouchers), benefits counseling, care coordination for the elderly and disabled, caregiver support services, senior volunteer programs, employment and education support, utility assistance, home weatherization, and comprehensive information and referral assistance to seniors, individuals with disabilities, and low-income families.

  3. Scope of Services. Under the proposed agreement, General Counsel will provide the following services on a fixed fee arrangement:
    1. Provides legal advice, counsel, services, and consultation to the Executive Director, Board of Directors, and senior management team on a wide variety of civil assignments, including but not limited to: general government law, labor law, general state and federal laws relating to grant and contract issues, public disclosure issues, laws against discrimination, property/real estate law, contract law, and purchasing and procurement. General Counsel’s advice includes methods to avoid civil litigation;
    2. Answers requests for legal opinions, in writing and verbally. Prepares written legal opinions at the request of the Executive Director or the Board of Directors. Availability to answer staff questions by telephone;
    3. Appears before courts and administrative agencies to represent TCOG’s interests;
    4. Works cooperatively with any special legal counsel retained by TCOG for special projects. Coordinates with other special counsel, as needed, to assure proper management of legal issues, and proper coordination and transition of legal information among special counsel;
    5. Provide guidance and legal advice on the Texas Open Meetings Act, the Freedom of Information Act, Robert’s Rules of Order, and Board rules and procedures;
    6. Assists Board of Directors and employees to understand the legal roles and duties of their respective offices and interrelationships with others;
    7. Assists the Board of Directors and employees to maintain awareness of ethical standards and appearance of fairness standards, and to avoid potential conflicts of interest, prohibited transactions and the appearance of prohibited transactions;
    8. Prepares and reviews contracts, leases, and other documents for legal correctness and acceptability. Negotiates said contracts, leases, and other documents upon request;
    9. Reviews and redrafts various policies for legal correctness and acceptability. This would include, by way of example, Personnel Manual, Family Medical Leave, IT Policy, etc.;
    10. Attendance at any 12 Board meetings during a calendar year, as requested. Attend other meetings when requested;
    11. Review, draft and negotiate contracts and leases
    12. Performs other legal services and tasks, as requested.
  4. General Specifications
  5. The following provisions will also apply.

    1. Timeliness of response and accessibility to General Counsel is an important aspect of this service. Accessibility includes the ability to be generally available to attend meetings in person on short notice and the ability to be reached promptly by telephone, cell phone, or e-mail.
    2. Attorneys must be available by phone, cell phone, fax and e-mail.
    3. Service response is also of high importance. When TCOG requests legal services, General Counsel should provide some estimated time of completion and keep the requesting party apprised of any delays or special considerations.
    4. Describe malpractice insurance coverage: carrier, limits, and exemptions.
    5. The service provider shall provide detailed itemized statements on a monthly basis.
  6. Contract Ethics
    1. No employee of TCOG who exercises any responsibilities in the review, approval, or implementation of the proposal or contract shall participate in any decisions, which affects his or her direct or indirect personal or financial interest.
    2. It is a breach of ethical standards for any person to offer, give or agree to give any TCOG employee, Board of Director, or for any TCOG employee, or Board of Director to solicit, demand, accept, or agree to accept from another person or firm, a gratuity or an offer of employment whenever a reasonably prudent person would conclude that such consideration was motivated by an individual, group or corporate desire to obtain special, preferential, or more favorable treatment than is normally accorded to the general public.
    3. The firm shall not assign any interest in this contract and shall not transfer any interest in the same without the prior written consent of TCOG.
    4. The firm shall not accept any client or project that places it in a conflict of interest with its representation of the Texoma Council of Governments. If such a conflict of interest is subsequently discovered, TCOG shall be promptly notified.
  7. Proposal Submission. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered. It is neither TCOG’s responsibility nor practice to acknowledge receipt of any proposal. It is the responder’s responsibility to assure that a proposal is received in a timely manner.

    Interested firms shall submit proposed hourly fee structure for identified legal services. TCOG expects all submitting firms to consent to the Scope of Work and General Specifications. Exceptions desired must be clearly noted in the proposal submittal.

    TCOG reserves the right to reject any and all proposals, to waive irregularities and informalities, to request additional information from all respondents, and further reserves the right to select the proposal which furthers the best interests of the Texoma Council of Governments.

    All interested firms should provide one (1) original and three (3) copies of a written proposal, responding to each inquiry in the order below. Please attach one set of business cards for your team with the original proposal.

    Each proposal shall be considered binding and in effect for a period of ninety (90) days following the proposal opening.

  8. Proposal Contents. The Offeror, in its proposal, shall at a minimum include the following:
    1. Legal Experience. The Offeror should describe its legal experience, including the names, addresses, contact persons, and telephone numbers of at least three clients, preferably including clients similar to TCOG. Experience should include the following categories:
      1. Experience advising nonprofit organizations;
      2. Experience advising clients conducting similar programs and government-funded services
    2. Organization, Size, Structure, and Areas of Practice. If the Offeror is a firm, it should describe its organization, size, structure, areas of practice, and office locations. Indicate, if appropriate, if the firm is a small or minority owned business.
    3. Attorney Qualifications. The Offeror should have experience in the following areas: nonprofit and tax exempt organizations, government grants and contracts, labor and employment, and general business operations. The Offeror should describe the qualifications of attorneys to be assigned to the representations. Descriptions should include:
      1. an educational background of each attorney
      2. Overall supervision to be exercised.
      3. Prior experience of the individual attorneys with respect to the required experience listed above. Only include resumes of attorneys likely to be assigned to the representation. Education, position in firm, years and types of experience and continuing professional educations will be considered.
    4. Price. The Offeror’s proposed price should include information on the hourly billing rates of each attorney or other legal staff who are expected to work on this representation and charges for expenses, if any, such as legal research copies, and faxes. TCOG reserves the right to negotiate with the Offeror on the structure of the billing and/or retainer fee.
    5. Example Contract.
  9. Evaluation Procedure and Criteria. TCOG’s Executive Director and a minimum of three (3) Board Members will review proposals and make recommendation to the Board of Directors for final approval. The Executive Director and Board of Directors may request a meeting with some qualified Offeror’s prior to final selection. Proposals will be reviewed in accordance with the following:
  10. Evaluation Criteria Maximum Rating Points
    Geographic Location and Accessibility 10
    Past Performance on Similar Assignments 20
    Management Plan and/or Approach 15
    Evidence of respondent’s expertise and experience with council of governments, regional planning commissions/organizations and state/federally funded organizations 15
    Key Personell 15
    Cost 20
    MBE/WBE/Veteran 5