Questions to ask when seeking to forge an alliance

Does the alliance satisfy the strategic goals (assuming we have any) of our firm?

Would our clients be interested eventually in using the expertise of our alliance partners? (Remember that alliance partners will make their own decisions).

Are we willing to invest in developing and using a meaningful common brand name?

Are we willing to delegate some responsibilities, including quality control and house style to a central management and spend the appropriate amount of money to make the alliance work?

Are we willing to mix practice groups, operate under a joint conflicts policy, and generally present a seamless operation to clients?

Is the alliance going to prevent us from undertaking other initiatives that might offer a better return on investment?

How will the alliance compete with other firms in the marketplace?

Can we agree on standards for quality control?

Are we willing to upgrade our information technology system to work with those of the other alliance members?

And, most importantly, are we willing to jointly market by specialty as well as allowing for some financial integration?