American Lawyer Media announced last month that it has formed a new division called ALM Events that will serve as an umbrella for all the company's national conferences, trade shows and seminars.
ALM, which publishes 33 legal magazines and newspapers, produces more than 35 shows every year in North America and Europe, including the LegalTech series, which focuses on technology; the GC Conference series, for in-house counsel; and targeted events for law firm business managers and practitioners.
The formation of the new division officially brings together disparate in-house groups in different business units that are integrating their event marketing databases. "It allows us to market better," said Henry Dicker, VP, ALM Events.
Kimberly Fine was appointed to the new position of managing director, conferences and seminars, in July. She will report to Dicker and is charged with overseeing the new division. Fine was previously senior VP at NorthStar Conferences, a division of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Dicker said the entire event staff will stay intact and only the reporting structure will change.
Dicker said centralizing events will enable the company to expand its business, developing new trade shows and increasing attendance numbers at existing shows.
"We're looking to triple the amount of conferences we do in 2005," Dicker said.
"I think the biggest benefit is that we already deliver content via print and the Internet," Dicker said. "It would be a shame if we were not able to deliver that content in a face-to-face method."
"We've been doing it a long time," he added, "and now we are going to do it better."
Dicker said the division's growth next year will be fueled by various ALM publications' editorial content and by partnering with other companies. For example, in 2003, ALM launched the General Counsel Forum in partnership with Richmond Events. The inaugural event was successful, and ALM will continue to produce it annually.
ALM launched another new show last year. Legal Space, which focuses on real estate issues affecting law firms, was inaugurated in November 2003 through a partnership with VVA, a real estate consulting group. The legal services industry is said to be one of the largest lessees of commercial real estate in the U.S.
Centralizing the event function will also consolidate ALM's business power. It gives the company added clout in negotiations, said Doug Ducate, president-CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research. "You can centralize your buying power and have more influence with hotels and other suppliers," Ducate said. He said Gartner Group has a similar model for its events for that very reason.
In addition, the centralized function gives ALM a common model for events. "What does it cost, what return can we expect, do we do the Ritz-Carlton or do we do the Courtyard by Marriott?" Ducate said, indicating a central approach would simplify answering those questions.
A single event division also fosters branding consistency, he said. "It creates a standard model for them."
ALM said it is introducing Law Firm Inc. in September 2004. The new show corresponds to a publication of the same name that American Lawyer Media launched in 2003. The magazine targets managing partners, C-level executives, facilities management directors, business administration professionals, client relation managers and IT management professionals at law firms.