ALM today announced a new executive to lead its global events, three weeks after the departure of the former leader, who left his position just five days after the end of the annual Legalweek/Legaltech conference in New York.

Mark Fried

Named today as ALM’s chief financial officer and president of events is Mark Fried, who was formerly president and CEO of Vendome Group, a media and conference company serving healthcare and real estate professionals.

The former head of ALM’s global events, John Stuttard, left the company five days after the conclusion of the Legalweek conference.

At the time, an ALM spokesperson told me that his departure had nothing to do with the results of this year’s conference, and that it would be obvious why he left once his replacement was named.

Fried had been president of Vendome Group since 2006, where his oversight included magazines and related websites with combined circulation of more than 500,000 and six conferences that attracted more than 8,000 attendees, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He previously worked as a publisher for Wolters Kluwer in the UK and for Aspen Publishers until Wolters Kluwer acquired it.

“Mark’s background as a media sector CEO is perfect for our finance and events teams given the stage of our business evolution,” Bill Carter, president and CEO of ALM Media, said in a press release. “His experience working with investors and key financial stakeholders will help us communicate externally while leading the finance function internally. On the events front, Mark’s history of running a business with a large professional services events portfolio makes him a natural fit for that aspect of his role at ALM.”

I spoke briefly this morning with Fried, who, unlike Stuttard, will be ALM’s CFO as well as president of global events. He will spend half his time working on events and half his time on working with the heads of ALM’s various business units to develop better KPIs and financial reporting.

He has not yet had time to assess the Legalweek conference or any other ALM conference, he said. But what makes an event successful, he believes, is a clear strategy and identification of the target market, and then clearly articulating the value proposition for attendees, sponsors and exhibitors.

All of that needs to be done far enough in advance — at least 12-18 months before the event — that there is at least five months to market it to attendees and longer for sales to exhibitors and sponsors.

Fried believes that it is critical for a media company such as ALM to include editorial staff in program development.

“Editorial is your outreach to your market,” he said. “They are the ones who are closest to your delegates and your subscribers. I feel that going forward, editorial involvement in conference planning is critical to the success and growth of the events.”

ALM produces 80 events a year in locations around the world.

The legal and business publishing company ALM today launched a new digital platform that unites its 18 U.S. legal brands — including The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel and The National Law Journal — under the common Law.com URL.

ALM says this follows from its launch last year of its global newsroom, a reorganization of its editorial staff by themes rather than by publications, and provides a scalable infrastructure that is the next step in its digital evolution, providing a platform for rapid execution of innovation going forward.

“The way I often describe the new experience is that the new Law.com platform is like a home with 18 different front doors,” Richard Caruso, vice president & general manager, Legal Media, at ALM told me in an email. “Each door is familiar to the people who enter through that door, just as our current publication brands and experiences are familiar to the readers of those publications. But, the content that can ultimately be accessed by all is housed within the same four walls.”

The idea, ALM says, is to connect readers to its content in ways other than through any particular brand or publication. Readers will be able to access content by topics, areas of law and industries from across ALM’s various legal publications, receive alerts for each, preview suggested or relevant content and learn more about ALM’s other sister brands.

At the the same time, ALM’s publications will retain their separate identities. Each publication’s home page can be entered directly or found via the navigation bar on the main Law.com page. Now, for example, The American Lawyer is “The American Lawyer Powered by Law.com” and its URL is law.com/americanlawyer.

The new platform has been built with mobile in mind, ALM says, and has a fully responsive design for a better experience on mobile devices.

Subscription options and pricing will remain unchanged. With a free digital membership (registration required), a reader has access to five articles from across the ALM network of U.S. legal brands, excluding premium content such as Supreme Court Brief and Litigation Daily. Corporate Counsel and Legaltech News are entirely free with registration.

Regarding paid subscriptions, readers have the option to subscribe to individual brands or to a Law.com all-access subscription. If someone subscribes to just one publication, the subscriber will have unlimited access to that publication’s content and will also have access to five articles each month from across ALM’s U.S. legal network. With a Law.com all-access subscription, a subscriber will have unlimited access to all content from across the ALM network of legal brands.

The new magazine version will be mailed tomorrow.

The National Law Journal is discontinuing as a weekly newspaper and becoming a monthly magazine, its publisher ALM announced today.

“As part of ALM’s response to the ongoing shift in readers’ consumption of content, The National Law Journal (NLJ) is introducing a monthly print magazine to add value and complement its robust digital offering,” a statement from the company said.

As a former editor-in-chief of the NLJ, I am particularly stung by this news. But I can’t say I’m surprised. Just in the past year, ALM has discontinued the print versions of its publications InsideCounsel, Connecticut Law Tribune and San Francisco Recorder and transformed its Texas Lawyer from a weekly paper to a monthly magazine.

The first issue of the monthly magazine will be mailed tomorrow. The NLJ will continue to publish its popular surveys, rankings and features, including The NLJ 500, Go To Law Schools, and Appellate Hot List, online and in the magazine, ALM said.

The NLJ’s website will deliver breaking news updates and timely news features and analysis. The magazine will provide more in-depth reporting and analysis, ALM said, and will provide expanded coverage of federal courts and the Supreme Court.

“The National Law Journal is embracing our digital-first strategy to meet readers’ evolving content needs and help advertisers reach larger audiences,” said Richard Caruso, vice president and general manager of Legal Media at ALM. “As subscribers’ content consumption patterns continue to shift toward digital platforms, we expect more of our legal brands to adapt, enabling a greater number of legal professionals to develop a long-term competitive edge.”

The NLJ was founded in 1978 by Jerry Finkelstein as a sibling to the New York Law Journal and later run by Jerry’s son James Finkelstein. ALM acquired it in 1997, creating what was then the country’s largest publisher of legal news.

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One month after it laid off the top editors of The American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel magazines, ALM has named new editors to take the helms of those publications.

Heather Nevitt, who has been editor-in-chief of ALM’s Texas Lawyer since 2013, has been named executive editor of Corporate Counsel and Inside Counsel. Gina Passarella, who was most recently senior editor, business of law, in ALM’s Global Newsroom, has been named executive editor of The American Lawyer.

Nevitt, who will also remain editor of Texas Lawyer, is a former practicing lawyer who joined ALM in 2005 as acquisitions book editor for Texas Lawyer. In 2010, she became regional book editor overseeing book acquisitions in Texas, Georgia and Florida. After becoming Texas Lawyer’s editor-in-chief in 2013, she oversaw its 2015 transition from weekly newspaper to daily digital publication and monthly magazine.

Passarella joined ALM’s Pennsylvania newspaper, The Legal Intelligencer, in 2005, where she covered the business of law, focusing on trends and issues impacting the state’s largest law firms. In June 2016, she moved into the role of senior editor, business of law, in ALM’s Global Newsroom, where she helped lead nationwide reporting on law firm operations and competition.

Both Nevitt and Passarella are winners of Jesse H. Neal awards for excellence in business journalism. Nevitt and her team at Texas Lawyer won for best single issue and best theme issue of a paper or magazine. Passarella won for a series on the changing business models of law firms post-recession. Passarella also won two Emmy awards for her work doing feature reports with the American Law Journal.

Early last month, ALM laid off several of its top editors, including the editors of The American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel.

Read more:

 

Next week is the annual Legaltech conference in New York. But in case you haven’t heard, there’s a big change this year. Legaltech has expanded into something called Legalweek, The Experience.

Rather than just legal technology, the conference will include what ALM is calling seven “events-within-an-event,” each with a distinct focus: LegalExecutive, LegalCIO, LegalPros, LegalMarketing, LegalSmallFirm and LegalWomensForum, in addition to the anchor of Legaltech.

So what’s this all about? On this episode of Law Technology Now, my cohost Monica Bay and I interview John Stuttard, senior vice president of Global Events at ALM, who discusses why ALM expanded Legaltech and what attendees should expect to see there.

We’re also joined by Nicholas Bruch, senior analyst at ALM Legal Intelligence, who is part of Legalweek’s opening program on the state of the legal industry. He discusses trends in the industry and offers a preview of how the conference will address them.

Listen using the player above or at the Legal Talk Network.

 

 

Earlier this week, this blog reported that Legaltech News, the ALM-owned legal technology magazine, will cease publishing as a stand-alone magazine and instead be published as a quarterly 24-page technology section that will appear in the magazines Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer.

Now I’ve learned that the change will also bring a shift in the publication’s editorial focus.

JAY_2535-copy
Jay Kirsch

I spoke today with the executive in charge of the change, Jay Kirsch, president of media at ALM. A digital marketing veteran who joined ALM last October, Kirsch was formerly president of AOL’s Business, Technology & Entertainment Group, where he oversaw such brands as TechCrunch, Engadget, AOL Autos, DailyFinance and Moviefone.

A key reason for the change to Legaltech News, Kirsch said, is to ensure that the purpose of the product is clearly understood by readers and advertisers.

Up to now, Legaltech News has served two different types of readers, he said. One was made up of highly technical professionals whose interests are in choosing technology products. The other was made up of legal professionals who want to understand how technology impacts their businesses and practices.

That latter group, Kirsch believes, is the one that more closely aligns with ALM’s overall editorial and advertising focus. “Talking about how technology affects the business of law is more aligned with what we do,” he said.

For that reason, Legaltech News will shift its editorial focus to place more emphasis on addressing technology’s impact on the business of law, Kirsch said. “It positions the content to be more clearly differentiated from the competition.”

Another reason for the shift, he said, is simply that it no longer makes sense for a technology publication to have a large print distribution.

At the same time, the print reach of Legaltech News will actually increase with its inclusion in the two magazines, from 35,000 to more than 50,000.

Also of interest, Kirsch said that among his goals as president of media is to make ALM less insular and broaden its reach outside the company. Specifically, he said that he is in talks with Facebook and LinkedIn about how ALM can operate on those platforms to improve the overall user experience.

 

The ALM legal technology magazine Legaltech News will cease publishing as a stand-alone magazine and instead will be published as a quarterly 24-page technology section that will appear in the magazines Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer.

Legaltech News had previously been published six times a year. Until two years ago, the magazine was known as Law Technology News. I’ve lost track of when it was founded, but I wrote a column for it from 1998 to 2013.

This announcement follows news last week that ALM had laid off several top editors, including editor in chief and deputy editor of Corporate Counsel.

According to a memorandum sent to Legaltech News advertisers, the change from freestanding magazine to special section is “an effort to expand audience reach and engagement among key decision makers and influencers in the legal industry.”

The new special section will increase the reach of Legaltech news from 35,000 to more than 50,000 through the combined audiences of Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer, the memorandum says.

ALM will continue to operate the Legaltechnews.com website and to post news and articles there on a daily basis.

ALM Media — the company that publishes the website Law.com and leading legal magazines such as The American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel — has laid off several top editors.

The layoffs were first reported by Casey Sullivan at Big Law Business. An email this morning confirmed some of the layoffs.

Among the departures are Kim Kleman, editor of The American Lawyer; Anthony Paonita, editor in chief of Corporate Counsel; David Hechler, deputy editor of Corporate Counsel; ALM editorial director George Haj; and Erin Harrison, editor in chief of multi-platform content.

Way back when I worked at ALM, I hired Dave Hechler into the company and I worked with Anthony Paonita, so those departures are particularly sad for me to see.

The bigger question is what this means for ALM’s future as a legal news company.

Related:

 

SmartLitigClosing

Among my dubious claims to fame was having had my over-sized visage plastered on a full-page ad that ran in the New York Law Journal in 2011. The ad was for Smart Litigator, a product launched in 2010 by ALM as a multi-faceted resource for litigators. The reason I was in the ad was that I had just reviewed Smart Litigator and the ad quoted from my review.

SmartLitAmbrogiNow, ALM has shut down the Smart Litigator site, effective Aug. 10. When I asked ALM about the shut-down, I received this statement from Josh Orenstein, general manager of Smart Litigator:

While SmartLitigator has always been well-received in the market by our clients, ALM has recently made the decision to refocus our priorities on our core businesses – media, intelligence, and events. Consequently, we have made the decision to cease operations of the SmartLitigator product. All Smart Litigator clients have been informed that access to the product will be terminated on Wednesday, August 10.

Smart Litigator debuted as a resource solely for New York litigators but ALM planned to use it as a template for the roll-out of similar sites in other states. Versions of Smart Litigator were subsequently launched in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

The idea of it was to provide a one-stop shop for a variety of core resources used by litigators, including cases and statutes, verdicts and settlements, forms and checklists, case documents, and articles.

ALM and Fastcase and work out an arrangement to provide Smart Litigator subscribers with a special Fastcase subscription rate as a replacement legal research service.

InsideCounselCoverLegal publisher ALM announced yesterday that it is shutting down InsideCounsel, the magazine it acquired in January 2015 as part of its purchase of Summit Professional Networks. The closing was announced in a letter to the magazine’s readers published yesterday by publisher Kenneth Gary and editor-in-chief Anthony Paonita.

ALM will keep the magazine’s website and refocus it to target in-house lawyers in the entrepreneurial start-up community.

Starting today, February 23, 2016, we will no longer publish the InsideCounsel magazine. We are accelerating our focus on delivering timely news, insights and practical guidance through our digital platform, insidecounsel.com. We have learned that the InsideCounsel audience is largely online and mobile, and moving away from print. We will be focusing on that digital reader with the daily newsletter and website, providing insights on running the legal department, analysis of regulatory developments and management of risk everyday throughout the day.

The move is not much of a surprise, given that ALM already published a magazine targeted at the same audience, Corporate Counsel, and the operations of the two magazines had been combined under editor-in-chief Paonita.

Plus, shortly after ALM acquired InsideCounsel last year, it reassigned the magazine’s associate publisher and editor-in-chief Erin Harrison to take over as editor-in-chief of Legaltech News.

Yesterday’s letter said that, since acquiring InsideCounsel, ALM had come to realize that its audience is skewed towards corporate counsel in smaller and start-up companies, whereas Corporate Counsel targets larger companies and legal departments.

For that reason, the InsideCounsel website will now focus on “addressing the information needs of those smaller legal departments as they seek to start up and manage legal departments in their emerging companies.”

Paid subscribers to InsideCounsel will have the remainder of their subscriptions fulfilled with Corporate Counsel magazine. Alternatively, they can request a refund.