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Former Department Manager at ALM Reveals Widespread Downsizing Since 2006

 

Guest Post Written By: Nabeal Twereet

 

We spoke with a former ALM (American Lawyer Media) department manager today who informed us about a series of downsizing events that have occurred since 2006. The most recent downsizing occurred at the end of last June, according to the source we spoke with. He worked for ALM from 2007 to 2011 before he was let go, along with nineteen other employees. ALM is the owner of American Lawyer Magazine, law.com, the National Law Journal, the New York Law Journal, and a host of other legal news publications.



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The former department manager explained that the company was bought and sold off twice. During his four-year tenure, he witnessed downsizing every six months to one year. The former department manager continued to say that ALM relocated work and positions from local offices to their corporate office located in New York. He discussed the widespread downsizing that has occurred at the publication since 2006.

 

Why has all this downsizing happened?

 

Because of declining revenues. It wasn’t about interacting with the community and it had nothing to do with the bar. It was all about revenue.

 

What started the downsizing?

 

There was a decrease in subscription revenue and in advertising revenue.

 

Why has ALM been consistently downsizing every 12 to 18 months since early 2006 or 2007 until last summer?

 

Because they have been changing management. They want to be a viable company for acquisitions or IPO.

 

Why have all the executive staff members been let go since 2011?

 

They weren’t turning the company around quick enough and they weren’t increasing revenue. Several executive staff members were ‘retired in place.’

 

Would you like to share the names of those individuals who were let go?

 

No.

 

Where did these downsizing events occur and in what years?

 

The local offices are located in Newark, NJ, Hartford, CT, Atlanta, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Miami and Washington. When I worked for ALM, the downsizing took place from 2007 to 2011.

 

Were you close to the individuals who were let go?

 

I knew two individuals.

 

When these individuals were let go, how did this make you feel?

 

I was let go with nineteen other employees at once. I was shocked. There was no warning.

 

At the end of our conversation, the former department manager gave his opinion of what occurred at ALM to cause all this to happen. “They were unable to figure out how to make it a successful business by retaining managers that were unable to understand how to change the business model.”

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Posted by on July 12, 2013. Filed under Breaking News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • MM

    This is the best examination of ALM’s series of layoffs written over the past 6 years. All pieces written by established media outlets (The Wall Street Journal, Folio Magazine, Businessweek) re-write the company’s press releases which, by definition, positively spin the layoffs. The company has dependency on print-centric legal notices (statute-driven legislation that public notices – llc filings and foreclosure filings be published in print in legal publications) . With the short term decrease in foreclosure notices and the long term movement of all advertising to the web (ultimately the legislation will follow the market to allow online publishing of notices), the prospects for selling ALM for any where near the $600 million, the present owners paid in 2007 are bleak. Inside sources say that the downsizing will continue. Ironically, the absurd profitability of printed legal notices has left the company as, or more, dependent on print as in 2007. The owners RBS and Apax are left in the words of a former senior manager “with no exit strategy.” But then again one can hope for those remaining that there is always the Greater Fool.

  • EliteMonsterHunter

    I used to work for ALM and the situation was dire for the entire time I was there. I too, believe it was in part due to management’s inability to adapt the business model fast enough to the emerging mobile/ebook/web markets. I’ve had discussions about this with some managers during my time there and the reaction can be summed at as ebooks/mobile being “just a fad”.