@MPIGNY- Fall 2013 - (Page 10)

#feature CRISIS MANAGEMENT FOR MEETINGS How law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP pulled off its Annual Partners Meeting amid the shadows and chaos of the Boston Marathon bombing BY JIM ALKON WRITTEN FOR SMARTSOURCE RENTALS W hat could go wrong? She’d arrive a couple of days early. Her 400-attendee event was ready to go. She could check some details, then watch a few friends and colleagues – nationally competitive runners – perform on the grand stage. Life was good. April 2013. The Boston Marathon. Meeting planners can think about it. They can train for it. They can prepare for it. They know it can happen – but what can they really know? How can they be ready when a terrorist attack paralyzes a city and forces them into crisis mode? “Our firm has a crisis management plan. The hotel has a crisis management plan. From the moment of the explosions, we were going purely on instinct and hitting the ground running,” said AnneMarie d’Alessandro, senior manager, conference services and events, Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP. Skadden, the fourth-largest law firm in the world in terms of revenue, has 23 offices, 1,800 attorneys and 2,200 employees. 10 @MPIGNY FALL 2013 During the 14 years Anne-Marie had been with the firm, her meetings department had faced volcanoes erupting in Iceland, nor’easters along the Eastern Seaboard, rail strikes and other trying situations. However, the story of how she, her team and event partners kept their cool, used their ability to think on the fly to make tough decisions, and delivered a first-rate conference amid the marathon bombing is as inspirational as it is tutorial. Each year, Skadden’s 10-person New York office Conference Services Department, of which Anne-Marie is head, facilitates countless meetings and events in its 70-room conference center in New York and hosts four very large annual events, among others, offsite. The Annual Partners Meeting is the only time each year that all 400 partners from around the globe are in the same place at the same time. They use the conference to discuss strategy and other firm issues, socialize, introduce the newly appointed partners and recently hired lateral partners, present annual business information, and share legal knowledge across practices. While the event rotates among major East Coast destinations, Anne-Marie and her Westin sales manager, Hilary Dunlavey, had worked for seven years to try to get the event in Boston, where it had never been. “We’ve had two main challenges in getting to Boston,” Anne-Marie said. “The first was a scheduling issue. Our event always takes place in April, which is the anniversary month of the firm. Each year, we have to avoid Easter and Passover, and in Boston the remaining weekend is usually Marathon Weekend. In 2013, Easter and Passover were both in March. Second, Boston never really had an offsite venue large enough to handle our dinners until the Museum of Fine Arts opened its new wing. We also modified the way we do one of our evening dinners so we could use the Boston Public Library. With the Westin Copley Place as our event hotel, everything fell into place in 2013.” The event was scheduled for Wednesday, April 17, to Sunday, April 21. The Skadden team onsite eventually would consist of about 20 people – from the meetings staff, tech team, and Boston, Washington and Chicago offices. “I got to town a few days early,” http://info@mpigny.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of @MPIGNY- Fall 2013

ASK THE BOARD
HAPPENINGS
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
T HE RISE OF HOSTED-BUYER PROGRAMS
CRISIS MANAGEMENT FOR MEETINGS
A PITCH, A PUTT AND A PERFECT DAY
MPIGNY @ WEC
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
MOBILE SOCIAL NETWORKING IMPROVING THE ATTENDEE EXPERIENCE
ACROSS THE POND – AN MPI UK AND IRELAND CHAPTER MEMBER VISITS MPIGNY
NOTES FROM THE FIELD
GOLF + MEETINGS = GREAT BUSINESS
DESTINATION: THE CATSKILLS
NEW MEMBERS
ADVERTISER’S INDEX

@MPIGNY- Fall 2013

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