Meeting industry lawyers are essential to meeting and event organizers. You know you need to get some legal advice to ensure your organization is covered in the contract should a dispute arise — as happens all too often in today’s unsettled events environment. But who can you turn to for top-notch legal advice?
In part 1, Prevue profiled five top industry lawyers you should get to know, if you haven’t already: Barbara Dunn, Barnes & Thornburg; John Foster, Foster, Jensen & Gulley; Joshua Grimes, Grimes Law Offices LLC; Jonathan Howe, Howe & Hutton; and Jed Mandel, Chicago Law Partners. In part 2, we’ll introduce you to three more meeting industry lawyers extraordinaire.
Principal, Goldberg & Associates, PLLC
In his work as a principal in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Goldberg & Associates, PLLC, James M. Goldberg focuses his practice on representing trade associations, professional societies, nonprofit organizations and independent meeting and event planners. As a meeting industry lawyer, he routinely reviews and negotiates more than 200 client contracts with hotels, convention centers and other service providers each year.
Goldberg also is the author of The Meeting Planner’s Legal Handbook, a widely distributed publication that is also used as the text for his course on “Meeting and Exhibition Law and Ethics” at Northern Virginia Community College. He also teaches in the meetings management certificate programs at The George Washington University and the University of Georgia.
He is a charter member and serves on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys. He was a member of the Contracts Panel of the Convention Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) initiative.
Founding Member and Chief Operating Officer, Chicago Law Partners, LLC
Meeting industry lawyer Kimberly Pendo focuses her practice on counseling not-for-profit organizations on all aspects of their business and operations, including meetings and conventions. A frequent speaker on association-related topics and a regular contributor to association magazines and newsletters — including a recent Prevue webinar called COVID and Contracts — she also is a past chair of the Chicago Bar Association Trade & Professional Associations Law Committee, and currently is a member of the Association Forum of Chicagoland.
As an active member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Pendo serves on the Chicago Legal Symposium Planning Committee. As part of her work within the association community, she played a key role in authoring a series of recent amendments that updated and modernized the Illinois Not For Profit Corporation Act on behalf of the Association Forum of Chicagoland.
While her current focus is on the not-for-profit world, Pendo also has an extensive business and corporate background, including broad experience in legal matters related to the entertainment, banking, venture capital, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, scientific research, manufacturing and distribution, retail and computer software industries.
Adelman Law Group, PLLC
If you’re looking for help with venue-related risk management, Steve Adelman, Adelman Law Group, PLLC, may just be the meeting industry lawyer you need. His specialties include drafting and revising contracts, where he has a keen eye for spotting one-sided indemnity provisions, subjective cancellation clauses, and impenetrable force majeure language.
He also specializes in creating event safety plans for events and venues — and in serving as an expert witness in unfortunate cases where litigation has already begun. Since he litigated a case in 2022 involving the death in a crowd crush at a large music festival — which entailed, among other things, deposing rap performing Eminem — he has steeped himself in crowd management, emergency planning, risk management. From 2006 to 2016, he was a member of the International Association of Venue Managers and taught about risk and safety at IAVM’s Academy for Venue Safety & Security.
In 2011, he helped to form the Event Safety Alliance (ESA), which focuses on creating and teaching operational practices and decision-making criteria for live events of all stripes and has served as the organization’s vice president since its inception.
Adelman also contributed to the Event Safety Guide, a 35-chapter treatise for industry professionals, and was principal author of three rounds of reopening guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic. He led the nearly four-year drafting and approval process that yielded ANSI ES1.9-2020, Crowd Management, which is the United States’ authoritative guidance on that subject. And he co-hosts the Event Safety Podcast, as well as writing and presenting often on the topic of risk and safety at live events.