New president and CEO looks to enhance ALM’s online capabilities
March 6, 2012 — On March 5, ABM member ALM announced that Bill Carter, an accomplished expert in the digital legal information services industry, is the new president and chief executive officer of the company. Carter most recently held the position of senior VP of Thomson Reuters' small law business unit. Before that, he was an executive at legal information company LexisNexis and a consultant at Bain & Co. He replaces William Pollak, who had served as ALM’s president and CEO since 1998.
Carter has only officially been on the job for a day and a half, but he is clear about his vision for ALM. He spoke with ABM about his plans for the company and how he plans to apply his business information background to ALM.
American Business Media: How did your previous role with business information and Thomson Reuters prepare you for this role?
Bill Carter: I joined the legal information service industries in 1999, and I’ve been serving legal professionals for a quite a while at LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters. What I have been able to build up over that period of time is a deep understanding of the needs of legal professionals. I understand what they are looking for and where they are headed in the next five to 10 years. I have also gained a clear understanding of the unique strengths and capabilities of the players in the legal information services market. I know their products and services.
ABM: What opportunities do you see with b-to-b media, and ALM in particular? What initiatives do you have for ALM?
Carter: ALM serves only two sectors: legal and commercial real estate. We are known for a unique ability to create high quality content that is both entertaining and informative for our users. The content gets the audience coming back on a regular basis to find out what’s new, breaking news and get the insight that we have. That’s a unique spot for ALM overall.
ALM’s strategy for the last few years has been to adapt with the customers as they move online. We have to start to enhance our online capabilities. This doesn’t mean that the print side of the business is going to be neglected, but rather we are focusing more on being an integrated media company. From a legal professional point of view, consumers can read their newspapers or magazines on the train or as they’re getting into the office, but breaking news can come throughout the day from our website. If they want to go deeper into what an article about we can start to link to other legal content that can provide them with more in-depth insight into the article. For example we may link to the specific case that inspired an article.
ABM: ALM is looking at licensed products like Smart Litigator — what’s the key to succeeding there?
Carter: I think the key for success with some of those new products is going to be understanding how they meet the needs of our customers. Are we filling an area where there is a need? Do our strengths allow us to do something special with those new products? We will have to figure out how we can take the unique capabilities of ALM and use them as we look into new products and services to offer in the marketplace.
ABM: How do you plan on gathering the information about what your consumers need?
Carter: There’s a team here in place doing research, but personally I like getting out and talking to our target professionals. I want to make sure I get a feel from them on exactly what they are looking for, how they are using our products or how they would like to use our products.
By Risa Dixon