Bill Carter took over as president-CEO of ALM, publisher of The American Lawyer, on March 5. He was previously senior VP at Thomson Reuters' small law business unit. He also had worked as an executive at legal information company LexisNexis. In an interview with Media Business, Carter outlined his focus on digital, his plans for print and his outlook on acquisitions.
Digital Directions: How does your experience translate to this job?
Bill Carter: I've been in legal information services since 1999, so I've been in this business a while. What I built up over that period of time is a pretty good understanding of the needs of legal professionals. The second piece, since I've worked for two of the major players (Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis), is I've gotten to know many of the other companies in the space. I know the products, services and really the capabilities of all the major players, including ALM. Looking forward with ALM about who we are and what we do, I can use a lot of those experiences and knowledge to help craft a good, robust strategy for the company going forward.
DD: What was attractive about the ALM job?
Carter: Since I've been in this space for so long, I've known ALM for a very long time. Where I think it's unique relative to the other competitors, ALM has had this ability to create high-quality content, timely content that's coming out on a daily basis. The content is both entertaining and informative. That's a pretty unique skill and capability in the legal space. The same thing applies to the commercial real estate sector.
DD: How central will expanding ALM's digital presence be to your plans?
Carter: Certainly the company has been making a digital transformation over the last few years. One thing that surprised me—and I think surprised a lot of us in the industry—is how quickly legal professionals are moving to mobile and how quickly mobile is starting to build up in the marketplace. ALM needs to be moving very quickly toward digital transformation because the customers are going there very quickly.
DD: On the flipside, what are your thoughts on ALM's print products?
Carter: The key phrase is that we view this as an integrated media company. People can take the newspaper, and we make it very easy to get updates online. We have our events, too. I view it as an integrated ecosystem of all our different products working together across different media.
DD: Are acquisitions something on the horizon?
Carter: It's one of those things where we'll always be strategic and consider any opportunity out there. There's nothing burning right now, but absolutely it's something that we'd consider.