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ALM visit with Monica Bay : Good stuff

February 8, 2007

Stopped by Monica Bay’s office at American Lawyer Media (ALM) on Madison Ave. in New York this afternoon. Good time.

I may have met Monica in passing at a legal technology conference, but this was the first time I spent any time with her. Great person with one heck of an interesting background. Heck, anyone who’s been able to blend work in the legal publishing business with Internet work with the the Late Night with David Letterman crew would have to be pretty interesting.

We talked about ALM’s history, including the passion and drive for excellence Steve Brill shared with Monica when he headed the company. Monica finds Bill Pollak, who came over from the New York Times in the late 90’s to head ALM, to be a much more calming influence. Bill’s certainly fostered an environment that’s allowed Monica’s team to blossom.

Talked about shift to putting things like ALM’s Law Technology News online in it’s entirety in addition to being published in hard copy. Much different than when I visited ALM in the late ’90’s when Peter Scheer, former Editor & Publisher of the Recorder in the Bay Area, briefly headed ALM online after Bill Pollak came over. I could never get Peter to release more than a few stories, with excerpts only, for Prairielaw, my previous company. He did not want anything to be viewed for free.

I think Monica said there were a thousand folks who work for ALM publications around the country. That’s a ton of talent reporting on legal issues from all over the country. It’s going to be real interesting to watch how ALM leverages that talent and evaluates various models much like main stream newspapers are being forced to do.

Next time I am going to be toting a video camera. A few questions and industry takes from someone such as Monica, who’s been in the publishing industry her whole career, is too good to miss. I’ve got to start watching Scoble to see how it’s done – though some folks on my team would say I can’t learn anything from the man in Half Moon Bay.

And for Seattle folks, Monica is taking us all to a Mariner’s game on May 11. If you know Monica, of course you know it’s against the Yankees. Too bad the Yankee’s aren’t the M’s arch rival anymore. Once we let Manager Lou Pinella go and turned the ship over to a new front office, our team went to hell.

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