May 27, 2011  No. 1,046  -  Vol. 9

"All appears to change when we change"

Henri-Frédéric Amiel

In today's Law Firm Marketing, 21 ways to overcome competitive weaknesses and increase your credibility


Read Migalhas LatinoAmérica in Spanish every Tuesday and Thursday. Visit the website at


  • Top News

Microsoft decries huge China sales hole

Rampant piracy means Microsoft Corp.'s revenue in China this year will only be about 5% of what it gets in the U.S., even though personal-computer sales in the two countries are almost equal, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told employees in a meeting here. His candid remarks provided a glimpse at the software giant's struggle with piracy in what will soon be the world's largest PC market. In China, copies of Microsoft's core Office and Windows programs are still available on street corners for $2 or $3 each, a fraction of their retail price, despite efforts by the company to curb theft. In his address to employees at the company's new Beijing offices, Mr. Ballmer said Microsoft's revenue per personal computer sold in China is only about a sixth of the amount it gets in India. He noted that Microsoft's total revenue in China, population 1.3 billion, is less than what it gets in the Netherlands, a country of fewer than 17 million. The company has worked hard to improve its ties with Beijing, while the U.S. government steadily ratcheted up pressure on China to improve copyright protections for American companies. Ballmer appeared to reject the argument, common in China, that many Chinese consumers use pirated software because authentic versions are too expensive. China's government has acknowledged problems but says it is taking steps to improve the situation. Among other measures, the government has ordered all state institutions to buy licensed software.

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  • Crumbs

1 - For spurned schools, law student transfers prove costly - click here.

2 - Obama court nominee Goodwin Liu withdraws after filibuster - click here.

3 - Top Serbian war crimes suspect caught - click here.

4 - Judge rules Loughner not competent to stand trial - click here.

5 - Blood at scene becomes pivotal for Strauss-Kahn defense - click here.

6 - AIG share sale raises $8.7bn after record bailout - click here.

7 - Banks face $17bn in suits over foreclosures - click here.

8 - Legal hiring picks up - click here.


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MiMIC Journal

China's interest in farmland makes Brazil uneasy

Even as Brazil, Argentina and other nations move to impose limits on farmland purchases by foreigners, the Chinese are seeking to more directly control production themselves. The $7 billion agreement signed last month - to produce six million tons of soybeans a year - is one of several struck in recent weeks as China hurries to shore up its food security and offset its growing reliance on crops from the United States by pursuing vast tracts of Latin America's agricultural heartland.

China's Alipay gets bank licence

Alipay, the firm at the centre of a dispute with Yahoo, has received a licence from China's central bank. Alipay was spun off from China's Alibaba Group, which is 43% owned by Yahoo, in order to apply for the online payments licence. These are only available to wholly Chinese firms. Earlier in May, Yahoo said Alibaba had spun off Alipay without informing it, sending its shares down sharply. Investors are concerned Yahoo may lose control over its Chinese investments.

The audacity of chinese frauds

Fraud in Chinese stocks is not new. But it had seemed that the worst problems were in small companies without Wall Street pedigrees. Many of the fraudulent companies went public in the United States by the reverse-merger shell route, a course long favored by shady stock promoters. That route allowed companies to start trading without going though a formal underwriting process or having its prospectus reviewed by the S.E.C. And many used tiny audit firms based in the United States that seemingly did little if any work. What is stunning the recent disasters is the list of smart people who were fooled. The Chinese audit firms, while they are affiliated with major international audit networks, have never been inspected by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in the United States. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires those inspections for accounting firms that audit companies whose securities trade in the United States, but China has refused to allow inspections.

  • Law Firm Marketing

21 ways to overcome competitive weaknesses and increase your credibility

by Trey Ryder

All lawyers have competitive strengths and weaknesses. If you're a new attorney, your prospects may perceive your weaknesses to be your youth, lack of experience, minimum qualifications, lack of special training, less-than-elegant office, and so forth.

If you're a veteran attorney, your weaknesses may include your narrow focus, high fee threshold, busy schedule, lack of availability, and so on.

Your competitive advantages and disadvantages (aka strengths and weaknesses) are valid only when seen through your prospect's eyes. What your prospect perceives, your prospect believes. To your prospect, his perceptions are fact.

To use a legal term, your prospect's perceptions are rebuttable presumptions because your prospect presumes certain facts are true based on the information he has. Since you can provide your prospect with as much information as you wish, you have the opportunity to change how your prospect perceives you. In essence, you can overcome competitive weaknesses by providing specific facts.

When your prospect looks at your weaknesses, he weighs them against your strengths and then decides whether to hire you. If your weaknesses outweigh your strengths, your prospect won't hire you because he doesn't believe that you can solve his problem.

Here are steps you can take -- and information you can provide -- to increase your credibility and overcome your competitive weaknesses.

1. Treat every prospect as if he's the most important person in the world. When you give your prospect your undivided attention, you build a strong relationship because your prospect knows you sincerely want to help them.

2. Ask your prospect what problem he wants to solve or what goal he wants to achieve. The sooner you focus on your prospect's needs, the sooner he trusts you -- and the sooner he concludes that the two of you are working toward a common goal.

3. Listen carefully so you can determine which points are most important to your prospect. One of the biggest complaints about lawyers is that they offer boilerplate solutions before they have listened to their prospect's problem. Even if their stories are nearly the same, prospects want to tell you their story so you appreciate the weight they carry on their shoulders.

4. Offer information about your prospect's problem and the solution you recommend. The more you educate your prospect, the more your prospect believes that you understand his problem and have the skills and qualifications to solve it.

5. Explain how your prospect will benefit from your solution. First, your prospect needs to understand the solution you recommend. Second, your prospect needs to know how he will benefit from that solution.

For example, let's say your prospect has questions about a contract. You offer to review the document. How does your prospect benefit? After you review the document, your prospect (now your client) will (1) know how the document protects his interests, and (2) know any weaknesses that should be addressed. Further, after you correct those weaknesses, your client will be less likely to face legal challenges than if he had relied only on his own judgment.

6. Give your prospect a copy of your biography because it proves that you have the education, background and qualifications to solve your prospect's problem or help him achieve his goal. Your prospect wants to trust you, but most prospects don't have much, if any, information about your education and qualifications. When you provide biographical information, your credibility increases immediately.

7. Add power to your biography with a good marketing photograph. In the photo, you should be looking directly into the camera and have a warm, engaging smile. An attractive photo -- closely cropped for strong eye contact -- serves as proof that you are kind, pleasant and friendly.

8. Tell your prospect how you have helped other clients in similar situations. Every time you explain a case history, your prospect sees that his is not the first case of this type that you have handled. The more case histories you describe that are similar to your prospect's, the more your credibility increases in his eyes.

9. Offer information and advice in plain English. Your prospect finds it hard to trust a lawyer who uses words he doesn't understand. When you talk with your prospect, speak in simple terms. The more your prospect understands, the higher your level of credibility -- and the more your prospect concludes that you know how to solve his problem.

10. Package your solution so it is attractive to your prospect. When you offer your prospect a solution he likes, you increase your credibility and make it easy for your prospect to accept your offer.

11. Allow your prospect to make his own decision without pressure from you. All of us have learned to distrust the salesperson who tries to pressure us into making a decision. To increase your credibility, tell your prospect that you will provide information and recommend the solution you believe is in his best interests. At the same time, make sure your prospect knows that you will never try to pressure him into making a decision.

12. Make sure your prospect knows that you are happy to answer his questions now and in the future. The way to build trust and respect is to keep the lines of communication open. If your prospect isn't ready to make a decision, invite your prospect to call you any time he has a question or when he is ready to move forward.

13. Show your prospect comments from clients who have provided written testimonials about you and your services. Prospects place more credibility on comments from third parties than on comments from you. To emphasize the importance of testimonials, I tell lawyers that each testimonial from a consumer client is worth $30,000 in legal fees; each testimonial from a business client is worth $50,000 in fees. (A few jurisdictions do not allow lawyers to use testimonials, so make sure you check your bar's rules of professional conduct.)

14. Show your prospect letters of recommendation from colleagues and professionals. These letters attest to the depth of your knowledge, skill, judgment and experience -- and prove that your colleagues trust you. The more letters you have, the more they persuade. (As with testimonials, check your rules of professional conduct to see if you are allowed to use letters of recommendation in your jurisdiction.)

15. Provide your prospect with a list of references. Testimonials and letters of recommendation are better than references because the comments are already on paper. Even so, references increase credibility -- and the more, the better. Include the person's name, profession, phone number and e-mail address. Often, prospects don't actually call your references. The mere fact that you list them increases your credibility.

16. Provide your prospect with copies of articles that support the depth of his problem, reinforce the solution you recommend, or both. Generic articles -- which you did not write and in which you are not quoted -- prove that the problems and solutions you discuss are true. The more respected the publication, the more credibility attaches to what you say.

17. Give your prospect copies of published articles you've written. Even if the article's subject is not directly on point, a published article proves that editors respect and trust you as a reliable source of information. Published articles build instant credibility and reinforce that you are an authority in your field of law. The more well-known and respected the publications, the more positively they reflect on you. The more articles you have, the better.

18. Give your prospect a list of results you have achieved or transactions you have completed for your clients. This serves as proof that you are good at what you do. Whatever service you offer, create a list of 10 to 20 results and describe each case or transaction in two or three sentences. You don't need to include clients' names, but the results are more believable when you do.

19. Before your first meeting, send your prospect a short letter (1) offering information about your services, (2) answering frequently asked questions, (3) discussing what takes place during your initial meeting, and (4) outlining your fees. When you put your prospect's mind at ease, he is more willing to meet with you. What's more, you can quickly get down to specifics because you don't have to explain your services to each prospect.

20. Provide your prospect with a list of your competitive advantages -- the many positive ways you differ from other lawyers. This list usually relates to the depth of your knowledge, skill, qualifications and experience.

21. Give your prospect a written schedule of services and fees. Salespeople are taught never to disclose the price until the end of their sales pitch. That's one of many ways salespeople miss the boat: By not disclosing the price, they arouse suspicion, increase skepticism, and undermine their credibility. And when salespeople finally do reveal the price, their previous stonewalling has built such a barrier between you that you don't want to do business with them at any price.

Make sure you do the opposite. Prospects trust what they see in print more than what they hear. When you talk about fees, you leave room for misunderstanding. But when you give your prospect a written schedule of services and fees, prospects grow more comfortable and you increase your credibility because prospects have your information in writing.

All lawyers have marketing strengths and weaknesses. You erase many weaknesses when you provide facts and third-party opinions that verify the depth of your knowledge, skill, judgment and experience -- and the quality of services you provide to your clients. The more of the above steps you follow, the stronger you make your marketing presentation.


© Trey Ryder

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  • Historia Verdadera


La estadounidense GE acordó la venta de su participación de 49,77% en el banco colombiano Colpatria a su socio en la entidad, el grupo financiero Mercantil Colpatria. El cierre de la transacción está sujeto a las aprobaciones regulatorias correspondientes, aunque las partes anticipan que se realizará el 30 de junio.


El banco argentino Santander Río, filial del grupo financiero español Santander, realizará una oferta pública inicial de acciones y ADSs - American Depositary Shares, en Argentina y el exterior. Cada ADS representará cuatro nuevas acciones clase B. La entidad no detalló la cantidad de títulos que será ofrecida ni el rango de precios esperado.


La brasileña Vale invertirá US$ 2.900 mlls., en la ampliación del puerto Ponta da Madeira, la mayor terminal de exportación de minerales del país sudamericano, con el objetivo de transformarlo en el mayor puerto del país. La terminal portuaria está ubicada en la ciudad de São Luis, al norte de Brasil.


La Pemex anunció el descubrimiento de nuevas reservas en aguas profundas, más precisamente en el Pozo Piklis 1, que se localiza a 144 km al noroeste de Coatzacoalcos. De acuerdo con los resultados de las pruebas de producción iniciales, éstos indican "la presencia de un yacimiento de gas no asociado y condensados estimado preliminarmente en alrededor de 400 a 600 miles de millones de pies cúbicos en reservas".

  • Brief News

Captured Mladic in Serbian court

One of the world's most wanted war crimes suspects, Ratko Mladic, was apprehended early Thursday in Serbia after 16 years on the lam. The brutal former Bosnian Serb general suspected of leading the slaughter of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys had been in hiding since he was indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for genocide and other crimes committed by his troops during Bosnia's civil war in the 1990s. Mladic appeared Thursday evening at a closed session in a Belgrade court, looking frail and walking very slowly as he was escorted by four guards. His lawyer, Milos Saljic, said the judge cut short questioning Mladic because of his "poor physical state."

Rwanda genocide fugitive arrested

A Rwandan genocide suspect on the run for 17 years has been arrested in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Bernard Munyagishari is accused of being a militia leader who masterminded the killing of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Gisenyi in 1994. Some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus died in the 100-day genocide.

A greater incentive for whistle-blowers

The S.E.C.'s new rules give corporate employees a reason to bypass internal compliance programs and report directly to the government in the hope of reaping a financial windfall.

G8 summit

France is hosting a meeting of leaders from the G8 group of wealthy nations in the northern resort of Deauville. The Arab uprisings, internet regulation and future of nuclear power are all being debated at the two-day summit. The global economy and climate change are also being discussed at the gathering for the leaders of the US, Russia, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada.

Federal appeals court restricts inequitable conduct defense for patent law

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Wednesday restricted the use of the "inequitable conduct" defense for invalidating patents. Inequitable conduct previously allowed the judge to use his or her discretion in invalidating an otherwise valid patent if he or she believed the patent-holder had engaged in unfair practices when applying to the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), contrary to Rule 56 of patent law. If it could be shown with clear and convincing evidence that the patent-holder withheld information, the patent would be found unenforceable. Sitting en banc, the court in Therasense, Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson and Co limited this defense to when the patent-holder's bad acts were related directly to the patent, and they had the intent to deceive others.

Can Strauss-Kahn's sexual history be used against him?

In the days since Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrest for the attempted rape of a hotel maid, lurid details of the ex-IMF chief's past sexual exploits -- both alleged and admitted -- have continued to fill the tabloids. But legal experts say that prosecutors will face an uphill battle if they try to introduce any of the encounters as evidence in the criminal case against Strauss-Kahn. "What the courts want to avoid is showing that he's done it so many times that it's more likely that he did it this time, and to substitute that reasoning for evidence," said well-known defense lawyer Gerald Shargel. Existing New York law is "tantamount to a presumption" that prior acts of sexual misconduct cannot be introduced at trial.

The law of social media: employers beware

Social media--and its potential legal impact on business, privacy, publicity, and employment law--is one of the hottest topics of the day. With so much uncertainty and so few legal precedents, it's a daunting task to wade through the hype in order to implement the policies that protect your company. One of the debates drawing the most attention concerns the employment implications of personal information posted on Facebook, Twitter, and like sites. The main issue is whether an employer's social media policies violate its employees' right to engage in legally protected activities while outside the workplace. For example, the right of co-workers to discuss their wages and working conditions while not at work is protected under the National Labor Relations Act.

Court backs Arizona immigrant law

The US Supreme Court has upheld a law in the state of Arizona that imposes penalties on businesses that hire illegal immigrants. It rejected the argument made by a coalition of business and civil liberties groups that the 2007 law conflicted with federal policy. Chief Justice John G Roberts said that seven states had recently enacted similar laws. It was intended to tackle the problem of immigrant smuggling by requiring employers to check the status of new workers through a federal database. Employers found to have violated the law can have their business licenses suspended or revoked." A recent Arizona law widening police powers of search was not considered.

ACLU files class action suit against Indiana immigration law

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class action lawsuit on Wednesday in the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana challenging a controversial Indiana immigration law. The law, inspired by an Arizona law, requires individuals to provide proof of their legal status at all times, calls for all public meetings, websites and documents to be in English only and makes undocumented aliens ineligible for in-state tuition rates, financial aid, grants or scholarships. The ACLU argues this law will lead to warrantless arrests of authorized and unauthorized aliens, as well as racial profiling.

Traders accused in oil-price plot

Traders at an international oil-trading company manipulated global oil prices as they soared to record highs in 2008, according to a lawsuit filed by U.S. regulators.

  • Daily Press Review

Tribal chief tells Saleh to go, as overnight blast leaves 28 dead
Al Arabiya, Online news, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Mladic in court following capture
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Massive sandstorm hits Riyadh
Arab News, Pro-government, Jidda, Saudi Arabia

Mubarak knew of 'every bullet fired', says former spy chief
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Civil war looms as dozens killed in Yemen capital
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Prominent Israeli figures urge Europe to recognize Palestinian state
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

U.S.: House Votes Suggest Growing War Weariness
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Israel Major Obstacle To Nuclear-Free Mideast
Iran Daily, English-language, reformist, Tehran, Iran

Analysis: Nasrallah comes to the rescue of Assad
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Mikdad Calls for Strengthening NAM Role in Face of Attempts to Impose Trusteeship
Sana, Syrian Arab News Agency, Damascus, Syria

Panel formed on Lebanon poll law
Saudi Gazette, English-language daily, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Karzai announces council to push Taliban talks
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Yemen protesters divided after some of their leaders decided to go to war
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

Mladic health fear delays hearing
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Fagan the hero as Bohs' overcome students, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Lawyer: Genocide suspect Ratko Mladic 'a ruin of a man'
CNN International, London, England

29 die in Mexico drug-war gun fight
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Ratko Mladic arrested by Serbian police after anonymous tip-off
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Love Never Dies... but it's hurting
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Mladic: A Chief prosecutor's perspective
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

SERBIA - WAR CRIMES: Mladic questioning delayed over health fears
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Turkey entrepreneur exporting tailor-made 'pekmez'
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

No release for Saudi woman driver
Independent The, London, England

Report 'clears' Iris Robinson
Irish Times The, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Celebrity Fashion Inspiration: Summer Florals
Look Magazine, London, England

US son of the Russian soil
Moscow News The, Independent, Moscow, Russia

When Time Completely Stopped for a Fallen Soldier's Wife
Moscow Times The, Independent daily, Moscow, Russia

Russian scientist photographs souls
MosNews, Online daily, Moscow, Russia

It's raining in London, but that's not going to stop Katie Price wearing sunglasses
OK! Magazine UK, Celebrity news, London, England

Doctors To Decide Whether Mladic Can Face Extradition Hearing
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

British Apaches To Fight Gaddafi's Regime
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

The new parenting catfight: Tiger Moms vs Fun Slobs
Spiked, (Alternative Internet Magazine), London, England

Cheryl Cole: I never saw it coming
Sun The, London, England

Super-injunctions: breaking the impasse
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: 'I was told I had to get into better shape'
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

NAM discusses Palestinian political detainees in Israel
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

Democrats will stand by Abhisit
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

Japan slammed as new leak found at stricken nuke plant
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

China Should Encourage N.Korea to Apologize for Attacks
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Fry Up: UFB martini
Computer World, IT information, Fairfax, New Zealand

Nepalese leaders meet to avert crisis
Daily Jang, Left-wing daily, Karachi, Pakistan

No longer proud of Mumbai attacks: Headley
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

LeT first scheduled Mumbai attack on Sept 29
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Gogoi leaves state guessing
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Honda to up India motorcycle output
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Bosnian Kiwis welcome Mladic arrest
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Nepalese leaders meet to avert crisis
News The, Left-wing, Karachi, Pakistan

Roshan launches M-Paisa service
Pajhwok Afghan News, (Independent news agency), Kabul, Afghanistan

CIA to search bin Laden compound: Newspaper Report
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Rare white kiwi born in New Zealand
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Penguin who won't swim
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

U.N.: U.S. says Sudan move into Abyei was premeditated
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Musical missionary spreads blues in Taiwan
Taiwan Today, Government Information Office, Taipei, Taiwan

Suicide bombing toll in Pakistan rises to 36
Thaindian News, Bangkok, Thailand

China to establish rare earths exchange
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Clinton makes surprise visit to Pakistan
Times of India, Conservative, New Delhi, India

Harper, Obama talk plans for security perimeter
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Tricor expands into Japan
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

Puerto Rican kingpin reveals Dominican officials' names to feds, Nacional reports
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Mumbai massacre terrorist tells court of second scheme to hit Danish newspaper
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

China Southern to get 1st Boeing dreamliner in Q4 -state media
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

BRAZIL: Protected Witness Speaks Out - Part 1
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

US feared for Peter, Omar
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

Congolese women are being raped at a rate of one almost every minute
Maclean's, Centrist newsmagazine, Toronto, Canada

Afghan Blast Kills 7 US Troops
Newser, News web site, Chicago, U.S

Wall Street gets earnings lift, with strong forex link
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Clinton in Pakistan, presses for more to quash
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

DiManno: G20 policing black eye isn't fading away
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Bas: Jack can't serve two masters
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

Hanks, Spacey and Chenoweth join the Queen, Obamas at dinner
Vancouver Sun The, Conservative, Vancouver, Canada

South Sudan 'will not go to war'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Nana Konadu Represents The Will Of The People
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Palin fuels 2012 rumours
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

BURUNDI: Religious leaders' resistance to condoms hurts HIV fight
Irin News, Humanitarian news and analysis, Nairobi, Kenya

African leaders urge NATO to stop Libyan airstrikes
Sudan Tribune, Khartoum, Sudan


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