December 2, 2011 nº 1,120 - Vol. 9

'Insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.'

Albert Einstein

In today's Law Firm Marketing, Typical percentages usually mean nothing.


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  • Top News

EU treaty change and eurozone

European leaders are scrambling for a definitive end to a spreading debt crisis that is dragging down global growth and could even spell the end of the 17-nation euro zone. The eurozone crisis has put treaty changes back on the EU's agenda - even though it took the bloc nearly a decade to get the Lisbon Treaty adopted. Merkel and Sarkozy say they will agree a plan "to guarantee Europe's future", and would seek a new EU treaty to impose greater financial discipline. EU leaders have been under pressure to do more to tackle the debt crisis, amid concern about the survival of the euro. Sarkozy said the EU's response had not been fast enough and that Europe had to be "re-founded". Merkel believes treaty changes are necessary to enforce budget discipline across the 27-nation EU and to stabilize the eurozone. The treaty changes would also mean member states giving up more economic sovereignty - and that deepens the split between Eurosceptics and Euro-integrationists. "It's urgent," Sarkozy said. "The world will not wait for Europe." The process, he said, would "be long and difficult", but was necessary to protect Europe's place in the world. EU President Herman Van Rompuy has questioned imposing policy through a treaty, saying the process doesn't move quickly enough to satisfy markets. "It can take a lot of time," he said late yesterday in Brussels. "We are looking for something that can be handled much quicker" to restore investor confidence. Jean Monnet, one of the chief architects of the European Union, once predicted: "Europe will be forged in crises, and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises". His vision was perceptive and accurate, and the current euro crisis may once again prove him right.

183 countries ranked in annual corruption index

TI - Transparency International Thursday released its 2011 CPI - Corruption Perceptions Index, again showing some governments failing to protect citizens from corruption, be it abuse of public resources, bribery or secretive decision-making. The CPI scores 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption, using data from 17 surveys collected by independent agencies concerning bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, access to information, conflicts of interest and the effectiveness of any anti-corruption campaign at work in a country. New Zealand tops the list with a score of 9.5, followed by Denmark and Finland with 9.4 and Sweden with 9.3. The US again scored 7.1, ranking 24th, behind Qatar and Chile, tied for 22nd place, and ahead of France at 25th place. Greece came in 80th, tying Colombia, El Salvador, Peru, Morocco and Thailand. Most Arab Spring countries rank in the lower half of the index, scoring below 4.

Enron: 10 years later, it pales in comparison

Ten years on, the Enron Corp. scandal looks like a cakewalk. We've been through a 2008 mortgage-inspired global financial shock from which we've yet to fully recover. And in that still-fragile economic state, we stare at the baleful and not fully imagined implications of the raging European sovereign-debt crisis. Still, anniversaries are important. They lend perspective. Friday, Dec. 2, marks the 10th anniversary of the Chapter 11 filing of Enron Corp., the once-highflying, new-fangled energy company that was an investor favorite. The collapse of Enron in the wake of massive accounting fraud was symbolic of an era that also saw major bookkeeping-related shenanigans at U.S. corporate giants Worldcom and Tyco International. A still-debated law was ushered through in the scandals' wake. Like the divisive Dodd-Frank law that reset financial regulation in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley law still can raise blood pressure among opponents who see it as symbolic of heavy handed regulation. But SarbOx, as it came to be known, did what it aimed to achieve. Accounting among U.S. corporations is more accountable than it was when the likes of Enron had their day in the sun.

Particular contract clauses in cross-border M&A transactions

On Tuesday, November 29, Gregory Barnett of Angélico Advogados participated in a conference entitled "International Business Transactions and Conflict Management: The U.S. and Brazilian Perspectives." Mr. Barnett discussed the role and importance of particular contract clauses in cross-border M&A transactions. The conference was organized by the ICDR - International Centre for Dispute Resolution and the AMCHAM - Arbitration Centre of the American Chamber of Commerce.

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  • Crumbs

1 - 2 governors asking U.S. to ease rules on marijuana to allow for its medical use - click here.

2 - Divorces hit record high in Brazil - click here.

3 - Santander warns over U.K. changes - click here.

4 - Second iPhone 'explodes' inches from sleeping man's face in Brazil - click here.

5 - Wall Street pushed Federal Reserve for Europe action - click here.

6 - Brazilian court upholds $14bn tax debt ruling against Vale - click here.

7 - Rolls-Royce wins $650m worth from Brazil's Petrobras - click here.

8 - Citi ruling could chill SEC, street legal pacts - click here.

9 - Italy gives first approval to balanced budget law - click here.

10 - Mexican lawmakers OK life terms for kidnapping - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

Beijing vows 'black jails' curb

Beijing's police force pledges to crack down on so-called black jails - illegal detention centers used by the authorities to detain petitioners. Public Security Bureau is targeting "rogue security contractors" that are "illegally intercepting and detaining petitioners". Petitioners, often with grievances against local officials, travel to Beijing to seek justice from higher authorities. Allegations have swirled for years that regional authorities arrange for the petitioners to be locked up and eventually sent home to face punishment.

China cuts bank reserve ratio from record high

China has said it will cut the limit on the amount of cash the country's banks have to hold in reserve, a move designed to encourage more lending. In an unexpected move, China's central bank said it would reduce the reserve limit from its record high of 21.5% to 21% on 5 December.

China to the rescue

China has made clear in can't use it's foreign exchange reserves to rescue other countries. That's a blow for Europe.

  • Law Firm Marketing

Typical percentages usually mean nothing

When lawyers consider sending direct mail to prospects, they often think if they achieve a certain percentage, their mailing will be a success. They often call me and ask, "What is that percentage?"

Response percentages are the most misunderstood element in direct mail. You may have heard that a one percent response is good -- that a two percent response is excellent. But by themselves, these percentages mean nothing.

The percentage response depends entirely on your offer. The source of the "successful" one or two percent response arose from marketers who sent letters to people in hopes they would buy products. Depending on the marketer’s costs, a one or two percent rate of purchase was often very profitable.

Personally, I’ve had responses to direct mailings that exceeded fifty 50%, but I wasn’t asking anyone to buy anything. Instead, I was offering free information to a highly targeted audience as a way of building my mailing list.

For you, the only percentage response that’s important is the percentage that brings you the number of new clients you want. In addition, you should understand: Responses for different practice areas can vary widely. The response for estate planning will be completely different from the response for personal injury. Likewise, the response for environmental law will differ greatly from corporate bankruptcy.

Start by creating what you think will be your most compelling marketing message. Then launch your effort and track results so you know the number of new clients you attracted.

When you prepare for your second effort, strive for results that are better than your first. Then compare your past results with your present results because that’s the only comparison that carries any weight.


© Trey Ryder

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  • Historia Verdadera


Luego de sancionar a la italiana Parmalat, ahora el gobierno venezolano multa a la suiza Nestlé SA con US$ 88. 373 por acaparar el mercado de la leche, la medida fue aplicada en momentos en que el país inició una cruzada para combatir la inflación a través de la controvertida ley que pone coto a los precios de miles de productos. (Presione aquí)


La petrolera canadiense Canacol Energy cerró la adquisición de 96% de los activos de la compañía Carrao Energy, firma que tiene participación en ocho bloques de exploración y producción de hidrocarburos en Colombia. (Presione aquí)


El regulador petrolero de Brasil – ANP ordenó el jueves a Chevron cerrar uno de sus pozos de producción en el campo Frade, frente a las costas del país, tras un reciente derrame de crudo al océano provocado por su actividad exploratoria en el gigante sudamericano. La directora de la agencia, Magda Chambriard, dijo que Chevron no había cumplido con reportar la presencia de sulfuro proveniente del pozo en el campo que opera.

  • Brief News

Latin America poverty at new low

Latin America's poverty rate has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years but challenges remain in reducing inequality, the UN says. From 1990 to 2010, the rate fell from 48.4% to 31.4%, which means 177 million people currently live in poverty. Poverty and inequality continue to decline in the region, which is good news, particularly in the midst of an international economic crisis. But progress is hindered by the big gaps between productive and better paid sectors and work that is poorly paid and of low productivity.

US banks sued over homes seizures

Massachusetts is suing five major banks alleging "illegal" and "deceptive" conduct in the way they seized homes during the financial crisis. Bank of America, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and GMAC must pay for the "harm" caused, the writ says. Federal and state prosecutors have been negotiating a $25bn deal to resolve the issue over so-called "robo-signing", where banks employed people to sort out foreclosure documents without reviewing homeowners paperwork and circumstances.

Legal row over Carrier IQ 'surveillance' app claims

A hidden application found on millions of smartphones can log almost everything a user does. Trevor Eckhart unearthed the Carrier IQ application that runs largely unseen on many smartphone handsets. He said the software can log locations, websites visited, key presses and many other parameters. Carrier IQ denied its code was spying. It threatened Eckhart with legal action but later backed down. Eckhart found the code on Android smartphones and a cut down version has also been seen running on some Apple phones. He claimed it was in use on gadgets from other manufacturers. Nokia said Carrier IQ did not ship on its products. Research in Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry, said it did install nor authorize its partners to install Carrier IQ.

ICC deputy prosecutor to be recommended as next chief prosecutor

Fatou Bensouda of the Gambia, Deputy Prosecutor of the ICC - International Criminal Court, will be formally recommended Thursday to succeed Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo when his nine-year term expires next year. Liechtenstein's UN Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, current president of the ASP - Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute that set up the ICC, announced Wednesday that he will recommend Bensouda as the sole candidate for the position, an endorsement to be made at a meeting of ICC members at which member states are required to reach an informal consensus on one candidate. That candidate then must receive an absolute majority of the formal vote via secret ballot at a session of the 118-nation ASP on December 12 in New York.

Brazil says BRICS offer conditional help to Europe

Finance Minister Guido Mantega said Brazil and fellow BRICS nations were willing to boost their funding to the International Monetary Fund to counter the debt crisis, which is increasingly threatening their own economic growth.

US Senate passes sanctions on Iran central bank

The US Senate has unanimously approved economic sanctions on Iran targeting the country's oil industry, despite warnings the move could backfire. The measures, passed by 100 votes to nil, would ban foreign firms from doing business with the Iranian central bank. Before it can become law, it must be approved by the House and Obama, who is skeptical. The effort to thwart Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions followed new EU sanctions imposed earlier on Thursday.

Tunisia military court convicts former president of torture

A Tunisian military court on Wednesday convicted former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in absentia on torture charges. Ben Ali and eight others were found guilty of the torture of 17 military generals in connection with a 1991 coup attempt. Ben Ali was sentenced to five years in prison. This week's sentence adds to a 35-year prison sentence handed down in June after his conviction in absentia on charges of theft and illegal possession of money, jewelry, drugs and weapons. Ben Ali, who remains in exile in Saudi Arabia, has denied the charges against him. His most recent conviction resulted from the first trial held against a former Tunisian government official since the new democratically-elected government took power earlier this year.

FDA to appeal order blocking new tobacco warning label requirements

The FDA - Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday filed notice that it intends to appeal an injunction that blocked new graphic warning labels on cigarette packages. In early November, a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia temporarily blocked the implementation of graphic image and textual warning labels imposed by the FSPTCA - Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The FDA has mandated that by September 2012, all cigarette packaging shall contain new warning labels with graphic images of the health issues related to smoking and related textual warnings. The major cigarette manufacturers requested the injunction on the basis that the new regulations violate their First Amendment rights and burden their right to commercial speech by compelling placement of the new warning labels on the top 50 and bottom 20% of all packaging and advertisements.

Fired for a Facebook rant

Workers fired for bad-mouthing employers on social-networking sites are fighting back. It's a new front in the murky battle over what workers can do and say online. Since the rise of Facebook and Twitter, companies believed they had the right to fire employees who posted complaints or hostile or rude comments online about their employers. But in recent months, workers have sought to solve their very modern employment predicament by using the law that kick-started the U.S. labor movement: the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. The law gives private-sector employees certain rights to complain about pay, safety and other working conditions. It doesn't protect simple griping.

Patent trolls and smartphone wars mean more litigation

There is an increased demand for patent lawyers at a time when times are pretty rough for most in the profession. Patent litigation business is be "booming" at many firms, despite the fact that judges have reined in damage awards. The increase in litigation is attributed to non-practicing entities – or "patent trolls" – who frequently sue a number of diverse groups in plaintiff-friendly venues, and then offer to settle at a price lower than the cost to defend the litigation. Firms often defended clients against the so-called trolls, which increase the caseloads of patent lawyers. The other main reason for the increase in patent litigation is the ubiquity of the smartphone, which leads industry players like Apple, Samsung Electronics and HTC Corp. to battle for supremacy. Apple has moved forward with litigation against rivals like HTC and Samsung, both of which use Google's Android operating system. The U.S. recently switched to a "first to file" basis, which means more work for in-house patent lawyers, as companies are under pressure to file patent applications quickly.

Occupy protesters consider political future

Demonstrators have been removed by police in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, but some cities still have active 24-hour protests. Now activists in New York and elsewhere are talking about the movement's next phase, including the degree to which Occupy activists should get involved in the 2012 election.

New S.E.C. tactics yield actions against hedge funds

A new "analytics" division of the Securities and Exchange Commission tasked with mining hedge fund data announced actions against six individuals and three hedge fund firms for alleged fraud.

Rajaratnam loses bid to avoid prison during appeal

Raj Rajaratnam, the Galleon Group hedge fund founder, lost his bid to stay out of prison while he appeals his conviction in the biggest insider trading case in a generation.

  • Daily Press Review

Suu Kyi welcomes US engagement with Myanmar
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Syria now in state of civil war, death toll at 4,000: U.N.
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Algeria angered by Gaddafi daughter's comments
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Israeli government funds yeshiva whose rabbi preaches against the state
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Afghan woman, jailed for being raped, wins pardon
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Hospital regulator 'struggling'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Afghan president orders release of rape victim
CNN International, London, England

Clinton and Suu Kyi agree agenda
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Strictly Come Dancing 2011: Robbie Savage dedicates performance to Gary Speed
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Daisy Lowe hits the catwalk and puts break-up with Matt Smith to the back of her mind
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Crocodile - Ukraine's new drug threat
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

EUROPE: Sarkozy and Merkel seek joint solution to debt crisis
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Deadline day for expelled Iranian diplomats
Independent The, London, England

Back to basics
Moscow News The, Independent, Moscow, Russia

Leveson Inquiry: 'One or more NOTW journalists deleted voicemail from Milly Dowler's mobile'
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Three-quarters of Telegraph readers back Clarkson over 'execution' of strikers rant
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Tul threatens to impeach Surapong
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

U.S. Senate defeats competing payroll tax cut bills
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

N.Korean Rice Prices Soar After Harvest
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Death sentence of 2 Indians commuted after blood money deal
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Bangalore real estate cashes in on villaments
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Artisan cuisine that looks as beautiful as it tastes
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Woman's face catches on fire during surgery
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Tons of marijuana found in U.S.-Mexico border tunnel
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Australian arrested over 35,000 child porn images
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Love, lies and luxury
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Golden years restored through small town's innovative efforts in Taiwan
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

US economy expands 2% in September quarter
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Attawapiskat crisis sparks political blame game
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Sarkozy warns Europe’s existence threatened by debt crisis
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Iran Sanctions Widen as EU Orders Asset Freeze, Travel Ban
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

Andean Migrant Women Create Opportunities
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Wall St slips, eyes payrolls report
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Syria firms, VIPs sanctioned in 'civil war'
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Doug Ford to Star: Drop dead
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Europe crisis 'threatens Africa'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England


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