February 10, 2012 nº 1,142 - Vol. 10


"Maybe this world is another planet's hell."

Aldous Huxley

In today's Law Firm Marketing, First impressions convey your image even when you don't want them to.

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  • Top News

EU court limits privacy rights for public figures

The ECHR - European Court of Human Rights issued two rulings on Tuesday upholding the right of the media to report on celebrities and limiting celebrities' right to privacy. In Axel Springer AG v. Germany, the court examined whether a German actor's right to privacy was violated when a paper published a newspaper article and photos of his arrest for illegal drug possession at a public festival. The court determined that an injunction restricting publication of articles and photos of the actor was a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of expression. The court determined that the actor was sufficiently well known to qualify as a public figure, which gives the public a greater interest in being informed about his arrest and the proceedings against him. Additionally, the court determined that the actor had a decreased expectation of privacy due to the fact that his arrest occurred at a public event and because he had previously released details of his private life through the media. In Van Hannover v. Germany, the court examined whether the right of privacy of members of the royal family of Monaco had been violated when two magazines published pictures of Princess Caroline of Monaco and her husband that were taken without their consent during a ski vacation. The court ruled that publication of the pictures did not constitute a violation of Article 8 of the Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees a right to respect for private and family life. The court held that the pictures and accompanying text added to a debate of general interest about the royal family of Monaco, and that members of that family must be treated as public figures. In both cases, the court acknowledged the need to balance the right to privacy against the right of the media to freedom of expression, but also indicated that privacy rights are diminished when individuals can be considered public figures.

Eurozone ministers set new conditions to Greece bailout

Eurozone ministers set three tough new conditions for a bailout deal for Greece, as Greek unions plan a 48-hour strike in protest against cuts. Greece is deep in recession with unemployment rising above 20%. It is the second such bailout, and lenders have insisted on more austerity measures in return for the loan. The pattern established over the past 18 months or so seems to be reasserting itself. On one side, there is political opposition in Greece to tough austerity measures, and on the other, pressure from voters in countries which are paying money into bailout funds to ensure good money is not being thrown after bad. The European Union, and the European Commission in particular, will now be trying to monitor Greece much more robustly, sending officials to help speed up progress on issues such as tax evasion and privatization on which they feel previous promises by the Greeks have not been kept. Eurozone countries were also "seriously considering" creating a new, separate account for Greece, which would block a portion of state revenues to guarantee the repayment of bailout loans. There is serious concern among European ministers that the overall plan for Greece - involving the new bailout as well as an agreement for private banks to write off a substantial chunk of Greek debt - still doesn't do enough to put the country on a sustainable economic path. What has become clear at this meeting is the distinct lack of trust among Eurozone ministers that Greece can live up to the promises it makes. They looked into the details of the plans that Greek political leaders had reluctantly signed up to and decided that not enough had been done. The mood among Eurozone countries appears to be toughening on Greece. Greece is trying to negotiate the bailout from the EU and International Monetary Fund.

Brazil privatises operations at three airports

Brazil's government has awarded contracts to privatize operations at three of its most important state-owned airports. They include the country's largest in Sao Paulo. Private companies paid a total of 24.5bn reais ($14bn) for the concessions sold at auction. The move by the government aims to get the country's overcrowded airports ready for the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics in 2016. Infraero, the state-run agency that has long operated airports, retains a 49% stake in the consortiums that will run the newly-privatized airports. A consortium of Brazilians and South Africans paid about $9bn to operate Sao Paulo's Garulhos airport for 30 years. The other airports involved are: Viracopos airport in Campinas - sold to French and Brazilian firms; and the concession for a new terminal in the capital's President Juscelino Kubitschek airport, which went to a Brazilian and Argentine consortium.

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  • Crumbs

1 - Oracle to acquire cloud-based-software firm for $1.9bn - click here.

2 - Groupon loss and weak sales clobber shares - click here.

3 - The "app economy" estimated to contribute nearly half a million jobs to the U.S. - click here.

4 - NGO workers could face 5 years in prison, Egyptian judges say - click here.

5 - Judge orders husband to take his wife on date to Red Lobster and bowling - click here.

6 - Nokia to cut 4,000 jobs - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China's exports and imports fall

China's exports and imports fall in January raising fresh concerns about the impact of a global economic slowdown on its economy. Exports fell 0.5% from a year earlier amid sluggish global demand. Shipments were also hurt as factories were shut during the Lunar New Year. Meanwhile, imports dipped 15.3% raising fears about slowing domestic demand. China has been trying to boost domestic consumption in a bid to offset slowing exports and rebalance its economy.

Citi to launch China credit cards

The Chinese unit of Citigroup will be the first non-Asian bank to launch credit cards in China. The US-based bank announced on Monday that the move had been approved by China's banking regulator.

What's in a name? For Chinese law firms, Bright is often right

Private lawyers are getting creative in China, where legal ethics rules don't require that law firms be named after lawyers who work there – or after real people at all. When lawyers from King & Wood, one of China's largest law firms, gathered to celebrate its merger with an Australian law firm late last year, the firm's two namesakes -- Messrs. King and Wood -- never showed up. And for good reason: They don't exist. "There was no Mr. King and no Mr. Wood" when the firm was founded in 1993. The practice of making up law firm names out of thin air is broadly prohibited in the United States, where legal-ethics rules generally require that the surnames in firms reflect those of partners who work there -- or did before they retired or died. No such strictures exist in China, where firms are free to pick any name they imagine will resonate in the international marketplace.

Law Firm Marketing

First impressions convey your image even when you don't want them to

by Trey Ryder

Lawyers often go to great lengths to design handsome offices so they make a positive, commanding impression when prospective clients come into their office.

But your prospects may decide not to meet with you if their first impressions of you are negative. And many times, their first impressions are formed long before they reach your office door.

First impressions are often made by one or more of the following. Evaluate how you measure up in these areas.

1. Web site.Fortunately, lawyers and law firms exercise a great deal of control over the appearance of their web sites. This is one area where you can easily convey a dignified, professional, upscale image. Is the appearance of your web site consistent with the image you want for your firm?

2. Display ads.Similar to yellow page ads, prospects can draw a number of conclusions from your display ads. Does your ad convey a dignified, professional image? Or does it make you look like a low-end law firm? Does your ad speak softly and clearly to your prospect? Or does it scream?

3. Brochure.Does your brochure provide all the information you prospect wants? Or does it leave out important facts that would help your prospect decide to hire you? Is your brochure crisp, clean and neat? Or did you reproduce it on your copy machine, with poor photos and black marks throughout?

Every negative conclusion your prospect draws from your brochure creates a negative perception about your firm. To your prospect, your brochure IS your firm. Is your brochure everything you want it to be? Neat. Clean. Attractive. Crisp. Precise. Informative. Easy to understand. Easy to follow. Complete. Helpful. Friendly. Personal. Are you pleased with the image your brochure conveys?

4. Yellow page ad.I recently reviewed the new yellow pages for the Phoenix metro area. As in many large cities, lawyer listings and display ads consume over 100 pages. Leafing through the ads, I hope the lawyers and law firms those ads represent have more integrity and character than I would conclude from the appearance of those ads.

In an effort to get noticed, yellow page ads are getting more and more graphically outrageous. No doubt, some of the ads are consistent with the image of the lawyer(s) they represent. Also, no doubt, some well-respected and capable firms would shudder to think prospects draw conclusions about their firm based on the appearance of their yellow page ad.

If you run a yellow page ad, does it accurately convey the image you want for your firm? I hope so because your prospect's first impression may come from that yellow page ad.

5. Business cards. Are they crisp, clean and professional? Is information on the card easy to find? Are the type size and font easy to read? Do they look like traditional lawyer cards? Do they convey the image you want prospects to receive?

6. Stationery and envelopes. After one of my articles appeared in a legal publication, a lawyer requested my law marketing articles, which I sent by e-mail. After receiving my fact kit, the lawyer sent me a letter by mail.

Picture this: Outside envelope: Smudged rubber stamp with the lawyer's name and return address. "CONFIDENTIAL" scrawled in handwritten ballpoint pen.

Inside stationery: Name and address typed at the top. "Attorney at Law", "Telephone" and "Facsimile" were photocopied onto her letterhead from someone else's letterhead, in a font often used for engraved stationery. Then her phone numbers were typed in after those words. "Serving the legal profession since (unreadable year)". Then all this was photocopied onto Classic Laid stationery, so everything appears to be a second- or third-generation photocopy. Then (yes, there's more) the unreadable year in "serving the legal profession since..." was overwritten in ballpoint pen to read (I think) "1979".

I can't imagine prospects would hire this lawyer if they first saw her letterhead. What's more, I can't imagine this lawyer could be as bad as her stationery. But I may be wrong.

Do your stationery and envelopes convey the image you want to project? Your letterhead and envelope may be the first thing your prospect sees. Make sure it represents you well.

7. Telephone reception. The person who answers your phone is critical to your marketing success. You can create powerful, effective marketing in every area. But if you have a weak person answering your phone, you've got problems. You want the person who answers to be friendly, informed and efficient. The person calling your office can notice a weakness on the telephone in the first three seconds. It's a negative impression you don't want to make.

Harvey Mackay, in his syndicated business column, said the person answering the phone should be the highest paid person in the office, other than the boss. When prospects call your office, are they greeted promptly by someone who makes sure their calls get to the proper person without delay?

8. Voice mail message.I recently concluded an assignment from a long-time friend and attorney. When I called his office and got his voice mail, his message was a real disappointment. I know him to be a positive, upbeat person. But his voice mail message didn't reflect that. He spoke in a monotone that made him sound bored and uninterested. Clearly a turnoff to someone who doesn't know him, like prospective clients.

When you're fortunate enough to have prospects calling your office, make sure the message they receive -- even a voice mail message -- is professional, upbeat, friendly and inviting.

Everything prospects see, hear, and read about your firm creates an image in their mind. Everything! I urge you to work overtime to make sure the impressions you create on prospects are consistent with the images you want to convey. In addition to attracting new clients, your marketing program should be designed to convey, refine and polish your firm's image so you always -- always! -- make a positive first impression.

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© Trey Ryder

FREE LAWYER MARKETING ALERT: If you'd like to receive Trey Ryder's weekly Lawyer Marketing Alert, send an e-mail to Trey@TreyRyder.com. Write "Subscribe LMA" in the subject line and write your name and e-mail address in the body of the message.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Negocios I

La multinacional japonesa NEC, dedicada a los servicios informáticos, amplió su presencia en el mercado de la seguridad con la compra de la empresa de videovigilancia Global View, del empresario y ex montonero Mario Montoto en Argentina. El trato, que incluye la adquisición del 85% de las acciones de la compañía por US$ 30 mlls. (Presione aquí)

Negocios II

El gigante minorista chileno Cencosud, ligado al empresario de origen alemán Horst Paulmann, informó el inicio de gestiones para colocar ADR (American Depositary Receipt) en Estados Unidos, con cargo al aumento de capital aprobado en abril del año pasado. Los ADR permiten a los inversionistas americanos o extranjeros, comprar acciones de la compañía en el mercado de Estados Unidos. (Presione aquí)

Malvinas

El canciller Héctor Timerman presentará mañana ante la ONU la denuncia formal del Gobierno contra Gran Bretaña por la "militarización" en la zona de las islas Malvinas, de acuerdo al anuncio que había hecho la Presidenta el martes pasado. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

Tribe sues beer makers for $500m

An American-Indian tribe in South Dakota has sued some of the world's biggest beer firms over severe alcohol-related issues in the community. The Oglala Sioux Tribe are asking for $500m for healthcare, social services and child rehabilitation. Tribal elders say the lawsuit is a last resort after efforts to curb abuse through protests and policy failed. The lawsuit, filed in the district court of Nebraska, targets Anheuser-Busch InBev Worldwide, SAB Miller, Molson Coors Brewing Company, MillerCoors LLC, and Pabst Brewing Company.

EU's sanctions on Iran's largest ports will slash legal trade if enforced

New European Union sanctions on Iran's largest ports operator will curb billions of euros in otherwise legal trade, if EU authorities police those seeking ways around the rules, according to trade lawyers, shipping and insurance executives and EU officials.

Senate panel approves bill to televise high court

US Justices have long opposed TV cameras in their courtroom, saying they would be disruptive. But backers say such coverage would help provide public scrutiny.

Brazil sues Twitter over alerts

The Brazilian government has filed a lawsuit against Twitter, demanding that the firm remove accounts in the country that warn citizens of police speed traps and roadblocks. The authorities are concerned the service is undermining its efforts to tackle drink-driving in the country. The lawsuit also orders Twitter to pay 500,000 reals ($290,000) for each day that it does not comply with the request. Twitter is not commenting on the case. The lawsuit comes after Twitter announced in January that it could block messages that contravened local laws if requested by governments.

Brazil's Itau Unibanco has record profits in 2011

Itau Unibanco, the biggest private bank in Brazil, said net profits rose almost 10% to 14.6bn reais ($8.5bn) in 2011 from the previous year. The bank is also the largest in Latin America and primarily exposed to its fast-growing countries. But the bank's profits fell annually in the last three months of the year, as Brazil's economy slowed. "In the domestic scenario, the trend towards slowdown in the economic activity was consolidated," the bank said.

Federal judge won't end credit card antitrust case

A federal judge refused to dismiss a suit accusing Citigroup and Discover of conspiring to force credit card holders to agree to mandatory arbitration clauses.

US banks agree $25bn mortgage settlement

Five of the biggest US banks, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Ally Financial, have agreed to provide $25bn to homeowners to settle claims over improper foreclosure practices. The deal will provide $3bn of relief for borrowers who are currently on repayments but who cannot refinance their loans because they are larger than the value of their homes. It will also give $17bn in principal reductions to those who are behind on their payments and at risk of default, and provide about $2,000 in compensation for those whose homes have been foreclosed. The deal, struck with the US government and most US states, follows allegations of abusive practices by lenders during the country's housing collapse. Obama said that homeowners had not been treated fairly. The settlement follows a year of wrangling and is the biggest struck between the US government and a single industry since 1998.

Garzon vows to fight conviction

Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon has vowed to fight his conviction for authorizing illegal phonetapping despite the court barring him from appealing. He said his rights had been "systematically violated" with the ruling, which saw him suspended from the judiciary for 11 years. But Garzon is also involved in two other legal cases and observers say he may be facing years of struggle.

Groupon reports unexpected loss

In its first set of results as a public company, Groupon reports an unexpected loss of $42.7m, when a small profit had been expected. Shares in the company fell 13% in after-hours trading to $21.35, still above the listing price of $20. The number of active customers came in short. That means not enough people are buying groupons. Groupon blamed the fourth quarter loss on $34.8m of tax expenses in some of its international businesses, where it said it had paid an effective tax rate of approximately 1,600%. It also said that it had made extra provisions for income tax after establishing its international headquarters in Switzerland.

Haiti rule of law has made significant progress

The implementation of the rule of law in Haiti is making significant progress, UN Independent Expert Michel Forst said Wednesday. Forst focused on improvements such as the establishment of judicial offices, the adoption of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the recent conviction of eight police officers in a post-earthquake shooting. He said he was disappointed in the recent decision by Haiti's Investigative Magistrate Carves Jean that former president Jean-Claude Duvalier will not stand trial for crimes against humanity, including torture, false imprisonment, rape and murder during his reign between 1971 and 1986. Forst stressed that the government in Haiti must continue to prioritize the Rule of Law.

Russia lawmakers approve stricter sex offender law

The Russian State Duma on Tuesday approved legislation imposing stricter penalties for individuals convicted of sex offenses against minors. The legislation, initiated by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, prohibits probation and sentence deferrals for perpetrators and provides that repeat offenders could face up to life in prison. Offenders are also permitted to voluntarily submit to chemical castration, a reversible process consisting of a series of chemical injections that hinder the effects of the male hormone testosterone. Offenders who are close relatives, teachers, or caregivers of child victims or employees of childcare institutions may be subject to more severe penalties. The legislation was passed by 354 of 450 voting members.

Canada security service authorized to use information obtained through torture

The CSIS - Canadian Security Intelligence Service is authorized to use and pass on information obtained through torture when Canadian lives are at stake, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said Tuesday. The statements come in response to a controversial 2010 directive authorizing the use of such information that was obtained earlier this week by a Canadian news agency through freedom of information laws. The directive allows the CSIS to use information which may have been obtained through torture under extreme circumstances.

EU reached accord on clearing law for over-the-counter derivatives

European Union officials and lawmakers brokered a deal on rules to force trading of some over-the-counter derivatives through clearinghouses to safeguard financial markets. The law, approved after negotiations in Brussels, will empower EU regulators to decide on types of derivatives that should be centrally cleared. Traders who flout the rules would face penalties including fines. The law also sets rules on management of clearinghouses, including on reserves they must hold to protect themselves from insolvency.

Barneys, debt-laden, is weighing restructuring

Despite recent sales gains, the New York fashion retailer has hired advisers to help manage an unwieldy debt load that is to mature this fall.

Zuckerberg takes control, you get $100

A group of Facebook shareholders were paid $100 apiece for ceding voting control of their stock to Mark Zuckerberg, the company's co-founder and chief executive. While the $100 payments were likely a formality, they provide yet another amusing symbol of Zuckerberg's sway at Facebook and how early investors have subscribed to the belief that Facebook is indeed "a Mark Zuckerberg production." (Actually, according to Wednesday's filing, there are apparently some limits to Zuckerberg's power. He is limited to 21 paid days off, per his employment contract.)

Judge suggests U.S. misled court on immigration

The government may have misled the Supreme Court about its policies on helping improperly deported immigrants return to the U.S., possibly influencing a decision to make it easier to deport thousands of aliens, according to a ruling by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff.

  • Daily Press Review

'Scores killed' in shelling of Syria's Homs
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Russia, China seek coordination with Arab League after Syria veto – AL deputy
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Army tightens noose on Homs
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

'Anonymous' hacker group threatens 'reign of terror' against Israel
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

UN decries 'appalling brutality' as Homs assault continues
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Barclays' profits fall to GBP 5.9bn
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Syrian attacks escalate; state TV blames gangs
CNN International, London, England

Algerian president names poll date
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Why having a name that's easy to pronounce could propel you up the career ladder
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Rihanna looks quite lady like... but on closer inspection her skirt is see-through
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Egypt's Islamist-military 'coup'
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

GREECE: Eurozone ministers set new conditions for Greece bailout
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Stallone and Schwarzenegger meet in hospital
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Argentina to state Falklands case at UN
Independent The, London, England

Showcasing Russian cinema
Moscow News The, Independent, Moscow, Russia

Scotland referendum: We need a poetry of the Union to defeat Salmond's freedom shtick
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

BBC 'buried Savile sex abuse claims to save its reputation'
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Chalerm: I do trust Gen Prayuth
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

Euro ministers cautious on Greek bailout deal
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

More Young Workers Moonlight as Tutors
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Somalia's al Shabab joins al Qaeda, leader says
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Delhi: Man accused of raping girl for 7yrs, let off
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Popular Chekhov play gets fresh treatment for audiences in Tokyo
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Sioux sue beer companies for alcohol woes
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Palestinian minister faces trial on corruption charges
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Facebook 'defriending' led to double murder
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Needled by an online poll
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Prince Harry completed 18-month training of attack-helicopter pilot
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Mitsubishi to stop making cars in W.Europe
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

RCMP shooting suspect's parents urge him to surrender
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

The dangerous game of diaspora politics
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

EU Trade Commissioner Meets Anand Sharma
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

Caribbean Divided on Malvinas/Falkland Blockade
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Investors cautious as lenders seek more steps after Greece deal
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Pakistan turmoil expected after PM's contempt appeal
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

'He went for us, most of all for our daughter': A family grieves the loss of a father and son
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Guinea massacre: Minister charged
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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