October 31, 2014 nº 1,562 - Vol. 12

"The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up."

Paul Valery

In today's Law Firm Marketing, How To Find And Promote Your Competitive Advantages

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  • Top News

UN SG praises campaign to end female genital mutilation

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday praised the launch of a global media campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM) stating that "ending FGM is part of the UN's unwavering campaign for the health, human rights and empowerment of women and girls." The Secretary-General acknowledged anti-FGM campaigns in the United Kingdom, the United States, The Gambia and Kenya commending the work of governments and activists to combat the "brutal practice." Ban also announced a joint grant program between the UN Population Fund and The Guardian which will be "awarded to a number of the country's leading media houses to help support their reporting on FGM." The Secretary-General pointed out the considerable power the media plays in educating populations stating that "change can happen through sustained media attention on the damaging public health consequences of FGM, as well as on the abuse of the rights of hundreds of thousands of women and girls around the world." The UN leader also praised the work of The Girl Generation, which is rolling out a 10-country campaign fighting to end FGM.

Globalaw

Almeida Advogados will host in Rio de Janeiro the Annual Meeting of Globalaw, a leading legal network to which the firm belongs, comprising more than 100 law firms in several countries worldwide. All continents are represented. The forthcoming annual meeting is particularly important because it will mark the 20th anniversary of Globalaw, with the presence of many foreign lawyers. The agenda includes interesting presentations and panels on investment opportunities in Brazil, international sporting events, compliance, leadership, marketing and business development. The event will take place in November (5-8) at Hotel Caesar Park Ipanema. (Click here)

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  • Crumbs

1 - Small New York Firm Wins Epic Fee Fight: Business of Law - click here.

2 - Alibaba's Yu'E Bao Struggles With Business Model As Liquidity In Chinese Banking Sector Improves - click here.

3 - Prosecutors Suspect Repeat Offenses on Wall Street - click here.

4 - Australia insists counterterrorism secrets law won't ensare journalists - click here.

5 - California Leads on Justice Reform - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China denies shutting foreign sites

The director of China's internet regulator admits that some foreign websites cannot be visited but denies shutting them down. Twitter, Facebook, the New York Times, and the BBC websites are not accessible in China. "I can't change who you are but I have the power to choose my friends," the head of the State Internet Information Office said.

Taiwan officials in China study ban

Taiwan bans its senior government officials from higher studies in mainland China, citing "national security" reasons. The ban, effective Thursday, applies to officials with access to classified information, as well as ministers, mayors and country magistrates. There are concerns that they may inadvertently reveal information. It comes as relations between the two sides are already strained.

  • Law Firm Marketing

Make sure prospects know how you differ from other lawyers and you'll be miles ahead of competitors
By Trey Ryder
 
Are you the same as all other lawyers? Of course not. But do your prospects and clients know how you're different?
 
One of the most important functions of marketing is to emphasize the ways you differ from your competitors. Yet if you interviewed your prospects and clients, many of them might tell you one lawyer is the same as another.
 
Everything you do to attract new clients and maintain current client relationships should clearly state how you differ from other lawyers.
 
Some time back, I heard the marketing director at a large law firm say that her lawyers weren't any different from lawyers at dozens of large firms. If she truly believes that, the firm needs a new marketing director because she just surrendered in the face of her competitors.
 
No two competing attorneys are exactly the same. No other attorney on the planet has exactly the same education as you. No other lawyer has served the same clients -- or handled the same cases -- as you. No other lawyer has taken the same continuing education classes as you. As a result, no other lawyer will make decisions exactly the way you do.
 
Whether this makes you liberal or conservative, aggressive or passive, here's the point: Every bit of information and experience that you absorb affects how you provide advice and services to your clients. Your advice and services are not like those provided by any other lawyer. You should promote your uniqueness as one of your major competitive advantages.
 
Competitive advantages and disadvantages are determined ONLY by what is important to your prospects and clients. If you've been in practice 20 years, you could conclude that your tenure is a considerable competitive advantage. But if your prospects don't care whether their lawyer has practiced for 20 years or 5 years, it's no advantage at all, at least not to that group of prospects.
 
Here's your assignment:
 
The positive ways you differ from other lawyers are your competitive advantages. The negative ways you differ are your competitive disadvantages. Identify both so you know your strengths and weaknesses.
 
Look at the following lists from your prospective clients' point of view. Write down your answers to each question and then label whether you think the answer is an advantage (A), a disadvantage (D), or whether it is neutral (N) in your prospects' eyes.
 
Look first in these areas:
 
Evaluate your qualifications: Where did you graduate from law school? How long have you practiced law? To which courts are you admitted to practice? Which, if any, certifications have you received? List your professional memberships in bar associations, bar sections, lawyers' groups, and the like.
 
Evaluate your experience: Overall, how wide or narrow is the area of law in which you practice? What types of cases or problems do you handle? Specifically, what types of cases or problems are you most experienced at handling? Do you have experience in one particular area at which you could be considered an expert? If so, in which area? What specialized skills do you have? Are there any types of cases in your area of the law where you don't have much or any experience?
 
Evaluate how you serve clients: What specific services do you provide? How long do clients wait for their case to be resolved? How long does it take you to return phone calls? If a prospect or client needs to see you right away, how soon can they meet with you? How much do clients typically pay for services? How pleased are clients with the results?
 
Evaluate the physical environment in which you serve clients: Is your office location convenient for your clients? Can your clients easily find a parking space? Covered or uncovered? Do your clients have to pay to park? Is your complex physically attractive and inviting? Is your office easy to find and easy to walk to in your complex? Is your office reception area attractive and inviting? Is the furniture comfortable? Are your magazines current? (Recently, I picked up a magazine in a doctor's reception room that was 11 years old.) Does someone greet your guests and offer them something to drink when they enter your reception area?
 
Evaluate your office or the room where you meet with clients: Is the furniture comfortable? Is the room neat and orderly? Are the floor and windows clean? Do you sit with clients on the same side of your desk? Do you sit across the desk from clients, allowing the desk to form a barrier between you and your guests?
 
Evaluate your office procedures when you're involved in client meetings: Do you insist on no interruptions? Do you bar phone calls except in emergencies? Do you give your guests your undivided attention? Do you allow guests enough time to discuss their problem?
 
One more important advantage: If you use Education-Based Marketing™, your educational efforts become a significant competitive advantage. People who request your educational materials, as well as your existing clients, receive your monthly newsletter. They receive invitations to your seminars. You invite them to call you with their legal questions. And so forth. In this way, the marketing method you choose can be a major competitive advantage that leaves other firms in your dust.
 
If you think of anything else that distinguishes you from other lawyers, add it to this list.
 
Your competitive advantages benefit you only if you make them known to your prospects and clients. So start by memorizing the many ways you're different. When you talk with clients and prospective clients, your competitive advantages should roll off your tongue as part of your normal conversation. Likewise, in your written materials, you should feature your competitive advantages because these tell prospects the important ways you differ from other lawyers.
 
Make sure you always explain to prospects and clients how you differ from other lawyers. Then they will know why they should choose you over all your competitors.
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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

Bancos

Los bancos centrales de Argentina y China activaron su acuerdo de intercambio de monedas locales mediante una solicitud por parte del país suramericano de un primer tramo en yuanes equivalente a US$ 814 mlls. El acuerdo es por tres años, renovable anualmente, con una tasa de interés de entre el 6 y el 7% anual. (Presione aquí)

Negocio cancelado

Cemex y Holcim no fusionarán su actividad en España, en contra de lo anunciado en agosto, según el acuerdo definitivo que firmado por ambas compañías y que establece que la primera comprará dos fábricas de Holcim, que continuará operando en el país. En agosto de 2013, la cementera mexicana Cemex habría anunciado su fusión en España con el grupo suizo Holcim.

Oportunidad

El 87% de los inversionistas europeos consideran a Perú como destino atractivo para invertir, por encima incluso de Brasil, el país más grande de la región, señaló el presidente de inPerú, José Antonio Blanco, tras última encuesta realizada en el VII Road Show.

  • Brief News

Spain state advisor supports move to block Catalonia independence vote

The Spanish state adviser on Thursday announced support for a veto of a watered-down Catalan vote on independence planned for November 9, making it likely that the Spanish government will attempt to have the Catalan "consultation of citizens" blocked by the courts. Spain's Council of State unanimously decided that the government should ask the Constitutional Court to declare the vote illegal. Earlier this month, the region of Catalonia scrapped plans for a non-binding November 9 referendum on independence from Spain after the Constitutional court declared such a vote unconstitutional. Soon after Catalan president Artur Mas announced plans for an alternative consultation on the same day. The "consultation of citizens" will be equally non-binding and open to anyone who wants to cast their ballot. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and cabinet ministers will decide on whether the government will take matters to the Constitutional Court by Friday.

US Federal Reserve ends QE stimulus program

The US Federal Reserve has announced it is ending its quantitative easing (QE) stimulus program begun in 2008. The Fed said it was confident the US economic recovery would continue, despite a global economic slowdown. The targets for inflation and reduction in unemployment were on track, the Fed said. The central bank, which also said it would not raise interest rates for a "considerable time", has gradually cut back QE since last year. After 2008, the central bank began buying financial assets and creating new money to pay for them. In total, the Fed has added $3.7tn worth of assets to its holdings, about an eightfold increase.

Russia and Ukraine agree gas deal

Russia will resume gas deliveries to Ukraine this winter in a deal brokered by the European Union, which will also safeguard supplies to EU countries. The terms include the EU acting as guarantor for Ukraine's gas purchases from Russia and helping to meet outstanding debts. Gas supplies were halted over late payments when Russia scrapped subsidies given to Ukraine for importing gas, meaning the price paid by Ukraine rose sharply. However, the backdrop to the row is Russia's conflict with Ukraine and Western sanctions on Moscow.

Charity decries US Ebola quarantine

Doctors Without Borders warns some mandatory US state Ebola quarantine measures are having a "chilling effect" on its work. One of the charity's volunteers has defied orders by the US state of Maine that she remain quarantined in her house after being in Sierra Leone. "There is rising anxiety and confusion among staff members in the field over what they may face when they return home upon completion of their assignments in West Africa. Some people are being discouraged by their families from returning to the field." There have been nearly 14,000 cases worldwide, but only nine in the US.

Singapore top court affirms law criminalizing homosexuality

The Court of Appeal of the Republic of Singapore, the appellate division of the Supreme Court of Singapore, on Tuesday ruled that a national law criminalizing male homosexuality conforms with the city-state's constitution. Three homosexual men brought the case against the attorney general, arguing the 76-year-old homosexuality provision of the current penal code, Section 377A, violates their right to equal protection and life and liberty, pursuant to Article 12 and Article 9 of the constitution. Section 377A is entitled "Outrages on Decency," and the provision establishes a jail term not to exceed two years for men who commit acts of "gross indecency" with other men, in public or in private. The court held the statutory provision does not conflict with the constitution and the plaintiff's remedy, if any, may lie in the legislative process. The Parliament of Singapore amended provisions of Section 377A in 2007, following a two-day debate in parliament.

Sweden recognizes Palestine, drawing sharp israeli criticism

Sweden recognized Palestine, just weeks after incoming Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said his government would become the first major European nation to make the move. Israel's foreign minister said: "The Swedish government needs to understand that relations in the Middle East are more complicated than a piece of furniture from Ikea that you assemble at home, and Sweden should act with responsibility and sensitivity." His Swedish counterpart responded that diplomacy, like Ikea furniture, needs "a partner ... and a manual."

Citigroup sets aside another $600m to cover legal costs

Investment bank Citigroup is setting aside an extra $600m to cover legal expenses due to "rapidly evolving regulatory inquiries". The money relates to likely settlement of claims that Citigroup manipulated the foreign exchange market. The $600m is in addition to $951m in legal expenses previously reported, which itself was an increase from $677m in the year-ago period. On Thursday, Barclays said it had set aside £500m to cover potential costs from probes into currency trading. Big banks have paid billions of dollars in recent years to settle investigations into their mortgage lending, commodities and interest-rate trading.

UN rights experts urge greater regulation of private security companies

The UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries on Tuesday urged stronger global and regulation of private security companies. The group also called on governments to hold private military and security companies (PMSCs) accountable for all of their international human rights violations.

Polanski freed in Poland after US extradition bid

Film director Roman Polanski has been released after being questioned by prosecutors in Poland over sex offences in the US. He has been wanted by US police since 1977 after fleeing the country before he could be sentenced for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. US authorities contacted Polish officials as Polanski attended the opening of a Jewish museum in Warsaw. Polanski said he would comply with all requests made by prosecutors in this case and provided his address. Prosecutors therefore decided not to arrest him in connection with a possible US extradition request.

Too much praise can be bad for children

Teachers who give struggling pupils "lavish praise" could make them even less likely to succeed, research into classroom tactics has suggested. Many strategies used by teachers have no evidence to show that they really work. Too much praise for low achievers can "convey a message of low expectations".

Moving past the password, but at what cost ?

People hate passwords almost as much as they hate being hacked. The problem with the traditional password is twofold: To be useful, they have to be complex and difficult to guess. And passwords become less secure the more often you use them. Apps working with a new Twitter service would simply ask for your phone number instead of a password. In exchange, the company would get some of the most valuable information about you. The concept is simple: Rather than having a unique username and password combination, any application working with Digits would simply ask for your phone number. Plug in your number, wait for a text message with a confirmation code, enter the code, and voila — instant login. Confirmation codes expire and can be used just once, making repeated access to your phone necessary for multiple logins. Authentication factors are specific pieces of information that can grant a person access to protected data. These factors fall into one of three categories: factors you know (passwords), factors you have (cellphones), or factors you are (biometrics).

Things that keep GCs up at night

What keeps General Counsels up at night? At the annual General Counsel Forum last week, the conversation was a lively and wide-ranging one, covering such topics as reputation management, legal risk across multiple jurisdictions, the increasingly complex regulatory environment, and, most of all, how frustrating it is to deal with clueless law firms (and what the firms might do to alleviate this). Here are some highlights:

1. Reputation management
2. The lack of truly "global" law firms
3. Useless, generic client memos
4. Information storage and management
5. Clumsy pitches by would-be outside counsel
6. Unreasonable firm billing demands
7. Turnover and attrition in law firms
8. Firms failing to ask clients if associates are performing well
9. Lack of work/life balance
10. Lawyers as lousy businessmen
11. The cost of litigation
12. Success fees
13. Law firm rankings

Spain passes much-debated 'Google Tax' intellectual property law

After more than a year in the works, Spain passed on Thursday (Oct. 30) its Intellectual Property Law, with its hotly debated, so-called Google tax that allows for fines on aggregators that show snippets of content without paying for it. The law, known as the LPI, will take effect January 2015 and allows for sanctions of up to $758,000 (€600,000) for linking to pirated content, including newspapers and Spanish publishers which also try to protect their property rights. Critics complain of an unenforceable tax & missed opportunity for clear anti-piracy law. Google reacted immediately to the law's passage. "We are disappointed with the new law because we believe that services like Google News help publishers bring traffic to their sites. As far as the future is concerned, we will continue working with the Spanish publishers to help increase their revenues while we evaluate our options within the framework of the new legislation," a statement read. Google is coming strong off a similar situation in Germany where German publishers' demand for Google to pay for its links backfired, leaving newspapers with no traffic after the aggregator followed the German law to a T and eliminated all links.

Petrobras names law firms aiding corruption investigation

Petrobras said it hired Brazil's Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados and Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher "to determine the nature, extent and impact" of the corruption allegations made by the former senior executive. Petrobras, as Brazil's biggest company is known, has for months been mired in corruption scandals tied to alleged money laundering and contract manipulation, and earlier this month said it had begun its own internal investigation into the allegations.

Boehner v. Obama lawsuit in limbo after another law firm drops out

House Republicans say they haven't changed their minds about bringing a lawsuit against the Obama administration. The problem is, they're having trouble finding a law firm that will take the case to Court.

  • Daily Press Review

Burkina Faso president refuses to step down
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Hezbollah member held in Peru for planning terror attack
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Abuse victims 'want Woolf to quit'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

World Series legend is born
CNN International, London, England

Taking time off from his Revolution: Russell Brand embraces his family members as he joins them for lunch in Hollywood
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

JAN MOIR: How even the most loving moments can be twisted online†
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Jerusalem: Al-Aqsa mosque repoens
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Blaise Compaoré, the African peacemaker who faced rebellion at home
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Moses gets the party started at Akbank Jazz Festival
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

US police capture survivalist who shot two officers after seven-week manhunt
Independent The, London, England

First lawsuit filed in Malaysia over missing flight MH370
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller as Frankenstein's monster
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Burkina Faso leader refuses to quit after day of violence
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Propaganda Tower Demolition Exposes Weak Links in Security
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

UK opens National Sperm Bank amid donor shortage
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Mini bus overturns in south Delhi, 1 dead 20 injured
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Prosecutors search Obuchi fundraising group's office for evidence of fraud
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Ebola victim's fiance struggles to rebuild life
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Ukraine President cancels trip over protests in eastern Ukraine
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

'We could never afford a house in Sydney'
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

NBA Capsules
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

China's shadow banking sector growing rapidly, third largest in world: FSB
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

ISIS mission: Canadian CF-18s complete operational flights in Iraq
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Mass graves uncovered in Iraq attributed to Islamic State
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Liberty Reserve Brought Down By 'Joe Bogus': How The Feds Arrested Arthur Budovsky
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

St. Vincent Takes to Heart Hard Lessons on Climate Change
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

BOJ shocks markets with surprise easing as inflation slows
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Thousands denounce HSBC board member's likening of Hong Kong people to freed slaves
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Jian Ghomeshi dumped by PR firm over ‘ies,’ sources say
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Burkina Faso leader 'to stay on'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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