February 24, 2017 nº 1,842 - Vol. 14

"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."

Herman Cain

In today's Law Firm Marketing, Wrong-headed ideas about free publicity


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  • Top News

Supreme Court hears arguments on binding arbitration agreements

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments in Kindred Nursing Centers Limited Partnership v. Clark, wherein the court will once again be asked to decide whether binding arbitration agreements are permissible. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that arbitration agreements signed by legal representatives of nursing home residents were invalid, unless the ability to so sign is specified as a power of the representative, as being against the right to have a jury trial. This ruling was counter to a series of US Supreme Court opinions in which the court held that such arbitration agreements valid. Although the Supreme Court currently consists of eight justices, a vote in favor of the nursing home, of arbitration agreements and ultimately of the Federal Arbitration Act is expected given the breadth of prior cases on the issue.

Supreme Court: supply of single component for manufacture abroad does not constitute patent infringement

The US Supreme Court ruled in Life Technologies Corporation v. Promega Corporation on Wednesday that the supply of a single component in a multi-component patented invention for manufacture overseas does not violate Section 271(f)(1) of the Patent Act. Section 271 prevents the supply from the US of "all or a substantial portion of the components of a patented invention" for manufacture abroad. Under 271, the supply must actively induce the combinations in a manner that would infringe if the manufacture had occurred within the US. Promega had sold a license to Life Technologies under ThermoFisher Scientific to make and sell the testing kits for specified law enforcement fields but sued claiming that Life Technologies was selling the kit outside the licensed fields.The Court in it's opinion therefore ruled that the supply of a single components does not constitute a "substantial portion."

  • Crumbs

1 - Judge bars investors from collecting on $300 mln clerical error - click here.

2 - David Davies jailed for live-streaming Cardiff court case - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

China is developing its own digital currency

China's central bank is going digital. After assembling a research team in 2014, the People's Bank of China has done trial runs of its prototype cryptocurrency. That's taking it a step closer to becoming one of the first major central banks to issue digital money that can be used for anything from buying noodles to purchasing a car. For users transacting over their smartphones or laptops, a PBOC-backed cryptocurrency probably wouldn't seem much different to existing payment methods such as Alipay or WeChat. But for sellers, they would get digital payments directly from the buyer, lowering transaction costs as the middleman is cut out of the process.

Could China's Trump tactics actually be working?

It's been a month and adjusting to Donald Trump as US president has been an enormous challenge for China, as for many around the world. He arrived in office full of provocative and unpredictable messaging on China, but Beijing needs American goodwill, markets and technology to build what it calls its "comprehensive strength". That a functioning relationship with the United States is a core strategic interest for China may seem obvious, but it bears repeating. For the time being at least Trump seems to have stopped insulting and threatening China and key players in his administration are now making nice on the telephone.

  • Law Firm Marketing

Wrong-headed ideas about free publicity
By Trey Ryder

MISCONCEPTION #1: You have to know someone at the media to get publicity. Not true. Whether you get publicity depends almost exclusively on the strength of your news release or story idea. It has almost nothing to do with who you know. As a rule, editors don't go out on limbs, even for their friends. Editors want good stories. You give them a good story idea and you've got a good shot at getting it in print. You give them a bad story idea and your chances fall like a rock.

MISCONCEPTION #2: You must pay for publicity. No. Print articles and broadcast interviews are almost always free. Some small publications, to assure their survival, give preference for articles to advertisers. Also, some publications offer special sections where, if you buy an ad, you get an article of equal size. But, for the most part, articles are written free by the major newspapers and magazines. Interviews are broadcast free by radio and TV stations. All you have to do is provide them with a good idea they want to use. If they believe your idea will interest their audience, they will likely print or broadcast your story.

MISCONCEPTION #3: You get publicity only if you're a big advertiser. No. Advertising sales reps are quick to point out that -- other than advertising -- they have nothing to do with what goes in print or over the airwaves. It makes sense that big advertisers would have an open door to big articles. Yet when questioned, editors deny it. And, from my experience, you don't have to be an advertiser to get articles. In fact, many of my clients have not been advertisers, yet we still have done quite well getting articles and interviews.

MISCONCEPTION #4: Editors rely only on well-known authorities No. True, a story may have more credibility if the source person is an authority. But editors do not insist on an "authority" threshold to conclude you are reliable. In most cases, the fact that you are a lawyer is enough. Many of my clients have been new in law and short on experience. Still, the fact that they were lawyers was enough for editors to see them as reliable sources.

MISCONCEPTION #5: Publicity is really hard to get. No, it isn't. You simply have to know how to communicate with editors -- and how to give them what they want. Many lawyers and law firms hire public relations firms and pay them outrageous fees each month with the hope of getting articles in print and interviews on radio and TV. From my experience, you get more publicity when you handle your own publicity effort, rather than working with a p.r. firm.

MISCONCEPTION #6: Media exposure will bring you new clients. Usually not. In most cases, the fact that you've been quoted in the media does nothing to attract clients. Exposure can establish credibility, but exposure alone won't attract new business unless (1) what you offer is unique and your prospects have no place else to turn but to you, (2) you use publicity to deliver a competent marketing message, (3) your publicity explains your competitive advantages so prospects know how you differ from other lawyers, and (4) it causes you to interact with members of your target audience.

MISCONCEPTION #7: Publicity alone can be your entire marketing program. No. This is where many lawyers waste thousands of dollars. If you use publicity by itself, you're doomed to failure because publicity does not complete all the steps in the marketing process. But when you build your publicity program on marketing principles, and use it along with other methods, it can play an important, powerful role in your marketing effort.

MISCONCEPTION #8: The key to publicity is the number of articles you get in print. No. The key to publicity is how well the articles deliver your marketing message. That's why you must start with a competent marketing message. If your message is incomplete or confusing, it makes no difference how many people receive it.

MISCONCEPTION #9: For best results, call the editor on the telephone. No. Most editors don't like telephone calls because they interrupt work flow and interfere with deadlines. Many editors now screen calls through voice mail. When I carry out publicity programs, I never initiate a call to an editor. Well-written materials don't need a verbal explanation.

MISCONCEPTION #10: You increase your chances for success with an elaborate press kit. No. Many editors have told me they throw press kits into the trash, unopened, because they don't have time to wade through all the materials. Public relations firms often promote the use of press kits because they can charge clients tens of thousands of dollars to prepare them. I have conducted my most effective publicity programs with nothing more than simple query letters and news releases.

MISCONCEPTION #11: Your chances for publicity improve when your information comes from a p.r. person. No. Many editors don't like p.r. people. They see p.r. people as highly paid telemarketers, always trying to push something on the editor. Editors and reporters like working directly with the authority quoted in the news release or article because that person has the knowledge to provide the information the editor wants.


© 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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  • Brief News

Federal judge blocks California age discrimination law

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Wednesday granted a preliminary injunction to IMDb, a popular website that posts information about all things Hollywood, blocking enforcement of law meant to combat age discrimination. The injunction temporarily prevents the enforcement of AB 1687, a California law designed to prevent age discrimination by stopping sites like IMDb from releasing the ages of actors. As the law "stops IMDb from publishing factual information," Judge Vince Chhabria wrote, its First Amendment rights are likely being violated. Chabria said "the burden is on the government to show that the restriction is actually necessary to serve a compelling government interest. The government is highly unlikely to meet this burden." (Click here)

France approves law to hold parent corporations liable for subsidiary human rights violations

The French National Assembly approved a law on Tuesday that would make French parent corporations liable for human rights violations committed by their subsidiary companies located anywhere in the world. Parent corporations subject to the law will be held to a higher standard of oversight for the actions taken by their subsidiaries. The law seeks to prevent violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, grave bodily or environmental harms, and sanitary risks. The law was previously rejected by the Senate but was given final approval by the National Assembly. Conservative lawmakers have referred the matter to the Constitutional Council. (Click here)

Google's self-driving firm sues Uber

Uber is being sued for stealing trade secrets and technology from Google. Waymo, set up by Google owner Alphabet, is taking legal action against Otto, Uber's self-driving vehicle unit that it bought last year for $700m. The lawsuit argues that former Waymo manager Anthony Levandowski took information when he left to co-found a venture that became Otto. Uber said it took the allegations seriously and would review the matter carefully. The lawsuit alleges that Levandowski "downloading 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files" during his time as a Google employee. (Click here)

Amnesty: global politics threatening human rights

Amnesty International on Tuesday released its Annual Report 2016/17, a summary of an international human rights survey that discusses the role "rhetoric of fear, blame and hate" have played in rolling back human rights around the world. AI analyzed major political leaders that identify as anti-establishment, such as US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, arguing that their rhetoric has led to dangerous impacts on policy. AI's conclusion is for individuals to come together and push governments to respect human rights, stating, "we cannot rely on governments to protect our freedoms, and so we have to stand up ourselves." AI saidthat inspiration should be found in the "civil rights activists in the USA, anti-apartheid activists in South Africa," or things as recent as the International Women's March and pro-democracy protests in Gambia. Beyond localized efforts, AI said that "global solidarity is crucial if we are to protect each other from those governments quick to portray dissent as a threat to national security and economic development."

Bosnia appeals UN court's Serbia genocide ruling

Bosnia has formally asked the UN's top court to review its ruling which cleared Serbia of genocide in the 1990s, Bosnia's Muslim leader has said. Bakir Izetbegovic, a member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency, said he was seeking "truth and justice". Bosnian Serb officials warned the move would trigger a "serious crisis" in the country. In 2007, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) cleared Serbia of direct responsibility for genocide.

Trump repeats call for US nuclear supremacy

Trump has said he wants the United States to expand its nuclear arsenal, in his first comments on the issue since taking office. He said the US had "fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity" and must be ''top of the pack". Hillary Clinton, repeatedly cast Trump during the campaign as too erratic and lacking in the diplomatic skills required to avoid a nuclear war. She mocked him by saying "a man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes".

Brazil senate confirms new supreme court justice

The Brazil federal senate on Wednesday confirmed President Michel Temer's nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat, Alexandre de Moraes. Moraes, a 49-year-old lawyer, professor and current justice minister, was approved by a vote of 55-13 in the senate. The seat had been open since the January 20 death of former justice Teori Zavascki. Zavascki was considered a reformer and had overseen anti-corruption measure Operation Carwash. Left leaning senators objected to the appointment as a move designed to insulate the Temer administration from review. (Click here)

Not best of times for US - Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says the US is "not experiencing the best of times" - but the "pendulum" will swing back. In a rare interview, Justice Ginsburg reiterated the importance of the free press. Justice Ginsburg was nominated by Bill Clinton and is regarded as a liberal.

Trump administration revokes public school transgender bathroom guidelines

The Trump administration on Wednesday revoked the Obama-era guidelines regarding transgender students. The previous guidelines were a joint effort by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Education (DOE) that required federally funded schools to treat gender identity as a student's sex for purposes of Title IX. A federal district court had granted an injunction against the guidelines, and the DOJ had filed but later withdrew an appeal. Support came in from the parties seeking the injunction, and criticism has also followed the decision, with about 200 people protesting outside of the White House.

UK Supreme Court upholds minimum income policy for immigrant spouses

The UK Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld immigration rules that require British citizens have a certain level of income to bring their foreign spouses into Britain. The Minimum Income Requirement rule mandates that a British citizen must have a minimum annual income of at least 18,600 euros in order for their foreign spouse to live with them in Britain. The rules allow for a easy way for the government to assess that the couple can support themselves without the need for governmental assistance. The suit alleged that the rule violated to their human right to a family life as specified in Article 8 of the European Convention. The court ruled that it does not violate human rights. However, it should be amended to consider children and alternative sources of income such as those of the foreign spouse.

Trump's conflicts could undercut global efforts to fight corruption

The global fight against government corruption has often been led by the US, but those in the movement's trenches worry that signals being sent by the Trump administration could undercut the effort.


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