March 16, 2007 no. 466 - Vol. 5

“If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” 

 Edward Hopper (1882-1967)
American Painter

Law Firm Marketing: how do you boost your presentation when it's drooping?

  • Top News

Groups in Brazil Aim to Call Military Torturers to Account

Frustrated by their own government's timidity but encouraged by recent court rulings in Argentina and Chile, Brazilian human rights groups are seeking to overturn an amnesty for human rights abuses that went into effect in 1979, when a right-wing military dictatorship ruled this nation. A family of five jailed earlier in the 1970s has filed a civil action against Col. Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, who was then the commander of Center for Operations for Internal Defense here. A judge has agreed to hear the complaint, the first time that a Brazilian military officer has been formally called to account for the torture of political prisoners during the dictatorship. A law, approved in 1979 by a compliant Congress, granted amnesty for all “crimes related to politics or committed with a political motivation.” Over the years, that phrase, apparently purposefully ambiguous, has been taken to mean that neither the leftist opponents of the military dictatorship, including former armed guerrillas, nor their jailers and torturers, could be held legally accountable for their actions. But lawyers here who have volunteered their services to human rights groups contend that torture cannot be regarded as a political offense and that it is therefore excluded from the amnesty. And because torture has no statute of limitations under Brazilian law, Colonel Ustra and others could theoretically be indicted under a law outlawing torture that was passed in 1997 meant mainly to prevent police abuses.

US Senate rejects Iraq withdrawal measure

In an ominous sign for the Democratic legislative campaign to end the war in Iraq, the Senate on Thursday rejected a resolution that would have required President Bush to begin withdrawing U.S. combat troops within 120 days after it was enacted. It is the third time in the last six weeks that an antiwar resolution has foundered in the closely divided Senate.  But the vote — the first in either chamber that would have forced an end to the war — also underscores how much congressional support for the conflict has eroded in the four years since the invasion.  The White House has repeatedly indicated that Bush would veto any measure that would restrict his ability to conduct the war. And Thursday, a spokeswoman touted the resolution's defeat and issued a warning to House Democrats pushing their own withdrawal plan. The veto threats — and the setbacks in the Senate — have not deterred Democrats in the House, however. On Thursday, they charged ahead with their plans, pushing through a key committee a bill that would force withdrawal of most U.S. forces from Iraq by summer 2008. 

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  • MiMIC Journal 

China passes new law on property 

China's parliament has passed a landmark law that increases the protection of private property rights. This is the first piece of legislation in the Communist country to cover an individual's right to own assets. Parliament also passed a law that ends preferential tax treatment for foreign companies, setting a corporate rate of 25% for all businesses. Both bills were passed by huge majorities, although some senior Communists oppose the property law.

China sets out investment plan

China has confirmed plans to create an investment company to get better returns on its foreign currency reserves worth $1 trillion. The country's huge trade surplus has helped build up the world's largest currency reserves, which until now were invested mainly in US Treasury bonds.

Premier Wen Jiabao did not reveal when the fund would be set up or how it would manage the money. 

Chinese motorcycle manufacturer sets up factory in Brazil 

Brazil’s Traxx Motocicletas, a subsidiary of the China Jialing Industrial Group, is to build a factory in Manaus in northern Brazil. They will be the third largest motorcycle manufacturer in Brazil, after only Yamaha and Honda. Moto Traxx da Amazonia, will have a production capacity of 100,000 units per year. 

  • Law Firm Marketing

Hidden persuaders

Or documents you should keep close at hand for when your presentation needs a boost. 

Your prospect is in your office.  You've explained everything in detail.  Yet for some unknown reason, he hasn't agreed to move forward.  Here are tools you can use to turn your prospect's hesitation into an enthusiastic Yes!

CREDIBILITY.  These tools help overcome your prospect's hesitancy if it is due to his lack of trust in you or your ability to solve his problem or achieve his goal. 

Written Schedule of Fees.  Prospects feel more comfortable when they see your fees in writing.  Some prospects assume lawyers set their fees based on what they think the prospect can afford.  Handing your prospect a schedule of fees on paper helps overcome this skepticism. 

Reprints of Articles You Wrote.  Few things boost credibility as quickly as seeing published articles with your name in the by-line.  Prospects immediately conclude you’re an expert when they see that editors have published your writings.  And the more well known the publication, the more credibility they attach to it.

Testimonials From Past Clients.  Like published articles, comments from clients, colleagues and referral sources cause your credibility to soar.  The more testimonials you have, the better.  If a prospect is in doubt about hiring you, showing him 10, 20 or 50 testimonials melts away skepticism.  (Check your rules of professional conduct.  Not all bar associations allow lawyers to use testimonials.) 

Client Service Guarantee.  Show your client the guarantees you make in writing.  You might guarantee the quality of your services, the highest level of personal attention, to return phone calls promptly, to meet all deadlines, to always have a lawyer available, not to exceed the quoted fee, and so forth. 

Overview of Services.  In some cases, prospects aren't entirely sure what you plan to do for them.  By having a written overview of what you do for clients -- and a breakdown of the major steps under each service, you help your prospects see on paper what you will do.  Also, by having these services in writing, you reinforce that what your prospect is asking you to do is consistent with what you do for many clients. 

URGENCY.  These tools help overcome your prospect's hesitancy if he knows he should take action, but his desire to delay outweighs his desire to move forward.

Actual Case Histories:  Prospects are persuaded when they see that you have helped other clients who have situations similar to theirs.  The more similar the case history is to your prospect’s situation, the more persuasive it will be.  Also, the more similar the client is to your prospect, the more your prospect will be swayed. 

What Your Prospect Gains From Acting Now:  List the many ways your prospect benefits from hiring your services today.  You might call the document:  How you benefit from retaining (your name) (or your firm name).  Recite a case history about someone who took action immediately -- and the ways he and his family (or firm) benefited. 

What Your Prospect Risks or Loses by Not Hiring You Today:  List the many ways your prospect’s situation can deteriorate and what he loses by not acting now.  Recite a case history about someone who chose not to act -- and the terrible consequences that person paid.  Emphasize the unpredictability of your prospect’s situation and your sincere desire to minimize or eliminate his risk. 

UNDERSTANDING.  These tools help overcome your prospect's hesitancy if his reluctance is due to his lack of understanding about what you’ll do or what outcome you can achieve.

Frequently Asked Questions.  You help your client when you have a document that answers most questions prospects ask.  The more questions you answer -- before your prospect raises the issues -- the more your prospect trusts that you are forthcoming with information.  If your prospect has to draw information from you, you risk his concluding that you would not have disclosed these facts had he not asked.

Glossary.  If your prospect doesn't understand the terms you use to describe what you'll do, your prospect might be happy to receive a glossary of relevant terms.  Often, prospects won’t admit when they don’t understand.  The more you do to help, the better they feel. 

Outcomes.  List on a sheet the various outcomes that could result from your efforts.  Ask your prospect to assume that you will get a positive result, and then ask your prospect to identify whatever choices he will make at that point.  By helping your prospect see past your efforts to future decisions he will face, he assumes you have already succeeded and is thinking far into the future. 

UNINVOLVED.  These tools help overcome your prospect's hesitancy if he feels distant or uninvolved in the process.  In some cases, getting your prospect involved or making small decisions calms his nerves and helps him move forward.

Objectives.  Hand your prospect a form that includes a list of the many objectives typical prospects want to achieve.  Ask him to identify the objectives that are most important to him.  This helps clarify to him what you’ll do -- and helps him conclude that you understand what he wants to achieve.

Contact Information.  Asking your prospect to provide you with his contact information gives his something easy to write down. 

Other Facts You Need.  Regardless of your area of law, you probably need some type of information from your prospect before you proceed.  The easier it is for your prospect to provide this information, the more helpful it will be in calming his nerves and helping him move forward. 

Minor Decisions.  If you've read sales books, you may know the story of the car buyer who was afraid to make the expensive decision to buy a Mercedes.  The salesperson asked, "What initials do you want me to mount on the driver's door?"  The man responded with by giving his initials and, at that point, agreed to the major purchase.  By asking the buyer to make a minor decision, which he perceived as no big deal, the salesperson effectively sold the car. 

When you educate your prospect -- when he understands what you'll do -- when he understands what you'll charge -- and when he trusts you, your prospect has no reason not to move forward. 

When you use education-based marketing, you don't need to "close the sale."  The "sale" closes itself through your process of answering your prospect's questions. 

Eventually, your prospect says, "What do I need to do to hire you?"  You show your prospect where to sign and ask for a check, which by this time are the only logical next steps. 

And you've won a new client. 

© Trey Ryder

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  • Historia Verdadera


Tras un largas jornadas de debate la Cámara de Diputados de Argentina aprobó la Ley que prohibe la tala indiscrimianda de bosques nativos. Según la norma las empresas o industrias que quieran hacer uso de los recusos naturales deben presentar a la Secretaria de Medio Ambiente una evaluación del impacto ambiental. Los últimos 70 años el país perdió el 70 por ciento de su patrimonio forestal.

Alta tensión

La brasileña Petrobras tras la firma de un acuerdo con las empresas Enarsa y Electroingeniería confirmó la venta del 50 % de sus acciones de Transener que controla el transporte de energía eléctrica en Argentina. La operación financiera esta sobre los 60 millones de dólares.

Contratos petroleros

El presidente Rafael Correa confirmó que en breve se dará inicio a la revisión de contratos petroleros de una docena de empresas que operan en Ecuador, entre ellas Repsol-YPF y Petrobras, la canadiense Perezco, AGIP y las estaodunidenses Burlington y City  entre otras. Los contratos son de larga data y se han renegociado con los distintos gobiernos en ocho oportunidades en los últimos 10 años.

  • Brief News

Key 9/11 figure 'beheaded Pearl'

Key al-Qaeda suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed says he killed US journalist Daniel Pearl, the Pentagon says. Questions loom over whether Mohammed could have been involved in all the plots mentioned. 

Iranians sought for Buenos Aires bomb

Interpol says it is planning to seek the arrest of six Iranian former officials whom Argentina blames for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre. But it has decided to turn down arrest requests for three others named by Argentina, including former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The attack on a seven-storey building in Buenos Aires killed 85 people. Argentina's investigation concluded that Iran had ordered the bombing. The country denies any involvement.

Cash missing after Brazil crash 

Police in Brazil are investigating the disappearance of some $2.6m (£1.3m) from a plane that crashed in the north-eastern state of Bahia. All four people on board the plane were killed. The twin-engine plane was being used by a security firm to transport money for a number of banks.

When police arrived at the scene of the crash, they found the plane's safes had been smashed open and the money taken. 

Exxon mulls future in Venezuela 

US oil giant Exxon Mobil is considering its future in Venezuela as the country's president drives through nationalisation plans. Exxon has said it will comply with a decree by President Hugo Chavez to hand over its multi-billion dollar Orinoco reserve operations by 1 May.

Japanese tycoon guilty of fraud 

Controversial tycoon Takafumi Horie has been found guilty of fraud, following a six-month trial which has gripped corporate Japan. The former boss of the once high-flying internet firm, Livedoor, was found guilty of falsifying the company's accounts and misleading investors. Horie, 34, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison. The disgraced entrepreneur had pleaded not guilty, saying he was framed. 

Urban Poor Cope with Help from Informal Economy 

A Columbia University sociologist gives an inside view of informal economies which are central to life in the inner New York City. It's not just drug dealing and loan sharking that's off the books — it's bartered child care, hair braiding, oil changes and house cleaning. 

Petrobras will export ethanol to U.S. 

Petrobras plans to start exporting ethanol to the United States for the first time in 2007. The announcement comes a week after the U.S. and Brazil signed an agreement to join forces to promote more ethanol use. The U.S. is Brazil's top ethanol export market, though Petrobras until now has stayed out of the trade. Last year, some of Brazil's top ethanol exporters to the U.S. were Shell Brasil, the subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, and Cosan. The U.S. charges a 54-cent-a-gallon U.S. tariff on imports of Brazilian ethanol made from sugar, a measure designed to help U.S. corn growers. Ethanol can be made from either crop, but ethanol made from sugar is much cheaper. Petrobras said it should export around 850 million liters (224 million gallons) of ethanol in 2007 to markets including Nigeria and Venezuela, with test volumes to Japan of about 20 million liters. 

Berlin to host EU birthday party 

Berliners are being invited to a party thrown by the EU in its own honor to celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations for the EU. A highlight will be an all-night clubbing extravaganza, in which ravers can hop between 35 Berlin nightclubs for an EU-subsidised 12 euros. "It's a public celebration and we want to remind people of the big idea." Europe needs much more than free bratwurst and beer for its construction! The two-day party, on 24-25 March, is being held in Germany because the country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU. 

AmBev prepares funds for legal dispute 

AmBev has put aside BRL7.5m (US$3.6m) to cover a dispute with a Brazilian distributor. The brewer said it has provisioned the money to cover the row with Natalense Comercial de Bebidas, based in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. Natalense issued a lawsuit against AmBev in 2005 after the brewer ended a contract to distribute its Antarctica brand. The distributor has demanded compensation for rebranding its beer trucks, contracts and equipment. 

Goldman to Expand Services in Brazil

Goldman Sachs announced plans to grow its banking operations in Brazil. Goldman intends to become Brazil’s No. 1 investment bank. However, the company, which has been present in Brazil for 17 years, will have to undergo several local licensing procedures to expand its business. Currently, Goldman’s main Brazilian business centers on mergers and acquisitions, while offering interest rate market services from offshore. As a first step in its expansion process, Goldman will have to purchase a license to operate forex, interest rate, and commodities markets on the Brazilian Commodities and Futures Exchange. Goldman ranked 17th in underwriting domestic Brazilian securities offerings in 2006, but has not been credited with any deals so far this year. 

Chirac to be questioned over kickback scheme after term ends

French justice officials say President Jacques Chirac will be questioned when he leaves office by a judge leading a corruption case. The investigation dates to the time when he served as mayor of Paris. Several of Chirac's political allies have already faced investigation. He has been immune from prosecution while head of state. 

Mexico City considers ending abortion ban  

Legislators in Mexico City  have begun deliberations on a bill that would legalize abortions  during the first trimester of pregnancy. The bill would loosen Mexico's strict abortion laws within the boundary of the capital city. Abortion is generally illegal throughout the heavily Roman Catholic country, with exceptions only for cases of rape. Mexico City previously loosened the country's restriction to allow abortions when the health of the mother was in danger.  Supporters of the bill say that the current laws endanger poor women who, unlike wealthier Mexicans, cannot afford to travel to the United States for the surgery and so must resort to unsafe back-alley abortions. Last year Human Rights Watch (HRW)  conducted an extensive study of abortion availability for rape victims in Mexico , finding that rape victims seeking legal abortions often are intimidated with insults and threats of legal retaliation by both prosecutors and health workers. 

Spain lawmakers approve gender equality law  

Spain's Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Spanish Parliament, approved a gender equality bill  designed to draw more women into politics and corporate life. The bill also specifies that 40 percent of candidates filed on party ballots must be female, and also creates a new initiative that encourages corporations to hire more females by giving companies with higher ratios female to male employees preferential treatment when bidding for government contracts. At the same time, the bill also gives Spanish men some rights traditionally reserved for women; it will grant men paternity leave of 15 days that will expand to a month in 2013. Unemployment levels for Spanish women are double that of men, and only 2 percent of corporate boards include female members. In contrast, US boards are approximately 15 percent women.

German court rules Nazi symbols can be used in protest against extremism  

The German Federal Court of Justice  ruled Nazi symbols could be used to protest extremism, overturning an October decision by a state court in Stuttgart . The lower court had ordered Juergen Kamm, who began an internet company called Nix Gut , to pay a fine of 3,600 euros (US $4,600) for selling T-shirts and badges featuring a swastika surrounded by a red circle and slash. Judge Walter Winkler, presiding at Thursday's decision, rejected the lower court's assertion that allowing swastikas as a "fashion article" risks making them "socially acceptable" again. He did say that for any symbol to be allowed, the anti-Nazi meaning had to be immediately apparent.

Google revises data retention policy after DOJ subpoenas  

Google Inc. announced a new user privacy policy  on Wednesday where, "unless  is legally required to retain log data for longer," Google will anonymize search information, such as the query entered, IP addresses, and cookie details, after 18 to 24 months. Google further said:

"By anonymizing our server logs after 18-24 months, we think we're striking the right balance between two goals: continuing to improve Google's services for you, while providing more transparency and certainty about our retention practices. In the future, it's possible that data retention laws will obligate us to retain logs for longer periods". Last year, Google fought a Justice Department subpoena  seeking to force the search engine giant to hand over a large amount of user data, including one week's worth of query searches and up to 1 million web addresses. 

  • Daily Press Review


Govt ordered to pay $2.6b to Amin soldiers
Daily Monitor, Independent daily of Kampala, Uganda

Kenya burns 8,000 guns as minister orders police to kill thugs
East African Standard, Liberal daily of Nairobi, Kenya

Anxiety grips Asante-Akim NPP
Ghanaian Chronicle, Independent, published  in Accra, Ghana

Corporate cowboys' Kebble coup
Mail and Guardian, Liberal daily of Johannesburg, South Africa

Speaker queries minister over unpaid Maamba workers
Times of Zambia, Government-owned daily of Lusaka, Zambia


Maza abandons 'bunker'
Buenos Aires Herald, Liberal daily of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Former Japan dot-com star going to prison
The Globe And Mail, Centrist daily of Toronto, Canada

Children gunned down in St Catherine - 'I have nothing to live for now'
Jamaica Gleaner, Centrist daily of Kingston, Jamaica

Exiled Mexican wolves ready to return home
The Guadalajara Colony Reporter, Independent weekly of Guadalajara, Mexico

Asia Pacific

Hokurikuden hid accident at N-plant/Criticality in '99 continued for 15 minutes
Daily Yomiuri, Conservative daily of Tokyo, Japan

Premier Wen meets press
People's Daily Online, Pro-government daily of Beijing, China

Santoro resigns from ministry
The Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily of Sydney, Australia

30 Injured in Stray Bomb Explosions in Damak
The Himalayan Times, Independent daily of Kathmandu, Nepal

MILF: AFP hawks ruining peace deal
The Manila Times, Pro-government daily of Manila, Philippines

Understanding key to success
The Sun, Independent daily of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Chancellor Merkel Heads to Poland as Tensions Remain High
Deutsche Welle, International broadcaster of Cologne, Germany

Vladavia Tu-204 returning to Domodedovo with engine failure
Interfax, Government-owned news agency, Moscow, Russia

FG targets family voters with Ä800m tax package
Irish Examiner, Centrist daily of Cork, Ireland

Love, Murder and a Dank One-Room Flat
The Moscow Times, Independent, English-language daily of Moscow, Russia

Did Natascha's mother have a role in her abduction and abuse?
The Scotsman, Centrist daily of Edinburgh, Scotland

Sezer's veto shocked Ankara
Turkish Daily News, Independent daily of Istanbul, Turkey

Middle East

Khalid Sheikh Calls Himself 9/11 Architect
Arab News, Pro-government, English-language daily of Jidda, Saudi Arabia

Brammertz links Hariri killing to election law, 2005 polls
The Daily Star, Independent, English-language daily of Beirut, Lebanon

Abbas endorses unity cabinet
Gulf News, Independent daily of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Israel sees rapid exit from Iraq endangering Jordan
Ha'aretz, Liberal daily of Tel Aviv, Israel

Anti-Iran resolutions not to remain unanswered: Velayati
Islamic Republic News Agency, Government-owned news agency of Tehran, Iran

Report: IDF used Palestinians as human shields in Nablus
The Jerusalem Post, Conservative daily of Jerusalem, Israel 

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Copyright 2007 - Migalhas International

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