September 10, 2010 Nº 955 - Vol. 8


"It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness."

Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy


In today's Law Firm Marketing, How much money should you spend on marketing?

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Read Migalhas LatinoAmérica in Spanish every Tuesday and Thursday. Visit the website at www.migalhas.com/latinoamerica

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  • Top News

US judge rules military ban on gays 'unconstitutional'

A federal judge in California has ruled that a ban on homosexuals serving openly in the US military is unconstitutional. The judge said the law violated fundamental First Amendment rights. The law allows gay and lesbian soldiers to serve if their homosexuality is not known but suspends them if it is. It is referred to as "don't ask, don't tell". The latest case was regarded as a major test for the law, which Obama says he would repeal. On Thursday, US District Judge Virginia Phillips granted a request for an injunction halting the policy. She said the law did not help military readiness, but had a "direct and deleterious effect" on the armed services. The Obama administration has promised to introduce legislation repealing it. It has also announced that the repeal would not be implemented until after the Pentagon completed a review of its impact on the armed forces.

US-style murder law considered in UK

The biggest overhaul of murder laws since the abolition of the death penalty 50 years ago could see some killers spend less time in jail. Proposals under consideration suggest a US-style system of first- and second-degree murder. It would mean the historic acceptance that a murderer must be sentenced to life being swept away. The reforms would create offences of first-degree murder, carrying a mandatory life sentence; second-degree murder, with a life term at the discretion of the judge, plus sentence guidelines; and manslaughter, also with a maximum penalty of life. First-degree murder would apply to killers who were found to have intended death or knew they were likely to kill. Those who can show they intended merely serious harm, rather than an intent to kill, would be second-degree murderers. Judges would then hand out sentences of a set number of years rather than a life term. At present, a criminal handed a life sentence will typically serve 15 years in prison.

Untruths, exaggerations and bad recommendations mar law school applications

If you ever got rejected from a law school, the reason may not be your grades or LSAT score, although those are the two most important admissions factors. A new survey of admissions officers at 145 law schools found a few other problems are cropping up for would-be lawyers. Eighty-seven percent of respondents reported receiving a negative letter of recommendation about an applicant, and 73 percent found that claims on an application were exaggerated or untrue,

Data Center

Cemig Telecomunicações S.A. – CemigTelecom acquired from Ativas Participações S.A. (investment vehicle of Asamar Group) 49% of the shares issued by Ativas Data Center S.A., whose data center, projected to receive an investment of USD 50 million, will be the most innovative of the State of Minas Gerais, with a nationwide coverage. The firm Rolim, Godoi, Viotti & Leite Campos Advogados assisted the buyer in all phases of the business, including the due diligence, structure of the transaction, drafting of the documents, and negotiation.

Before you open the door to the boardroom, peek through the keyhole!

Michael Page specializes in the placement of candidates in permanent, contract, temporary and interim positions within client companies around the world. Have a look at the new section of the Migalhas website and discover the professional development opportunities with large corporations, in legal and business fields, presented by Michael Page International. Click here to peep through the hole!

  • Crumbs

1 - Court allows stem cell funding for now (Click here)

2 - Muslims in Bahrain, Pakistan protest Quran burning (Click here)

3 - Britney Spears sued for sexual harassment (Click here)

4 - Spurned wife wins £3.7 million compensation from husband's mistress (Click here)

5 - Euro MPs tell France to stop deporting Roma (Click here)

6 - UK agency fines Goldman Sachs $27 million (Click here)

7 - European Parliament agrees to tougher rules on animal testing (Click here)

8 - NSW same-sex adoption bill passed (Click here)

9 - Study: Location, firm size key to billing rates (Click here)

10 - Union accuses China of illegal clean energy subsidies (Click here)

11 - Iran opposition lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh detained (Click here)

12 - System for appointing judges 'undermining international courts' (Click here)

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  • MiMIC Journal

China anti-corruption official sentenced to death for taking bribes

A Chinese Intermediate People's Court in Shandong sentenced former top anti-corruption official Wang Huayuan to death on Thursday for taking bribes. Wang confessed to taking 7.71 million yuan (USD $1.13 million) in bribes while he was secretary for discipline inspection for commissions in the Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces. The purpose of the bribes varied from business to employment to avoiding arrest. Wang was detained in April 2009 as part of an ongoing effort by the Chinese government to stop corruption. The sentence is suspended for two years and could become a life sentence due to Wang's confession and his return of the illegal assets.

China U-turn on enforced blackout

Thousands of people in China are to have their electricity restored after the reversal of an order for enforced power cuts to meet energy-saving goals.

  • Law Firm Marketing

How much money should you spend on marketing?

by Trey Ryder

You've heard the saying, "You get what you pay for." A more accurate statement is, "At best, you get what you pay for." But in marketing, sadly, many lawyers get much less.

When advertising sales reps try to explain away poor results, they often recommend that you throw more money at the problem. But, in most cases, that's not the answer. If you don't get at least some response from the first ads you run -- or the first commercials you air -- you need to make a change. Perhaps a new strategy. A more targeted effort. Or a more complete message.

In today's competitive environment, effective marketing is tough. It's as exhausting as a murder trial. As complex as brain surgery. And as unforgiving as a Las Vegas casino. Still, you can't ignore marketing because it's the key to your law firm's survival.

One reason my marketing method works is because I don't cut corners. You wouldn't ask your trial lawyer to present only part of your case. You wouldn't ask your neurosurgeon to remove only part of your brain tumor. Yet, prospects often ask me if we can take a few shortcuts and still get good results. Unfortunately, the answer is no.

When a lawyer engages my services, I do everything I believe will bring my client success with dignity. But I can't take shortcuts -- because when you take shortcuts in the beginning, you win fewer clients in the end.

More than anything, what determines your marketing success is not the amount of money you spend, but the strategy you select.

If you try your hand at marketing and get no results, your return on investment is zero. When you implement a proven program that works, you earn a profit as soon as you recoup your initial investment. A marketing program that earns a profit is infinitely more valuable than one that earns nothing.

You pay a high price when your marketing doesn't work. First, you have out-of-pocket costs for ads, brochures, newsletters, printing and postage -- to name a few. Second, you have the income you lose when new clients who should have come to you hire your competitors.

How much income do you think you lost this month to competitors? Frightening, isn't it?

No question, the amount you pay for your marketing program is an important consideration. But don't allow yourself to focus only on price. Instead, focus on the income you'll earn from new clients and referrals. If your current marketing program doesn't bring you the results you want, it isn't of much value. But if your new marketing program generates fees of $20,000 -- $50,000 -- $100,000 -- or more -- it could be the best investment of your professional career.

Back to the original question: How much money should you spend on marketing?

Answer: Invest enough money to do the job right -- because cheaper methods nickel and dime you to death. Plus, they almost never produce the results you want.

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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

Concesión

Corporación América, holding internacional de origen argentino, obtuvo el jueves la concesión del segundo grupo de aeropuertos del sur del Perú. El plan de obras es de US$ 48 mlls. y en 25 años de concesión invertirá 265 mlls. El holding administra más de 40 aeropuertos en el mundo.

De ojo

Axxon Group Private Equity, una firma brasileña de adquisiciones, planea recaudar hasta 290 millones de dólares para acelerar las compras de compañías locales vinculadas con el crecimiento del consumo en la mayor economía de Latinoamérica.

China – LA

El mercado chino está conquistando a los exportadores de América Latina, que subieron 53% sus ventas al país asiático en el primer semestre del 2010. Entre enero y junio de este año las exportaciones de Chile a China subieron 67% en el primer semestre de 2010. El país asiático se lleva actualmente la cuarta parte de las exportaciones chilenas, que ascienden a US$ 31.871 mlls.

Competitividad

Panamá recibió con satisfacción la designación como el segundo más competitivo de Latinoamérica en el ranking del Índice de Competitividad Global 2010-2011 elaborado por el Foro Económico Mundial (FEM) y presentado en la ciudad de Beijing, China. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

Spain confirms its labour reforms

The Spanish government has approved labor market reforms that make it cheaper and easier to lay off workers. A package of reforms designed to help shake up Spain's struggling economy were first agreed in June and have been in effect since then. They were in force as an emergency measure, which will now become permanent. Reformers believe the measure is essential in helping to bring down Spain's 20% unemployment rate. The International Monetary Fund has said the labor market reforms are "absolutely crucial". The country has the highest jobless count in the 16-nation eurozone and the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, had called the moves "vital". (Click here)

US slips in competitiveness poll

The United States has been overtaken by Sweden and Singapore in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) competitiveness survey for 2010-11. The change meant that the US slipped two places to fourth in the WEF's latest ranking. Switzerland, which overtook the US last year, remains the top ranked economy. Germany rose to fifth, and was the best placed eurozone country. The UK, after falling back in recent years, moved up one place to 12th position.

Fast-food deal on a fast track

3G Capital wants the Whopper now. The investment firm's acquisition agreement for Burger King provides for a novel dual-track process: 3G has agreed to begin a tender offer as its primary vehicle to acquire control of Burger King. While the tender offer is pending, the two sides have also agreed that Burger King will file a proxy statement and hold a meeting to approve the acquisition. Whichever is completed first will be how 3G acquires Burger King.

BP spreads blame over oil spill

A "sequence of failures involving a number of different parties" was to blame for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP says. An investigation carried out by BP said it was responsible in part for the disaster, but it also blamed two other companies working on the well. However both firms criticized the report. BP faces billions of dollars worth of legal claims for compensation over the spill, the worst in recent US history.

Google unveils 'instant' searches

Google has sped up its internet search engine by launching a product called Instant that displays results as soon as users type in queries. The service predicts a user's query and modifies the displayed results as more letters are typed into the search box.

Belgian church abuse raids ruled illegal

A Belgian court has ruled that recent raids by police investigating alleged child sex abuse by Catholic priests were illegal. The appeals court also said the documents seized in June's raids on several buildings of Belgium's Catholic Church cannot be used by prosecutors. The ruling could throw the long-running investigation into doubt.

Europe court rules Austria gambling monopoly breaches EU law

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled Thursday that Austria's state gambling monopoly, which blocks foreign casino companies from the licensing process, is incompatible with EU law. The court held that allowing only domestic operators to apply for licenses constituted such a difference in treatment that it constituted discrimination on the basis of nationality. While Austria cited fighting crime as its reason for excluding operators hailing from other nations within the EU, the court stated that numerous less restrictive methods were available. This is the most recent in a series of cases in which the multi-billion euro industry is attempting to break the monopoly held by domestic "game of chance" agencies in many EU member states.

EU court strikes down Germany gambling restrictions

The EU Court of Justice (ECJ) on Wednesday delivered three judgments striking down gambling restrictions in Germany because the regulations were not designed to protect public interest. The suit was filed by several foreign betting companies attempting to break into the German gambling market. The court held that while monopolies are sometimes justified, Germany's "intense advertising" in its gaming operations cause the regulations to fall outside the intended scope of consumer protection. Due to the broad scope of the regulations, the court determined that the German gambling laws were not compatible with EU law on service provisions and games of chance. Lobbying firms for the gambling industry called the decision a landmark due to the recent trend of the ECJ upholding gambling restrictions in other EU nations. The ECJ will rule on a similar case challenging Austrian gambling restrictions on Thursday.

Somali piracy suspect pleads guilty in DC federal court

A Somali man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to piracy charges stemming from an attack on a Danish ship carrying cargo from a Texas-based company. Jama Idle Ibrahim pleaded guilty in the US District Court for the District of Columbia to "conspiracy to commit piracy under the law of nations and conspiracy to use a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence." Ibrahim and other Somalis attacked the MV/CEC Future in the Gulf of Aden in November 2008. The group, armed with handguns, rocket propelled grenades and AK 47s, seized the ship and held the crew for ransom off of the Somalia coast for a total of 71 days until the ship's owner paid the ransom amount. The plea agreement states that the parties agree a 25-year prison sentence is appropriate, which is the maximum total penalty for the offenses—five years for conspiracy and 20 for firearm conspiracy. US Attorney Ronald Machen, Jr. said the charges should be viewed as a deterrent to others considering piracy attacks. "Violent acts of piracy on the high seas disrupt international trade and put human life at risk. These charges should serve as an unmistakable warning to others thinking of launching pirate attacks. Crimes on open waters in faraway oceans will be punished in an American courtroom." No sentencing date has been scheduled at this time. Ibrahim's plea marks the first plea for a piracy-related offense in the District of Columbia.

Tax code overhaul as tough as doing your 1040

There's broad agreement among economists that a new tax system should have few loopholes and relatively low tax rates. But that's where the consensus ends. Rewriting the tax code in Washington is tricky, and as one tax expert put it, right now there is no politically feasible fix.

Petrobras deal may both open and close doors for Brazil's lawyers

Brazil's state oil company Petrobras has retained Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice Advogados to advise on its share sale, whose value has been quoted as potentially worth much as US$75 billion. Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados will be working for the underwriters.

Ninth Circuit dismisses CIA rendition suit on state secrets grounds

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Wednesday affirmed a district court's dismissal of a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against a Boeing subsidiary in connection with its alleged role in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) extraordinary rendition program. The plaintiffs, Binyam Mohamed, Abou Elkassim Britel, Ahmed Agiza, Mohamed Farag Ahmaad Bashmilah and Bisher al-Rawi, alleged that San Diego-based Jeppesen Dataplan knowingly aided in the rendition and subsequent torture of terror suspects by the CIA. Before Jeppesen could file an answer to the original complaint, the Department of Justice (DOJ) intervened and asserted the state secrets privilege, arguing that fact-finding in the case could jeopardize national security. The district court dismissed the case and a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit overturned the ruling on appeal. The DOJ then asked the Ninth Circuit to reconsider the case with a full panel, and was granted an en banc rehearing.

SEC probing certain investment advisory firms

The U.S. securities regulator is investigating investment advisory firms that channel investors' money into hedge funds, the Wall Street Journal reported. The probe will investigate whether the firms are properly supervising client money and dealing with potential conflicts of interest,

Riding solo

There's no one more ordinary—or more inventive—than a solo practitioner. Half of the nation's lawyers in private practice are solos—419,000 in all. Most provide the core services of legal work: serving families, home buyers, the injured, criminal defendants and small businesses. And yet, as the recession that reached full flower two years ago this month grinds on, a growing number of solos are finding new ways of doing business. They're succeeding in practice areas normally associated with bigger firms, like energy law, international transactions and green-building law. And they're finding new ways of marketing their services, including virtual law practices or boosting their profiles through time-consuming bar association leadership posts that are normally filled by big-firm lawyers.

Fashion law

Fashion law is a little bit like a course in any other industry-specific area, like a health-law course or an art-law course or maybe a banking course — that is to say in fashion it's about the law that touches the garment at every point in its existence. There are consumer-protection issues, and also civil-rights issues, having to do with what you wear to work, or not, what you can wear to school, or not, as well as questions of really broad issues like banning the burka. The Fashion Law Iinstitute will — among other things — educate new lawyers in the academic fashion-law discipline and offer pro bono legal counseling to designers in need. The recently introduced bill, the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, was lauded as a significant step forward for the American fashion industry.

  • Daily Press Review

Iran Opposition Claims to Have Found Secret Nuclear Site
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England
Interpol Warns of Global Attacks if Koran Burned
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon
Panel formed on Lebanon poll law
Saudi Gazette, English-language daily, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Karzai announces council to push Taliban talks
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman
FRANCE: EU parliament urges France to suspend Roma expulsions
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France
Florida minister heeds outcry, cancels plans to burn Qurans
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey
UNGA Passes Kosovo Resolution
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic
Pilots Called Heroes After Crash Landing
The Moscow Times, Independent daily, Moscow, Russia
Britney Spears' ex-minder accuses singer of sexual harassment
The Telegraph, London, England
Ambulance behind? Give way or pay up
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India
China: Japan handling of boat incident 'absurd'
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan
Centre clears caste in Census 2011
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India
Private sector kickstarts UWI Haitian Student Fund drive
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados
Energy sector shakeup imposed from abroad, CEO says
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Mixed Civil Society Response to New EU Aid Funds
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy
NHT fearful - Says ministry move could hurt contributors
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica
Harper slowing Ontario economic recovery: McGuinty
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario
Suicide raid hits Somalia airport
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England
Campaign for district assembly elections heating up in New Juaben
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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