January 21, 2011 No. 997 - Vol. 9


"Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect."

Benny Hill


In today's Law Firm Marketing, Is your marketing message written in your prospects' language?

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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

Somalia parliament rejects anti-piracy legislation

The Somali Parliament on Tuesday rejected legislation designed to combat piracy. The bill, introduced last week by government officials, seeks to criminalize piracy and improve internal mechanisms for trying alleged offenders. Lawmakers expressed reservations about the bill, including concerns about its necessity and that the proposed sentencing provisions are inconsistent with Islamic teachings. The bill was returned to a committee for amendment within five days.

Web images to get expiration date

Help is at hand for anyone who has ever forgotten about embarrassing images they posted to a social network or website. German researchers have created software called X-Pire that gives images an expiration date by tagging them with an encrypted key. Once this date has passed the key stops the images being viewed and copied. Creators plan to levy a small charge to use the tagging system and put a digital lock on digital pictures. "More and more people are publishing private data to the internet and it's clear that some things can go wrong if it stays there too long. " "Many people join social networks because of social pressure. They tend to post everything on the first day and make themselves naked on the internet. Only a small fraction of people are active every day. The majority are passive users, they do not contribute apart from their initial phase and afterwards they do not seem to care or perhaps they just forget." However social networks never forget and images posted to sites, be they embarrassing or not, were visible forever.

S.E.C. approves new rules for asset-backed securities

The Securities and Exchange Commission approved new regulations aimed at curbing the risks of asset-backed securities and bringing more clarity to the still struggling market. Securities backed by toxic mortgages and other assets imploded during the financial crisis, costing investors billions of dollars. Investors, who are still shying away from the market, have complained that the banks didn't disclose the risks, including the dubious quality of the underlying loans. One rule, which will take effect early next year, requires banks and other financial firms that issue asset-backed securities to review the quality of the underlying assets, including mortgages, credit card debt and student loans. The banks then must disclose their findings to investors. If the assessment shows that the underlying loans did not meet underwriting standards promised to investors, the banks must explain the discrepancy in a filing.

US States to escape debt burdens ?

Policy makers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers. Unlike cities, the states are barred from seeking protection in federal bankruptcy court. Any effort to change that status would have to clear high constitutional hurdles because the states are considered sovereign. But proponents say some states are so burdened that the only feasible way out may be bankruptcy, giving Illinois, for example, the opportunity to do what General Motors did with the federal government's aid. Beyond their short-term budget gaps, some states have deep structural problems, like insolvent pension funds, that are diverting money from essential public services like education and health care. Some members of Congress fear that it is just a matter of time before a state seeks a bailout, say bankruptcy lawyers who have been consulted by Congressional aides. Bankruptcy could permit a state to alter its contractual promises to retirees, which are often protected by state constitutions, and it could provide an alternative to a no-strings bailout. Along with retirees, however, investors in a state's bonds could suffer, possibly ending up at the back of the line as unsecured creditors.

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 - Family of victim in Esteban Núñez case sues Schwarzenegger - Click here.

2 - Hewlett-Packard shakes up board to quell criticism over Hurd - Click here.

3 - Silvio Berlusconi calls for new laws to protect himself - Click here.

4 - US airman convicted in HIV exposure case - Click here.

5 - France faces fine for neglecting Alsace Great Hamster - Click here.

6 - Swiss open new probe against banker Rudolf Elmer - Click here.

7 - Arizona-style immigration law passes in Mississippi; Barbour may face decision - Click here.

8 - New countries eligible to participate in H-2A and H-2B programs - Click here.

9 - Broward Judge Dale Cohen admits in judicial misconduct trial he made mistake - Click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China lends more than World Bank

Chinese state-controlled banks lend more to developing countries than the World Bank. The China Development Bank and the China Export Import Bank offered loans of at least $110 bn to governments and firms in developing countries in 2009 and 2010. Between mid-2008 and mid-2010, the World Bank's lending arm issued loans of just over $100bn. The two Chinese banks do not publish a detailed breakdown of their overseas loans, so this research is based on public announcements about specific deals from them, their borrowers or the Chinese government.

China 'not seeking military domination'

President Hu Jintao says China has no interest in pursuing military dominance over other nations, after meeting US politicians and business leaders.

Hu's visit yields modest results

As Chinese President Hu Jintao winds up a visit to the U.S., analysts say Hu and President Obama went out of their way to stress the potential for cooperation and benefits to both countries. Still, many complex issues in the often tense bilateral relationship were left unresolved. The U.S. also got a number of things out of the summit, including $45 billion in Chinese trade and investment. China also agreed to stiffen its enforcement of intellectual property rights and to soften its so-called indigenous innovation policies, which discriminate against American companies vying for lucrative Chinese government contracts. But there was no movement — at least in public — on U.S. concerns over China's currency, which analysts in the U.S. say is undervalued and harms American exporters.

  • Law Firm Marketing

Is your marketing message written in your prospects' language?

by Tom Trush

If your target market is new to your legal services, you face a daunting task.

Any chance at a new client hinges on your ability to transform what you offer into benefits your prospects understand. Confuse your audience and they'll go searching for a message they can comprehend -- and you probably won't see them again.

The best way to eliminate confusion is to communicate using your prospects' language. In most cases, they'll understand you better if you use simple words with clear concepts.

So don't be afraid to write casually, especially when your target market is consumers. Not only can you still sound professional using basic language, but your text won't read like it was generated by a corporate machine.

Also, when presenting facts, take them a step further by explaining how they benefit your prospects. A trick that makes this task easy is to follow your facts with the words "so that."

For example, let's say you sell water-based markers with bullet tips. The features (or facts) are the bullet tips and that the markers are water-based.

Here's what you might brainstorm to identify benefits:

The markers have bullet tips ... so that ... they don't squeak when you write on white boards ... so that .. your audience doesn't get distracted while you're presenting ... so that .. attention remains focused on you at all times ...

The markers are water-based ... so that ... you can write on paper without worrying about ink bleeding through ... so that ... your presentations look clean and vibrant ... so that ... your message is more memorable to your audience ..

Get the idea?

And, finally, here's an exercise to help you determine how prospects describe needs related to your legal services:

First, go to http://www.ask.com. Then enter a term related to your area of law in the search box.

Once the results come up, look to the right side of the page under the "Related Searches" section. You'll see a section called "Ask Q&A." Below this phrase will be an active link telling you how many questions have been asked about your term.

When you click this link below "Ask Q&A," you'll get a list of questions people have entered into search engines or added to their websites/blogs. Scroll through several questions and you'll get a good idea of how prospects refer to your legal services.

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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

Casamiento gay

La CSJ de Colombia analizará la demanda de legalizar el casamiento entre personas del mismo sexo, la querella fue presentada por segunda vez ante el máximo tribunal tras que abogados de las organizaciones a favor corrigieran algunos errores de fondo. (Presione aquí)

Energía

En una operación por US$ 200 millones, el Grupo EPM de Colombia llegó a un acuerdo con la multinacional Ashmore Energy International (AEI) para la compra de dos distribuidoras y comercializadoras de electricidad en El Salvador y Panamá. (Presione aquí)

GM

La filial mexicana de General Motors invertirá US$ 540 mlls. en la fabricación de dos motores en su planta de Toluca, a unos 50 kilómetros al oeste de la capital mexicana.

Empleo x desempleo

El bajo desempleo también es un problema, dicen economistas de Uruguay, quienes temen que el país -con una taza de desempleo más baja de su historia - ingrese en la especulación salarial, ante una demanda excesiva de trabajadores, que podría darse con la construcción de importantes obras, como la nueva planta de celulosa de Arauco. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

EU investigating carbon trading thefts

All carbon trading in Europe has been halted as the European Commission looks into thefts of emissions permits. The Czech carbon registry said 7m euros ($9.4m) of permits had seemingly been stolen by hackers on Wednesday. It followed a similar security breach in Austria on Tuesday, and prompted five countries to suspend their registries before the entire system was shut down. A Commission spokesman did not rule out the possibility of deliberate sabotage.

Brazil interest rates hit 11.25%

Brazil's central bank raises its key interest rate to 11.25% in a bid to cool inflation in one of the world's fastest growing economies.

Dozens of 'mobsters' held in US

US federal agents charge 127 suspected mobsters in the New York region in the largest single-day FBI mafia crackdown in US history. The defendants include high-ranking members of the Gambino and Colombo crime families and the reputed former boss of organized crime in New England. (Click here)

Vatican 'troubled' by Berlusconi sex case

The Vatican has said it is troubled by the latest sex allegations made against the Italian prime minister. Magistrates on Friday opened an investigation into Silvio Berlusconi, alleging that he had paid an under-age prostitute. He has dismissed the investigation as politically motivated and vowed to punish the magistrates behind it. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said those in authority should show a more "robust morality".

Renault executives take action

Sacked Renault executives linked to allegations of industrial espionage begin legal action to clear their names. French media reports speculated about money being deposited in Swiss bank accounts and of links with one or more companies in China. Renault has filed a criminal complaint with the Paris prosecutor's office, alleging it has been the victim of organized industrial espionage, corruption, and breach of trust.

Obama administration may resume military commission trials

The Obama administration may increase its use of controversial military commissions for Guantanamo Bay detainees, according to a New York Times report Wednesday. Per the report, administration officials plan to rescind an order issued on Obama's first day in office that halted military commission proceedings and continues to block the government from initiating new cases under the system. If done, filings are expected within weeks, which would represent the first time that new charges are brought against detainees during the Obama administration. Officials are also reportedly drafting a new executive order that would establish mechanisms by which to review the cases of those detainees held without trial.

UK court finds for Nokia in patent suit

The UK Court of Appeal on Thursday found in favor of Finnish telecommunications company Nokia in its most recent patent suit against German intellectual property firm IPCom GmbH & Co. The ruling invalidates two European patents held by IPCom, for which the company had sought substantial compensation from Nokia. In reaching its decision, the court described IPCom's litigation tactics as an "abuse of process" designed to improperly prolong the proceedings. IPCom has had 13 additional patents nullified as a result of four prior UK suits involving Nokia, and arguments between the companies pertaining to an unrelated divisional patent are scheduled for April.

Google challenges Spain order to remove links

Lawyers for Google on Wednesday filed an appeal in Spanish court hoping to overturn orders from Spanish authorities to remove websites that allegedly violate privacy rights. Spain's Data Protection Agency filed 90 orders for Google to remove the websites from its database. This case is the first of its kind, Google told the Associated Press, and it argues a ruling against it would hurt freedom of expression.

India court alarm over 'theft of national money'

India's Supreme Court has said that the practice of illegal funneling of wealth overseas by Indians is a "pure and simple theft of national money". The court also asked what the government was doing to retrieve the illegal money in foreign banks. US-based group Global Financial Integrity has said that India has lost more than $460bn in such illegal flight of capital since Independence. The report also said that almost three-quarters of the illegal money that comprises India's underground economy ends up outside the country. India's underground economy has been estimated to account for 50% of the country's GDP - $640bn at the end of 2008. High net-worth individuals and private companies were found to be primary drivers of illegal capital flows.

BYOC: Should employees buy their own computers?

You are at work. Your computer is five years old, runs Windows XP. Your company phone has a tiny screen and doesn't know what the internet is. Idling at home are a snazzy super-fast laptop, and your own smartphone is barred from accessing work e-mail. There's a reason for that: IT provisioning is an expensive business. Companies can struggle to keep up with the constant rate of technological change. The devices employees have at home and in their pockets are often far more powerful than those provided for them. So what if you let your staff use their own equipment? In 2010, food and drinks giant Kraft announced it would provide a subsidy to staff in the US to allow them choose their own computers. The conglomerate is just the latest business to adopt the policy. Microsoft and Intel both run "bring your own computer" (BYOC) schemes where the hardware is subsidized. Critics of the strategy have flagged security as a concern, pointing out that people may do things with their own equipment they wouldn't consider with a company laptop. Before sacking half the IT department, there are other considerations for businesses considering a BYOC policy. Companies need to remember friends and family often have access to personal laptops. This opens up security risks, the data on there is potentially going to be viewed by more people. Despite this, whether the driving factor is cost-cutting, employee satisfaction or flexibility, companies have found that over the last year there's been a marked increase in interest in BYOC.

Messier awaits ruling

A French court will rule Friday on whether former Vivendi CEO Jean-Marie Messier misled investors over the company's financial health.

U.S. asks Twitter for WikiLeaks data

The U.S. Justice Department obtained a court order asking Twitter to turn over information about WikiLeaks-related accounts, the latest twist in a broad investigation of the document-leaking website.

US Supreme Court hears from few female lawyers

Last year Lisa Blatt listed the top lessons she's learned in more than a decade as a lawyer arguing before the Supreme Court. Never let the justices see you sweat, facts matter and timing is everything. Then she wrote this: Women have a harder time than men successfully arguing before the court. "Each argument is a big deal," said Blatt, a Texas native who learned to argue as a high school debater. Blatt said she believes women have the ability to argue as well as men, but they seem less likely to crave the verbal jousting required in the court.

  • Daily Press Review

Cleaner jailed 6 months for groping British woman
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Cabinet discusses three provincial development plans
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

Obama, Hu spar over human rights, hail econ ties
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Sentencing of former district officer deferred due to heart surgery
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Five arrested after ape heads, hands seized
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

High opium prices may reverse gains: UN
Pajhwok Afghan News, (Independent news agency), Kabul, Afghanistan

Storm death toll in Brazil rises to 772
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Scientists grow human liver tissue for transplantation
Sify News, Chennai, India

Pranab to clarify government stand on ending black money
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Jamaica's dying manufacturing sector seeks Govt cure
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

Agents detain Haitians on road to Dominican Republic's richest region
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

DR Congo Parliament Approves Constitutional Amendments
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator

Fugitive couple found in bullet-riddled room
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

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