August 19, 2016 nº 1,780 - Vol. 13

"1) The worth of character;
 2) The improvement of talent;
 3) The influence of example;
 4) The joy of origination;
 5) The dignity of simplicity;
 6) The success of perseverance."

Marshall Field

In today's Law Firm Marketing, How to troubleshoot your marketing program


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  • Top News

More big banks are using arbitration to bar customer lawsuits

A new report confirms that nearly all big banks are forcing customers to give up their right to a jury trial. This is according to researchers at the Pew Charitable Trusts, who looked at the customer contracts for checking accounts at 44 of the nation’s largest banks and found that 91% of them include jury trial waivers. At the very least, that means that any legal dispute would be heard solely by a judge and not by a jury of the customer’s peers. However a further look at these contracts shows that customers are — often unwittingly — signing away their ability to even enter a courtroom in the first place. 70% of these same banks have forced arbitration clauses, meaning customers must instead enter into binding arbitration before a third-party private arbitrator. The are several problems with forced arbitration , but the main concerns for consumers include: (1) potential Bias: some of arbitration’s biggest defenders have admitted the process can be tilted in favor of the businesses that frequently use arbitrators; (2) secrecy: arbitration often happens behind closed doors with all parties bound by confidentiality agreements. Thus, even if a company is found to have violated the law, the public may never know. This is one of the reasons that opponents of forced arbitration, like NYU Law professor Samuel Issacharoff have dubbed it a "get out of jail free card."; (3) limited damages: as opposed to jury trials, where successful plaintiffs can be awarded substantial damages, arbitration awards are often very limited. This restriction makes it difficult for plaintiffs to find or afford quality legal representation. Similarly, some cases that are expensive to mount are rendered pointless because it would cost more to prove your case than you could possibly hope to win.

This brings us to the biggest sticking point with most forced arbitration clauses: The ban on class actions. Nearly 90 major companies that use arbitration agreements include a prohibition on class actions — even through arbitration. So take the above concerns about the arbitration process and then add the problem of being forced to go it alone, even if there are thousands — maybe millions — of customers who were similarly wronged. After the 2011 Concepcion ruling, banks, retailers, manufacturers, websites, and countless other businesses raced to add arbitration clauses to their user agreements and contracts. So if a customer tried to sue a bank over that same issue now, not only would they be shunted off immediately into arbitration, each individual customer would have to make their case… for damages that might not even reach triple digits.

Customers say they want to keep the right to sue, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed a ban on such moves by banks. (Click here)

Deutsche Bank whistleblower says he rejects $8 million award

A whistleblower who is in line to receive $8 million for exposing alleged securities law violations at Deutsche Bank said on Thursday that he is giving up the award because regulators only fined the company and didn't go after the managers responsible for the misconduct.

  • Crumbs

1- Volvo and Uber team up to develop self-driving cars - click here.

2 - Man charged over Facebook 'death threat' sent to MP will not face trial - click here.

3 - 'Not becoming of a woman': lawyers may finally get recourse for harassment - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

China demands stricter rules for live streaming

China's internet regulator has demanded stricter controls over the popular practice of live streaming, as part of a range of new requirements for sites. As well as asking sites to step up control of live broadcasts, the Cyberspace Administration of China wants the content monitored full-time. It is the latest move by authorities to clamp down on what it sees as "inappropriate" content online.

  • Law Firm Marketing

How to troubleshoot your marketing program
Correct these 18 problems to improve results
By Trey Ryder

One weak link can cause your marketing chain to break. If you aren't getting the results you want, check for these trouble spots.

Problem #1: Is your marketing message complete? Your message must identify a problem, prove it exists, identify a solution, prove it works and build your services into the solution. Your message should answer every question your prospect might ask. And don't be concerned if your message is long. Long messages work -- not because they're long, but because they're complete.

Compare these two situations: A prospect makes an appointment, walks into your office and says you can have five minutes to explain how you can help him. Another prospect says you can have one hour to explain what you can do for him. Which prospect is more likely to hire you? Certainly, the prospect who gives you more time because you can give him more information. The same is true with written materials and web sites. The longer you keep your prospect's attention, the more likely you are to win a new client.

Problem #2: Is your message written for your audience? A message that attracts blue-collar workers is different from a message designed for white-collar professionals. A message that attracts doctors is different from a message written for accountants. Make sure you write your message so it addresses the problems, concerns, wants and needs of your target audience.

If you have two or three audiences with varying concerns, you need one message for each audience. In the same way, if you are promoting more than one area of the law, you need a different message for each area. Your message is most effective and works the hardest when it is custom-designed specifically for one target audience. When you try to use the same message for various audiences, your marketing suffers. This is because when you broaden your message so it applies to all groups, you dilute its effectiveness for each group.

Problem #3: Is your message easy to understand? Whether your audience is young adults or business executives, you should write your message in everyday language, not legalese. The easier your message is to understand, the more likely prospects are to read it. Show them a complicated message and they'll put it aside "until later." Prospects don't buy what they don't understand. Prospects must clearly understand what you offer and how they benefit from hiring you.

Problem #4: Is your message where prospects will find it? A tax lawyer who wanted to represent doctors before the IRS ran an ad in a weekly shopper newspaper. Not surprisingly, he was disappointed with the results and wasted his $2000 investment. You must deliver your marketing message in ways that effectively reach your prospects. Test to see which delivery methods work best for your particular audience.

Problem #5: Are you attracting enough inquiries? Marketing is a numbers game. You profit from working the percentages. If you get 5 new clients for every 100 inquiries, you must generate 200 inquiries if you want to win 10 new clients. First, you must learn your percentages. (No two lawyers' percentages are the same.) Then you must develop enough marketing momentum to attract the number of clients you want.

Problem #6: Can you deliver your marketing message in a way that prospects find more convenient? Your prospects are busy -- just like you and me. If you offer seminars, but your prospects are too busy to attend seminars, your marketing program has a fatal flaw. When you send materials by mail, fax or e-mail, you have an advantage over lawyers who wait for prospects to come into their offices or attend seminars.

Problem #7: Do your prospects believe you have the knowledge and skill to represent them? Provide biographical information about your qualifications, experience and professional memberships. Also, discuss other clients you have helped in similar circumstances to prove that you have in-depth experience in that area of the law.

Problem #8: Do you generate responses from prospects? An often-overlooked yet essential principle of direct marketing is to tell prospects precisely what you want them to do. If your prospects aren't sure what action you want them to take, they often do nothing. Tell prospects the next step you suggest. Or, give them a choice of two or three options, such as call you for a phone consultation, come in for an office consultation, or attend one of your seminars. When you give prospects choices, they focus on which choice suits them best, instead of whether they should take action, which often results in no action.

Problem #9: Do you depend on in-person consultations to deliver your marketing message? When prospects think about going to a lawyer's office, they often feel like lambs walking into the lion's den. Offer prospects non-threatening ways to get to know you, such as telephone consultations, e-mail questions and answers, seminars and newsletters. After prospects grow to trust you, they are likely to respond favorably when you invite them to your office.

Problem #10: Do you provide services that address prospects' needs? Or do you offer cookie cutter services and try to squeeze prospects into pre-packaged programs? No one likes to be the square peg shoved into the round hole. The more you meet prospects' needs, and the more prospects realize your services are custom-tailored to their needs, the more new clients you'll win.

Problem #11: Do your prospects know you sincerely want to help them? When you build strong personal relationships with prospects, you have a big advantage over lawyers who treat clients as "just another file." Take time to get to know your prospects and you'll have the opportunity to win a loyal client for life.

Problem #12: Do your prospects know how you can help them solve problems? Lawyers often tell me, "My client went to another attorney because he didn't know I provided the services he wanted." Your client's perception of what you do is based on what you have done for him. Often, clients do not know the range of your services. Your educational materials, web site, newsletters and biographies should keep clients up to date on the areas in which you practice and the services you provide.

Problem #13: Do you offer introductory services that lead to other services? If you want to draft contracts, offer to review existing contracts. If you discover problems, offer to make changes or rewrite the agreement. Prospects like to start working with you on a small scale. Then often, as your relationship grows, the amount of work they ask you to perform grows as well.

Problem #14: Do you offer fees that are attractive to prospects? You should price your services in ways that appeal to your prospects. If you allow prospects to choose the fee structure they prefer, they are more likely to hire your services than if you give them only one option.

Problem #15: Do your prospects know the risks of waiting? Explain the benefits of solving the problem now and the risks of allowing the problem to persist. If your prospect doesn't know better, he may decide to "think about it" -- and you know what that means. Establishing urgency is key to a sound marketing program. Relate a story about someone who waited too long and the terrible situation that resulted. Ask if your prospect wouldn't like to avoid that awful problem. Also, explain about a person who took the action you recommend, and describe all the problems he prevented and the benefits he enjoyed.

Problem #16: Do you allow prospects to make decisions without pressure from you? Prospects don't like persistent efforts to close the sale. When you act like a salesperson, you undermine your credibility. Instead, offer prospects information about their problems and the solutions you recommend. Then let them make their own decision. It's OK if prospects feel pressured into doing something, as long as the pressure they feel comes from their circumstances and not from you.

Problem #17: Does your program strengthen loyalty between your clients and you? The best way to increase and maintain loyalty is to provide ongoing information through seminars, newsletters, web sites and other forms of education. When you keep clients informed, you cement your relationship, you educate them about the many ways you can help them, and they refer their friends.

Problem #18: Are you committing enough time and money to your marketing program? Marketing takes a concerted effort. To achieve success, you must devote time and resources. What's more, you must invest in a proven program. If you simply dabble in marketing, you may never get the results you want. Here's the double marketing paradox:

First, you should test your marketing on a small scale so you discover what works and what doesn't. Still, you must commit enough money so you can take the steps most likely to bring you success.

Second, you should expect at least some responses as soon as you implement your program. Still, you must allow time to make mid-course corrections so you can improve your results as you learn more about your target audience and how it responds to your marketing efforts.

By evaluating your marketing program against these weaknesses, you have the opportunity to dramatically improve your marketing effort -- and results.


© Trey Ryder

FREE LAWYER MARKETING ALERT: If you'd like to receive Trey Ryder's weekly Lawyer Marketing Alert, send an e-mail to 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

Sólo una vez

Los intendentes, legisladores y concejales de la provincia de Buenos Aires sólo podrán ser reelectos una vez, según lo establece una ley sancionada en la cámara de senadores bonaerense. La iniciativa, que ya había sido aprobada en la Cámara de Diputados provincial, fue impulsada originalmente por el Frente Renovador y prevé también que los mandatos actuales de los jefes comunales, ediles y legisladores serán computados como primer período, por lo que podrán proponerse sólo por un nuevo mandato consecutivo. (Presione aquí)


El Tribunal de Apelaciones de Uruguay condenó a un banco a pagar US$ 47 mill a una docente por demorar 12 años en otorgarle una jubilación en función a los años trabajados en una escuela de recuperación psíquica de Minas. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

US: Iran cash linked to prisoner release

The State Department has said a $400m cash payment to Iran was used as "leverage" in the release of five US prisoners. Five Americans held in Iran were released in January in exchange for seven detained Iranians. The US airlifted $400m worth of cash to Iran on the same day. The exchange came as the US lifted international sanctions against Iran as part of the country's historic nuclear deal. The timing of both incidents has prompted an outcry from Republicans, who accused the Obama administration of quid pro quo. The White House, however, has pushed back on claims that the US paid a ransom for the release of the prisoners, saying the money was part of a longstanding financial dispute with Iran from before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The White House claims that the payment was part of $1.7bn owed to Iran in a military equipment deal made with the US-backed Shah in the 1970s. The equipment was never delivered before the Shah was overthrown in 1979. Spokesman John Kirby maintained the payment was negotiated separately from the release, but said it was withheld until the Americans had left Iran.

US to end federal use of private prisons

The US Justice Department will phase out use of privately owned prisons, citing safety concerns. Contracts with 13 private prisons will be reviewed and allowed to expire over the next five years. "They do not save substantially on costs and ... they do not maintain the same level of safety and security," Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said explaining the decision. The majority of US prisoners are held in state-run prisons. On Wall Street, the stocks of private prison companies declined sharply after the news was announced.

Russia furore over FGM in mainly Muslim Dagestan

A report on female genital mutilation (FGM) in the North Caucasus has sparked a fierce debate in Russia, with some clerics defending the practice. A civil society group found FGM to be common among Muslims in mountain villages in Dagestan. Girls' genitals were cut in primitive homes. Regional Muslim leader Ismail Berdiyev suggested all women should undergo FGM but later withdrew the remark. But a senior Orthodox Christian priest, Vsevolod Chaplin, had backed him. In a Facebook post (in Russian), Archpriest Chaplin expressed "my sympathies for the mufti, and I hope he doesn't retreat from his position because of the howls and hysterics which will start now". "We Orthodox Christians have different traditions - but that never stopped us respecting the traditions of neighboring peoples," he wrote. He said FGM was not necessary for Orthodox Christian women "because they're not promiscuous anyway". But he approved of the mufti's statement that God had created "woman so that she could give birth and bring up children". "Feminism is a 20th-Century lie," he added.

Racial inequality "entrenched in Britain"

Black and ethnic minority people in Britain still face "entrenched" race inequality in many areas, including education and health, a watchdog warns. A review by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which also looked at employment, housing, pay, and criminal justice, found an "alarming picture". Black graduates earn on average 23.1% less than white ones, and more ethnic minorities are unemployed, it found. The government said it was committed to "delivering real social reform".

Victory taxed

When Olympic athletes come home there will be in for not just a major celebration but also a hefty tax bill for their victories. American Olympians are subject to a so-called "victory tax" - a tax on the money they receive from the Olympic committee for winning, on the value of the Olympic medal and the value of accumulated endorsement deals. US athletes who win a medal at the Rio games will take home the hardware and a cash bonus from the US Olympic Committee. Gold medalists will receive $25,000, silver medalists get $15,000, and bronze winners earn $10,000. Those winnings are taxed as income, the same way Americans are taxed on other prize money, like lottery winnings. Most countries exempt their athletes from these taxes.

Lawyers in Volkswagen case steer toward Bosch

Lawyers seeking compensation for victims of Volkswagen AG's emissions-cheating scandal are turning up the pressure on auto-parts supplier Robert Bosch GmbH, and they're getting help from Volkswagen.

Judge rejects Uber's $100m settlement with drivers

A settlement between the taxi-hailing app Uber and some of its drivers has been rejected by a US judge. The $100m deal had been agreed after legal action on behalf of around 385,000 Uber drivers, who claimed that they should be classed as employees and entitled to expenses. However, a San Francisco judge has ruled that the settlement was "not fair, adequate or reasonable". Uber said the decision was disappointing. "The settlement, mutually agreed by both sides, was fair and reasonable. We're disappointed in this decision and are taking a look at our options," the company said. Under the agreement, Uber had agreed to pay the drivers, based in California and Massachusetts, $84m initially.

Pennsylvania AG resigns following perjury conviction

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced her resignation Tuesday following a conviction on perjury and obstruction charges. Kane was convicted Monday on nine criminal charges, including two felony perjury charges that each carry seven-year prison terms. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf called the situation "unfortunate" but stated that "her decision to resign is the right one, and will allow the people of Pennsylvania to finally move on from this situation." Kane's resignation will take effect at close of business on Wednesday. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

2015 law school graduates got fewer jobs in private practice

Last year's graduates landed fewer jobs in private practice than any class in the last two decades, according to the National Association for Law Placement.

US apologizes for swimmers 'unacceptable behavior'

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has apologized for what it called the unacceptable behavior of four US swimmers who falsely said they had been robbed at gunpoint in Rio. Rio's civil police head Fernando Veloso said the four Olympic gold medalists had not been robbed. "No robbery was committed against these athletes. They were not victims of the crimes they claimed,'' he said. He told reporters that one or more of the athletes had instead vandalized a toilet in a petrol station and then offered to pay for the damage. The Americans paid and left after armed security guards intervened, he said. USOC said that "the behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA". (Click here)

Banks back on trial for rate rigging

16 banks are being sued for allegedly manipulating a key Australian interest rate benchmark in an attempt to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit profits. JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup are among the banks being sued, part of a class action suit accusing the financial institutions of fixing Australia’s local Libor equivalent.

Merkel shifts to law-and-order stance

Chancellor Angela Merkel said fighting crime and Islamist terror will be key challenges for years, adopting a law-and-order stance after attacks in Germany eroded her approval rating. "We need more police," Merkel said. "We will need more video surveillance of public spaces." Public safety has surged as a voter concern after four attacks in Germany during a week in July, including two by asylum seekers who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State. That's put Merkel on the defensive for declining to slam the door on refugees entering Germany, though the influx has slowed to a fraction of last year's post-World War II record.

Insurer exits from Obamacare turn few choices into none

With the impending pullout of major health insurers offering coverage on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, where Americans can shop for the insurance they’re required to have under the law. -- including Aetna Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc., and Humana Inc. -- Pinal County could Americans left with fewer, if any, choices for coverage. “The idea was that people who use the exchanges would have a variety of plans by different carriers,” said Robert Blendon, a health-policy professor at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “If it isn’t addressed, you will have more companies drop out and you’ll have more pressure on the other companies in terms of their potential losses.” The dropouts also undermine a key promise of the law: multiple insurers would compete for consumers’ business each year, and the power of the market would control costs and raise quality. Instead, the opposite is happening. Rates may jump 24 percent next year, according to, a website that tracks the law, and a quarter of US counties could have just one insurer on the exchanges.

Italian banks continue to lend to stagnant companies as debt pile mounts

Italy accounts for a third of the eurozone’s nonperforming loans. But that hasn't stopped its banks from extending credit to loss-making companies.

Russian Appeals Court rejects Google appeal in antimonopoly case

A Russian appeals court has rejected Alphabet Inc.'s Google's appeal in an antimonopoly case, a spokesman for the Russian antitrust watchdog said Wednesday.

Fiat Chrysler names new top lawyer for US division amid Federal probe

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has named a new top lawyer for its US division, a move that comes as federal authorities investigate allegations the car maker inflated US retail results by pressuring dealers to falsify sales.


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