December 1, 2017 nº 1,926 - Vol. 14

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans."

Woody Allen

In today's Law Firm Marketing, delivering your marketing message may prove harder than you think.


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  • Top News

Supreme Court hears arguments on cell phone tracking

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in Carpenter v. United States, a case concerning law enforcement officers' authority to collect an individual's cell phone records to track his movements over an extended period of time. This case arose from petitioner Timothy Carpenter's conviction for armed robbery, for which he was sentenced to 116 days in prison. At trial, the prosecution offered evidence of Carpenter's location during the 127 days surrounding the robberies through cell phone records, which law enforcement obtained without a warrant or consent. Carpenter appealed to the Sixth Circuit and then to the Supreme Court, arguing the officers violated his Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy. The question the court is faced with in this case is: "whether the warrantless seizure and search of historical cell phone records revealing the location and movements of a cell phone user over the course of 127 days is permitted by the Fourth Amendment." During arguments, Carpenter argued such a search is unreasonable due to the nature of cell phone record production and the span of time the records were obtained for. In comparing cell phone records to bank statements (which law enforcement may also obtain) Carpenter argues that less expectation of privacy is associated with bank statements, than cell phone records.

We can't attack North Korea. It's against the law

Responding to North Korea's test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could threaten the United States' mainland, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a press release: "Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now." At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said while the U.S. does not seek war, "if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed." But diplomacy is not just viable, as Tillerson says; it's legally required by the Charter of the United Nations, which, as a treaty ratified by the United States, is the law of the land under the Constitution. This dimension of the North Korean crisis is not getting the attention it deserves. The charter prohibits the threat or use of force except when authorized by the U.N. Security Council or in self-defense against an armed attack. The Security Council is intensively addressing the crisis, including in Wednesday's meeting, and it's significant that it has not seen fit to authorize the use of force. Unless and until it does, the U.S. is bound by law to seek a diplomatic solution. Seeking a military one, in addition to its horrific humanitarian consequences, would violate the charter and put the U.S. on the wrong side of the law.

Harvard Law Review releases special bicentennial edition

On April 15, 1887, with the support of alumnus Louis Brandeis LL.B. 1877, the Harvard Law Review published its very first issue. Today it is one of the oldest and most influential student-operated law journals in the country. Over the years, the journal has sought to evolve in step with the field as a whole. It has brought in new voices and approached the law with fresh perspectives that have both formed the backbone of mainstream legal academia and challenged the status quo. In honor of Harvard Law School's bicentennial, the Law Review published a collection of six articles exploring Harvard's contribution to the development of the law, and how that history will shape the future of the law in theory and practice. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw '84, UCLA Law and Columbia Law professor, critical race theorist and civil rights advocate, writes on the subject of "Race Liberalism and the Deradicalization of Racial Reform;" Harvard Law Professor Vicki C. Jackson discusses "Thayer, Holmes, Brandeis: Conceptions of Judicial Review, Factfinding, and Proportionality;" Harvard Law Professor Jeannie Suk Gersen '02 addresses "The Socratic Method in the Age of Trauma;" Frederick Schauer '72, professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, takes on the topic of jurisprudence in "Law's Boundaries;" and Harvard Law School Dean John Manning deconstructs statutory interpretation in "Without the Pretense of Legislative Intent."

  • Crumbs

1 - Australia Senate approves same-sex marriage bill. (Click here)

2 - Bosnian Croat war criminal dies after taking poison in UN courtroom. (Click here)


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  • MiMIC Journal

China’s tech giants have a second job: helping Beijing Spy on its people

Tencent and Alibaba are among the firms that assist authorities in hunting down criminal suspects, silencing dissent and creating surveillance cities. Their efforts are part a state campaign to build one of the world’s most ambitious surveillance systems.

Mass evictions as Beijing is spruced up

Some suburbs of China's capital are being torn down and residents evicted to try to gentrify the city.

  • Law Firm Marketing

Delivering your marketing message may prove harder than you think
By Trey Ryder

Most lawyers are skilled communicators. Even so, they often have trouble explaining how they can help prospective clients. Follow these 12 steps to get your message across:

STEP #1: Start talking with your prospect at his own level. Ask your prospect what he's concerned about because that's all your prospect can relate to.

STEP #2: Identify the problem your prospect wants to solve or the goal he wants to achieve. Listen carefully so you can determine which points your prospect considers most important. Then focus your message on those subjects.

STEP #3: Confirm and reinforce the importance of your prospect's problem. Explain how serious it could become if your prospect doesn't act now.

STEP #4: In simple terms, give your prospect an overview of the solution you recommend so he understands how you will take him from where he is now to where he wants to be.

STEP #5: Keep your message simple. Every day, prospects suffer from information overload. They screen out complicated messages. A simple message is the only message that has any chance of getting through to your prospective clients.

STEP #6: When you begin your explanation, always go back to square one. When you assume your prospect knows and understands basic facts, you're almost always wrong.

STEP #7: Speak in plain English. If you must use a legal term, make sure you define it. Don't assume that your prospect understands these terms. He may have heard the words before, but he may have no idea what they mean in this context.

STEP #8: Explain each step in the process -- in order -- so your prospect knows exactly what you will do to solve his problem or achieve his goal.

STEP #9: During your explanation, answer every question your prospect might ask. When you explain all the major points in order, your message is clear and straightforward. On the other hand, if your prospect raises a number of questions later, he is asking questions outside the context of your presentation, which often results in more confusion than clarity.

STEP #10: Explain how your prospect benefits from your solution. Your prospect needs to know how the steps you plan to take will bring him the solution he wants -- and how he will benefit from that solution.

STEP #11: Talk about other clients you have helped in similar situations. The more your case histories are like your prospect's situation, the more they will motivate him to act.

STEP #12: Don't worry about repeating yourself. When prospects take in new information, they forget most of it. Your prospect needs to digest what you say -- step by step -- in plain English -- in logical order. Only then will your prospect understand how you will bring him the solution he 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 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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  • Historias Verdaderas

Chevron - Homologación

STJ de Brasil decidió no homologar la sentencia de su par Ecuador que condenó a la estadounidense Chevron a pagar una millonaria indemnización a comunarios por daño ambiental en la Amazonia. (Presione aquí)

PDVSA x Corrupción

El ex ministro de Petróleo de Venezuela, Eulogio del Pino, y el expresidente de la estatal PDVSA, Nelson Martínez , fueron detenidos y acusados de estar presuntamente involucrados en una trama de corrupción en la industria petrolera. El Fiscal General, Tarek Saab, a cargo del caso dijo son investigados por hechos irregulares en la refinería Citgo, una filial en Estados Unidos de Petróleos de Venezuela, y también en la empresa mixta local Petrozamora. (Presione aquí)


El directorio de Renova Energia SA aprobó la propuesta de Brookfield Asset Management Inc para adquirir una participación controladora en la empresa brasileña de energía renovable por US$ 433 mlls. Brookfield comprará nuevas unidades, que consisten en acciones preferentes y ordinarias, por 6 reales cada una, según el comunicado del accionista Light SA. Podría pagar un adicional de un real por unidad.

  • Brief News

US urges all nations to sever North Korea ties

The US has urged all nations to cut diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea after the country's latest ballistic missile test. Speaking at the UN Security Council, US envoy Nikki Haley said Trump had asked his Chinese counterpart to cut off oil supplies to Pyongyang. She said the US did not seek conflict but that North Korea's regime would be "utterly destroyed" if war broke out. The warning came after Pyongyang tested its first missile in two months. The test - one of several this year - has been condemned by the international community and the UN Security Council called an emergency meeting. Haley warned that "continued acts of aggression" were only serving to further destabilise the region. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said sanctions were exhausted. "The Americans should explain to all of us what they are trying to do - if they want to find a pretext for destroying North Korea they should come clean about it, and the American leadership should confirm it," he said.

Euthanasia law passes in Australia for first time

The Australian state of Victoria on Wednesday became the country’s first to legalize assisted dying. After a two and a half years of debate and amendments, Victoria’s Lower House ratified the euthanasia bill, handing a victory to the state government of Premier Daniel Andrews, who had lobbied heavily for the law. Starting in mid-2019, the law will allow Victorians with a terminal, incurable illness — and, in most cases, a life expectancy of less than six months — to obtain a lethal drug within 10 days of requesting it. The state joins the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Colombia and Luxembourg in legalizing euthanasia. Several other countries — and states and jurisdictions in the United States, including California, Washington, D.C., and Oregon — have passed laws allowing assisted suicide, in which doctors, in certain cases, may prescribe or suggest a means in which patients may end their own lives, without directly assisting in the act. (Click here)

Trump administration questions validity of SEC judges

The Trump administration abandoned its defense of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s in-house judicial system, siding with opponents who say the hiring process for the SEC's judges is unconstitutional.

Uber's year of backfires

Uber's year of efficiency is backfiring. The ride-hailing app's 2017 goal was to grow while minimizing subsidies and cash burn. Instead, losses accelerated by a third, to nearly $1.5 billion in the third quarter, from the previous three months. Uber faces a slew of problems, but has yet to answer a basic existential question: Can it develop a sustainable business model. The company's top line is, at least, expanding at an impressive pace. Net revenue, the amount of money Uber makes from rides after its drivers are paid, grew to $2 billion, or 14 percent more than the second quarter. Annualize that, and Uber is growing at nearly a 70 percent clip. The company's exit from cash-sucking markets in China and Russia was supposed to improve margins, as Uber concentrated more on markets where competition was limited, like the United States.

Japan's Emperor Akihito to abdicate

Japan's ageing Emperor Akihito will step down in April 2019, marking the end of an imperial era for Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the abdication date shortly after a government and royal panel met to discuss the timing. The 83-year-old emperor had said last year that his age and health would make it difficult to fulfil his duties. The timing of his abdication, the first in more than two centuries, has been the subject of debate in Japan.

Gold trader implicates Turkish president Erdogan

A controversial Turkish-Iranian gold trader has told a US court that Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally approved his sanction-breaking deals with Iran. Reza Zarrab, 34, is a key witness in the criminal trial of a Turkish banker whom he allegedly worked with to help Iran launder money. Erdogan has denied that Turkey breached US sanctions on Iran. The case has strained relations between Ankara and Washington.

ICC prosecutor confirms decision not to investigate 2010 Israeli-Turkish conflict

International Criminal Court chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda confirmed Thursday that her office will not investigate a 2010 Israeli attack against a Gaza bound Turkish flotilla. After a presentation of new facts and information, Bensouda concluded that there was not "sufficient gravity" to support a legal action under the Rome statute.

Despite scrutiny, Rikers Island's 'culture of violence' persists, report says

The New York jail complex Rikers Island maintains a "culture of violence" among both inmates and staff, despite efforts to improve conditions at the storied correctional facility. The court-mandated report said staff on the island "relish confrontation" with inmates, rather than avoid it. Filed by an independent monitoring group, the report has fueled calls to shut down the jail complex because of its level of violence.

Bitcoin slides amid rollercoaster ride

The price of digital currency Bitcoin falls in a period of wild trading since passing the $11,000 mark.

Google faces mass legal action in UK over data snooping

Google is being taken to court, accused of collecting the personal data of millions of users, in the first mass legal action of its kind in the UK. It focuses on allegations that Google unlawfully harvested information from 5.4 million UK users by bypassing privacy settings on their iPhones. The group taking action - Google You Owe Us - is led by ex-Which director Richard Lloyd. He estimates the users could get as much as "several hundred pounds each". The case centers on how Google used cookies - small pieces of computer text that are used to collect information from devices in order to deliver targeted ads. (Click here)

Cut thine enemy's cake: a proposed redistricting solution based on game theory

Recently, professors at Carnegie Mellon University have proposed a method to reform redistricting and avoid partisan gerrymandering. The plan proposed by the CMU professors would seek to take advantage of each party's self-interest to create fairer and less partisan maps. In the abstract, the professors call their method "I-cut-you-freeze." The abstract compares this method to "classical cake-cutting problems" and draws on game theory to prove their redistricting method—where the cake-cutter knows the other "player" is going to pick their preferred piece—is more likely to result in evenly cut "pieces," or districts. Essentially, if the state legislature is controlled by the Republicans (as is the case in Pennsylvania, for example) then the Republicans would draw all the districts in in the state and then the Democrats would pick the district they preferred and freeze it. Then, they would switch roles. The Democrats would redraw all of the remaining districts according to their preferences and the Republicans would pick their preferred districts and freeze it. To use the cake metaphor, if the Republicans cut the cake unevenly, then the Democrats could take the largest, most favorable piece available. Thus, it would benefit the Republicans to make slices as even as possible and vice versa. The professors point out that their proof of the "I-cut-you-freeze" method is carried out in idealized scenarios. Nonetheless, they argue that "the protocol produces a result within reason, and that neither player gains a significant advantage from the choice of who is assigned the first move in the protocol; we expect that both of these properties would persist in real-world applications."

Bill expanding concealed-carry gun rights passes House Judiciary Committee

The US House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would allow gun owners with state-issued concealed carry permits to carry their guns into other states that also allow concealed carrying. The bill would amend chapter 44 of Title 18 of the federal criminal code and require individuals be eligible to possess and transport a firearm under federal law, obtain a valid concealed carry permit from one's state of residence, and carry a valid photo identification document.

Forty-eight former Argentine officers sentenced for 'dirty war' killings

An Argentine judicial panel on Wednesday sentenced 29 former officials to life in prison, and 19 to between 8-25 years for murder and torture during the junta's 1976-1983 "Dirty War". The sentencing concluded a five-year trial and represented Argentina's largest verdict to date for crimes against humanity. Collectively, the 48 defendants were charged with the deaths of 789 victims. The prosecution called more than 800 witnesses to make their case. Additionally, the court acquitted six former officials.

Saudi prince released from custody after reaching $1bn corruption settlement

Saudi Arabian authorities released Prince Miteb bin Abdullah from custody on Tuesday after reaching an estimated $1 billion settlement agreement concerning corruption allegations, according to a Saudi official. Miteb, "along with 200 other royals, ministers and business tycoons," was arrested and detained in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh earlier this month for alleged participation in the so-called "anti-graft campaign." Accusations against him include "embezzlement, hiring ghost employees and awarding contracts to his own firms, including a deal for walkie talkies and bulletproof military gear."

Japan Supreme Court rules sexual intention not necessary in indecent assault charges

Japan's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the crime of indecent assault does not require a sexual intention. The case came before the supreme court after a man denied having sexual intent when he molested and took nude photos of a girl under the age of 13. He was sentenced to 42 months in prison by a lower court. The man stated that because he only took the pictures to send them to an acquaintance from whom he wanted to borrow money, he could not be convicted of indecent assault. (Click here)


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