6 key ingredients of effective law firm press releases

As the media continues to evolve in this electronic age, newsrooms are shrinking or disappearing, the role of journalists is changing, and opportunities for publishing news online are proliferating. The type of information getting published – especially online – also is changing. A decade ago, the chances of getting a law firm press release published verbatim were almost nil. Today, with news and aggregate websites in abundance, wire services publishing on the Web, and more non-journalism-trained editors deciding what gets published, the tables have turned for the press release as a PR tool.

A press release is no longer a vehicle just for informing journalists (who, in the past, mostly cherry-picked the facts they needed from a press release to incorporate into their own stories). In many cases today, a press release is the complete story that your audience will see. That makes the stakes higher than ever before. With that in mind, consider these tips on key ingredients and useful elements to include when writing a law firm press release.

  • Include an attention-grabbing headline.
  • Include the most “newsworthy” information in the first two to three paragraphs – your audience may not read beyond that.
  • Emphasise what’s different about you, your firm or whatever news you’re communicating. Reporters love “firsts” and precedent-setting developments (if they are legit).
  • Insert web links to your law firm’s site and blogs, attorney biographies, and related external web pages. (Even if publishers use “nofollow” links that don’t pass link juice, you will still point readers to your firm’s website where they can further engage with your content.)
  • If there’s a related video, link to that also or embed it into the press release. YouTube and Vimeo players make it easy to copy embed codes.
  • For releases about attorneys, add links to their social media platforms (e.g., LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter).
  • Provide an email address and phone number for someone knowledgeable and responsive as a media contact.
  • Employ useful content. Great storytelling is what sells a release, and these add-ons and themes will help get reporters and editors invested in your news:
  • Provide statistics, if applicable, to add timeliness and credibility to your story.
  • Add local angles. For example, if a law firm has multiple offices, consider customising releases for each office with a different market (city) dateline. In each release, quote a local attorney/office head on firmwide stories. Consider other ways to localise your release to interest journalists in each city where you want coverage.
  • Try to pivot from a current event or story in the news. For example, for a press release about a new law firm office, juxtapose it against a recent story about a downturn in new business openings in the community.
  • Relate your news to current or emerging trends in the legal industry. Reporters often are interested in piggybacking on top of what’s on the cutting edge.
  • Analyse the impact of the news or development that your release covers. Don’t just report the news about you or your firm – explain how it may affect clients, the business community, other lawyers and law firms, and other key constituents.
  • Include at least one good quote from an attorney source or the subject of the release. This adds “color,” personalises the information, and breaks up the routine facts of “who, what, when, where and how.”

Don’t be intimidated by having to produce the perfect law firm press release every time out. By including as many key elements as possible, and hitting upon a couple of attention-grabbing content themes, you’re likely to have success in getting published and positively building the public reputations of yourself and your law firm.

PwC appoints six Advisory partners in Poland and Russia

The six partners bolster PwC’s Advisory division, which houses the firm’s services in management and digital consulting (‘PwC Consulting’), corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions (PwC Deals) and forensics (‘PwC Forensics’).

In Poland, Maciej Kroenke has become a partner in PwC’s Strategy practice. He joined the Big Four firm at the start of 2016 from a boutique Polish consultancy specialised in pricing and revenue management. Previously, he worked as a consultant for Simon-Kucher & Partners and held several roles in pricing in industry. At PwC, Kroenke leads PwC’s services in the area of revenue management with a focus on pricing, promotions, sales excellence, customer loyalty and digitisation of commercial functions.

Piotr Rudzki has been appointed a partner in the Valuations & Economics team, which is a service line within PwC Deals. He re-joined PwC in 2017 following an eight year spell in investment banking, having previously served the accounting and consulting giant for four years. Warsaw-based Rudzki specialises in corporate finance, business valuations, financial models and M&A services.

Sixteen years after starting her career at PwC, Katarzyna Podgórna has now been admitted into the firm’s leadership ranks. She is a partner in the Capital Markets and Accounting Advisory Services arm, leading a team which develops and implements solutions to improve processes within finance departments, with a focus on the financial services industry. Interrupting her tenure at PwC Poland were two external stints – one at rival EY (five years) and a 12-month secondment at PwC in the UK.

Part of the Financial Services industry group, Łukasz Żochowski has been tasked with expanding PwC’s Advisory services to banks and insurance groups, among others. He has been with PwC for his entire career, and has grown into a specialist in risk management services for financial institutions, including risk analytics/modelling, risk-IT implementations, regulatory & compliance and remediation topics. He is a leader in the firm’s CEE-wide Risk Management group.

Maciej Przybyłowski is a partner in PwC’s Financial Crime Unit, which helps financial institutions battle the growing threat of financial crime, including the likes of anti-money laundering, terrorist financing, bribery and corruption, market abuse and insider dealing. He joined PwC in 2016, after serving among others telecom group Orange, GE and local Polish banking subsidiary Bank BPH, and Citi. Przybyłowski has been tasked with developing PwC’s financial crime offerings in domestically and in the region.

Meanwhile, in Russia, where PwC has over 2,600 professionals working across offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Kazan, Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar, Voronezh, Novosibirsk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Vladikavkaz, PwC has appointed Olga Maydanik a partner in the firm’s Deals wing.

Maydanik joined PwC in Moscow in 2009 after serving the Russian arm of Deloitte for five years. At PwC Deals, she supports clients with M&A and transaction services, with a focus on transactions in the energy, oil & gas and transport & logistics sectors. Maydanik holds a Master of Economics from Moscow’s Lomonosov State University.

Ron Herman Appears on CBS 12 Discussing Epstein Case

Attorney Ron D. Herman, founder of Herman Law, P.A., was featured on the August 14 broadcast of CBS 12 news offering his thoughts on the investigation into the late Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking ring. The in-depth News Team Coverage included an extensive interview of Herman due to his “years of experience with sex crime cases as both a prosecutor and defense attorney.”

While prosecutors are continuing their investigation, Herman explained that the criminal charges against Epstein will be dismissed due to his death. New York City’s chief medical examiner determined the death was a suicide.

Based on his experience in cases in which a defendant dies, Herman notated that “the criminal case is over.” Herman explained that Epstein will continue to enjoy the presumption of innocence in the eyes of the law because his attorneys had entered a not guilty plea prior to his death.

Nonetheless, alleged victims of Epstein’s sex crimes have other legal remedies, such as civil claims against his estate. Criminal cases against Epstein’s associates may also still be possible. As a former prosecutor in the coveted Crimes Against Children Unit (Special Victims Unit or SVU), Herman was tapped for his legal analysis of the issues in this high profile case.

About Ron D. Herman

Ron Herman is the managing partner of Herman Law, P.A., an established West Palm Beach criminal law firm, where he defends complex cases, with experience representing companies and professionals fighting government investigations. With litigation experience spanning two decades, Ron has handled more than 150 jury trials during his esteemed career.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit https://www.rhlawfl.com/

Commercial Arbitration in Zimbabwe

Adjudication, arbitration, conciliation and mediation are some of the alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in use in Zimbabwe. Of these, arbitration is the most prominent one. On the 13th of September 1996, Zimbabwe repealed its outdated Arbitration Act (Chapter 7:02) and replaced it with the Arbitration Act (Chapter 7:15). Through section 2 of the said Act, the country adopted with minor modifications, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law. The said Act applies to every arbitration agreement, whether made before, on or after the 13th of September 1996. It covers both domestic and international arbitration.

Matters that are not capable of determination by arbitration in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, the following matters are not capable of determination by arbitration:

      (a) An agreement that is contrary to the public policy.
      (b) A dispute which in terms of any law, may not be determined by arbitration.
      (c) A criminal case.
      (d) A matrimonial cause or a matter relating to status, unless the High Court gives leave for it to be determined by arbitration.
      (e) A matter affecting the interests of a minor or an individual under a legal disability, unless the High Court gives leave for it to be determined by arbitration.
      (f) A matter concerning a consumer contract as defined in the Consumer Contracts Act (Chapter 8:03), unless the consumer has by separate agreement agreed thereto.

Arbitration in Zimbabwe

Since the introduction of the Arbitration Act (Chapter 7:15) the use of arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism has gained momentum. Most commercial contracts contain an arbitration clause that enables the parties to choose arbitration as their preferred method of resolving any existing or future dispute between them arising out of or in connection with the contract, including any question regarding its existence, validity or termination.

Most contracts nominate the Commercial Arbitration Centre (CAC) in Harare as the appointing authority in the event that the parties are unable to agree on an arbitrator. The CAC was founded in 1995 by Muchadeyi Masunda and Ian Donovan, the godfathers of arbitration in Zimbabwe. It was the first arbitration centre to be established in Zimbabwe. The second centre, Africa Institute of Mediation and Arbitration (AIMA) is relatively new. It was established by Justice Moses Chinhengo (retired) in 2013. Most of AIMA’s panellists are retired judges. The CAC’s panellists are mostly senior lawyers, retired judges and professionals within fields such as Construction, Engineering, Accounting and Banking.

Advantages of Arbitration

More and more businesses are resorting to arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism. This is because arbitration offers them the following advantages:

      (a) It helps them resolve their disputes in a less antagonistic manner, thereby enabling them to preserve their business relationships.
      (b) They are able to keep the dispute and its resolution away from the public, and are thus able to protect their secrets.
      (c) They are able to appoint or contribute towards the appointment of the arbitrator.
      (d) The flexible nature of the arbitral process makes it possible for them to structure the arbitral process the way they want.
      (e) It tends to be quicker and more cost effective than litigation.
      (f) The arbitral award is final.

Challenges of arbitration in Zimbabwe

Whilst the use of arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism in Zimbabwe continues to grow, the field faces various challenges. For example, there are hardly any resources on commercial arbitration in Zimbabwe. Moreover, there is virtually no training for arbitrators taking place in Zimbabwe. Although there are several Fellows or Members of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in Zimbabwe, most of these received their training outside the country or by correspondence.

Finally, apart from a few articles, there are no publications on commercial arbitration in Zimbabwe. The one book written many years ago by Muchadeyi Masunda and Ian Donovan has been out of print for over a decade.

The Book Commercial Arbitration in Zimbabwe

In my forthcoming book entitled Commercial Arbitration ln Zimbabwe, I highlight the undesirability of the state of affairs described above, underscore the importance of having trained arbitrators, and call for the training of arbitrators.

The book will be of interest and benefit to arbitrators, lawyers, students of arbitration, judges, and t hose who deal with local and international contracts which include arbitration clauses.

Anyone wanting to know about commercial arbitration in Zimbabwe, the relationship between the Zimbabwean judiciary and the arbitral process, the attitude of the Zimbabwean Courts towards arbitration agreements, how arbitral awards are enforced in Zimbabwe and the circumstances under which arbitral awards might be set aside by the Courts should struggle no more as through the book they will have easy access to that information.

The formation of the African Arbitration Association in 2018 should encourage each African country to have readily available resources on the conduct of arbitration in their jurisdiction. This way, arbitration practitioners from different jurisdictions can share information and draw from each other’s experience with arbitration. The book Commercial Arbitration in Zimbabwe is aimed at doing exactly that for Zimbabwe.

Topics Covered by the book Commercial Arbitration in Zimbabwe

The book covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • The historical background of commercial arbitration in Zimbabwe,
  • Characteristics of arbitration,
  • A comparison of arbitration with litigation,
  • The advantages of arbitration,
  • The appointment of arbitrators,
  • The qualities and qualifications of arbitrators,
  • Types of arbitrators,
  • The difference between the seat of arbitration and the venue,
  • Principles of natural justice,
  • The arbitrator’s powers,
  • Interim measures,
  • Security for costs,
  • Termination of an arbitrator`s mandate,
  • Liability of arbitrators,
  • Preliminary meeting,
  • The hearing,
  • How to deal with a dilatory disputant,
  • The Zimbabwean judicial system,
  • The courts and arbitration,
  • The structure and types of arbitral awards,
  • The registration of awards,
  • The functus officio doctrine,
  • When an arbitral award may be set aside and the effect of setting aside an award,

It is hoped that this book will promote the use of arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism and shine a spotlight on commercial arbitration in Zimbabwe.

Davison Kanokanga (http://www.kanokangalawfirm.net/)

Bill releases companies from hiring 2/3 of Brazilian Seafarers

The Committee on Economic Development, Industry, Commerce and Service of the House of Representatives approved Bill No. 2.456/19, which puts an end to the compulsory reserve provided for by law, that requires companies operating in Brazil to hire 2/3 (two thirds) of Brazilian employees.

The approved Bill also establishes differentiated treatment to companies established in the country that hire Brazilian workers. It also revokes part of the Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT), putting an end to the obligation to fire foreigners before Brazilians.

The Congressman supporting the Bill justifies that the Brazilian Constitution privileges free enterprise and free trade. For this reason, the national legislation must guarantee equal treatment between Brazilians and foreigners. The Congressman also argues that the proposed project is in line with the most dynamic and globalised economies, stimulating competitiveness, freedom of choice and establishing favorable treatment for those who willingly establish reserve policies for national workers.

Our partner, Mariana Félix, especialised in Labour Law explains that if this bill is approved by the National Congress and sanctioned by the President, it will bring direct consequences for local and foreing shipowners operating in Brazil. Because, according to the terms of the Bill approved by the Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, it will no longer be necessary for shipowners to hire Brazilians to compose 2/3 (two thirds) of the crew in order to operate in Brazilian waters.

Lower Taxes Without Renouncing Your American Citizenship

Being born in the United States comes with many privileges. But it also comes with many responsibilities. According to Fortunly’s insightful infographic, the United States is one of two countries in the world that implement citizenship-based taxation. The only other one is the northeast African nation of Eritrea.

Interestingly enough, America’s citizenship-based tax system doesn’t only affect its natural-born citizens. Foreigners may also be held liable for income tax if they meet the country’s residency requirements. Spending too much vacation time is a common reason why non-Americans might need to hand over some cash to Uncle Sam.

But, there are legal ways to beat America’s citizenship-based income taxation system.

The most obvious way is to renounce your US citizenship. But this is a major decision that could lead to dramatic consequences. An alternative to such a drastic measure is filing for tax exemptions. The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) is a viable option for American professionals who intend to make a living outside of any US territory.

With the FEIE, a portion of a citizen’s total active income can be excluded up to a certain limit, which changes every year. To increase the excludable amount, a foreign housing credit can be added into the equation.

When it comes to income from passive activities like stock trading, the United States considers them taxable as usual. However, there are ways to classify passive incomes as active in order to render them partly excludable.

In addition, using an offshore company to run a business may provide an income-tax reduction. This move can legally separate an American-citizen owner and a business entity for tax purposes.

Pursuing every allowable avenue to minimize citizenship-based income tax liabilities is more practical than unpatriotic.