Five for Friday #13

This week included my thoughts on confidential settlement agreements and steps to consider in response to an attempt to compel disclosure of information relating to the representation of a client. Also, the Court promulgated new Rules of Admission.  The changes include adopting the Uniform Bar Exam, as well as replacing the clerkship with a CLE and mentorship program. See, New Rules of Admission, Rule 12.  The Board of Bar Examiners and the MCLE Board will need mentors.  If you’re interested, let me know.

On to Five for Friday!

  1.  It’s okay to look up the answers to questions 1-4: Google, the rules on the Court’s website, the rules on this blog, talking with a colleague.  Try NOT to use Google or a colleague’s mind for #5.
  2. Don’t post your answers in the Comments.  Please email them to michael.kennedy@vermont.gov
  3. Forward this to other lawyers – in AND out of Vermont.  The more the merrier.

Question 1

Two years ago, Paralegal worked for Attorney.  Attorney represented Green in her divorce from Gold.  Paralegal did substantial work on the Green file.

Paralegal has a new job.  Now, Paralegal works for Lawyer.  Lawyer represents Gold.

A post-judgment issue has arisen between Green and Gold. Which is most accurate under the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct?

  • A. Paralegal’s conflict is imputed to Lawyer.  Lawyer is disqualified, unless Green gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.
  • B. Paralegal’s conflict is not imputed to Lawyer, but Paralegal should be screened from the Green & Gold matter.
  • C. Nothing in the Rules of Professional Conduct addresses this situation.
  • D.  Go Cats Go!

Question 2

Lawyer knows that she has earned a portion of the funds that she is holding in her trust account.  She intends to reconcile the trust account & withdraw the earned fees as soon as she can get around to it.  Work is busy.

Although the word does not appear in the Rules of Professional Conduct, what is the common name used to describe Lawyer’s violation of the Rules?

Question 3

Rule 1.6(a) prohibits a lawyer from disclosing information relating to the representation of a client without the client’s informed consent or unless the disclosure is impliedly authorized to carry out the representation.  Rule 1.6(c), however, permits disclosure of otherwise protected information “to establish a claim or defense . . . in a controversy between the lawyer and the client [OR] to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer’s representation of the client.” Rule 1.9(c) operates to apply Rule 1.6 to former clients.

Former Client (“FC”) posted a negative online review of Lawyer on Yelp.  Lawyer intends to reply with a post that would include information covered by Rule 1.6(a).  Most courts and bar associations that have addressed the issue have concluded that:

  • A. FC’s post impliedly authorizes Lawyer’s reply;
  • B.  FC’s post is a “controversy”, thus Rule 1.6(c) authorizes Lawyer’s reply;
  • C.  Given the nature of social media, FC is deemed to have given informed consent to any potential reply;
  • D.  Lawyer’s reply would violate Rule 1.6(a).

Question 4

Attorney calls me with an inquiry.  I listen, then reply: “the Comment to the rule is clear: your representation that you’re required to do so should be sufficient.  You shouldn’t have to say anything more.”

I’m looking for a rather specific answer here: what type of pleading did Attorney call to discuss?

Question 5

The week started with President’s Day, so I’ll finish with this:

Of all the lawyers who have argued cases before the United States Supreme Court, only seven (7) were either a past or future President of the United States.  Name the last lawyer who was either a past or future President to argue a case before the US Supreme Court.

 

 

 

 

 

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