Five for Friday#16

No posts this week.  Sorry about that.  Work beckoned and time flew.

But that’s not why you’re here. You’re here because you need something to do before the selection committee releases the  NCAA tournament field Sunday night.  And, as I’ve always never said, a legal ethics quiz is the best way to sharpen your mind for the task of completing a bracket!

Basketball digression (and a hard core one at that): increase your odds of winning your pool by perusing Ken Pomeroy’s rankings. These are advanced stats that only a basketball nerd could love.  Hint: Elite 8 and Final Four teams tend to rank among the best in Adjusted Defense.  Caveat: last year, teams ranked high in Adjusted Offense dominated the tournament.

Before we tip off, a quick rules review:

  1.  There really aren’t any: it’s open book, open internet – except for question 5.
  2. email answers to
  3. Send this link to friends & colleagues and urge them to play.

Previous weeks are HERE.

 Question 1

It’s not unusual for me to receive field inquiries from lawyers who are involved in a matter in which the opposing party is a represented organization.

True or False?

JUST KIDDING!! that’s not the whole question. Read on.

These lawyers often ask for guidance on which employees of the represented organization are fair game, and which require opposing counsel’s consent to contact. Under the Vermont’s Rules of Professional Conduct, the easiest & quickest answer for me is when lawyers ask if they need consent to contact:

  • A.  a fact witness who works for the organization
  • B.  an employee who is not part of upper management
  • C.  a former employee of the organization
  • D.  an employee with supervisory responsibilities

Question 2

There are many  programs in Vermont that allow lawyers to volunteer their time to provide short-term legal services to those who cannot otherwise afford counsel.  Which section of the Rules of Professional Conduct is relaxed in situations in which a lawyer is providing short-term legal services to someone who does not expect continuing representation in the matter?  The section on:

  • A.  Conflicts of Interests
  • B.  Malpractice Insurance
  • C.  Client Communication
  • D.  Communicating with a Represented Party

Question 3

In the legal ethics world, there is much talk about “alternative business structures.”  Right now, they are not allowed under Vermont’s Rules of Professional Conduct. If the rule were amended to allow some form of alternative business structures, it most likely would allow:

  • A.  Nonlawyers to provide limited legal services
  • B.  Nonlawyers to share financial, management, & ownership interests in law practices
  • C.  Different offices of large, regional law firms to represent both parties in certain commercial transactions.
  • D.  “Compacts” between in states in which a lawyer licensed in one can practice law in the others

Question 4

Lawyer called me with an inquiry. She told me that she’s concerned that her client might offer false testimony at trial. We talked, then I asked “do you know that his testimony will be false, or is it testimony that you believe, however reasonably, is false?”

Given my question, what type of case is it most likely that Lawyer and I discussed?

Question 5

As an ode to March Madness and a (back-handed) shout-out to the Burlington lawyer who is the most recent reader to sign-up for this blog:

One of college basketball’s traditional powers, and a team that won the national championship in relatively recent memory, will spend the next few days on “the bubble“sweating-out whether it will be selected for this year’s tournament.  One reason for the uncertainty: the team went 9 games without its head coach this season, winning 4 and losing 5.  The coach wasn’t sick or injured: he’d been suspended by the NCAA for misconduct that was the coaching world’s equivalent of repeated violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

For one point each, identify the coach and the team that might miss the tournament as a result of faring poorly during the coach’s “disciplinary” suspension.