Monday Morning Answers

Spoiler alert: the answers appear immediately after the honor roll.  To review the questions first, go HERE.

Special thanks to Lon McClintock for letting me know that my first cousin’s child is my first cousin once removed, with my parents’ first cousins being my second cousins.


Perfect Scores

Honorable Mention

  • Keith Kasper, McCormick, Fitzpatrick, Kasper & Burchard
  • Deb Kirchwey
  • Hal Miller, First American
  • Brendan Scherer, Vermont Law School
  • Ian Sullivan, Rutland County State’s Attorney’s Office



Question 1:   Fill in the bank.   In 1997, the Vermont Bar Association issued an advisory ethics opinion indicating that the ethics rules did not require lawyers to __________.  At the time, the opinion was consistent with the ABA’s, as well as with several that had been issued by other state bars. The thing about times?  They are a changin’. Now, the ABA and some other states have indicated that the ethics rules might require lawyers to ____________:

  • A.   Inform defendants of the potential collateral consequences of a conviction.
  • B.    Encrypt electronic communications. See, ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 11-459; Cal State Bar Formal Opinion, 2010-079.  Email me if you would like me to send you my brief power point outline on encrypting email.
  • C.   Reduce contingent fees to writing
  • D.  Inform potential clients whether the lawyer carries liability insurance

Question 2: Oh those pesky clients.  According to a comment to one of the rules, what will minimize a client’s need to request information from his or her lawyer?

  • A.  Regular communication from the lawyer.  Rule 1.3, Comment [4]
  • B.  A well-crafted retainer agreement
  • C.  Reasonable fees
  • D.  Expeditious resolution of the matter entrusted to the lawyer

Question 3:  Attorney called me with an inquiry. I listened.

I responded “remember, the case law from all over the country makes it clear that there is a difference between information that is ‘generally known’ and information that is ‘public record.’ ”  So, be wary.

Given my response, it is most likely that Attorney called to discuss what general area of legal ethics?

General areas of duties owed to a former client under Rule 1.9(c)The key point here is that just because something is in the public record DOES NOT mean that it has become “generally known.”

Question 4:  Lawyer called me with an inquiry.  I listened.

I responded “your only duty is to let her know you have it.  The comment to the rules indicate that what you do with it now is left to your professional duty.  You should also review the discovery rules to see how they might apply.”

Given my response, what did Lawyer call to tell me that he had?

Lawyer has material that she knows or reasonably should know was inadvertently sent.  See, Rule 4.4(b).

Question 5:  For the past several weeks, ESPN has been airing “Fantastic Lies,” a documentary in the network’s acclaimed “30 for 30″series. A central figure in “Fantastic Lies” is a lawyer who was both convicted of crime and disbarred as a result of his involvement in the event/scandal that the documentary chronicles.

Name the event/scandal that “Fantastic Lies” chronicles.

Since I’m feeling kind today, here’s a hint: the lawyer was disbarred by disciplinary authorities who work in the very state in which I am sitting as I post this blog. And you wonder why I bored you with the story earlier in this blog!

The Duke lacrosse case that led to prosecutor Mike Nifong being convicted of a crime and disbarred.