Monday Morning Answers – Week 35


Friday’s quiz generated a ton of basketball talk.  The Week 35 edition of Five for Friday honored Reggie Lewis, the Celtic great who wore #35.  With Reggie having played at UVM while at Northeastern, the quiz included a “warm-up” question: who is the best ever to play in Patrick Gymnasium?

Many of you responded.  Some of you only to that question!  In fact, I might have to post another blog, later today, on the hoops debate.  For now, the answers to the ethics quiz.

But first, the Honor Roll.

Perfect Score

  • Team Liberty  (ACLU of Connecticut)
  • Hal Miller, Esq., First American
  • Kane Smart, Esq., Downs Rachlin & Martin

High Honors

  • Matthew Anderson, Esq., Pratt, Vreeland, Kennelly, Martin & White
  • Patrick Camp, Pre-Con Products, Bar Counsel’s High School Basketball Teammate
  • Robert Grundstein, Esq.
  • Keith Kasper, Esq., McCormick, Fitzpatrick, Kasper & Burchard
  • Mark Kennedy, Bar Counsel’s Dad
  • Patrick Kennedy, Dealer.Com, First Brother
  • David Lapointe, Jr., Bar Counsel’s High School Basketball Teammate
  • Brian Martin, Esq., Associate General Counsel, Green Mountain Care Board
  • Ray Massucco, Esq., Massucco Law Office
  • Ilerdon Mayer, Esq., Mayer & Mayer
  • Tavian Mayer, Esq., Mayer & Mayer
  • Lon McLintock, Esq.
  • Joe McNeil, Esq., McNeil, Leddy, Sheahan
  •  Hal Miller, Esq., First American*
  • Brendan Scherer, Vermont Law School, Summer Law Clerk at Office of the Defender General
  • Emily Tredeau, Esq., Office of the Defender General
  • The Honorable John Valente, Vermont Superior Judge
  • Thomas Valente, Esq., Ryan Smith & Carbine
  • Matthew Valerio, Esq., Vermont Defender General
  • Allison Wannop, Esq.


Warm-Up:  I call him “The Doctor.”  Julius Irving, also known as Dr. J.

Question 1

Vermont’s conflict rules do not prohibit common representation of multiple clients. However, a comment to the rules indicates that the risks posed by representation of multiple clients in a specific type of case is “so grave that ordinarily a lawyer should decline to represent” multiple clients.

What type of case?   CRIMINAL – Rule 1.7, Comment 23

Question 2

In 2008, you represented Client at trial.  The Court admitted evidence that clearly established that Client had used recreational drugs at her place of employment.  Client is a public figure.

Client died earlier this week.  Tomorrow, a reporter is going to call you.  The reporter is going to ask you to comment on Client’s recreational drug use.  Which is most accurate under Vermont’s Rules of Professional Conduct?

  • A.  You may comment because Client is deceased.
  • B.  You may comment because Client’s drug use is part of the public record of the 2008 trial.
  • C.  You may comment because the trial was more than 6 years ago.
  • D.  You may not comment because the information is related to the representation of Client.  Rules 1.6 and 1.9 apply after a client’s death, and the fact that information is public does not mean it’s general known.  See THIS POST

Question 3

Under the Vermont’s Rules of Professional Conduct, which does not belong grouped with the others?

  • A.  Contingent fee agreement.
  • B.  Hourly fee agreement.
  • C.  Client’s agreement that you can share her fee with another lawyer who does not work in the same firm as you.
  • D.  Former Client’s agreement to waive a conflict of interest

This question is what kept most everyone from achieving a perfect score.  Unlike the other choices, the rules do not require an hourly fee agreement to be confirmed in a writing that is signed by the client.

Question 4

Solo called me with an inquiry. I listened.  Then I said something like this:

  • “Believe it or not, we actually have a rule on that.  Be careful.  If you do what you described, the rule requires you to stop taking private clients in your geographic area.  You sure you’re ready to do that?  The comment suggests that the ‘geographic area’ is the entire state.”

What did Solo call to discuss?  Selling her law practice.  Rule 1.17(a).

Question 5

In honor of Cassandra LaRae-Perez entering last week’s quiz, as well as my focus (harping?) on client confidences……

….last month, a Minnesota court ordered a law firm to turn over Client’s divorce file to Client’s estate lawyers.  Client is a superstar musician who died earlier this year.

Client’s estate lawyers wanted the file, asserting that it might contain “potentially relevant” information as to Client’s potential heirs.  Client’s divorce lawyers (who work at a different firm than the estate lawyers) refused, arguing that it had a professional obligation not to disclose “information protected by the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine which was generated and acquired during the decedent’s lifetime.”

The Court agreed with the estate lawyers.

Who is Client? PRINCE