Monday Morning Answers: Week 36

Only two Mondays left before Labor Day.  Where’d the time go? Make the most of these next two weeks folks!

Friday’s questions are HERE. The answers follow this week’s honor roll.

HONOR ROLL

Several entrants came within a whisker of a perfect score, with many of you getting 4.5 as a result of knowing the show but not the client.  Only Elizabeth Kruska, my fellow VBA Board member, went 5 for 5.

ANSWERS

Question 1

Last month, the State Bar of Texas issued an advisory ethics opinion that was heavy on terms like “SEO” and “competitive keywords.”  What legal ethics topic did the opinion address?

  • A.  Internet advertising & marketing.  Good thing most of you got this one right on Friday, seeing as I’d blogged about it on Thursday.
  • B.  Online legal research
  • C.  Diligence/Competence in Patent & Trademark Law
  • D.  Self Employed Operators of title companies

Question 2

In July, the South Carolina Bar issued an advisory ethics opinion that has stirred national debate (and controversy).  The debate includes attorney regulators, bar associations, and companies like Avvo. It might soon include a federal court or the Federal Trade Commission. The debate centers on:

  • A.  Advising Clients on Marijuana-Related Issues
  • B.  Attorney Advertising & Sharing Fees with Non-Lawyers.  I’m going to blog on this issue later this week.  For now, check out this post from the ABA Joural.
  • C.  Banking Regulations & Trust Accounting Standards
  • D.  Multi-Jurisdictional Practice of Law

Question 3

Lawyer called me with an inquiry. I listened, then responded: “A lot of lawyers do the same thing. It’s not quite that simple. I’ll tell you what I tell everyone: if down the road you decide to withdraw, don’t forget that you’ll have a former client on your hands, which will raise issues you’ll have to consider.”

What general ethics topic did Lawyer call to discuss?

Conflicts.  Specifically, representing multiple clients with a plan to withdraw from representing one if a conflict arises.  Not always the best plan.  The reason is that Rule 1.9 prohibits an attorney from representing a person in a matter when the person’s interests are materially adverse to those of a former client.  Committing to multiple representations, then withdrawing when interests become adverse, often leaves a lawyer with a former client whose interests are adverse to the client with whom the lawyer stayed.

Question 4

Attorney called me with an inquiry. I listened, then responded: “The Comment says that former employees are fair game.”

What general ethics topic did Attorney call to discuss?

Communicating with the former employees of a represented organization on the subject matter of the representation.  See, Rule 4.2, Comment 7.

Question 5

Leonard Kachinsky is a real-life attorney in Wisconsin.  Earlier this year, he gained national attention after binge watchers everywhere learned that he had engaged in some, umm, questionable conduct while he represented a client in a criminal case.  This week, he was back in the news: a federal judge overturned the conviction of Kachinsky’s client.

The judge cited coercive interrogation techniques as the basis for overturning the conviction.  However, he also noted that Kachinsky’s representation of his (then) teen-aged client had been “inexcusable, both tactically and ethically.”

Name Kachinsky’s client.

Brandon Dassey, who first came to our attention in Making a Murderer.

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