Five for Friday #40

I haven’t blogged this week.  Along with many of my colleagues from the National Organization of Bar Counsel, I’m in D.C. for the International Conference of Legal Regulators.  The conference includes bar regulator-types from the US, Canada, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Great program so far.  Nationally and globally the push is towards proactive regulation.  Simply – a focus on prevention rather than discipline.  I’m proud to say that Vermont is ahead of the curve.  Our inquiry program, CLE programs, and non-disciplinary dispute resolution program promote education and compliance.  Yes, lawyers who lie, cheat, or steal will be prosecuted.  Fortunately, they’re few & far between in Vermont and should not receive the bulk of our attention & resources.

Rather, in 2012, we decided to focus more of those resources on prevention & education, in the form of inquiries, CLEs, and, things like 5-question ethics quizzes.  Our focus on creating (as one speaker called them yesterday) “habits of professionalism” has been a demonstrable success.  Over the past 4 years, inquiries have risen by 66%, while complaints have fallen by 40%.  I recognize that correlation isn’t causation.  However, it seems to me that the effect has been to provide lawyers with the tools to reap what 99% of you already want to sow: a culture of compliance.  I plan to attend some more great programs are on today’s agenda, but from what I’ve learned so far, we’re on the right path.

To the quiz.  Reminder:

  • Open book, open search engine, consult with as many friends as you’d like.
  • Exception – #5
  • Team entries allowed
  • Email answers to
  • I’ll post the answers on Monday morning
  • Please forward the quiz to friends & colleagues

Question 1

The day before the conference, I stopped by GW Law, my alma mater, to attend a professional responsibility class taught by Professor Bob Tuttle.  He was fantastic!  More practical tips in 1 hour than many students receive in their entire law school careers.  One of the day’s topics was “scope of representation & allocation of authority.”  With that in mind, which is most accurate under the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct?

A lawyer:

  • A.  shall abide by the client’s objectives for the representation & should abide by the client’s decision as to the means by which those objectives are pursued.
  • B.  shall abide by the client’s objectives for the representation & should defer to the client’s reasonable decisions as to the means by which those objectives are pursued.
  • C.  shall abide by the client’s objectives for the representation & shall consult with the client as to the means by which those objectives are pursued.
  • D.  should by the client’s objectives for the representation & should consult with the client as to the means by which those objectives are pursued.

Question 2

In a criminal case, and for the purposes of the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct, which is different from the others?

  • A.  Whether to request a competency exam.
  • B.  Whether to accept a plea.
  • C.  Whether to to waive a jury trial.
  • D.  Whether to testify.

Question 3

Lawyer called me with an inquiry.  I listened, then asked a question of my own: “what type of instrument did you deposit?”   Most likely, Lawyer called to discuss:

  • A.  a real estate closing
  • B.  disbursing funds from trust in reliance upon a deposit that had not yet become collected funds.
  • C.  depositing funds into an account that will earn interest for the client
  • D.  deposits that are (and are not) subject to the three-way reconciliation requirement.

Question 4

Attorney called me with an inquiry. I listened, then I asked, “will the harm be to the actor or to someone else?”  What specific issue did Attorney call to discuss?

Question 5

Attorney Albert Bacon Fall was admitted to the New Mexico bar in 1891.  Among other things, he successfully defended the accused killer of Sheriff Pat Garrett, served on the New Mexico Supreme Court, was elected to the United States Senate, and served two years as Secretary of the Interior under President Harding.

Fall resigned his post as Secretary of Interior in disgrace as a result of a controversy that involved the Navy and leases that were awarded without competitive bidding to friends of his.  He was eventually convicted of conspiracy & bribery and, as a result, became the first person sentenced to prison for misconduct while serving in the Cabinet.

What is the name commonly given to the controversy that is associated with Fall’s criminal conduct and resignation?