Five for Friday #43

With the Red Sox losing Game 1 of the playoffs, after having blown home field advantage by dropping 5 of their final 6 regular season games, you might expect that I’d take it out on my readers with a tough quiz.  Nope.  That’d be bad karma.  But believe you me, if they’re out of this by the time we blog again, next week’s quiz will be brutal.

As for the quiz, a few things:

  •  Remember: you can look up the answers!  And if you do, take a look at rules other than the one you’re looking up.  It won’t hurt…I promise.
  • Exception: question 5.  Try to play that one honest.
  • E-mail answers to
  • Team entries welcome and encouraged.
  • Please consider sharing this column with colleagues & friends.

Question 1

Which is different than the others?

  • A.   Self-reporting misconduct
  • B.   Avoiding the appearance of impropriety.
  • C.  Providing zealous representation to your client
  • D.  Protecting info shared by a prospective client who meets with you, but does not hire you.

Optional Bonus – explain your answer to Question 1.  

Don’t worry, if your answer is right, you will receive credit no matter how far off your explanation might be.  Trust me, being Irish & with my academic history, I’d never penalize pure guesses that happen work out.

Question 2

Sterling is 28 years old and has a legal issue.  Sterling wants to retain Lawyer, but does not have any money.  Malory is Sterling’s mother.  Malory pays Lawyer to represent Sterling.  She does so by hand-delivering to Lawyer a check that is drawn on her personal checking account. Lawyer deposits the check in trust.

Lawyer assists Sterling to resolve the issue. Lawyer does so without using or billing against the entire amount advanced by Malory.  The unearned portion remains Lawyer’s trust account.

Sterling instructs Lawyer to send him the unused portion of the retainer.  Not so surprisingly, Malory demands the funds, telling Lawyer that the funds are hers.

In this situation, most jurisdictions have determined that Lawyer must:

  • A.  Deliver the funds to Sterling, per his instructions.
  • B.  Deliver the funds to Malory.
  • C.  Keep the funds in trust until the dispute is resolved.
  • D.  Transfer the funds to the operating account until the dispute is resolved.

Question 3

How often must a Vermont lawyer reconcile a trust account?

  • A.  Weekly
  • B.  Monthly
  • C.  Quarterly
  • D.  The rules are silent, but case law holds that it is a violation to go more than 2 months without reconciling a trust account.

Question 4

Attorney called me with an inquiry.  I listened, then said:

  • “The rule only applies if you are ‘necessary’ and, even then, only at trial.  So even if it’s a conflict, you’re not out until trial.  Not only that, if it’s a conflict, it’s not imputed to other lawyers in your firm.”

Why did Attorney call me?

(be somewhat specific.  The answer “to discuss a conflict” won’t receive credit.)

Question 5

Last weekend, somebody was robbed.  To say that the robbery “made the news” would be an understatement.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard argument in a criminal case. The defendant had been convicted of bank fraud after electronically transferring funds to his own account from his roommate’s father’s account.  Before the Court, defendant argued that while he had intended to defraud his roommate’s father, he had not intended to defraud the bank.

Justice Breyer was skeptical of the argument. As such, he asked a question in which he (Breyer) referred to last weekend’s news-making robbery. The fact that Justice Breyer referred to the robbery  caused Above the Law to post a blog with the headline “Weep for the Republic.”

Name the alleged victim of last weekend’s news-making robbery to whom Justice Breyer referred during Monday’s argument before the U.S. Supreme Court.









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