Five for Friday #56: Get Smart

For those of you who vowed to enter more “Five for Friday” trivia contests in 2017, don’t break your vow on the first Friday of the year!  That’d be unethical or something.

A few reminders:

  • No rules.  Open book, open search engine, talking to friends & colleagues is allowed.
  • Exception: #5
  • Unless stated otherwise, the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct apply.
  • Team entries allowed & encouraged.
  • Forward the quiz to anyone who you think might be interested.
  • E-mail answers to
  • I will post the correct answers on Monday morning.

Question 1

Under the old Code of Professional Responsibility, lawyers had a duty to maintain a client’s “confidences and secrets.”  In 1999, the Rules of Professional Conduct replaced the  Code.  The phrase “confidence and secrets” was not carried over to the Rules.

Which of the following replaced “confidence and secrets”?

  • A.  ” Information relating to the representation of a client.”
  • B.   “Communications relating to the representation of a client.”
  • C.  “Information subject to an evidentiary privilege.”
  • D.  “Information subject to the attorney-client privilege.”

Question 2

Attorney called me with an inquiry. I listened, then said “under the rule, what you do next will depend on whether That Person contacted you in ‘good-faith.’ ”

Most likely, That Person,

  • A.  contacted Attorney for legal advice, and has legal interests adverse to the interests of one of Attorney’s current clients.
  • B.  has received legal advice from another lawyer, but contacted Attorney for a second opinion.
  • C.  is adverse to Attorney’s client and is represented by counsel.
  • D.  is a lawyer, but is not licensed to practice law in Vermont.

Question 3

Client advanced a $2000 “flat fee” to Lawyer to handle a matter.  Lawyer did not reduce the fee agreement to writing and deposited the fee into a pooled interest-bearing trust account.  Three weeks later, Client terminated Lawyer.  The matter had not concluded.

Client & Lawyer agree that Lawyer earned $1,000 of the fee.  They do not agree that Lawyer earned the rest of the fee. The entire $2,000 remains in Lawyer’s pooled interest-bearing trust account.

Which is most accurate?

  • A.  Lawyer must remove $1,000 from the pooled interest-bearing trust account and leave the other $1,000 in trust until the dispute is resolved.
  • B.  Lawyer violated the rules by failing to reduce the fee agreement to writing.
  • C.  Lawyer violated the rules by depositing the “flat fee” into a pooled interest-bearing trust account.
  • D.  Lawyer must leave $2,000 in the pooled interest-bearing trust account until the dispute is resolved.

Question 4

The number of self-represented litigants (“SRL’s”) continues to rise. Ethically, a lawyer may prepare a document that requires the signature of a SRL whose interests are materially adverse to the interests of the lawyer’s client.

Is the following statement true or false?

  • “However, as currently written, the Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit a lawyer from providing an SRL whose interests are adverse to the lawyer’s client with an explanation of the lawyer’s view of the meaning of the document.”

Question 5

I like spies and all things espionage.  Pat Camp is one of my best friends. We spent many days & nights in the mid-80’s on missions throughout the Lake Champlain islands pretending we were Jason Bourne.  Looking back, we were probably more Maxwell Smart.

I don’t know whether this person was a spy, but he was a lawyer with a Massachusetts law license.  And, in 1952, he was disbarred.  Not for being a Soviet spy, but as a result of having been convicted of two counts of perjury relating to allegations that he was a Soviet spy.

Name the lawyer.

By the way, if you’re ever in D.C., I recommend the Spy Museum.





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