Monday Morning Answers: #64

Friday’s questions are HERE.  The answers follow the Honor Roll.

Honor Roll


Question 1

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

“Good question.  Here’s what it comes down to: your duty is to take reasonable precautions to protect the information from unauthorized disclosure. I’ll send you a few blog posts I’ve written on what ‘reasonable precautions’ are.”

Most likely, Attorney called to discuss:

  • A.  Cloud Storage/Cloud-Based Practice Management Systems.  See, this blog post.
  • B.  A disciplinary complaint that is under investigation
  • C.  A disciplinary complaint that has resulted in formal charges
  • D.. Electronically Stored Information that was inadvertently produced in discovery and that opposing counsel is trying to “claw back”

Question 2

Lawyer works for X.  Lawyer recently accepted a new job with a new employer. Next week, Lawyer will leave X to work for Y.

Y represents a client whose interests are materially adverse to a client who Lawyer represented while working at X.   The two matters are substantially related to each other. Lawyer has a conflict.

The rules will not impute Lawyer’s conflict to other attorneys at Y.  Rather, the rules will allow Y to screen Lawyer.

Which is most likely?

  • A.  X or Y is a government agency.    See, Rule 1.11(d), Comment [2].  The rules allow for screening when a lawyer moves to or from government practice.
  • B.  X and Y are private law firms.
      • B is not correct.  Nothing in the question suggests that both X and Y must be private firms.
  • C.  X represents a former employee of a corporation
      • C is not correct.  Lateral transfers and screens are not relaxed merely because a former client is also a former employee of a corporation.
  • D.  X and Y are in different jurisdictions
      • D is not correct. Lateral transfers and screens are not impacted by the fact that firms are in different jurisdcitions.

Question 3

Attorney called back with another inquiry. I listened, then asked “was it more than $1,000?”

Most likely, Attorney called to discuss:

  • A.   A client who brought a personal check to a real estate closing.  See, Rule 1.15(f) and (g).  Rule 1.15(f) requires a lawyer to have collected funds prior to disbursing from trust.  Rule 1.15(g) sets out instruments against which a lawyer may disburse upon deposit; in other words, instruments that we will presume to constitute collected funds upon deposit. Per Rule 1.15(g)(4) personal checks that do not exceed $1000 are among those instruments.  In this answer, “real estate closing” was a clue.  Buyers often bring personal checks to closings to cover any unforeseen costs. The rule, however, applies beyond closings, to any trust account transaction involving a personal check.
  • B.   Attorney’s deposit of Attorney’s own funds into a  trust account
    • This is not correct. Rule 1.15(d) allows an attorney to deposit an attorney’s own funds into trust, but only in amount necessary to cover bank charges and fees.  There is no $1,00o limit. In fact, for many of you, $1000 would far exceed charges and fees and, therefore, would serve as an impermissible “float.”
  • C.   Funds in Attorney’s trust account that belong to a client Attorney can’t locate
  • D.   Funds in Attorney’s trust account for whom Attorney cannot determine the      owner
    • C & D are incorrect. An attorney’s obligations with respect to unexplained trust funds are not impacted by the amount.

Question 4

Over the past few weeks, attorney regulators and legal ethics types throughout the country have turned their attention Congress.  The reason? Earlier this month, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee wrote to the ABA and attorney regulators in all 50 states urging them to take action on:

  • A.   Vacancies on the Federal Bench
  • B.    Attorney Advertising Related to Lawsuits involving Pharmaceuticals.  See, Bloomberg BNA has the story HERE.
  • C.    Licensing Paralegals
  • D.   Bar Admission Rules that Impede Trade

Question 5

This week’s Question 5 is inspired by a conversation I had a few days ago with a loyal reader .  The reader followed-up by emailing me a YouTube clip.

Hint: if a question includes “the reader follow-up by emailing me YouTube clip,” well, that’s a hint.

Fictional lawyer spent a week at a fictional trial advocacy school.  The group of lawyers on staff at the school constantly preached “no matter the case, strike first, strike hard, no mercy!”

What name have the lawyers on staff at the trial advocacy school likely given to their group?

My readers know 80’s movies!

The staff likely named itself “Cobra Kai” in honor of John Kreese’s Cobra Kai dojo in The Karate Kid.