Welcome to the 71st Five for Friday legal ethics quiz!
No math this week. With all apologies to Jeff Davis, the Official Mathematician of Ethical Grounds, the math facts associated with the number 71 are far too complex for me to wrap my head around. I’m pretty much limited to “71 is an odd number.”
However, if, like me, you’re into British TV and movies, check out ’71. It’s about a British soldier who gets separated from his unit while on patrol in Belfast in 1971. As most of you know, 1971 wasn’t exactly prime-time to vacation in Northern Ireland. So, this isn’t a “date night” movie. Still, I recommend it.
Onto the quiz!
- There are none. It’s open book, open search engine, use whatever resource you have. Reading the rules is a good thing!
- Exception: Question 5. We try to play that one honest.
- Team entries welcome. Creative team names encouraged.
- Unless stated otherwise, the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct apply
- Please e-mail answers to email@example.com
- Please do not use the “comment” feature to submit your answers (competence includes tech competence)
- I will post the answers Monday, along with the week’s Honor Roll
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There’s a rule that requires lawyers to provide clients with diligent representation. A comment to the rule suggests that solos and lawyers in small firms should have:
- A. Succession plans
- B. Cybersecurity Insurance
- C. A bookkeeper who “optimally, works at least part-time”
- D. Cloud Based Practice Management Systems
The rules establish duties that lawyers owe to four specific types of clients. Rules 1.7 and 1.8 refer to the “current client.” Rule 1.13 sets out the duties that apply when an “organization” is the client.
What are the two other types of clients to whom lawyers owe ethical duties?
(hint: the answers are not, for example, “divorce clients” or “real estate clients”, or any specific area of practice)
Attorney represents Green. Green intends to enter into a contract with Orange. Orange is not represented.
The parties and Attorney meet to sign the contract. Just before signing, Orange asks Attorney “what do you think this contract means if I sign it?”
Which is most accurate?
- A. Attorney must decline to answer & must advise Orange to seek legal advice from another lawyer
- B. Attorney must decline to answer & may advise Orange to seek legal advice from another lawyer
- C. Attorney must ask Green whether Green consents to Attorney answering the question
- D. If Attorney explains that she represents an adverse party & is not representing Orange, she may explain to Orange her own view of the meaning of the contract & its underlying legal obligations.
Lawyer called me with an inquiry. I listened, then responded:
- “Sounds to me like you don’t have a duty to do anything. You fall under the exception to the rule, because it’s information relating to the representation of your client and is protected from disclosure. However, a comment to the rule says that you should encourage your client to, especially if it won’t negatively impact client’s case to do so.”
Question: What did I mean when I said “encourage your client to?” To do what?
Jeff Kerr dropped out of law school after two years. So, it appears to me that disciplinary authorities in Fictional World don’t have jurisdiction over Kerr. If they did, I wonder whether they’d prosecute him.
Using the alias “Nick Easter,” Kerr connived his way onto a civil jury and manipulated the jury throughout a trial. On several occasions, “Easter” and his girlfriend secretly met with each side to the litigation and offered to sway the jury for the right price.
For some reason, the subject of the trial is different in the movie than it was in the book, which was a runaway best-seller. But, the plot is the same. In each, Easter and his girlfriend are motivated by a desire to get revenge against Big Industry.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, has two parts
- Identify the industry at issue in the book.
- Identify the industry at issue in the movie.
Hint: As a former high school basketball coach, I’m compelled to mention that, in the movie, the defense team’s consultant who deals with Easter and his girlfriend is also one of Fictional World’s most famous high school basketball coaches.