Five for Friday: #83


Believe it or not, 83 makes me think about an issue lawyers love to raise at my CLE’s: do the rules impose a duty to encrypt e-mail?  Fortunately, like apps in the old days, there’s a blog post for that.

Why does 83 remind me of the ethics of email encryption? Let me tell you!  As I do, remember that I’m not a mathemtician and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  But I’ll do my best.

83 is a Sophie Germain Prime .  The reason is that (2 x 83) + 1 is also a prime.  (For you mathematically challenged, that means that 167 is a prime number.)

Now, it’s beyond me why Sophie Germain spent her time searching for solutions to (2X + 1) = Y where both X & Y are prime numbers. But thank goodness she did!  Bear with me.

Back to our formula: 2X +1 = Y.  If both X and Y are primes, X is the Sophie Germain prime, and Y is a safe prime.  It turns out that Sophie Germain Primes and Safe Primes are very useful as secret keys in the RSA Cryptosystem.  Why?  The RSA Cryptosystem encodes stuff, and the SG & Safe Primes help it to block certain algorithms from cracking the code.  (I guess that Lorde & her friends weren’t faced with SG/Safe Primes.)

In other words, the RSA Cryptosystem is used to secure data transmission and Sophie Germain primes are critical in helping it to do so.  If you haven’t yet caught on, encrypting email is a way to secure data while it’s in transit.

I have no idea whether, back in the day, Sophie helped lawyers & maesters encrypt messages that were sent by raven.  Regardless, her work lives on today.

One last thing before the quiz: enjoy your weekend!  There aren’t many left before the leaves turn.  Along with my brother, 10 friends of ours, and about 70,000 friends we haven’t met yet, I’ll be at Gillette for the Kenny Chesney concert. No Shoes Nation knows how to do summer.

No Shoes Nation

Onto the quiz!


  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text-a-friend.
  • Exception:  Question 5.  We try to play that one honest.
  • Unless stated otherwise, the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct apply
  • Team entries welcome, creative team names even more welcome.
  • E-mail answers to
  • I’ll post the answers & Honor Roll on Monday
  • Please don’t use the “comment” feature to post your answers
  • Please consider sharing the quiz with friends & colleagues
  • Share on social media.  Hashtag it – #fiveforfriday

Question 1

There’s only ONE thing that the rules require Vermont lawyers to keep for a period of years.  What is it?

  • A.   Copies of advertisements for 2 years after they first run.
  • B.   Client’s file for 7 years following the termination of the representation of Client.
  • C.   Trust account records of funds held for Client for 6 years following the termination of the representation of Client.
  • D.   Client’s confidences & secrets for 7 years following the termination of the representation of client.

Question 2

Attorney called.  Among other questions on a single topic, she asked me whether the rules define “person of limited means.”  What general topic did Attorney call to discuss?

Question 3

Speaking of encrypting email, if there is a duty to encrypt, it flows from two duties set out in the rules. One is the duty to maintain the confidentiality of information related to the representation.  What’s the other?  The duty to:

  • A.  Safeguard client property & funds
  • B.  Provide a client with diligent representation
  • C.  Provide a client with competent representation
  • D.  Communicate with a client

Question 4

Lawyer represents Client.   Shortly before trial, opposing party discloses Witness. Lawyer determines that he has a conflict that prohibits him from representing Client in a matter in which Witness will testify for Opposing Party.

Lawyer moves to withdraw and discloses the conflict in both his motion and the argument on the motion.  The court denies the motion and Lawyer represents Client at trial.  Witness testifies, Lawyer cross-examines Witness.

True or False: Lawyer violated the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct by representing Client at trial and cross-examining Witness.

Question 5

I’m not making this up.

In Vermont, V.R.Pr.C. 3.1 is the equivalent of civil rule 11.  It prohibits lawyers from asserting a position unless there is a non-frivolous basis for doing so.

I’m not making this part up either.

In 2014, a New York lawyer was sued for allegedly helping a client to fraudulently transfer assets.  Let’s call the lawyer “Defendant.”

In 2015,  Defendant filed a motion in which he requested the he and plaintiff either have a duel or “trial by combat.”  When questioned by the media, he responded that “”I have a good-faith belief that this is still part of our state constitution. I want the law to be clear on this issue, and I have every right to ask for this.”

What’s Defendant’s favorite television show?




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