Five for Friday #93

Welcome to Week 93!

As most readers know, I often use the intro to the quiz to wax lyrical on something related to the week’s number, with that “something” usually related to sports, math, or pop culture.  Not this week.  This week I have a serious report.

1993 bore witness to some of the most notably unethical behavior that this blogger has ever witnessed.

As anyone who remembers 1993 has already figured out, I’m referring to the Academy’s decision to bestow but one measly award to My Cousin Vinny.

Not many pop culture references have been more important to this blog (and my CLE presentations) than My Cousin Vinny.  Positraction, Metallic Mint Green, Jerry Gallo.  Listing even a mere scintilla of the references would wear out this keyboard.

If you haven’t seen the movie, well, I shudder to think what your life must be like.  Per the ABA Journal, it’s the 3rd greatest legal movie, with Vincent Laguardia Gambini the 12th best fictional lawyer not named Atticus Finch.  (12th is preposterously low.)

Many great legal minds have mentioned the movie.  For proof, scroll down to the “critical reception” section of the film’s Wikipedia page.  There, alongside references to Justice Scalia and Judge Posner, you’ll see a quote from Alberto Bernabe.  A frequent member of this blog’s #fiveforfriday Honor Roll, Professor Bernabe is also the author of My Cousin Vinny: a story about legal education.  The post links to a fantastic post on Abnormal Use that honored the movie’s 20th Anniversary and that includes other great links to articles on the movie and the legal ethics issues raised in it.

Back to the point at hand.

The 65th Academy Awards took place on March 29, 1993.  In what I can only assume was the greatest fix in the history of awards, (or at least since my brother got “perfect attendance” in 1st grade even though he missed like 6 days) My Cousin Vinny only received one of the major awards.

“ONE” was not a typo.  Marisa Tomei was honored as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mona Lisa Vito.  No other wins.  None.

Are you f’ing kidding me?????

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad she won.  But, I have two utes. Oops, I meant to say that I have “two problems.”

The first is that Tomei’s was the movie’s only nomination for an award.  Not just the only victory, the only NOMINATION.  Scandalous!

The second is the category in which she won.  Doesn’t “supporting actress” mean that there was another actress in a more prominent role? She was the LEAD ACTRESS.  Why in the world didn’t she win “Best Actress?” As surely as positraction wasn’t available on a 64 Buick Skylark, Marisa was robbed!

And so was every writer, director, and cast member.  Here’s how any rational person would have voted:

  • Best Movie: My Cousin Vinny
  • Best Actor: Joe Pesci, My Cousin Vinny, as Vincent Laguardia Gambini
  • Best Supporting Actor: Hermann Munster, My Cousin Vinny, as Judge Chamberlain Haller
  • Best Actress:  see above
  • Best Supporting Actress:  My Cousin Vinny, the grandmotherly eye-witness who wasn’t wearing her glasses and couldn’t tell how many fingers Vinny was holding up.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Tie. From My Cousin Vinny, the sheriff, the prosecutor, and the witness who is critical to today’s Question 5.

1993: a year that will live in infamy, at least on this blog.


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

The rules include a special rule on conflicts for a certain type of lawyers.  What type?

Question 2

Pick the exact word or phrase that most accurately fills in the blank.

For the purposes of the confidentiality provisions of Rules 1.6 and 1.9(c), information that is a matter of public record is not necessarily __________:

  • A.   “Waived”
  • B.   “Privileged”
  • C.    “Confidential”
  • D.    “Generally known.”

Question 3

Attorney called with an inquiry.  I listened, then responded “the rule doesn’t say ‘solely to obtain an advantage.’ It says ‘to obtain an advantage.’  We dropped ‘solely‘ back in 1999.”

What did Attorney call to discuss?

  • A.  Contacting an opposing party’s expert witness
  • B.  Contacting a prospective juror
  • C.  Threatening criminal charges in a civil matter
  • D.  Interviewing an employee of a represented organization, without the permission of the organization’s lawyer

Question 4

Lawyer called me with an inquiry. I listened, then responded “Well, given the traditional limitation on permitting a non-lawyer to direct a lawyer’s judgment, if any the activities  will include the practice of law, you can’t do it.”

What did Lawyer call to discuss?

  • A.  Forming a partnership with a non-lawyer
  • B.  Someone other than a client paying for Lawyer to represent that client
  • C.  Sharing a referral fee with an attorney in a different firm
  • D.  Implementing a cloud-based practice management system

Question 5

In the trial in My Cousin Vinny, one of the key moments is Vinny’s cross-examination of an eye-witness.  The witness testified that Vinny’s clients must have been in the Sac-O-Suds (the convenience store where the murder took place) for 5 minutes. On cross, Vinny asked:

“Well, I guess the laws of physics cease to exist on top of your stove. Were these ___________________? Did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans?”

Fill in the blank. Hint: it’s 2 words




One thought on “Five for Friday #93

  1. […] #1: My Cousin Vinny.   If there’s one thing that Vermont lawyers know about cross-examining witnesses, it’s that a jury simply cannot trust someone who claims to have cooked grits in 5 minutes when it takes the entire grit-eating world 20!  What, were those magic grits?? Oh, and Jerry Gallo? He’s dead!   The My Cousin Vinny-themed quiz got over 400 clicks on the weekend it was posted.  Making it, by far, the most read of the 2017 #fiveforfriday quizzes. Here’s to Positraction, Metallic Mint Green, and Utes! The quiz is here, the answers here. […]


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