Five for Friday #115: A kid from Barre

Welcome to Friday!

Long-time readers will appreciate this.  My mom just emailed a link to the Burlington Free Press sweepstakes to win tickets to see Taylor Swift.

Anyhow, that’s neither here nor there.  What is both here and there is that “115” posed a problem for me.  The number doesn’t remind me of anything and triggers no associations.  Well, I should say “triggers no interesting associations.”

As I struggled to come up with something for this intro, I thought “well, 115 is kind of like 1.15, and the trust accounting rules are rules 1.15, 1.15A, and 1.15B, so I’ll use the intro to write about trust accounts.”


Thankfully, I remembered that this is the #fiveforfriday column!  So, I bagged the idea of a sleep-inducing post on trust accounts.

But, what to post???

Desperate, I searched “what happened 115 years ago.”  I ended up on the Wikipedia page for 1903.  Nothing jumped out at me.

Then, scrolling through the year’s births, I noticed this:

Charles Poletti – American lawyer and politician.

I clicked.  I’m glad that I did.

I’m fascinated by the history of Vermont lawyers.  From now on, 115 will remind me of a boy from Barre who became a lawyer and made a difference in the world.

Charles Poletti was born in Barre on July 2, 1903.  Upon graduating from Spaulding High School, he intended to work as the manager of a bakery. Instead, Spaulding’s principal convinced him to go to college. So, off he went.

And not to just any old college.

Poletti went to Harvard, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.  A few years later, he graduated from Harvard Law and took a job at a firm in Manhattan.

In 1938, Poletti was elected Lieutenant Governor of New York.  In 1942, he lost his bid for re-election, but was appointed governor when the sitting-governor resigned.  His stint was short – only 29 days – but Poletti was the first Italian-American to serve as the governor of a state.

Poletti eventually joined the war effort. He played a key role in the Army’s work in Italy. He was honorably discharged in 1945 as a full colonel.

Poletti died in 2002.  When he did, the New York Times wrote an article about him.

You should read about him.  He served on the Board of the NAACP, advocated for the integration of both Major League Baseball and the U.S. Army, had a successful career as an arbitrator, promoted the 1964 World’s Fair, received an award from the Pope, and had a power plant in New York City named after him.

Not bad for a kid from Vermont.

Onto the quiz!


  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-a-friend.
  • Even question 5!
  • 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
  • Please consider sharing the quiz on social media.  Hashtag it – #fiveforfriday

Question 1

Paralegal works for Firm.  Client asks Firm to represent Client in the matter Client v. Other.  

Paralegal has a relationship with Other that would preclude Paralegal from representing Client if Paralegal was a lawyer.

True or False? Under Vermont’s rules, Paralegal’s conflict is imputed to Firm and Firm cannot represent Client.


Question 2

Lawyer called me with an inquiry. I listened, then said:

  • don’t state or imply that you’re disinterested;
  • do correct any misunderstanding about your role; and,
  • if the person’s interests conflict with your client’s, don’t give any legal advice other than the advice to seek counsel.

Given my response, Lawyer called to discuss the rule on:

  • A.  Candor to a Tribunal
  • B.  Communicating ex parte with a judge.
  • C.  Trial Publicity
  • D.  Dealing with an unrepresented person.

Question 3

Attorney called with an inquiry. I listened, then said: “well, it’ll likely depend on whether you received information from Person that could be significantly harmful to Person.”

In this context, it’s most likely that Person is:

  • A.  A former client of Attorney’s
  • B.  A current client of Attorney’s
  • C.  A juror
  • D.  Someone who met with Attorney to discuss forming an attorney-client relationship, but who never formed such a relationship with Attorney.


Question 4

A lawyer who represents two or more clients shall not participate in making an aggregate settlement of the claims of or against the clients.

  • A.   True.
  • B.   True, unless each client gives informed consent in a writing signed by the client.
  • C.   True, but only in civil cases.  The rules prohibit joint representation of criminal defendants.
  • D.   The rules are silent on this issue.

Question 5

The unauthorized practice of law is contempt of court and, if done by a lawyer, is a violation of Rule 5.5.  And, as long time readers know, I’m a big fan of Rule 1.1 and the duty to provide clients with competent representation.

So, speaking of Italy, UPL, and competent representation . . .

. . . Portia was not a lawyer.  However, dressed as a man, she pretended to be one and successfully kept Antonio from having to give a pound of flesh to Shylock.

Name the literary work.


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