Welcome to February’s final Friday. You know what that means?
Spring is near!
Indeed, as @CounselorAdrian has hashtagged of late, #TheLightIsWinning.
On the other hand, I’m not certain that the light was winning in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 152.
I know next to nothing about Shakespeare. With “next to” being defined as “immediately adjacent to, if not leaning upon.” It’s my worst category in Jeopardy. Even worse than “Opera.”
Sometimes I watch Jeopardy with my mom. When “Opera” is a category, I drive her crazy by yelling “Puccini!!” as soon as each clue is revealed.
You know what? Every now and then “Who is Puccini” is right!
Alas, I have no such luck in “Shakespeare.” That’s because the easiest clues are worth $200. Not 2 cents.
Anyhow, looking for something to tie to this week’s number, I stumbled across Sonnet 152. It’s the last of the so-called Dark Lady sonnets. Literally, here’s the CliffsNotes version. In short, in Sonnet 152, the writer acknowledges that love has rendered him blind. It left him unable (or unwilling) to see what was obvious.
Thinking on it, I was reminded of an article that I read in yesterday’s ABA Journal: Jeffrey Bunn’s Is there anybody in there? Lawyers can learn something about mindfulness from Pink Floyd. It’s worth a read. Bunn observes:
- “We have, regrettably, become comfortably numb to something we need to prioritize and invest in—lawyer well-being, including mindfulness and meditation.”
As most readers know, I’ve banged the drum on attorney wellness, both on this blog and at presentations around Vermont. Overall, and over time, the reception has been positive. The profession now realizes that it has to do something for lawyers who are coping with significant behavioral health issues.
Mindfulness? Folks seem a little more fuzzy on that, less willing to agree that it’s a critical component of competence. That’s where Sonnet 152 and Comfortably Numb collide.
Please read the ABA Journal’s full post. Otherwise, in short, Bunn argues that being mindful of mindfulness is a good thing for the profession. His argument reminds me that attorney wellness is much more than helping lawyers whose practices are at risk due to crippling and unaddressed substance abuse & mental health problems. Wellness includes mindfulness, or, as Bunn writes:
- “Don’t get me wrong—I don’t believe that the legal profession is broken. But it certainly is sick. Sick, as in: Not sustainable as currently constituted. That’s because our profession comprises women and men who can all use a little TLC, once in a while.”
- “Mindfulness and meditation are important pieces of the well-being pie, and our institutions would do us all a great service—they’d do themselves a great service—if they could find a way to normalize those practices and bring them into the everyday realm of our profession. Neither is a panacea for everything that ails our profession, but they can provide us with precious time—time to sharpen our awareness, time to contemplate and reflect—time for ourselves, which, in turn, can benefit our institutions.”
In Sonnet 152, the speaker realized he’d long turned a blind eye to the obvious. In a way, we’ve done the same. Every single one of us needs a little TLC every now and then. It’s time to open our eyes to mindfulness.
We cannot afford to remain Comfortably Numb.
Onto the quiz!
- None. Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-a-friend.
- Exception – but one that is loosely enforced – #5 isn’t open book. (“loosely enforced” = “aspirational”)
- Unless stated otherwise, the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct apply
- Team entries welcome, creative team names even more welcome.
- E-mail answers to michael.kennedy@
- 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
Each of the following words is in the name of its own rule. Three of the rules involve the same type of ethics issue. Which is associated with a different ethics issue than the other three?
- A. Prospective
- B. Meritorious
- C. Current
- D. Former
Attorney called me with an inquiry. I listened, then replied, “yes, but only in an amount reasonably necessary for the purpose.”
You may assume that my response accurately (and exactly) quoted the rule. Thus, Attorney asked whether the rules permit a lawyer to:
- A. charge for copying
- B. bill for travel time
- C. take time off to relax
- D. deposit the lawyer’s own money in a trust account
There are two rules that impose a duty to take “reasonable remedial” action or measures. One is the rule that addresses a lawyer’s duties when a nonlawyer assistant does something that would violate the rules if the lawyer did it. The other is the rule that addresses a lawyer’s duties when the lawyer learns that:
- A. the lawyer deposited the lawyer’s own funds into a trust account
- B. opposing counsel violated the Rules of Professional Conduct
- C. the lawyer inadvertently communicated with a represented party
- D. a client engaged in criminal or fraudulent conduct related to a proceeding in which the lawyer represents the client
Lawyer called me with an inquiry. I listened, then asked:
- “I understand the first part: you have reason to believe that your client is going to commit a criminal act. What I didn’t understand is this: is the criminal act going to result in substantial bodily harm to your client? Or to someone other than your client?”
Lawyer’s inquiry related to the rule on:
- A. Client confidences
- B. Withdrawal
- C. Concurrent conflicts of interests
- D. Duties of a Prosecutor
Speaking of Shakespeare, what did Dick the Butcher suggest to Jack Cade that they do first?