Monday Morning Answers #155

I’m about to sanction myself for failing to detect a conflict.

Long ago, I agreed to speak at Thursday’s VBA Mid-Year Meeting.  The seminar falls on the same day that UVM plays an NCAA tournament game within driving distance.

Nice schedule-checking Mike.

Friday’s questions are here.  The answers follow today’s Honor Roll.

Honor Roll


Question 1

True or False.

A lawyer cannot be disciplined for trying, but failing, to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct.  That is, discipline can only be imposed for an actual violation.

Aside: imagine being too incompetent to be incompetent?

FALSE.  Rule 8.4(a).

Question 2

Which does not belong with the others?

  • A.  the time & labor required, as well as the skills requisite to perform the legal services properly
  • B.   continued representation will result in a violation of the rules.
  • C.   the lawyer is discharged.
  • D.   the lawyer’s physical or mental condition materially impairs the lawyer’s ability to represent the client.

Answer “A” is one of the factors to be considered when analyzing the reasonableness of a fee.  See, Rule 1.5.  The other 3 require withdrawal pursuant to Rule 1.16(a).

Question 3

Lawyer called me with an inquiry.  I listened, then said: “it depends, did you receive information that could be significantly harmful to that person?”

My words “that person” refers to:

A.  a prospective client who met with, but did not retain, Lawyer.  See, Rule 1.18
B.  a prospective juror.  
C.  an opposing party who mistakenly emailed Lawyer
D.  a current client who intends to commit a crime

Question 4

Generally, a lawyer “shall not acquire a proprietary interest” in the client’s cause of action or in the subject matter of the litigation that the lawyer is conducting for the client.  There are two exceptions.

Name 1.

This is Rule 1.8(i)

  1. A lien authorized by law to secure expenses or a fee; or,
  2. A contingent fee in a civil case.

Question 5

Rule 1.1 requies an attorney to provide clients with competent representation.

Although he did not prevail on his argument, one of the more competent self-represented litigants in movie history was an Irish kid from South Boston.   He represented himself at an arraignment on a charge that he had assaulted a police officer, even arguing his own motion to dismiss:

  • Character:  There is lengthy legal precedent, your honor, going back to 1789, whereby a defendant can claim self-defense against an agent of the government, if that act is deemed a defense against tyranny, a defense of liberty.
  • Prosecutor:  Your honor. . .
  • Character:  Henry Lloyd Beecher in Proverbs from the Plymouth Pulpit, 1887 says, and I quote . . .
  • Prosecutor:  1887? This is the 20th century, your honor.
  • Character:  Excuse me, excuse me.
  • Prosecutor:  You’re making a mockery of the Court!
  • Character:  I’m afforded the right to speak in my own defense, sir, by the Constitution of the United States.  This is the same document that guarantees my liberty.
  • Prosecutor:  Hey, don’t tell me about the Constitution of the United States.
  • Character:  Now, liberty, in case you’ve forgotten, is the soul’s rights to breath.  And when it cannot take a long breath, laws are girded too tight.  Without liberty, man is a syncope.
  • Prosecutor:  Man is a what?
  • Character:  Ibid,  your honor.
  • Judge:  Son, my turn. I’ve been sitting here 10 minutes now looking over this rap sheet of yours.   I just can’t believe it.  June ’93, Assault.  September ’93, Assault. Grand Theft Auto in February ’94, where you apparently defended yourself by citing Free Property Rights of Horse and Carriage from 1798.  January ’95, Impersonating an Officer, Mayhem, Resisting. All overturned.  I’m also aware that you’ve been through several foster homes.  The State removed you from three due to physical abuse.  You know, another judge might care, but you hit a cop.  You’re going in. Motion to dismiss is denied.  $50,000 bail.
  • Character:  Thank you your honor.

Soon after the arraignment, Character was released to the supervision of a co-worker, an MIT professor.  Character’s conditions of release required him to attend therapy sessions with the professor’s college roommate, a psychology teacher at a local community college.

Name the movie.


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