Five for Friday #160

Welcome to Friday!

Today you will have at least 160 chances to say something nice about someone or to someone.

Take a chance.  At least one.

John Havlicek died yesterday.  I woke up to the news this morning.  I was too young to remember watching him play.  However, for many years in the early days of email and chat rooms, “Hondo” was in my address and handles.  Also, Celtic fans of my vintage were raised on Johnny Most, Boston’s legendary radio announcer.  While we took particular joy in how he taunted the Pistons, Most’s most famous call came before we born, when “Havlicek stole the ball.”

But this column isn’t about Havlicek, the Celtics, or basketball.  It’s about a thought expressed by one of Havlicek’s former teammates and how that thought relates to a thought I had upon learning last night that a Vermont lawyer had passed away.

ESPN ran this tribute to Havlicek.  It quotes his teammate, Dave Cowens:

“Everybody says nice things about you when you die. I wish they said them to John when he was alive. John was always overlooked. They never talked enough about him,” former teammate Dave Cowens said.

Isn’t that true well beyond sports stars?

Laurie LeClair died this week.  As many of you know, Laurie was a lawyer. She was only 57.

I first met her when she worked for the VBA.  She coordinated CLE & communications.  As Bob Paolini told me this morning, she was Kevin Ryan & Jennifer Emens-Butler before Kevin & Jennifer.

I knew Laurie, but not well.  Many have told me that she was one of the smartest, brightest lawyers they know.

Laurie fell on some hard times.  For many years, life was not easy for her.  Again, I did not know her well and we were not close other than in that 21st century way: we were  Facebook friends.  I’ve probably talked to her only about 10 times in the past 10 years.

Yet,  even though I did not know her well, last night, when I heard the news, I resolved to say nice things about her at today’s meeting of VBA Board of Bar Managers.  When I woke up and read Cowens’ quote about Havlicek, it hit home:

The things I resolved to say about Laurie later today are things I didn’t say to her once over the past 10 years. Even when I had the chance.

The things I resolved to say about Laurie later today are things I didn’t say about her once over the past 10 years. Even when I had the chance.

Don’t be like me.  Don’t wait.  Take a chance and say something nice to someone or about someone.  If you’re anything like me, yeah, it can be awkward.  I can hear you now: “what if I can’t find the words? or they don’t take it the right way?”  To that I suggest, reverse the roles.

Haven’t we all experienced that moment when, during a tough time, someone takes the chance to say something nice and botches it?  We don’t get mad! We laugh through tears and say, “you dummy!” Then we give the person a big hug, thankful for the thought and effort, caring not a whit about the delivery.

Take a chance.  You’ll have at least 160 today.

And if it helps you build up the courage to do so, picture me under the disco ball that hangs in my basement (fact) karaoking ABBA.  If I receive enough reports of people taking a chance today, maybe I’ll take the chance to karaoke the song in public.

Oh, and by the way, as I type this blog, I’m in the State House cafeteria.  My mom, who lobbies, is a few tables away having coffee with some colleagues.  For now, she’s in the dark. But, as regular reader of this blog, she’ll soon learn that I have a disco ball and that I often stand under it singing along to a song she introduced us as kids.

Then, if you ask, I’ll have to answer yes, my mother does know.

Take a chance.

Onto the quiz.


  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-a-friend.
  • Exception – but one that is loosely enforced – #5 (“loosely” = “aspirational”)
  • 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

Limited representations can be a tool to increase access to legal services.  Per the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer may:

  • A.   not limit the scope of the representation.
  • B.   limit the scope of the representation but may not bill for the limited services.
  • C.   limit the scope of the representation if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent.
  • D.  B & C

Question 2

Rule 4.2 prohibits communication with a represented person on the subject of the representation unless the other lawyer consents or the communication is authorized by law.  When it comes to a represented organization, the rule applies to a constituent of the organization:

  • A.  who supervises, directs, or regularly consults with the organization’s lawyer concerning the matter.
  • B.  who has the authority to obligate the organization with respect to the matter.
  • C.  whose act or omission with respect to the matter may be imputed to the organization for the purposes of civil or criminal liability.
  • D.  All of the above.

Question 3

True or false.

There is an absolute prohibition on advertisements that truthfully report a lawyer’s achievements on behalf of clients.

Question 4

Which do the rules treat differently than the others?

  • A.  a client’s personal check in the amount of $1,499
  • B.  a check drawn on another lawyer’s IOLTA account.
  • C.  a check drawn on an IORTA account of a Vermont licensed real estate broker
  • D.  a check issued by an insurance company licensed to do business in Vermont

Question 5

Not ABBA, but a few years earlier . . .

Immigration and cannabis seem to be in the news a lot.

Many years ago, a couple had come to the US to search for the woman’s child.  The child had been abducted by the woman’s former husband.  The man who came with her was a musician and had previously been convicted in the United Kingdom of possession of cannabis resin.

For various reasons, President Nixon ordered the Justice Department to deport the couple. Thanks in large part to their lawyer, the couple prevailed in court and eventually secured green cards and permanent status.

At the time, the couple was, arguably, the most famous couple in the world.  Yet the lawyer they hired had never heard of them.  In addition, per the ABA Journal, the lawyer “didn’t know when accepting the case . . . that he and his clients were facing a five-year legal battle that would eventually expose corruption at the highest levels of the Nixon administration and change the U.S. immigration process forever.”

Who were the lawyer’s famous clients?

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