Five for Friday #169

What a beautiful Friday!

It’s days like this that I live for.  And days like this that make me shudder to think of November, December, January, February, March and each of the past two Aprils.  But thinking is overrated.  So, instead, I’m going to enjoy today for what it is.  And given a fantastic confluence of events, today is shaping up to be a good day indeed.

Last summer, my brother and I took full advantage of the fact that the Men’s World Cup was held in Russia.  The time difference made for ideal start times in the eastern U.S.

This summer, the gift continues to give, with the Women’s World Cup taking place in France. An added bonus?  Unlike the men, the US Women not only qualfied for the tournament, they have a chance to win!  Today’s quarterfinal against France is on our agenda.

Also, our cousins Sean and Richie are in town. Their mom is my dad’s sister.  Sean is a fighter pilot based in California.  Richie lives in Plattsburgh.  As is common in Irish families like ours, I’m not exactly sure what Richie does. Which makes us even, because I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m a teacher.  Aunt Kate would be so proud of the interest her grandnephews take in each other’s lives!

Anyhow, another of our traits is a conviction in the superstitious powers of sayings. Thus, fully aware that familiarity breeds contempt, Sean, Richie and I limit our in-person interactions to the Friday afternoon in late June that falls during Sean’s annual trek home.  Today, we’ll meet at the same bar we always do and pretend to catch up.  Then, we’ll tell the same stories we always re-tell, only this year we’ll laugh even harder than  in previous years, as if it’s the first time any of us has heard the story.

In a sense, each telling will be “new.”  You see, it’s not uncommon for our old stories to acquire new details with each passing year.  Details that the others know full well never happened, but that we leave unchallenged given how much better their inclusion makes the story.  We’ve long lost track of the line that demarcates our actual childhood activities from the heroic & glamourous adventures our adult minds are certain we lived.

But you know what?  That’s ok.

It’s only a few hours a year, but I love seeing my cousins.  Not just Sean and Richie, but all my cousins on both sides of the family.

There’s an old Irish blessing:

Image result for irish blessing plaque cousins

To cousins.  May even one of yours be as good as each of mine.

Onto the quiz!

Rules

  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-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 michael.kennedy@vermont.gov
  • 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

The rule prohibits communicating with a represented __________:

  • A.   Party
  • B.   Person

Question 2

True or false?

A lawyer may not accept representation in a matter that involves an area of law in which the lawyer does not possess the requisite level of competence to provide competent representation to the client.

Question 3

The rules rarely reference specific practice areas.   However, there’s one rule that specifically references both criminal cases & divorces.  It’s the rule on:

  • A.   Contingent fees
  • B.   Flat fees
  • C.   Conflicts with former clients
  • D.   Prospective clients

Question 4

Lawyer represents Client in an appeal.   Opposing Counsel filed a brief.  The brief fails to cite to a case in the controlling jurisdiction that Lawyer knows to be directly adverse to Client’s position.  By rule, Lawyer’s reply brief:

  • A.   must not disclose the case
  • B.   may disclose the case
  • C.   may disclose the case if Client consents
  • D.   must disclose the case

Question 5

The Supreme Court released several newsorthy decisions this week.

48 years ago today, the Court issued an opinion that garnered headlines nationwide.  The opinion overturned the conviction of a famous athlete. The athlete had refused to report for induction to the military after his application for conscientious objector status had been denied.

A unanimous Court (8-0, with Justice Marshall recusing himself) concluded that the athlete’s beliefs were “surely no less religiously based” than those that had been approved in granting other applications for conscientious objector status.

Name the athlete.

Redacting Confidential Info

In January, Paul Manafort’s lawyers made headlines for failing to take proper steps to redact a document.  Myriad outlets covered the story, including The Atlantic, BBC, and Legal Tech News.

In response, the ABA Journal posted How to redact a PDF and protect your clients.  A few days later, I recommended the ABA post in my blog Competence, Confidences and PDFs

Today, the ABA Journal published more helpful information: Redacting confidential client information: The devil is in the detailsThe post points out the risks in failing to understand how property to redact a document.  I recommend it.

One risk? Disciplinary action.  Lawyers have a duty not to disclose information relating to the representation of a client.  There’s also a duty to use reasonable safeguards to protect against unauthorized access to or inadvertent disclosure of confidential information.  In my view, employing a redaction method that fails to keep information confidential is not a reasonable safeguard.

Rather, it’s tech incompetence.

Image result for images of redacting confidential info

 

 

 

Monday Morning Answers #168

Happy Monday!

Friday’s questions are here. The answers follow today’s Honor Roll. The race went well, and I recommend a day or two in Portland.

IMG_2851

Honor Roll

Answers

Question 1

What is the quoted language more commonly known as?

  • “a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibility to another client, a former client or a third person . . .”

A concurrenct conflict of interest . See, Rule 1.7(a)(2).

Question 2

Someone Other Than Client (“SOTC”) is paying Lawyer to represent Client. Which is most accurate?

With respect to information related to the representation of Client, Lawyer

  • A.  may disclose to SOTC without Client’s consent;
  • B.  must disclose to SOTC even over Client’s objection;
  • C.  may not disclose to SOTC without Client’s consent or unless disclosure is otherwise authorized by the rules.  Rule 1.8(f)
  • D.  None of the above.

Question 3

Confidences. Competence.  Conflicts.  Candor.  Communication. Civility.

There’s another word that begins with “C” that is a serious violation of the rules. However, the word doesn’t appear in any of the rules, notable in its absence from the trust accounting rules and the rule on safekeeping client property.

What’s the word?

I was looking for “Commingling.”  Several readers ubmitted another answer that I accepted: “Conversion.”

Question 4

Former Client sued Lawyer for malpractice.  Lawyer had represented Former Client in a divorce.  Attorney represented Former Client in the malpractice action.

Attorney proposed a settlement.  Lawyer accepted. The settlement included a provision that Lawyer will not represent clients in divorces for 5 years.

Did either Attorney or Lawyer violate the rules?

  • A.  Yes, Lawyer’s malpractice in the divorce is a per se violation.
  • B.   Yes, Attorney violated the rules by making the offer.
  • C.   Yes, Attorney and Lawyer violated the rules by making and accepting the offer.  Rule 5.6.  This isn’t a common issue, but it came up in an inquiry I received last week.
  • D.  A and B.

Question 5

Increase Mather was born on this day in 1639. Apropos of my intro, many of Mather’s beliefs wouldn’t be acceptable in today’s society.

Yet, one likely stands the test of time.  In his work “Cases of Conscience,” Mather referred to the so-called “Blackstone Ratio,” the idea that it’s better that 10 guilty persons go free than 1 innocent person be punished.

What notorious legal event prompted Mather to write Cases of Conscience?

The Salem Witch Trials

Image result for salem witch trials

 

Five for Friday #168

Welcome to #168!

Before we get started, here’s something regular readers will understand: I got the bins right this week! And I didn’t even have to check my new calendar.

So . . .

. . . on New Year’s Day I boldly announced on Facebook and Instagram that, in 2019, I’d run at least 10 half marathons in 10 different states or provinces.  New Year’s Eve has long tended to leave me confusing “bad idea” with “bold plan.”  A few things I forgot to factor into the equation? Travel and lodging.

Fortunately, my dad is vacationing in Boothbay Harbor this week.  It’s fortunate because  tomorrow is the Old Port Half in Portland.  So, as soon as I post today’s quiz, I’m heading to Maine.  Not so much to visit my dad – no offense dad – but to take advantage of the free (to me) room, run tomorrow’s half marathon, and tick off another state on my quest for 10.

Son of the Year!

Anyhow, in addition to being ready to hit the road, I’m fresh out of ideas.  So, I almost posted today’s quiz sans this intro. But, in a burst of effort meant to give the people what they likely scroll right past, I googled “168 legal ethics.”  What I found nearly made my spit out my coffee in laughter.

I found this.  It’s an advisory ethics opinion that was issued in Texas in 1958.  The summary:

“It is improper for an attorney to send Christmas cards to his clients which indicate that he is an attorney at law either on the cards or their envelopes.”

And, the opinion itself:

  • The sending of Christmas cards with the language ‘Attorney at Law’ and ‘Attorney at Law, 1137 Big Building, City, Texas’ or of a card without such language in an envelope which shows a return address reading. ‘John Doe, Attorney at Law, 1137 Big Building, City, Texas’ violates Canon 24 of the Canons of Ethics of the State Bar. If the Christmas cards and the envelope merely stated the name of the sender without any reference to his being an attorney, the sending thereof would not violate the Canons of Ethics of the State Bar. (9-0).'”

Not a single dissent!  I’ll give them this: at least their opinions were brief.

The brevity, however, leaves me unclear as to the reasoning.  I assume it wasn’t necessarily “Christmas cards,” but any card, whether birthday, graduation, or get well.  Also, I’m  aware that, back then, advertising was frowned upon.  We’re a noble profession!  But cards to your own clients????  Come on!  And, it’d be okay if you remove any reference to being an attorney???  Huh?

It makes me laugh.  Yet, at the same time, it makes me wonder.

In legal ethics, what are we requiring, prohibiting, or allowing that, years from now, will make the profession scratch its collective head?  Something.  Because that’s how life works: we look back and wonder “what the hell were they thinking?”  Often, we’re right to wonder.

I used to tell my players that once we stop looking for ways to get better, we stop getting better.  Both as players and as a team.

It’s the same with legal ethics.  Actually, it’s the same with life.

It’s likely that every single one of us is doing something today that, years from now, we’ll wonder why we ever did it this way.  Whether as lawyers, judges, bar associations or courts.  Whether as friends or family members. Whether in athletics, law, or interpersonal relationships.

Self-reflection and introspection are personal and professional responsibilities.  Let’s resolve always to work to improve.

Oh – you lawyers & firms who send me holiday cards? Keep it up! They brighten up an otherwise drab office.

Onto the quiz!

Rules

  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-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 michael.kennedy@vermont.gov
  • 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

What is the quoted language more commonly known as?

  • “a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibility to another client, a former client or a third person . . .”

Question 2

Someone Other Than Client (“SOTC”) is paying Lawyer to represent Client. Which is most accurate?

With respect to information related to the representation of Client, Lawyer

  • A.  may disclose to SOTC without Client’s consent;
  • B.  must disclose to SOTC even over Client’s objection;
  • C.  may not disclose to SOTC without Client’s consent or unless disclosure is otherwise authorized by the rules.
  • D.  None of the above.

Question 3

Confidences. Competence.  Conflicts.  Candor.  Communication. Civility.

There’s another word that begins with “C” that is a serious violation of the rules. However, the word doesn’t appear in any of the rules, notable in its absence from the trust accounting rules and the rule on safekeeping client property.

What’s the word?

Question 4

Former Client sued Lawyer for malpractice.  Lawyer had represented Former Client in a divorce.  Attorney represented Former Client in the malpractice action.

Attorney proposed a settlement.  Lawyer accepted. The settlement included a provision that Lawyer will not represent clients in divorces for 5 years.

Did either Attorney or Lawyer violate the rules?

  • A.  Yes, Lawyer’s malpractice in the divorce is a per se violation.
  • B.   Yes, Attorney violated the rules by making the offer.
  • C.   Yes, Attorney and Lawyer violated the rules by making and accepting the offer.
  • D.  A and B.

Question 5

Increase Mather was born on this day in 1639. Apropos of my intro, many of Mather’s beliefs wouldn’t be acceptable in today’s society.

Yet, one likely stands the test of time.  In his work “Cases of Conscience,” Mather referred to the so-called “Blackstone Ratio,” the idea that it’s better that 10 guilty persons go free than 1 innocent person be punished.

What notorious legal event prompted Mather to write Cases of Conscience?

 

Pick your battles: case tossed after lawyer & client willfully violate discovery order.

My guess is we’ve yet to hear the end of this story.

As reported by Overlawyered, the Sixth Circuit recently affirmed a district court’s decision to dismiss a case due to “flagrant and repeated misconduct by the Plaintiff and his attorney.” The opinion, which is here, serves as a cautionary tale not only for lawyers whose clients undergo court-ordered independent medical examinations, but for lawyers who conflate competent representation with battling over every little thing.

Plaintiff sought damages for injuries alleged to have resulted from a fall at the railway yard where he worked.  After some jousting, the lawyers agreed that Plaintiff would attend an IME.

In anticipation of the IME, Plaintiff was asked to respond to a questionnaire related to his medical history.  Plaintiff’s Lawyer objected, arguing that the questionnaire was unnecessary given that Plaintiff had already been deposed.  More jousting ensued, with the court again having to get involved.  The court concluded that the background information was required and, pursuant to F.R.C.P. 35, ordered Plaintiff to appear at the IME “for an interview by a physician assistant and for [the doctor] to conduct an IME.”

Plaintiff appeared for the IME.  Without notifying defense counsel, Lawyer tagged along.

Long story short, Plaintiff refused to answer any of the questions asked by the physician’s assistant or the doctor. (He also refused to identify himself.) Here’s a transcript of a portion of the examination:

  • Doctor: Now I was a little confused. You’re talking in the summons of
    oil and slipping in the back of a truck but on your, when you filled out the injury
    report that day, you were saying you were walking to the front door of the truck
    and your legs gave way.
  • Plaintiff: Everything is in the deposition there.
  • Doc: Got it.
  • Plaintiff: We went over all the, all the stuff.
  • Doc: Got it.
  • Plaintiff: I’m not trying to give you a hard time.
  • Doc: I understand.
  • Plaintiff: All the information should be there.
  • Doc: I think you are smart to listen to your attorney. If your attorney, if my
    attorney told me to dye my hair red, I’d dye my hair red. You know, so if your
    attorney has told you not to …
  • Lawyer: You’re assuming I told him that.
  • Doc: to answer specific questions.
  • Lawyer: That might be his own, his own line of thinking.
  • Doc: He had told me, we had been told, eh, that . . . Well is it, let me ask you, is it
    your idea not to fill out the form?
  • Lawyer: That’s not relevant doc.
  • Plaintiff: I’m complying with the Order. They told me I had to come down here and
    be examined by you.
  • Doc: Very good. Ok I will go with the history in the chart and what you said
    when you filled out the initial report.
    (inaudible)
    Ok great. Do you want to tell me what problems you are having or would you
    rather I just look at your deposition?
  • Plaintiff: It’s all in the deposition.

Now, you might be wondering how we have a “transcript” of the IME.  If so, good wondering.  Here’s how: Lawyer surreptitiously recorded it on his phone.

Image result for oops gif

In the end, and referring to the obligation to comply with the court-ordered IME, the 6th Circuit wrote:

  • “[Plaintiff] cannot credibly claim either that he was unaware of the obligation or that he complied with it by sitting for the interview but declining to answer questions regarding his condition, his current medications, or how his injury occurred. [Lawyer] represented that he and [Plaintiff] had discussed their concerns about the interview, and [Lawyer] denied that he told [Plaintiff] what to do. The fact is, [Plaintiff] arrived for the IME with a copy of his deposition transcript and his attorney in tow, and then proceeded to repeatedly deflect questions by stating that the answers could be found in his deposition or prior medical records. Now that he is no longer represented by [Lawyer], plaintiff asserts that it ‘was unreasonable for the court to conclude that he did anything other than follow the instructions of his attorney when he attended the IME.’  But [Plaintiff] cannot escape the consequences of his own actions by laying blame on the advice of counsel. The actions that [Plaintiff] took with the support of [Lawyer] were deliberate and calculated to circumvent the order requiring him to submit to an interview as part of the IME.”

As such, the court upheld the district court’s conclusion that Plaintiff and Lawyer willfully violated a discovery order and, further, that dismissal was the appropriate remedy.  In the process, the court made an observation that lawyers – even those in so-called “one-party” states – should heed:

  • “There is no reason to doubt that [Plaintiff] knew [Lawyer] was secretly recording the visit on a hidden cell phone, which was deceitful even if not actually illegal in Wisconsin.” (emphasis added).

In Vermont, Rule 8.4(c) prohibits conduct that involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.  Here, to make matters worse, the deceit backfired in that it provided a record of the misconduct.

Finally, if the result seems unfairly to penalize Plaintiff for Lawyer’s conduct, look at the concurring opinion.  Omitting internal citations, here’s the penultimate paragraph:

  • “The law already marks a deeply grooved path for addressing the grievances of clients bilked out of good claims by bad lawyers. It’s called a malpractice lawsuit. A dismissal with prejudice predicated on lawyer misconduct would provide powerful ammunition for a client in a malpractice proceeding. By departing from our traditional rules of agency to protect plaintiffs, we may do just the opposite. If we make party misconduct a near precondition in every dismissal, we unduly complicate the inevitable malpractice action by giving the lawyer a ready defense: My client behaved just as badly as I did.”

Most lawyers know other lawyers who fight over every little thing in discovery.  Some battles aren’t worth fighting.  Here, simply following the process probably would’ve resulted in settlement.  Now, if Plaintiff is to recover anything, I assume it will be in a malpractice action.

That doesn’t strike me as worth the fight.

Wellness Wednesday: Survival Skills

One of the blogs I frequent is Attorney at Work.   Enshrined in the ABA Blawg 100 Hall of Fame,* its mission is as follows:

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One Really Good Idea Every Day for Enterprising Lawyers

At Attorney at Work, our goal is to give you the inspiration and information you need to create a law practice — and a life — you love.

****************************

A lawyer named Link Christin contributes to Attorney at Work.  In February, he started a series on survival skills for lawyers. The posts to date:

I recommend each.  Christian identifies the more common aspects of lawyering that put attorneys at risk, then provides practical tips on how best to reduce and respond to the risk.

Proactive wellness is a good thing.

wellness

* Hopefully I’m 101.

Monday Morning Answers #167

Hope you enjoyed the weekend!

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

Honor Roll

  • Matt AndersonPratt Vreeland Kennelly Martin & White
  • Evan BarquistMontroll Backus & Oettinger
  • Penny Benelli, Dakin & Benelli
  • Alberto Bernabe, Professor, John Marshall Law School
  • Bob Grundstein, Esq.
  • Thomas Kester, Assistant General Counsel. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Vermont
  • Jim Runcie, Ouimette & Runcie
  • Ian Sullivan, Chief Deputy State’s Attorney, Rutland County
  • Zachary York, Vermont Superior Court, Chittenden Civil 

Answers

Question 1

There’s only one rule that specifically mentions both judges and jurors.

What does the rule prohibit?

Rule 3.5 prohibits ex parte communications with those judges & jurors.

Question 2

There’s a rule that prohibits a lawyer from charging an unreasonable fee.

True or false?

By rule, if the client agrees to and pays a fee, the fee is presumed reasonable.

False. There is no such presumption in Rule 1.5. Also,   See, In re Sinnott, (“Respondent seeks to justify this fee on the theory that it was based on a valid contract that [the client] freely and knowingly signed.   This argument demonstrates respondent’s failure to comprehend the effect of Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct 1.5(a);  lawyers, unlike some other service professionals, cannot charge unreasonable fees even if they are able to find clients who will pay whatever a lawyer’s contract demands,”)

Question 3

Lawyer represented Client.  Once the representation ended, Client gave Lawyer a gift.  Which is most accurate?

  • A.  Lawyer must not accept the gift.
  • B.  Lawyer may accept the gift, but only if Lawyer handled the matter pro bono.
  • C.  Lawyer may accept the gift, especially if it’s a simple gift such as a holiday present or token of the client’s appreciation.  Rule 1.8, Comment [6].
  • D.  Mike, objection.  The premise of this question is pure fantasy.

Question 4

Attorney called me with an inquiry. I listened, then said, “it means:

  • ‘isolation of a lawyer from any participation in a matter through timely imposition of procedures within a firm that are reasonably adequate under the circumstances to protect information that the isolated lawyer is obligated to protect under these rules or other law.’ “

Given my response, what general issue/topic did Attorney likely call to discuss?

Screening a lawyer from participation in a matter.  See, Rule 1.0(k).

Question 5

Speaking of my presentation to the prosecutors, one of the hottest new streaming shows culminates in the criminal trial of Anatoly Dyatlov, Viktor Bryukhanov, and Nikolai Fomin. In real life, the trial took place in 1987.

Where did the defendants work?

The Vladimir I. Lenin Nuclear Power Station – aka “Chernobyl.”  

I recommend the HBO miniseries.

Image result for vladimir i lenin power station

My Dad

Last year, I blogged about my Dad on Father’s Day weekend.  In his honor, I’m re-posting it today.

As soon as I post this, I’m heading to Lebanon to run the same race I ran last Father’s Day.  My brother can’t make it this year, so I’ve yet to decide how to handle the post-race tradition referenced at the end of the blog.

Originally posted on June 15, 2018 – “My Dad”

Welcome to #121!

So, 121 is a palindromic number.  You know what else is a palindrome?  The word “dad.”  So, on Father’s Day weekend, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about my dad, Mark Kennedy.

Many of my readers know my mom.  Because she’s awesome. And, lawyers being lawyers, they like to get to know awesome people.

Not as many readers know my dad.  He’s awesome too.  In 1992, he re-married and moved south.  Had he stayed, readers would’ve tried to get to know him as well.

My dad grew up in Burlington’s Old North End under the watchful eye of Aunt Kate.  His parents bounced around the neighborhood from apartment to apartment.  Every apartment that my dad lived in as a kid is within .25 miles of my office.

My dad went to Cathedral High School.  For those of you who don’t know, Cathedral is what Rice used to be called.  It was on the corner of Pearl & St. Paul, a site that is now the state garage where I park for work.

After graduating, my dad enrolled at St. Michael’s.  He walked to and from class.  My grandparents didn’t have much.  Money ran dry after my dad’s sophomore year. So, he joined the Army, served for a few years in Germany, then returned to Burlington to finish up at St. Mike’s.

My dad’s first job was as a teacher in Essex.  Eventually, he became the vice-principal at Shelburne Middle School, then the principal at Camel’s Hump Middle School.  When I was a 6th grader at South Burlington Middle School, the principal left.  So, the district hired a new guy: my dad.

Some might say that it’d stink to have your dad be your principal.  Au contraire.  It works out quite nicely when the principal understands all-too-well the perils of reporting alleged misconduct to a particular student’s mom.

Anyhow, long story short, in 1992, my dad married Jane Ramsey.  At the time, Jane lived in Yorktown, Virginia.  My dad moved down there, spent 10 years as the vice-principal at Yorktown’s Bruton High School, then retired. Now, he and Jane live in Flat Rock, North Carolina, a small town about 25 miles southwest of Asheville.

Thinking about my dad for this post, I was struck by a few things.

First, it’s hard to describe the essence of a person.  Not so much with my dad.  He might disagree, but to me, he lives his life by two rules: (1) he’s kind to everyone; and (2) he thinks before he speaks.  The world, and our profession, could use more people with the same approach.

Next, I was struck by how much of myself I can trace back to my dad & his influence.  This blog & my CLE presentations are a perfect example.  Besides legal ethics, what do I mention most?   Sports, running, and coaching basketball.

My dad introduced my brother & I to sports.  He played sports with us. He watched sports with us.  He taught us about sports.  He took us to Expos and Red Sox games.  He went to every single one of our games and was always supportive.

As for running, I was the last in my family to the sport.  I didn’t start running until I was 40.  My brother was a star runner at SBHS and helped lead his team to the state championship as a senior.  The original Kennedy to run? My dad.  He ran track at Cathedral (100, 200, and relay) and helped lead his team to the state championship as a senior.  My first coach when I finally started to run?  My dad.

By the way, my dad still runs.  Just a few years ago he dominated his age group at the Asheville Turkey Trot:

IMG_0445

Finally, coaching basketball. Not much has influenced my life more than my career as a high school basketball coach.  I honestly cannot imagine my life without my core group of friends, every single one of whom I met thru coaching.

Way back when, my dad was a basketball coach. He coached 8th grade CYO teams for Cathedral, helping to develop many players who went on to win state championships at Rice.

More importantly to me, the only reason I got into coaching was because my high school coach asked me to work as an assistant after I graduated.  It’s an opportunity that, really, was only available to me because of my dad.

You see, when I was a junior in high school, my basketball team had a scrimmage.  The same coach who would later give me my start in coaching barely played me during the scrimmage.  That night, I told my dad I was going to quit.  He didn’t get mad, or tell me that I couldn’t quit.  Rather, he paused, and then told me that another option would be to go back and try to get better.  So, I did.  I played for the remainder of my high school career.

Had I quit, there is a 0% chance that my high school coach would’ve asked me to be an assistant.  A career that ended up meaning so much to me never would have started.  Thanks to kind, gentle, subtle nudging from my dad, it did.

Oh, and one more thing, but for my dad, I might not have gone to law school.

After I graduated from UVM, I had a job at a gas station on Shelburne Road. I loved it. I pumped gas, sold cigarettes & beer, made some money, and worked with some good high school friends.  After a few months, the boss made me “day manager,” paid me $325 per week, and let me work hours that would allow me to coach high school football & basketball.  Life was perfect.

One day, my dad stopped by.  Very calmly, he asked “you gonna change oil your whole life?”  At first, I was thrilled.  You see, the owners had let me change tires, but they knew better than to let me change oil.  So, I was ecstatic that my dad was so confident in me to see that, soon enough, I’d be entrusted to handle the “oil, lubes & filters.”

Then his point sank in.  So, I applied to law school.  And here I am.  And where I am is not only a great spot, but it’s a spot upon which I’d never have landed without my dad’s support.  So much that matters to me, so much that IS me, I owe to my dad.

Dad – on behalf of Patrick, we love you.  Happy Father’s Day!  We can’t wait to see you in D.C. in a few weeks for the Sox-Nationals games.  Until then, don’t waste your time looking in the mail for a gift or card.  The fact remains, you raised 2 Irish sons for whom planning ahead isn’t a strong suit.

That being said, on Father’s Day, Patrick & I are heading to Lebanon, NH. I’m going to run a race. It’s sponsored by an Irish bar, and Patrick & I fully intend to stop at the bar after the race.  When we do, we’ll order 3 pints: 1 for Patrick, 1 for me, and 1 for you.

We’ll each drink our own, then half of yours.

As I said, you raised two Irish sons!