Five For Friday #179

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been drawn to playing in the rain.  No idea why.  And not just any rain, but serious rain.  Some of the more epic games & adventures ever witnessed in South Burlington’s Williston Road neighborhoods took place in some of the more epic storms.

Would we have wanted it to rain every day? No way.  But, every now & then, doing something out of the norm presented a challenge that, once accepted, often resulted in feelings of both freedom and accomplishment.

Which likely explains why, yesterday, I wanted nothing more than to go for a run.

For those of you not in Vermont, a powerful storm hit parts of the state yesterday.  I live in northwestern VT, an area that avoided the worst of the worst.  Still, the least bad wasn’t good.

Mid-morning, Disciplinary Counsel Sarah Katz and I were watching the storm from our office window.  I told her I wanted to go for a run.  From her look, I’m pretty sure she contemplated filing a petition to have my law license immediately transferred to disability inactive status.  My suspicions were confirmed upon seeing her reaction when I mentioned that I’d brought my rain-running gear with me to work.

Alas, the work day got away from me and, eventually, I headed home without having run.

When I got home, I ran.

The wind was fierce, the puddles deep.  My feet were soaked & frigid within a mile, my hands within another.  But it was awesome.  I felt free, like I was doing something for the pure enjoyment of doing it as opposed to doing it because I had to.  A sopping wet adventure that reminded me of being a kid and that, once finished, left me with a rewarding sense of accomplishment.

Which, this morning, made me think of National Pro Bono Week.

Monday marks the beginning of the National Celebration of Pro Bono.  It runs through October 26.  As ABA President Judy Martinez notes here, this year’s celebration highlights the need for legal services for the survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Eileen Blackwood is a former VBA President and used to chair the VBA’s Pro Bono Committee.  Here’s an excerpt from a blog I posted last May:

  • “Last week, Eileen Blackwood and I presented on professionalism at the VBA’s Basic Skills conference.  Eileen urged the new lawyers to consider pro bono work.  Among its other benefits, Eileen shared a poignant story of how a case that she handled pro bono brought her a measure of personal satisfaction that she didn’t always find in her work for ‘paying’ clients.”

Sort of like an 8.95 mile run in a bomb cyclone.  Sure, last night it would’ve made a ton more sense to stay inside and run another day.  A regular run that would’ve been fine, but that wouldn’t really have differed from any other run.

I’ll have time for plenty of those.  And, in the end, they’ll provide their own reward

But nothing like the reward & satisfaction of tackling a challenge that brought me back to my youth and, really, to why I run in the first place.

Pro bono work offers something similar to lawyers.  A chance to do something different than what you’ll do every other work day.  A chance for the reward and satisfaction of helping someone for no other reason than because you can.  Which, however fleeting, just might bring you back to the feeling that sent you to law school in the first place.

Next week, please consider the professional version of running in a torrential storm.

For more information on pro bono opportunities, please contact Mary Ashcroft.  Mary is the VBA’s Legal Access Coordinator.  Or, visit this link.

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

In Vermont, a lawyer _____________  the representation has been rendered unreasonably difficult by the client.

  • A.   may withdraw if
  • B.   must withdraw if
  • C.   must not withdraw unless
  • D.  I object to the premise. This never happens.

Question 2

Can a lawyer accept compensation from someone other than the client?

  • A.  No.
  • B.   Yes, but only if the client is indigent.
  • C.   Yes, but the rule permitting it also discourages it.
  • D.   Yes, if the client gives informed consent, the payor doesn’t interfere with the lawyer-client relationship, and information relating to the representation of the client is not disclosed to the payor except as authorized by the rule on client confidences.

Question 3

Rule 1.15(a)(1) requires a lawyer to hold property of clients or third persons separate from the lawyer’s own property.

While the word doesn’t appear in the rule, what is the word most commonly used to describe conduct that violates the rule?

Question 4

A repeat, but in honor of Celebrate Pro Bono Week:

Lawyer is an associate at Firm. Tomorrow, Lawyer intends to provide short-term limited legal services to clients at a walk-in clinic sponsored by a nonprofit organization.  Neither Lawyer nor her walk-in clients will expect Lawyer or Firm to provide continuing representation to the clients.  By rule, which set of rules will be (somewhat) relaxed, insofar as they relate to Lawyer’s work at the walk-in clinic?   The rules on:

  • A.  Conflicts of Interest
  • B.  Malpractice Insurance
  • C.  Diligence & Competence
  • D.  Client Confidences

Question 5

Michael Brock was an anti-trust lawyer at Drake & Sweeney, a large D.C. firm.  One day, a homeless man named “Mister” entered the firm and took hostages.  A police sniper shot and killed Mister.

Bothered, Brock set out to determine what drove Mister.  His quest led him to the 14th Street Legal Clinic where he met Attorney Mordecai Green.  Eventually, Brock learned that his firm had been involved in evicting homeless people from a condemned building in the middle of winter, with a young family dying as a result.   Disturbed, Brock left the firm, taking a client file with him.

On behalf of the clinic, Mordecai Green sued the firm for its role in the evictions.  The firm countered that Brock had committed malpractice and stolen files.

The matter settled with Brock agreeing to having his license suspended, while the firm fired the partner responsible for the evictions and made its entire staff available to do pro bono work assisting the clinic to fight for the rights of the homeless.

Name the book.

P.S. – any lawyers running the Heady Trotter Sunday, find me for pictures!

Image result for images of pro bono

One thought on “Five For Friday #179

  1. Sigh….distinguished Bar Counsel doesn’t know when to come out of the rain. Thank God he has a good family.


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