Five for Friday #191

Welcome to the 191st #fiveforfriday legal ethics quiz!

191 makes me think of I-91.  And, today, I-91 makes me think of last week’s drive to Brattleboro, a trip that I made down I-91 with my dad & my brother.  We went to visit Uncle Edmund.

Uncle Edmund is my dad’s older brother.  They grew up in Burlington’s Old North End, sons of Irish parents enthusiastically committed to the Irish stereotype.  As a result, by the time my Aunt Mary Ellen came along, she was whisked away to live with her Aunt Kate.

He’s also Ed Kennedy.  Several Vermont lawyers and judges know him as the long-time biology teacher at St. Johnsbury Academy who, in his later years, volunteered as a Guardian Ad Litem in the Caledonia County courts.

My uncle fascinates me.  Endlessly curious and interested, he knows something about everything. Endlessly Irish, he’s willing to share everything that he knows about something.  Fortunately, his knowledge is topped only by a captivating manner that, on the very rare occasion when he has no idea what’s he’s talking about, allows those twinkling eyes to let him slip some Irish b******t by you.  Uncle Edmund is the perfect person to find two stools down, even on those nights that you stop by the bar fully intending to drink alone.

After graduating from Cathedral High School, Uncle Edmund went to St. Mike’s, joined the Army, was stationed in Korea, and married Aunt Nancy.  They lived as newlyweds on North Avenue, raised my 3 cousins in St. Johnsbury, and eventually moved to East Barnet. All the while, Uncle Edmund marked the seasons not by the calendar, but by whether he needed a blanket to sleep at night.

He’s both a hunter and a naturalist, as adept at identifying, catching, and shooting all types of fish, fowl, and mammals as he is at protecting and conserving their natural environs.  Related, Uncle Edmund is a noted creator & connoisseur of dishes that would make most stomachs turn.  I’ve never figured out whether his tales of having rushed road-kill home to cook it while still fresh are true, or part of the pure joy he took in causing a reaction.

Uncle Edmund is also a soldier.  He’s a Captain in Samuel Herrick’s 1st Company of the Green Mountain Rangers.  For as long as I can remember, Captain Kennedy & Herrick’s Rangers have reenacted Revolutionary War campaigns, skirmishes and battles down to the most minute of details.  If transported today back to 1775, Uncle Edmund would not only survive but thrive.  Until very recently, he remained capable of both feeding a regiment with only Revolutionary-era utensils & food sources, and ably fighting the Crown with his trusted musket and other weapons of the times.

Finally, I’d be remiss to omit that while he left the Old North End, Uncle Edmund never forgot his roots. An Irish-Catholic Democrat not far removed from relatives who were new Americans, he’s long-championed even newer Americans.  Lately, his advocacy has been from behind the walker he needs to navigate the halls of the various facilities in which he’s lived; a walker he grudgingly accepted, and to which he proudly plastered his “Bernie” sticker.

Oh, and his 80th birthday was a keg party.

I will never forget the gusto with which Uncle Edmund lives every aspect of his life.  A hail fellow well met with a quick wit and devilish jokes; strangers were but friends he’d yet to make.

Today, he’s not well.  At 84, he’s in a home in Brattleboro, where the only good thing about the Alzheimer’s that’s attacking his beautiful mind is that it appears to have left him unaware of the cancer that’s ravaging his body.  Neither has taken the twinkle from his eye.


Again, when we visited, it was my dad, my brother, and me.  I’m not sure that Uncle Edmund knew us.  In fact, as we chatted, he confided to us that he was expecting three visitors that day but had no idea who they were.  Then, undeterred by his situation, he burst into that wonderfully robust laugh that causes his eyes not only to crinkle, but to water so much that it looks like he’s crying.

Yet, while not entirely sure who we were, his spirit was on full display. Struggling to understand my dad’s question as to whether he wanted to eat in his room or in the facility’s dining area, my brother simplified it: “do you want to eat on your bed or in the mess hall?”  He yelled “the mess hall!”

So that’s where we took him, to the mess hall.  And that’s where we left him, at a table in the cafeteria, waiting for lunch.

Even by Ed’s standards, the menu wasn’t appetizing. So, I hope that in his mind, it was an all-you-can-eat wild game dinner, and bottomless pints of Ballantine Ale.

To Uncle Edmund!

Onto the quiz!


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  • Exception:  Question 5.  We try to play that one honest.
  • Unless stated otherwise, the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct apply
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Question 1

The Vermont Bar Association’s Pro Bono Committee meets next week to review nominations for the 2020 Pro Bono Award. I chair the committee, so if you want to nominate a lawyer, email me the nomination.

By rule, lawyers are expected to provide _________________:

  • A.   pro bono services to those in need.
  • B.   50 hours of pro bono legal services
  • C.   60 hours of pro bono legal services.
  • D.   a reasonable amount of pro bono legal services.

Question 2

A lawyer called me with an inquiry. I listened, then responded “the first question is whether the new matter is the same as or substantially related to the old matter.”

Given my response, the lawyer called to discuss the rule on:

  • A.  candor to a tribunal.
  • B.  communication with a juror.
  • C.  communication with a represented person.
  • D.  conflicts of interest.

Question 3

Which is expressed in a different rule than the others?

  • A.  don’t state or imply that you’re disinterested.
  • B.  don’t contact her unless the clerk has certified that her term is complete.
  • C.  if she misunderstands your role, correct the misunderstanding.
  • D.  if her interests are likely to conflict with your client’s, don’t give her any legal advice other than the advice to secure counsel.

Question 4

At a CLE, I said “the rule includes 3 exceptions:

  1. the testimony relates to an uncontested issue;
  2. the testimony relates to legal services provided in the case; or
  3. disqualifying the lawyer would cause substantial hardship to the client.”

I was discussing the rule that applies when a necessary witness in a trial is _______:

  • A.   a lawyer who is representing a party to the same trial.
  • B.   a former client of a lawyer who is representing a party to the same trial.
  • C.   a current client of a lawyer who is representing a party to the same trial.
  • D.   a lawyer who used to be the presiding judge’s law partner.

Question 5

With Captain Kennedy in mind this week, a two-part question:

In an argument made during a jury trial that took place in 1770, a criminal defense attorney said:

  • “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence . . . It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, ‘whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,’ and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.”

Name the lawyer and the event that resulted in the lawyer’s clients being charged.



3 thoughts on “Five for Friday #191

  1. Beautiful story of your Uncle Edmund, Michael! Thank you!

    Hope all is well with you.

    ​Aunt Claire



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