Five for Friday #207

Welcome to Friday.

Lawyers owe a duty of competence to their clients.  It’s the very first rule and, to me, encompasses every other rule.  That is, competent representation includes maintaining client confidences, providing conflict-free representation, safeguarding client funds . . . yada, yada, yada.

I also believe that the duty of competence includes knowing, for lack of a better term, what’s going on.  For example, in a pandemic, a lawyer should be aware of the impact that the Judicial and Executive Orders have on clients’ matters.  Or, when a lawyer shows up at a deposition or hearing, the lawyer should have a basic idea about, you know, what’s going on.

More often than not, I use the intro to the #fiveforfriday quiz to share a story related to the week’s number. However, I’ve also used it to blog about events associated with the publication date.  Last night, pondering how to compose a post connected to “207” or June 19, I realized that I know next to nothing about the origin, history or meaning of Juneteenth.

I was surprised that my lack of knowledge surprised me.  Indeed, I’m often struck by how little I know about many of the holidays and observances.  For instance, I often struggle to remember the answers to these questions: **

  • is March 17 the anniversary of St. Patrick’s birth, death, or return to Ireland?
  • is Cinco de Mayo Mexico’s Independence Day?
  • who were the other commanders with Ethan Allen at the Battle of Bennington?

Again, in my view, as lawyers, we violate the duty of competence when we don’t know what’s going on.  As people, we’ve long done so with holidays: we participate without bothering to learn a day’s true meaning or importance to those who celebrate, honor, and observe. As an Irish-Catholic, I assure you that multiple green beers by 2PM on a workday in March isn’t the point.

I want to understand Juneteenth’s history, origin and meaning.  So, I will mark the day by learning. You can do the same here, here, here, or a whole lot of other places.

It’s good to know what’s going on.

Onto the quiz!


  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text-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
  • 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
  • Share on social media.  Hashtag it – #fiveforfriday

Question 1

The following statement refers to 2 of the 7 Cs of Legal Ethics.  One is “competence.” What’s the other?

Lawyers should be aware of the risks related to the inadvertent disclosure of client information & data that are associated with working remotely.

Question 2

By rule, how often must a lawyer or firm reconcile a trust account?

  • A.  “Timely” with timely defined as no less than monthly.
  • B.  Quarterly.
  • C.  As recommended by general accounting standards and best practices.
  • D.  Trick question.  The rules are silent.  However, in a disciplinary case, the Vermont Supreme Court held that “more than 2 months without reconciliation is a violation of the general duty to safeguard client funds.”

Question 3

Client retains Lawyer and agrees to pay Lawyer an hourly fee.  The fee agreement is reduced to a writing that is signed by Client.

The representation ends.  Client has paid less than half of the outstanding bill and owes Lawyer for 20 hours of work.

May Lawyer claim the 20 hours as pro bono?

  • A. Yes.
  • B.  Yes, but only if Lawyer stops trying to collect the bill.
  • C.  Yes, but only if Client is “a person of limited means.”
  • D.  No.

Question 4

There is a rule that has 3 exceptions.  They are:

  • unless the testimony relates to an uncontested issue;
  • unless the testimony relates to the nature and value of legal services rendered; or,
  • if disqualification of the lawyer would work substantial hardship on the client.

What does the rule prohibit?

Question 5

Juneteenth dates to an event that took place on June 19, 1865.  What event?

  • A.  The ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • B.  President Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • C.  Union soldiers arriving in Texas and announcing that enslaved people were free.
  • D.  Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.


Juneteenth Flag : vexillology



  1. March 17 is the traditional date of St. Patrick’s death.
  2. No, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day. The holiday commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
  3. Umm, Ethan Allen wasn’t at the Battle of Bennington.  At the time, he was in NY, a prisoner of the British.




2 thoughts on “Five for Friday #207

  1. Hi Mike, I’ll take a stab at the quiz:1. Ans: Confidentiality;2. Ans: A’3.Ans: D;4. Ans: Rule serves generally to prohibit a lawyer from serving as a witness in his/her client’s case,and;5. Ans: C.Have a nice weekend.Sincerely, Jack


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