Five for Friday #226

Welcome to the 226th #fiveforfriday legal ethics quiz!

I’ve been on hiatus from crafting introductions related to the quiz number or date.  Today, the hiatus ends. Barely.

The Kentucky Derby is tomorrow.  Since nobody likes a quitter, I’m not going to let my horrible track record keep me from yet again using the pre-Derby quiz to share my picks.

I like an exacta box with the 8, 10, 14 and 15.

Alas, people like wafflers even less than quitters. So, I’ll take a stand:

  • Hot Rod Charlie
  • Essential Quality
  • Rock Your World
  • Midnight Bourbon.

I can hear you now: “mike, that’s it? How does this end the hiatus?

Here’s how.

I’m easing back into things.  Today, I spent about 22.6 seconds researching my Derby picks.

Onto the quiz!

ps: how can your Kentucky Derby picks NOT include a horse with “bourbon” in its name?!?!

pps: Elizabeth Kruska is not only a regular member of the #fiveforfriday Honor Roll, she’s also the current President of the Vermont Bar Association.  And I can make the following statement with no worry of violating any of the honesty or advertising rules: President Kruska and her husband, Wesley Lawrence, are the Vermont bar’s leading horse-racing aficionados. In 2018, Elizabeth was kind enough to answer a series of questions in which I attempted to tie horse racing, the practice of law, and legal ethics.  Her answers and insight are fascinating.  You can check them out here.



  • 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

Lawyer called me with an inquiry related to Matter 2, a matter in which Lawyer was considering whether to represent Spring.  Our discussion focused on whether Matter 1 was “the same as or substantially related” to Matter 1.

It’s most likely that Matter 1:

  • A.  also involved Lawyer representing Spring.
  • B.  involved another attorney in Lawyer’s firm representing Spring.
  • C.  resulted in a disciplinary complaint being filed against Lawyer.
  • D.  involved Winter, a former client of Lawyer’s whose interests are materially adverse to Spring’s in Matter 2.

Question 2

What is the main difference between how the rules treat hourly and contingent fees?

  • A.  a contingent fee agreement must be in a writing that is signed by the client.  Meanwhile, the rule states that it is “preferable” that an hourly fee agreement be in writing.
  • B.  an hourly fee agreement must be in a writing that is signed by the client.  Meanwhile, the rules states that it is “preferable” that a contingent fee agreement be confirmed in writing.
  • C.  hourly fees are presumed reasonable, contingent fees are not.
  • D.  Trick question.  Both fees must be reasonable. Other than that, the rules draw no distinction between them.

Question 3

At a CLE, I said:

“the specific definition is ‘the isolation of a lawyer from any participation in a matter through the 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.’”

Which more general topic(s) is it most likely that the CLE focused on?

  • A.  The relationship between a lawyer and law firm when the lawyer is “of counsel.”
  • B.  Conflicts & Confidences.
  • C.  Issues associated with accessing electronically stored information while working remotely.
  • D.  A firm’s response when a lawyer is sanctioned and put on disciplinary probation.

Question 4

Attorney called me with an inquiry.  I listened and responded, “your ethical obligation is to notify the sender that you received it.  Depending on the circumstances, the rules of civil procedure might impose additional duties.”

What did Attorney receive?

  • A.  information that Attorney knows or should know was inadvertently sent.
  • B   a last-minute change to previously arranged wiring instructions.
  • C.  a subpoena to produce confidential information related to the representation of a current or former client.
  • D.  a request to meet with a prospective client with whom Attorney knows there exists a conflict of interest.

Question 5

48 years ago today, Lawyer was fired from his job by Person.  Person fired Lawyer after learning that Lawyer had been secretly cooperating with an investigation of Person and Others.

Lawyer had been cooperating with the investigation as part of deal related to his own conduct, conduct that eventually resulted in a criminal conviction and disbarment.

In fact, Person was also an attorney, but was not actively practicing when he fired Lawyer.  Still, Person was eventually disbarred too.

The firing was part of a larger incident that is widely deemed to have resulted in legal ethics and professional responsibility becoming required courses in law school.

Name Lawyer, Person, and the job from which Lawyer was fired 48 years ago today.

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