Five for Friday #236

Welcome to Friday, October, and the 236th legal ethics quiz!

As the days grow shorter, I’ve resolved not to waste daylight.  It’s bad enough that I waste the darkness watching the Red Sox strive to avoid the playoffs.  Anyhow, with my new resolution, I’ve no time for a lengthy introduction to this week’s quiz. Yet, I’d be remiss not to share a story shared with me by a friend, fellow attorney, and one of the first people to follow this blog.

As reported earlier this week by BBC News and Sky News, after drinking a bit, a Turkish man wandered off and joined a search party. Only to discover that the search party was looking for himself.  Upon realizing that he was the “missing” person for whom the searchers were calling, the man replied, “I am here.”

The story amuses me on many levels.

It’s not far-fetched to imagine myself, my brother, and some many of our friends and cousins starring in a similar production.  Further, I chuckle at the version in which the “missing” person, upon recognizing his name and still melancholy about not having had his turn at the karaoke mic before going missing, channels his inner Lionel Richie and warbles  “Hello . . . is it me you’re looking for?”

Most importantly, the story joins the Was That Wrong? series as a perfect prop to connect two of this blog’s most favorite topics:  Seinfeld and legal ethics.  And I will do so by challenging readers to the first Ethical Grounds Moot Court Competition.  Consider it an alternative for readers averse to the quiz. Here’s the scenario:

  • Kramer is the “missing” person.
  • Newman organizes the search party and posts a reward for whoever finds the missing Kramer.
  • George joins the search party, dutifully hollers “Kramer,” and is the person to whom Kramer responds, “I am here.”
  • George claims the reward.
  • Newman refuses to pay, insisting that Kramer was never missing and that it was Kramer who found the search party.

You may choose to advocate for either George or Newman.  With Rule 3.1 of the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct in mind, make your best non-frivolous argument on behalf of your client.  If you submit an argument, it might find its way to this blog, albeit I promise without any identifying information included.

For all others, onto the quiz!



  •  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 consider sharing the quiz with friends & colleagues
  • Share on social media.  Hashtag it – #fiveforfriday

Question 1

 A few days ago, I presented at the VBA’s Basic Skills seminar.  I shared with the new lawyers my 7Cs of Legal Ethics.  Here’s one of the questions:

Each of the following is related to which “C”?

  • The so called “self-defense” exception that is available to lawyers in certain situations.
  • The distinction between information that is “generally known” and information that is “public record.”
  • Safeguarding client information that is transmitted or stored electronically.
  • So-called “noisy” withdrawal from representing a client.

Question 2

 Attorney called me with an inquiry.  Attorney said “Mike, I represent Green in Green v. Yellow.   Lawyer represents Witness.  Witness is a fact witness, has nothing at stake in the dispute, and, obviously, isn’t a party.  So, I can contact Witness directly without Lawyer’s consent, right?

What was my response?

  •   A.  Right.
  •   B.  The rule is unclear.
  •   C.  It depends. Is Witness testifying for your client or for Yellow?
  •  D.  Wrong. The rule applies to any person who is represented in a matter

 Question 3

 A comment to one of the conflicts rules states that “continued common representation will almost always be inadequate if one client _________________.”

  • A.  pays a higher percentage of the lawyer’s fee than the other client.
  • B.  is the lawyer’s main contact on matters related to the representation.
  • C.  is a minor.
  • D.  asks the lawyer not to disclose to the other client information relevant to the common representation.

 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

 Keith Kasper frequently appears on the #fiveforfriday honor roll.  Keith is retiring at the end of the year.  A week ago today, I had the pleasure of stopping by Keith’s retirement party.  This week’s Question 5 honors Keith.

On January 31, 1970, a (still) well-known band played a concert in New Orleans.  Upon returning to their hotel, band members found police executing search warrants in their rooms.  Along with many others, the entire band was arrested on drug charges.

Low on money after posting bail, the band played a bonus show a few nights later to raise money to hire lawyers.  I can only assume that the lawyers performed competently, as all charges eventually were dismissed.

The experience inspired the band to write one of its most iconic songs.

Name the band.

Bonus: name the song.


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