Monday Morning Honors & Answers: #249

When I woke up, I wasn’t certain whether it was Monday or January.  I’m still not.  Oh well.

Friday’s questions are here.  The answers follow today’s Honor Roll.

Honor Roll

  • Karen Allen, Karen Allen Law
  • Matthew Anderson, Pratt Vreeland Kennelly Martin & White
  • Evan Barquist, Montroll Oettinger Barquist
  • Penny Benelli, Dakin & Benelli
  • Alberto Bernabe, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago Law
  • Andrew Delaney, Martin Delaney & Ricci
  • Heather Devine, Tarrant Gillies Shems
  • Rick Fadden, Barry Callebaut, Blogger’s Stoolmate
  • Robert Grundstein
  • Anthony Iarrapino, Wilscheck & Iarrapino
  • Glenn Jarrett, Jarrett & Luitjens
  • Elizabeth Kruska, Immediate Past President, Vermont Bar Association Board of Managers
  • Deb Kirchwey, Law Office of Deborah Kirchwey
  • Keith Kasper, McCormick Fitzpatrick Kasper & Burchard
  • Pam Loginsky, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Pierce County, Washington
  • Kevin Lumpkin, Sheehey Furlong & Behm
  • Jack McCullough, Project Director, Mental Health Law Project, Vermont Legal Aid
  • Jeffrey Messina, Messina Law
  • Hal Miller, First American Title Insurance, Hawaii Agency State Counsel
  • Herb Ogden, Esq.
  • Margaret Olnek, Divorce Coach; Assistant Professor, Vermont Law School
  • Lisa Penpraze, Assistant United States Trustee, Department of Justice
  • Jim Remsen, Lord Microstrain, Blogger’s Stoolmate
  • Keith Roberts, Darby Kolter & Roberts
  • Stephanie Romeo, Ryan Smith & Carbine
  • Jonathan Teller-Elsberg, Sheehey Furlong & Behm
  • Honorable John Valente, Vermont Superior Judge
  • Jason Warfield, J.D.
  • Thomas Wilkinson, Jr., Cozen O’Connor


Question 1

At a CLE later today, I’ll urge lawyers to set reasonable expectations with clients at the outset of the representation. I’ll also remind them that a lawyer’s duty is to provide candid legal advice, even if it’s advice that the client doesn’t want to receive.

During that portion of the seminar, which 2 of the 7 Cs of legal ethics will I mention?

I confess, the two I had in mind were Communication and Competence.  However, several readers mentioned “candor,” so I’ll accept that as well.  As I blogged here, I’m of the opinion that a lawyer’s duty to communicate sufficient information to allow the client to make informed decisions includes setting reasonable expectations at the outset of the representation.  And, as I blogged here, I’m also of the opinion that the duties of competence and communication include providing candid legal advice.  See, Rule 2.1 – Advisor.

Question 2

 With respect to legal ethics, the phrase “going up the ladder” is most often used in connection with the duties of an attorney who:

  • A.  is duty bound to report another attorney to disciplinary authorities.
  • B.  represents an organization. Rule 1.13 – Organization as Client
  • C.  is being paid by someone other than the client.
  • D.  has a side business painting houses.

Question 3

Prospective Client wants to retain Lawyer for representation in a divorce from Spouse.  Spouse’s business deals will be a significant issue in the divorce.  Lawyer’s paralegal used to work at the law office that is representing Spouse.  While there, Paralegal participated personally & substantially on legal matters related to Spouse’s business deals.

Under Vermont’s rules, what’s most accurate?

  • A.  Lawyer may not represent Prospective Client. Paralegal has a conflict and it’s imputed to Lawyer.
  • B.  Lawyer may represent Prospective Client.  Prospective Client knows all about Spouse’s business deals.  Therefore, there’s no risk that Paralegal will share confidential information.
  •  C.  Lawyer may represent Prospective Client, but only if  Spouse gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.
  • D. Lawyer may represent Prospective Client.   Paralegal’s conflict is not imputed to Lawyer.  So that Paralegal does not share any confidential information about Spouse, Lawyer should screen Paralegal from any involvement in the divorce.  Rule 1.10 – Imputation of Conflicts of Interest – General Rule.

Question 4

 Attorney called me with an inquiry. I listened, then replied:

  • “Notice should come from you and the firm. A few years ago, the ABA issued an advisory ethics opinion that stated that it’s preferable to issue a joint notice.  The notice should go to all clients who deal (or who have dealt) directly with you.  What the clients do after that is up to them.”

Given my response, what will Attorney be doing soon?

Leaving the firm.  See my blog posts Leaving a Law Firm – Breaking up is hard to do & Leaving a Law Firm – Update.

Question 5

 I rarely take requests for Question 5.  However, I was recently sitting at McGillicudy’s when Rick, a non-lawyer friend and fellow stool sitter, mentioned that he’d tried a recent quiz and hadn’t gotten any right.  I replied that he shouldn’t because he’s not a lawyer!  Then, my brother told him to try another quiz, but only to worry about Question 5.

Still, I was surprised.  We were sitting in our regular bar talking, however briefly, about legal ethics and professional responsibility?!?!  The word is spreading!  So, I asked Rick his favorite fictional lawyer and promised to dedicate Question 5 to that lawyer.  Rick replied something to the effect “it’s ironic that on an ethics quiz you’ll basically be telling me the answer ahead of time!”

Aha! I did no such thing! I asked his favorite fictional lawyer. I never said that lawyer would be the answer to Question 5!

How lawyerly of me to ruin the moment.

Anyhow, Rick’s favorite fictional lawyer is Seinfeld’s Jackie Chiles.  So, without further ado, here’s to Rick!

In an episode of Seinfeld, Kramer retains Jackie Chiles to sue a woman who Kramer alleges caused him to crash his car.  Here’s a snippet of one of their conversations:

Kramer: And she’s the heir to the ________ candy bar fortune.
Jackie Chiles: Could you repeat that?
Kramer: I said she’s the heir to the ________ candy bar fortune.
Jackie Chiles: _________? That’s one of our top-selling candy bars. It’s got chocolate, peanuts, nougat. It’s delicious, scrumptious, outstanding!

Later, at trial, things go awry after Kramer, on the advice of Stam (a golf caddy) and over Jackie’s objections, asks the judge to order the woman to try something on.

Fill-in-the-blank:  what candy bar?

Bonus:  what did the judge order the woman to try on?

Of course, this was Sue Ellen Mischke, heiress to the Oh Henry! candy fortune.  The judge ordered her to try on a bra, which didn’t fit.  Leading to this exchange and today’s bonus quote from Jackie Chiles:

Judge: This court will come to order. Go ahead, Miss Mischke, try it on.
Sue Ellen: It doesn’t fit. I can’t put it on.
Jackie Chiles: [to Kramer and Stan] Damn fools! Look at that! We got nothing now! Nothing! I’ve been practicing law for 25 years, you’re listening to a caddy! This is a public humiliation! You can’t let the defendant have control of the key piece of evidence. Plus, she’s trying it on over a leotard. Of course a bra’s not gonna fit on over a leotard. A bra gotta fit right up a person’s skin. Like a glove!