Five for Friday #256

Welcome to Friday and the 256th legal ethics quiz!


That is not a typo or misspelling.  It’s an actual word that, thanks to this intro, might someday propel you to trivia glory.

But first, the inaugural Vermont Film & Music Festival begins tonight in Stowe.  If you go, don’t forget to say hi to David Rocchio. As I blogged Wednesday, Rocchio made the move from the law to the movies and is one of the creative minds behind the festival.

Now, let’s get back to zenzizenzizenzic.

As most know, on Fridays, I try to tie the intro to the quiz number.  Often this results in me researching the number.  In so doing, it never ceases to amaze me how many complicated words & definitions are used to describe numbers and things associated therewith.  For all the grief directed at the law for our vocabulary being tough to comprehend, mathematicians seem to have gotten a free pass.

For example, my birthday is on July 18th, and, after last night’s win, the Celtics are one game closer to their 18th NBA championship.  18 is a composite number, a semi-perfect number, an inverted square-prime, an abundant number, a solitary number, a Fine number, the number of one-sided pentominoes, and, in base 10, a Harshad number.

I have no idea what any of that means, but it’s a lot of words.  Still, compared to other numbers I’ve researched, 18 has relatively few confusing descriptors associated with it.

Which brings me, finally, to zenzizenzizenzic.

By far the most eye-catching word ever to leap off Wikipedia during my numerical research, zenzizenzizenzic is used to describe any number that is the 8th power of another number.  That is, x8 is always a zenzizenzizenzic number.  You can learn more about the word origin here.

When I read the origin, my initial reaction was that that they’d yet to invent superscript. I believe that’s incorrect.  Rather, when describing xx, they only had words for x2 and x3, “squared” and “cubed.”  They didn’t have words for x to any other power. So, for x4, someone decided to use “squared squared.”  This led to using “squared squared squared” to refer to a number to its 8th power.  At the time, the Latin word for “squared” was “censo.” In English, it was “zenzic.”  Hence, zenzizenzizenzic.

Brief aside: nor does it cease to amaze me what math scholars were able to figure out thousands of years ago.  Sheer brilliance.  But to think that it took so long to invent words for powers beyond x3?  Kind of takes a bit of the shine off their other accomplishments.  Also, it’s now clear to me that we banned mathematicians from helping to draft the Constitution. Otherwise it’d include a “jeopardy jeopardy” clause.

Anyhow, two final points.

First, of all the words in the Oxford English Dictionary, none has more z’s than zenzizenzizenzic.  I expect a toast in my honor should you ever parlay this tidbit to trivia glory.

Second, there is only one 3-digit zenzizenzizenzic number.  I’m sure many of you have probably guessed it by now.   28?


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

 One of my 7 Cs of Legal Ethics, identify the duty that is defined as requiring “the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.”

Question 2

Fill in the blanks.  The same word goes in each. The answer is not “legal.”

There’s a rule that requires a lawyer to “render _________ advice.”  A comment to the rule states that “a client is entitled to straightforward advice expressing the lawyer’s honest assessment” and that “a lawyer should not be deterred from giving ______ advice by the prospect that the advice will be unpalatable to the client.”

Question 3

There’s a rule that prohibits a lawyer from knowingly making a false statement of material fact or law to a third person while representing a client.  Does a lawyer violate the rule by knowingly misstating a client’s “bottom line” in settlement negotiations with opposing counsel?

  • A.  Yes.
  • B.  Yes, but there’s an exception for lawyers who represent criminal defendants in plea negotiations.
  • C.  No.  A comment to the rule states that, under conventional negotiation standards, certain statements are not to be taken as statements of material fact and that statements as to a client’s willingness to settle fall in this category.
  • D.  I sure as hell hope not.

Question 4

Lawyer called me with an inquiry. I listened*, then replied “the critical question seems to be whether it’s reasonable for you to believe that you will be able to provide competent representation to each affected client.”  At that exact moment, what were Lawyer and I discussing?

  • A.  Whether Lawyer has a conflict.
  • B.  Whether Lawyer’s conflict is waivable under Vermont’s rules.

*The First Brother eagerly awaits the quiz in which “Lawyer called me with an inquiry and I didn’t listen.”

Sorry Bro. Not this week.

Question 5

 6 years ago today, a person widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes and most influential people of the 20th century died of complications from Parkinson’s disease.

Arguably the most competent ever to compete in his sport, the athlete missed a chunk of the prime of his career due to a legal battle. After claiming conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War due to his religious beliefs, the athlete was charged and convicted of refusing to submit to induction to the Armed Forces.  The athlete appealed the conviction all the way to the United Supreme Court, a fight in which he eventually won one of his greatest’s victories when the Court overturned the conviction.

Years later, Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong published The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court. The book provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Court between 1969 and 1975. It includes a claim that the Court originally voted to uphold the athlete’s conviction, only to have the vote shift once the justice assigned to write the opinion changed his mind after further research into the tenets of the athlete’s religion.

If a lawyer were to use the athlete’s nickname to describe themselves in an ad, they’d probably be found in violation of the lawyer advertising rules. That would sting.

Who is the athlete?

Bonus: by what name does the caption of the Supreme Court opinion refer to the athlete?

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