Happy Monday! Only one more before Labor Day. Make sure to enjoy the last few weeks of the unofficial end of summer!
Friday’s questions are here. The answers follow today’s Honor Roll.
Many thanks to all who informed me that it’s perfectly okay, and perhaps desirable, to clip the flowers growing on my basil.
- Alberto Bernabe, Professor, UIC School of Law
- Martha Bonneau, Blogger’s Aunt
- Beth DeBernardi, Administrative Law Judge, Vermont Department of Labor
- Robert Grundstein
- Glenn Jarrett, Jarrett/Hoyt
- Keith Kasper, McCormick, Fitzpatrick, Kasper and Burchard
- Jeanne Kennedy, JB Kennedy Associates, Mother (of the) Blogger
- Mark Kennedy, Retired, Father of the Blogger
- Patrick Kennedy, Amazon Web Services, First Brother
- John T. Leddy, McNeil, Leddy, Sheehan
- Jonathan Teller-Elsberg, Sheehey Furlong & Behm
- Jason Warfield, J.D.
I often discuss the 7 Cs of Legal Ethics. At a recent seminar, I used a quote from George Bernard Shaw to discuss one of the 7 Cs. In my view, Shaw’s quote accurately captures a dynamic that, in my experience, leads clients to file disciplinary complaints. Fill in the blank with the correct C.
“The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”
I agree. Many disciplinary complaints aren’t caused so much by a lack of communication as they are by miscommunication: the lawyer thinking the matter was explained to the client when it wasn’t.
While I haven’t blogged much lately, one of my recent posts highlighted a real-life example of how reconciliation helped a Vermont firm to stop trust account fraud. It was the third such example I’d blogged about this year.
What’s the rule on reconciling pooled interest-bearing trust accounts? It must occur:
- A. “regularly.”
- B. “quarterly.”
- C. “in a manner consistent with generally accepted accounting principles.”
- D. “timely.” The rule goes on to state that “timely reconciliation means, at a minimum, monthly reconciliation of such accounts.”
Saul represents Client. Kim represents Opposing Party. Unbeknownst to Lawyer, Client contacts Attorney to discuss the subject of the representation. Does the rule allow Kim to discuss the matter with Client?
- A. No. See, V.R.Pr.C. 4.2, Comment  (“The rule applies even though the represented person initiates or consents to the communication.)
- B. Yes, because a party is always free to contact opposing counsel.
- C. Yes. The comments make clear that, in this situation, Client has consented to the communication.
- D. Wait. Kim & Saul are still licensed to practice.
Lawyer called me with an inquiry. I listened, then replied. “You’re definitely out. Whether your conflict is imputed to all depends on whether it presents a significant risk of materially limiting the representation of the client by the other lawyers in your firm.”
Given my response, Lawyer’s conflict involved:
- A. A personal interest. The question refers to Vermont’s rule on imputed conflicts of interest. My response, and answer A, reflect the standard set out in V.R.Pr.C. 1.10(a). By contrast, situations B and C are always imputed.
- B. A former client.
- C. A current client.
- D. Lawyer’s paralegal.
Questions 3 and 4 don’t do it justice. So, while this one might only interest me, I’d be disappointed in myself if I didn’t use this week’s Question 5 to reference Monday’s series finale of my favorite “law” show of all-time.
Here is a license plate that hangs in my garage.
I’d love to add signs from “Palm Coast Sprinklers,” “Ice Station Zebra Associates,” or this one:
In real-life, audiences first saw the license plate on a different show. However, on the two shows’ fictional timeline, the plate first appeared in the show that ended this week — on a car driven by the eponymous lawyer of questionable ethics. While easy to like the lawyer — and the show’s other lawyers — it’s tough to believe that many of them still have their law licenses.
Name the show whose final episode aired earlier this week.
BETTER CALL SAUL
Bonus: in the same show, another license plate featured prominently in several episodes. It was on a Jaguar owned by a lawyer mentioned in Question 4. What was the license plate?
Howard Hamlin’s Jaguar bore the plate NAMAST3