Monday Morning Answers #131

Happy Monday!

For those of you who venture to the NEK to bike or run, I highly recommend the Beebe Spur Rail Trail. I found it this weekend.  From the hospital, it’s just over 5 miles to the border.  Flat, packed gravel, beautiful views of Lake Memphramagog.  Or, add a few miles by parking downtown and using the Newport Rec Path to get to Beebe Spur. More great views.


Friday’s questions are here.  Today’s answers follow the Honor Roll.

Honor Roll


Question 1

You’re at a CLE.  You hear me say:

  • “The privilege is different from the rule.  The rule talks about ‘information relating to the representation.’ A comment makes clear that the rule encompasses more than the privilege.”

What was I talking about?

  • A. File delivery & work product
  • B.  Client confidences.  Rule 1.6(a), Comment [3].
  • C.  Storing client information in the cloud
  • D.  Inadvertent production of privileged information

Question 2

In Vermont, most conflicts are imputed from the conflicted lawyer to other lawyers in the same firm.

True or false: unlike other conflicts, imputed conflicts cannot be waived by the affected client.

FALSE.  Rule 1.10(c).

Question 3

Lawyer called me with an inquiry. I listened, then said:

  • “It depends. Did you receive information that could be significantly harmful to the person?”

Most likely, “the person” refers to:

  • A.  a former client of Lawyer’s
  • B.  a current client of Lawyer’s
  • C.  a prospective  client who met with, but did not retain, Lawyer.  Rule 1.18(c).
  • D.  opposing counsel

Question 4

How long must Vermont lawyers keep copies of advertisements?

  • A.   2 years
  • B.   6 years
  • C.   It depends. Print ads or electronic ads?
  • D.   They don’t.  The rule requiring retention of ads was repealed in 2009.

Question 5

As I mentioned above, 131 includes 3.1.   Rule 3.1 makes it a disciplinary violation to file a frivolous lawsuit.

One of the most misunderstood lawsuits of all time involved hot coffee and McDonald’s.  It’s not as frivolous as the legend that has grown around it would have you believe.

Anyhow, the suit served as the inspiration for an episode of a famous tv show in which one of the main characters sued Java World for burns that resulted from hot coffee.  Java World was prepared to make an opening offer of free coffee for life and $50,000.

The character & his lawyer showed up to meet with representatives from Java World and their attorney.  The Java World attorney said “we are prepared to offer you all the free coffee you want at any of our stores throughout North America and Europe, plus . . .”

Before he could finish, the character jumped from his seat, shook the Java World’s attorney’s hand and, without consulting with counsel, exclaimed “I’ll take it!!!!”

Name the character.

Cosmo Kramer, Seinfeld.  The scene is here.


Monday Morning Answers #130

Welcome to the week!  Friday’s questions are here.  Before I get to the Honor Roll & answers, it was great to see so many lawyers both participating in and volunteering at yesterday’s Pine Street Mile. Wellness is a thing.

Honor Roll


Question 1

There’s a rule that prohibits lawyers from making “a false or misleading communication about _____________.”   Per the rule, “a communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.”  It’s the rule on:

  • A.  Communicating with an Unrepresented Person
  • B.  Candor to a Tribunal
  • C.  Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services.  Rule 7.1.
  • D.  Puffery (Statements made in negotiations)

Question 2

Lawyer settled a PI claim on behalf of client.  The insurance company sent Lawyer a check.  Lawyer deposited the check into trust yesterday.  Client wants her money now, before the weekend.

Under Vermont’s rules, which is most accurate?

  • A.  Lawyer cannot disburse funds to client until the check clears.
  • B.  Lawyer violated the rules. The check should not have been deposited into trust.
  • C.  It depends on the terms of the fee agreement.
  • D.  If the insurance company is licensed to do business in Vermont, Lawyer can disburse in reliance upon the deposit, without waiting for the check to become “collected funds.”  Rule 1.15(g)(5).

Question 3

Lawyer called me with an inquiry.  My response included this statement:  “Even if you are ‘necessary,” the rule applies ‘at trial.’ And there’s an argument that it means ‘at a jury trial.’ ”

Given my response, Lawyer called to talk about the rule on:

  • A.  Representing an Organization
  • B.  Candor to a Tribunal
  • C.  Fairness to Opposing Party & Counsel
  • D.  Lawyer as a Witness.  Rule 3.7

Question 4

Fill in the blank.

There’s a rule on prospective clients.  Per the rule, if a prospective client consults with a lawyer in good faith, but no attorney-client relationship ensues, the lawyer’s duty of loyalty to the prospective client is relaxed.  However, the rule makes clear that the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality to the prospective client is not relaxed.

Confidentiality.  Rule 1.18(b).

Question 5

The rules require lawyers to reduce contingent fee agreements to writing.

Hollywood talent lawyers take a cut of their clients’ earnings.  Apparently, they don’t always reduce their fee agreements to writing.

Indeed, in late August, a California court voided a “handshake deal” between a movie star and the star’s lawyer.  The deal was made in 1999.  With it having been voided for not being in writing, the movie star is now seeking the return of approximately $30 million paid to the lawyer over the past 20 years.

Name the movie star.

Johnny Depp.  The ABA Journal has the story here.

See the source image

Monday Morning Answers – #129

Happy Labor Day!

Is it hot & humid?  Yes!  But, you have a choice how you respond to the weather.  One choice is to bemoan it & sit on the couch all day.  Another is to smile at the thought of one more day to wear shorts, flip-flops, and to be outdoors!  Maybe even by the grill with a cold beverage . . . on a Monday!

I choose the latter.

Friday’s questions are here.  The answers follow the honor roll.  Also, you’ll recall that I asked readers to share the events seared into their memories.  I did so in the context of Friday being the anniversary of Princess Diana’s passing.  As always with my readers, the response was fantastic and significantly outnumbered entries into the quiz.

The most-cited events were to be expected:

  • 9/11
  • the space shuttle Challenger tragedy

A few others mentioned by at least 3 people:

  • JFK assassination
  • Sandy Hook
  • MLK assassination
  • the moon landing
  • Princess Diana
  • Boston Marathon bombings
  • Barack Obama elected

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly given the frequent musical references on this blog, many of you will never forget where you were & what you were doing when you learned that a musician died.  Among the musicians whose deaths were mentioned more than once:

  • Kurt Cobain
  • Jerry Garcia
  • John Lennon
  • Jim Morrison
  • Elvis Presley
  • Prince
  • Tupac Shakur

Anyhow, thank you again for sharing. I love your stories.  Alas, to make the honor roll, you’ve got to answer the questions!

Honor Roll

(responses had to include quiz answers to make the honor roll)


Question 1

Lawyer called me with an inquiry.  My response included the following words and phrases:  “knowledge,” “violation,”  “substantial question,”  and “honesty, trustworthiness, fitness.”

What did Lawyer call to discuss?

  • A.  Informing a court that a client had testified falsely in a civil matter.
  • B.  Informing a court that a criminal defense client had testified falsely.
  • C.  Reporting another lawyer’s misconduct.  See, Rule 8.3(a).
  • D.  Whether reciprocal discipline would be imposed in Vermont as a result of Lawyer being sanctioned in another state.

Question 2

The conflicts rules are NOT relaxed for:

  • A.  Lawyers who transfer from one private firm to another.
  • B.  Lawyers who move from government practice to private practice.
  • C.  Lawyers who provide short-term pro bono services under the auspices of a program sponsored by a nonprofit or court.
  • D.  All of the above.

Vermont’s rules do not allow for the automatic screening of lateral transfers.  I’ve blogged on that issue here & here.  Later this month, the PRB will consider a rule change that I’ve recommended that would allow a new firm to screen a lateral transfer from another firm.

Our rules allow for screening when a lawyer moves from government practice to private practice.  In addition, Rule 6.5 relaxes the conflicts rules for lawyers who provide short-term pro bono services under the auspices of a program sponsored by a nonprofit or court.

Question 3

You’re at a CLE.   You hear me say:  “yes, it’s okay as long as  (1) your client gives informed consent; (2) there is no interference with the lawyer’s independence of professional judgment or with the client-lawyer relationship; and (3) information relating to the representation of your client is protected as required by Rule 1.6.”

What did someone ask if it was okay to do?

  • A.  Accept compensation for representing a client from someone other than the client.  See, Rule 1.8(f).
  • B.  Request that guardian be appointed for the client.
  • C.  Represent co-defendants in a criminal matter.
  • D.  Talk to the media in a client’s case.

Question 4

Client provides Lawyer with an advance payment of $2,000.  Lawyer has yet to do any work for Client.

Which is most accurate?

  • A.  The fee agreement must be confirmed in writing.
  • B.  The fee agreement must be confirmed in a writing that is signed by Client.
  • C.  The $2,000 must go into Lawyer’s pooled interest-bearing trust account (“IOLTA”).
  • D.  Lawyer may treat the money as Lawyer’s own if Lawyer confirms in writing (i) that the fee is not refundable; and (ii) the scope of availability or services that Client will receive.    See, Rule 1.5(f) & (g).

Here, A & B are not correct.  The rules do not require standard fee agreements to be reduced to writing.  That being said, I think it’s a bad idea not to.

C is not correct. There’s not enough information in the question to know.  For instance, if the lawyer has complied with Rule 1.5(f) and (g), then the money cannot go into trust.

Many lawyers charge “flat fees” that are “earned upon receipt” and treat the funds as their own upon receipt.  This is ok ONLY IF THE LAWYER COMPLIES WITH RULE 1.5(f) and RULE 1.5(g).  Otherwise, the money must go in trust until earned.

Question 5

Speaking of the JFK assassination . .  .

. . . Jules Mayer was a lawyer in Dallas.  In 1950, Mayer drew up a will for a client.  The will named Mayer as the executor the client’s estate.

The client died in 1967.  A dispute quickly arose, as the client’s family contended that the client had changed his will on his deathbed to remove Mayer as executor.  Mayer refused to make the change and kept the original will.

In 1991, after a lengthy legal battle, a probate court granted the family’s petition to remove Mayer as executor after concluding that he had mismanaged the estate.

Central to the dispute was gun associated with the JFK assassination.  Mayer’s client bought the gun for $62.50.   After winning their legal battle with Mayer, the client’s family sold the gun for $220,000.  Fortunately for the family, Mayer had safeguarded the gun, holding it in trust for 24 years.

Two-part question:

  1. Who was Mayer’s famous client?
  2. Who was the famous victim of the client’s gun?

Mayer’s client was Jack Ruby.  The gun was used on Lee Harvey Oswald.  A story of the gun is in this article in the Las Vegas Sun.

See the source image

Monday Morning Answers #128

It makes her think of me.

Friday’s reflection on fairs gone by is here.  The answers follow today’s honor roll.

But first, I spent some time in the NEK this weekend, running both around Island Pond and along Lake Willoughby. I’ve been up there often, but have never come over Bald Mountain from Island Pond to Willoughby.  The views from Sentinel Rock State Park are phenomenal!  I imagine the area is prime leaf peeping territory.

Sentinel Rock

Sadly, don’t wait too long!  The northern side of the mountain already has several patches of red . . .in AUGUST! I assume the early color is due to the dry summer. Alas, Willoughby itself was warm and as crystal clear as ever.  If you get a chance, it’d be a great spot to beat the heat the week!

Honor Roll


Question 1

Which belongs somewhere else than with the others?

A lawyer shall:

  • A.   keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter.
  • B.   explain the matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions.
  • C.  in an ex parte proceeding, inform the court of all material facts known to the lawyer which will enable the court to make an informed decision
  • D.   Trick question. All 3 are in separate rules.

C is in Rule 3.3(d), and is an aspect of the larger duty of candor to a court.  A & B are parts of Rule 1.4 and the duty to communicate with a client.

Question 2

True or false.

There’s a rule that specifically requires a lawyer to make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation, consistent with the interests of the client.

TRUE – Rule 3.2

Question 3

By rule, a lawyer shall not act as an advocate in a trial in which:

  • A.  the lawyer is likely to be a “necessary witness”
  • B.  another lawyer in the lawyer’s firm is a party
  • C.  another lawyer in the lawyer’s firm is a witness
  • D.  All of the above.

This is the language from Rule 3.7 and disqualifies the lawyer who is likely to be a necessary witness from acting as an advocate at trial.  The situations in B & C are not absolute bans, but only DQ the lawyer if the relationships otherwise create a conflict.

Question 4

A client’s failure to abide by the terms of a fee agreement:

  • A.   is not grounds for a lawyer to move to withdraw
  • B.   mandates that the lawyer move to withdraw
  • C.   permits the lawyer to move to withdraw.  Rule 1.16(b)(5); See also Comment [8]
  • D.  is not covered by the rules of professional conduct

Question 5

Inspired by a recent text from one of the first people ever to follow this blog.

Bob Loblaw is the Bluth family lawyer on Arrested Development.  His advertising slogan is “You don’t need double talk, you need Bob Loblaw!”  Also, as do all great lawyers, he blogs.  His blog is the “Bob Loblaw Law Blog.”  The Bluth family hired Bob to replace the incompetent Barry Zuckerkorn.

In real life, the actors who play Loblaw and Zuckerkorn also played characters in a sitcom that debuted 30 years before Arrested Development.

Name the sitcom.

First, if you didn’t pick up on the joke, Bob Loblaw is named as such in order to sound like “blah blah blah.”  His blog is “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” 

Scott Baio plays Loblaw and Henry Winkler plays Zuckerkorn.   An eternity ago, the two played Chachi & Arthur Fonzarelli (Fonzie) in Happy Days.

See the source image

Monday Morning Answers: #127

Welcome to Monday.  It’s August 13th.

Friday’s Sinatra-themed questions are here.  The answers follow today’s honor roll.

Honor Roll

  • Evan BarquistMontroll, Backus & Oettinger
  • Penny Benelli, Dakin & Benelli
  • Alberto Bernabe, Professor, John Marshall Law School
  • William V. Cristman, Jr.
  • Andrew Delaney, Martin & Associates
  • Bob Grundstein, Esq.
  • Anthony IarrapinoWilschek & Iarrapino
  • Keith KasperMcCormick, Fitzpatrick, Kasper & Burchard
  • Jeanne Kennedy, JB Kennedy Associates, My Mom
  • Tom LittleLittle & Cicchetti
  • Kevin LumpkinSheehey Furlong & Behm
  • Hal Miller, First American
  • Lon McClintockMcClintock Law Offices
  • Jeff MessinaBergeron Paradis Fitzpatrick
  • Herb Ogden
  • Jody Racht, Assistant Attorney General
  • Jay Spitzen, Esq.


Question 1

Rule 1.2 makes it clear that the client controls the objectives of a representation, with the means by which those objectives are pursued left to the lawyer in consultation with the client. In addition, I often remind lawyers to set & manage client expectations, especially with clients who have unreasonably High Hopes.

With these thoughts in mind, I’ve used Sinatra to caution lawyers against taking the client who:

  • A.   Instructs the lawyer “thanks, but we’ll do it my way.”
  • B.   Calls, emails, or texts every day saying “call me!”
  • C.   Has a long list of ex-lawyers
  • D.  Can’t get no satisfaction

I warn about each of the 4.  But the key word in the question was “Sinatra.” As he sang, “I did it my way.”  B is the Blondie client, C is the Taylor Swift client (Blank Space), and D is the Rolling Stones client.

Question 2

Love and Marriage.

True or false.

The rules specifically prohibit an attorney from representing a client in a matter in which a person whose interests are adverse to the client’s is represented by the attorney’s spouse.

False.  But, see Comment 11 to Rule 1.7“When lawyers representing different clients in the same matter or in substantially related matters are closely related by blood, marriage, or civil union, there may be a significant risk that client confidences will be revealed and that the lawyer’s family relationship will interfere with boy loyalty and independent judgment. As a result each client is entitled to know of the existence and implications of the relationship between the lawyers before the lawyer agrees to undertake the representation.  Thus, a lawyer related to another lawyer, e.g. as a parent, child, sibling, spouse or civil union partner, ordinarily may not represent a client in a matter where that lawyer is representing another party unless each client gives informed consent.”

Question 3

Lawyer represents Organization.   Organization is governed by a board.

Do the rules allow Lawyer to represent Chairman of the Board individually in a matter in which Lawyer also represents Organization?

  • A.  No.
  • B.   Yes.
  • C.   Yes, subject to the normal conflicts rules.  See, Rule 1.13(g).
  • D.   Trick question.  By representing Organization, Lawyer automatically has an attorney-client relationship with the Chairman of the Board in his individual capacity.

Question 4

Lawyer meets with Client.  Client isn’t focused on the subject matter of the representation and, instead, repeatedly tells Lawyer things like “Come Fly With Me,” and “Fly Me to the Moon!”  Lawyer suspects that Client might suffer from a diminished capacity.

Under the rules, Lawyer’s initial duty is to:

  • A.   Withdraw
  • B.   Withdraw, unless Client agrees to a voluntary guardianship
  • C.   File for an involuntary guardianship
  • D.   As far as reasonably possible, maintain a normal client-lawyer relationship with client.  See, Rule 1.14(a).

Question 5

Sinatra won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for a movie that was released in 1953.  He played a soldier who befriended a former boxer.  The former boxer resisted a superior’s efforts to get him to join the regiment’s boxing team.

According to Hollywood legend, the manner in which Sinatra obtained the role wouldn’t exactly comply with Rules 3.4 (fairness to opposing party & counsel) and 4.4 (respect for the rights of third persons). Indeed, legend has it that the famed “horse head in the bed” scene in The Godfatherrefers to the methods by which Sinatra obtained the role.

Name the movie, released in 1953, for which Sinatra won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.


See the source image

Monday Morning Answers

How Sweep it is!

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

Honor Roll



Question 1

Per the rules, the duty of diligence likely requires a practitioner in small firms to have which of the following?

  • A.    malpractice insurance
  • B.    a succession plan.   See, Rule 1.3, Comment [5]
  • C.    a cloud-based file management system
  • D.    an electronic trust accounting system

Question 2

True or false.

A Vermont lawyer violates the Rules of Professional Conduct by providing a client with advice on the scope & meaning of Vermont’s marijuana laws – for example, by advising a client in connection with the client’s operation of a medical marijuana dispensary.

FALSE – See, Rule 1.2(d), Comment 14

Question 3

Which doesn’t belong with the others?

  • A.   the client intends to provide false testimony
  • B.    the testimony relates to an uncontested issue
  • C.    the testimony relates to the nature and value of legal services rendered in a case
  • D.   Trick question.  Each is in the same rule.

A is in Rule 3.3, the rule that governs candor to a tribunal.   B&C are exceptions to Rule 3.7, the rule that prohibits a lawyer from serving as an advocate at a trial in which the lawyer is likely to be a necessary witness.

Question 4

Lawyer called me with an inquiry. I listened, then said “the duty to deliver it kicked in as soon as the representation ended.  Otherwise, there’s no set time period to keep it.” The lawyer likely called me to discuss:

  • A.   Conflicts of Interest
  • B.   Trust accounting
  • C.   File Retention.  See, Rule 1.16(d).  Upon termination of a representation, a lawyer shall surrender papers and property to which the client is entitled.
  • D.  Noisy Withdrawal

Question 5

Dragons remind me of Game of Thrones.

Last year, a New York lawyer was sued for allegedly helping a client to commit a fraudulent transfer of assets.  The lawyer responded by filing a motion in which he sought a particular type of trial.  What type?

TRIAL BY COMBAT.  The story is here.

Monday Morning Answers

Welcome to Monday!

Friday’s questions are here.  Windsor Count was great!  Ran 11.2 miles, mainly on the old River Road between Woodstock and Taftsville.   Assistant Attorney General Rob McDougall tipped me off to the route.   I had the pleasure of bumping into two Vermont attorneys on the trek:  Attorney Bonnie Badgewick was also out running on the River Road, and later I saw Deputy State’s Attorney Daron Raleigh at the Harpoon BBQ fest.


Honor Roll

  • Matthew AndersonPratt Vreeland Kennelly & White
  • Erin GilmoreRyan Smith Carbine
  • Robert Grundstein
  • Tammy Heffernan
  • Anthony IarrapinoWilscheck & Iarrapino
  • Glenn Jarrett, Jarrett & Luitjens
  • Keith KasperMcCormick, Fitzpatrick, Kasper & Burchard
  • Kevin LumpkinSheehey Furlong & Behm
  • Lon McClintockMcClintock Law Offices
  • Jack McCullough, Project Director, Vermont Mental Health Law Project
  • Jeff MessinaBergeron Paradis Fitzpatrick
  • Hal Miller, First American
  • Herb Ogden
  • Jim Runcie, Ouimette & Runcie
  • Kane Smart, ANR, Office of General Counsel, Enforcement & Litigation


Question 1

Lawyer called me with an inquiry.  I listened, then said “per the definition, it means that the person agrees to a proposed course of conduct after you communicate adequate information and explanation about the material risks of and reasonably available alternatives to the proposed course of conduct.”

The definition of what?  (hint: 2 words)

INFORMED CONSENT – See, Rule 1.0(e)

Question 2

No matter the type of case, a rule requires a lawyer to abide by a client’s decision whether:

  • A.  to settle a case; See, Rule 1.2(a)
  • B.  to testify
  • C.  to hold funds in an account that will generate interest for the client
  • D.  All of the above

Rule 3.3(a)(3) provides guidance as to when a lawyer may refuse to present certain testimony in a civil case.

As for whether to deposit funds into an IOLTA or into an account that will generate interest for the client, the choice is not the client’s.  See, Rule 1.15B(a)(1).

Question 3

In the context of a particular rule, which is different from the others?

Lawyer’s disclosure of:

  • A.  Client’s intent to commit suicide.
  • B.  information relating to the representation of Client in order to secure legal advice about Lawyer’s compliance with the rules of professional conduct.
  • C.  information relating to the representation of Client to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim made against Lawyer and based upon conduct in which Client was involved.
  • D.  Client’s intent to commit a criminal act that Lawyer reasonably believes will result in the death of, or substantial bodily harm to, someone other than Client.

This is straight from Vermont’s version of Rule 1.6.  In Vermont, scenario D is a mandatory disclosure.  A, B, C are permissive.   D’s key distinction from A is that the harm will inure to someone other than the actor.

Question 4

Lawyer called me with an inquiry. I listened, then said “well, a comment to the rule says that you should advise them that if they end up suing each other, ordinarily, the privilege doesn’t attach.”

Most likely, Lawyer called me to discuss:

  • A.   preparing a will
  • B.   defending an insured
  • C.   serving as a mediator
  • D.   representing common clients in the same matter.  See, Rule 1.7, Comment 30.  Comments 29-33 discuss “Special Considerations in Common Representation.”

Question 5

Two-part question.

I often blog about both competence and music.

Earlier this week, the ABA updated its 2007 list of the 25 Greatest Legal Movies.  Among the movies new to the list is a 2017 documentary about a lawyer who is among the most competent in the field.  Some refer to the lawyer by a nickname that derives from an iconic musician’s stage name.

In an interview following the release of the documentary, the lawyer was asked if she was uncomfortable with the nickname.  She responded “why would I feel uncomfortable? We have a lot in common.”  Indeed, both the lawyer and the musician

  • were born & raised in Brooklyn,
  • were subjected to discrimination, and
  • achieved widespread success & notoriety in their fields.
  1.  Name the lawyer:  RUTH BADER GINSBURG – aka Notorious RBG 
  2. Name the musician:  CHRISTOPHER WALLACE – aka Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls)

The documentary  by the way, is RBG


Monday Morning Answers

Monday, Monday . . . can’t trust that day.

Friday’s questions are here.  The answers follow today’s honor roll.

Honor Roll




True or false.

By rule, expenses must be deducted from a recovery before a lawyer’s share of a contingent fee is calculated.

FALSE – per Rule 1.5(c), “a contingent fee agreement shall be in a writing signed by the client and shall state the method by which the fee is to be determined, including . . . litigation and other expenses to be deducted from the recovery; and whether such expenses are to be deducted before or after the contingent fee is calculated.”


Attorney ran an advertisement that said Attorney “specializes in family law.”  Which is most accurate?

  • A.   the ad violates the rules.  Variants of “specialist” are not allowed.
  • B.   the ad violates the rules.  The only area of practice in which a lawyer can advertise as a specialist is Admiralty law.
  • C.   a Comment to a rule suggests that if Attorney specializes in family law, the ad does not violate the rules.
  • D.   Vermont’s rules do not ban ads that use words like “specialist” or “specializes in,” but hearing panels of the Professional Responsibility Board have consistently found such ads to be “inherently misleading.”

Perhaps this question is a matter of interpretation.  Last week, I shared my interpretation in this post:  Specializing in Anonymity.

And here’s a post from frequent Honor Roll member Professor Alberto Bernabe.

D is not correct.  No hearing panel of the Professional Responsibility Board has even ever considered the issue.  Rather, panels have held that a firm violates the rules by advertising as “the experts in . . .” enumerated areas of law, and, that it is a violation for a firm to advertise as a county’spremier criminal defense firm.”


Which does not belong with the others?

  • A.   The two matters are not the same or substantially related to each other.
  • B.   The lawyer reasonably believes that the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client.
  • C.   The representation does not involve the assertion of a claim by one client against another client represented by the lawyer in the same litigation or other proceeding before a tribunal;
  • D.   Each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.

A is part of Rule 1.9’s analysis as to whether an attorney has a former client conflict.  The others are found in Rule 1.7(b)’s standard as to when a concurrent conflict of interest can be waived.


Lawyer opened a new pooled-interest-bearing trust account.  How much of Lawyer’s own money is Lawyer allowed to deposit into the account?

  • A.  $0
  • B.   No more than $100
  • C.   No more than $500
  • D.   An amount reasonably necessary to pay service charges or fees on the account, and only for the sole purpose of paying those charges or fees.

See, Rule 1.15(b).

Question 5

The bar exam is next week.  Best wishes to all who are taking it!  Trust me – I’m living proof that passing is not an impossible mission.

Anyhow, speaking of the bar exam and impossible missions, Mitch McDeere graduated from Harvard Law.  He took a job as an associate at Bendini, Lambert & Locke in Memphis and started working before he took the bar exam.  Others with whom he worked made it very clear to Mitch that no associate at Bendini, Lambert & Locke had ever failed the bar exam.

Later in the movie, we learned that some of Mitch’s co-workers had little regard for the ethics rules.

Name the movie.

The Firm, which, of course, was adapted from John Grisham’s novel of the same name.

Image result for The Firm movie


Monday Morning Answers: #123

Welcome to Monday!

If you’re reading this, your WiFi didn’t melt!  Small victories are still victories!

Friday’s questions are here.  The answers follow today’s honor roll.

Honor Roll


Question 1

The phrase “in the same or a substantially related matter” is most often used in connection with a rule on:

  • A.  conflicts.  See, Rule 1.9(a).
  • B.  advertising
  • C.  trust accounting
  • D.  sharing fees with a lawyer in another firm

Question 2

Which doesn’t belong with the others?

  • A.  Don’t state or imply that you’re disinterested
  • B.  Don’t contact her unless the clerk has certified that her term is complete
  • C.  If she misunderstands your role, correct the misunderstanding.
  • D.  If her interests are likely to conflict with your client’s, don’t give her any legal advice other than the advice to secure counsel.

B is part of Rule 3.5 and refers to contacting jurors.  A, B, & D are part of Rule 4.3, the rule that applies when a lawyer deals with an unrepresented person.  

Question 3

Client sued Lawyer for malpractice.  Lawyer offered to settle the claim.  The offer included (1) a monetary payment to Client; and (2) an agreement not to handle any cases of the type Lawyer handled for Client.

True or False.

The settlement offer violates the Rules of Professional Conduct.

True: see, Rule 5.6(b).

Question 4

Yesterday, Lawyer received a letter indicating that Disciplinary Counsel had selected Lawyer for a “compliance exam.”   Compliance with what?

  • A.   the CLE requirements
  • B.   the trust accounting rules.  See, Rule 1.15A(b)
  • C.  the rule on malpractice insurance
  • D.  the rule that requires reasonable precautions against unauthorized access to electronically stored information

Question 5

Speaking of lawyers and soccer, who doesn’t belong with the others?

  • A. Vincent Gambini
  • B.  Jerry Callo
  • C.  Jerry Gallo
  • D.  Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo is one of the best soccer players in the world.  He’s the star of the Portuguese national team.  On Saturday, Portugal lost to Uruguay in the round of 16 in the World Cup.  The other 3 – Gambini, Callo, and Gallo – are characters or people mentioned in My Cousin Vinny.    

You know, Jerry Gallo, the big attorney.

“Jerry Gallo’s dead!”

Kudos to Penny Benelli for getting the “most” correct answer!

See the source image