Take time to thank a paralegal.

Many of you who work in Vermont’s legal profession should take a timeout.


No, not because it’s such a beautiful sunny afternoon, although that would be a good idea too. Rather, take a moment – actually, more than a moment – to thank a paralegal!

Earlier this week, Governor Scott proclaimed today as Paralegal Day.  The proclamation acknowledges paralegals’ “vital role” in delivering legal services both in Vermont and throughout the country. It concludes by stating that today presents “an opportunity to recognize paralegals across Vermont for their efforts to ensure that quality, efficient and affordable representation is provided in Vermont.”

Please take advantage of the opportunity.  Take time out of your day to recognize a paralegal.

2022 Paralegal Day Proclamation

Related post

Paralegal licensure: let’s not let perfect be the enemy of the good.

Five for Friday #217

Welcome to the 217th #fiveforfriday legal ethics quiz.

Initially, “217” excited me.  Only one hundred weeks to 317!  The Irish in me cannot wait for the intro to that quiz.

Alas, it was short-lived. Next, the Irish in me shuddered at the thought of how long I’ll have to be here to post another 100 weekly quizzes.

Then, it hit me:

When the day’s initial worry is about keeping up a blog at work, it means that you’re fortunate enough to have a job that allows you to blog.

The Irish in me knows to be thankful for the cup and whatever it holds.

As winter and the pandemic slog on, look at your cup. It might contain more than you think.

Onto the quiz!



  •  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-a-friend.
  • Even question 5!
  • Unless stated otherwise, the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct apply
  • Team entries welcome, creative team names even more welcome.
  • E-mail answers to michael.kennedy@vermont.gov
  • I’ll post the answers & Honor Roll on Monday
  • Please don’t use the “comment” feature to post your answers.
  • Please consider sharing the quiz with friends & colleagues
  • Please consider sharing the quiz on social media.  Hashtag it – #fiveforfriday

 Question 1

 Under the Rules of Professional Conduct, which is treated differently than the others?

  •  A.  whether to settle.
  •  B.  whether a particular witness will be deposed.
  •  C.  what information to request in discovery.
  •  D.  trick question. The rules treat each the same.

 Question 2

Lawyer works at Firm.  If Lawyer has a conflict of interest that prohibits Lawyer from representing Client, which type of conflict is least likely to be imputed to the other attorneys in Lawyer’s firm? A conflict that arises from:

  • A.  Lawyer’s representation of a former client.
  • B.  Lawyer’s current representation of another client.
  • C.  a personal interest of Lawyer’s.
  • D.  trick question.  In VT, all conflicts are imputed to others in the same firm.

Question 3

 Attorney called with an inquiry. I listened, then said: “well, it’ll likely depend on whether you received information from Person that could be significantly harmful if used against Person.”

In this context, it’s most likely that Person is a:

  • A.  former client of Attorney’s.
  • B.  current client of Attorney’s
  • C. prospective client who met with but did not retain Attorney.
  • D. juror.

 Question 4

 Lawyer called me with an inquiry. I listened, then said: “generally, your duty is to raise all non-frivolous defenses in a motion to quash that you file on behalf of you and Former Client. If the court enforces the subpoena, our rule permits you to comply and to disclose the information.”

Given my response, which is most likely?

  • A. Former Client is deceased.
  • B. Former Client did not pay Lawyer.
  • C. Former Client filed a disciplinary complaint against Lawyer.
  • D. The subpoena seeks to compel production/disclosure of information relating to Lawyer’s representation of Former Client.

 Question 5

 I’ve often blogged about amending the Rules of Professional Conduct to increase access to justice.

Douglas Emhoff is a lawyer.  Lately, Attorney Emhoff has been in the news due to a new role.  Attorney Emhoff has hinted at using that role to promote access to justice.

Proper etiquette being important, what is formal title that comes with Attorney Emhoff’s new role?


My Singing Debut Has Been Finalized

Last week, and in honor of Constitution Day, I offered to sing Schoolhouse Rock’s “The Premble” at the upcoming VBA meeting if a lawyer or firm pledged at least $1,000 to kickstart the Vermont Bar Foundation’s Access to Justice Campaign.  Here’s what I wrote:

“As I’ve mentioned at a few seminars, my initial exposure to the U.S. Constitution was during the Saturday morning cartoons I watched as a kid.  Courtesy of the folks at Schoolhouse Rock!, that’s when, where, and how I first learned about the origins of the Constitution and the words to The Preamble.

Of course, if people are not able to access the legal services that they need to protect their rights, the Constitution might mean little to them.  So, in honor of Constitution Day, if an attorney or firm donates $1,000 to the Vermont Bar Foundation’s Access to Justice Campaign by Friday, September 29, I’ll karaoke the Schoolhouse Rock! version of The Preamble at the VBA’s upcoming annual meeting.”

Well, what do you know?

Earlier today, a former member of the Vermont Bar Association’s Board of Managers who prefers to remain anonymous stepped up to the plate and made a pledge that met the threshhold!  Other former Bar Managers have joined in, making the threshhold but a speck in the rear-view.

It is an honor to have followed in their individual and collective footsteps.

I don’t remember much about contract law other than it met at 3PM during my 1L year at GW Law.  Anyhow, it doesn’t matter much what I remember because, as far as I’m concerned, we have ourselves a deal! I’ll be singing at the annual meeting.

Now, as some have already suggested, we’d raise a hell of lot more money by taking donations to have me stop singing.  I take no umbrage at the suggestion.  My mom and her entire family have carried congregations with their voices for years.  My dad and my brother have those silky smooth Irish voices.  Me? Umm, my singing voice has been called many things, with “silky & smooth” not one of them.

(For someone who blogs so often about Rule 1.1 and the duty of competence, I’m fairly certain the prosecutors at the Department of Music Ethics will have me up on their equivalent of 1.1 in a heartbeat.)

So what does this mean? It means you’ll have to help ease the audible assault (and throw the music ethics investigators off my scent) by singing along!  And the only way to do so is to learn the tune & the words yourself.  The video is here. Practice makes perfect!

And, again, to those who made this happen, you’re awesome.  You already were, but this just proves it yet again.  Thank you.

P.S. – if you can’t make it, I’m sure Jennifer will have it on Facebook Live and we’ll find someone with Periscope.

Schoolhouse Rock Preamble