Monday Morning Answers

Friday’s Nirvana v. Pearl Jam column is here.  It drew some great comments from readers. I’ve pasted them in below the Honor Roll and the answers.  Special thanks to the commenter who clued me in to a fantastic (and topical) t-shirt.

Eddie Vedder T



Question 1

Jeremy approaches Lawyer for representation in a matter in which Lawyer has no real experience.  True or false:  the rule that imposes a duty of competence prohibits Lawyer from representing Jeremy.

FALSE.  V.R.Pr.C. 1.1, Comment [4] (“A lawyer may accept representation when the requisite level of competence may be achieved by reasonable preparation.”)

Question 2

Attorney represents Dissident.  The State has charged Dissident with assaulting an Elderly Woman Behind A Counter In Small Town.  Attorney and Dissident remain Oceans apart on how to handle the defense, with Dissident upset that Attorney repeatedly says “you’re lucky she’s still Alive.”  For purposes of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which is different from the others?

  • A.   The plea that Dissident will enter.
  • B.   Whether to cross-examine Elderly Woman (if she testifies)
  • C.   Whether Dissident will waive a jury trial.
  • D.   Whether Dissident will testify.

Per Rule 1.2(a), choices A, C, and D belong to Dissident. Choice B is trial strategy that, generally, belongs to Attorney.

Question 3

Daughter retains Lawyer.  Daughter agrees to pay an hourly fee for work performed.  Which is most accurate?

  • A.  The fee agreement must be reduced to writing.
  • B.  The fee agreement must be reduced to writing within a reasonable time.
  • C.  The fee agreement must be reduced to a writing that is signed by the client.
  • D.  The rules do not require the fee agreement to be reduced to writing.

Per Rule 1.5(b), the basis and rate of a fee should be communicated to the client, preferably in writing, before or a within a reasonable time of the commencement of the representationKey to this question was that the fee was not contingent.  Contingent fees MUST be reduced to a writing signed by the client.  See, Rule 1.5(c).  Finally, while the rules do not require the fee to be reduced to writing, I don’t know why a lawyer wouldn’t do so.

Question 4

Attorney works at Big Firm.  Partners & Associates are departing like Rats fleeing a sinking ship.  So, Attorney decides to leave life at Big Firm in the RearviewMirror and opens a solo shop. There is a rule that imposes a duty of diligence.  A comment to the rule suggests that, as a solo, Attorney might have a duty:

  • A.  To prepare a succession plan.
  • B.  To remain abreast of developments in technology.
  • C.  To utilize a cloud-based practice management system.
  • D.  To retain or associate with a non-lawyer assistant trained in bookkeeping & trust accounting.

Rule 1.3, Comment [5].  

Question 5

In 1994, Pearl Jam filed a complaint with the Department of Justice.  In a cover story, Time magazine referred to the complaint as “Rock’n Roll’s Legal Battle of the Century.” The battle eventually led to band members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament testifying before Congress.

What was the subject of Pearl Jam’s complaint?

  • A.  An alleged monopoly resulting from Ticketmaster’s purchase of Ticketron
  • B.  An alleged monopoly resulting from Clear Channel buying up local radio stations
  • C.  Royalties & Columbia House’s 8 for the Price of 1 deal on CDs
  • D.  The method by which Billboard counted album sales for purposes of the Billboard Top 100.

Rolling Stone has the result here.

Some Reader Comments on Nirvana v. Pearl Jam

  • “Can I vote for Alice in Chains?  No?? Then PEARL JAM.  Even though every live show has Eddie’s annoyingly self-righteous and endless blather between songs.  I saw an elderly woman at Shaw’s a few weeks ago, wearing a t-shirt with his picture that said, ‘It doesn’t get eddie vedder than this!’ In the early 90s, I loved Nirvana, but I never play them anymore.  But I still listen to Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and  Pearl Jam all the time.  And I just played Mother Love Bone last week!  (I just HAD to hear Star Dog Champion…) It’s a Beatles/Stones thing. Nirvana had that pop-tinged Beatles influence that you get sick of.  Soundgarden and Pearl Jam do guitar-oriented blues rock like the Stones that never gets old!
  • “I like Pearl Jam better as well, although its a tough call. Nevermind is a fantastic album.
  • “Both Pearl Jam and Nirvana are epic bands, but at the time I was definitely all about Pearl Jam. Ten resonated so much for me as a fifteen year old boy. Only in hindsight did I come to appreciate Nirvana. I think MTV’s Unplugged really did it for me well after Cobain was dead. From there, I went back and embraced Nevermind, but I actually prefer In Utero. The fact that Eddie’s singing was a bit easier to understand than Kurt’s probably had a lot to do with my early predilection.I finally got to see Pearl Jam last year (at a Quebec City show). I have attended many Rock and Roll concerts featuring the legends of our time. More than 25 years into their run, I defy any band to put on a show as compelling and wide-ranging as Pearl Jam’s (30+ songs that could have fit into roughly 4 subgenres of rock and packed into 3hrs and 15 minutes).”
  • “Ah, you sucked me in with Pearl Jam and Nirvana. The teenage version of me that lived through the release of those albums would have said Pearl Jam, hands-down. The 40-year-old version of me looking back says Nirvana all day long. Pearl Jam was much more derivative of prior bands and also did not develop as a band over the course of their career – they set it on autopilot and kept cranking out albums that all sounded the same. Nirvana was something that really altered the trajectory of popular rock music. I hate to say it, but Cobain’s death is part of that. Interestingly, I always found that Smashing Pumpkins vs. Nirvana was another binary choice of the era. Maybe even more than Pearl Jam, as Courtney Love had dated SP frontman Billy Corgan before Cobain, which added fuel to the fire. Just like with Pearl Jam, the teenaged version of me took Smashing Pumpkins over Nirvana, but the present-day version of me is almost embarrassed to admit that.”