Five for Friday #184

Happy Friday!

I’m about to hit the road to speak at two CLEs: the VBA Bankruptcy Section’s Holiday CLE in Killington, followed this afternoon by the Defender General’s training in Montpelier. Last night, I had visions of rising early and using today’s introduction to weave for you a magical story tying this week’s number (184), to today’s date, and, eventually, to The Irishman.  

I said “visions.”  I did not say – or do anything to indicate – that I had managed to transform my visions to a draft, not to mention a final product.

But you know what that makes me?

A visionary.

Onto the quiz!


  • None.  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 don’t use the “comment” feature to post your answers
  • Please consider sharing the quiz with friends & colleagues
  • Share on social media.  Hashtag it – #fiveforfriday

Question 1

If Lawyer’s continued representation of a client will result in a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, Lawyer _____________.

  • A.    may withdraw.
  • B.    shall withdraw.
  • C.    oddly, this situation is not mentioned in the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct.

Question 2

Lawyer called me with an inquiry involving Client and Other.  I listened.  Then, I said:

“it’s ok as long as:

  1. Client gives informed consent;
  2. Other doesn’t interfere with your professional judgment or your relationship with Client; and,
  3. you don’t share any information about the representation with Other absent Client’s consent.”

What is Other’s involvement with this situation?

Question 3

Later today at the Bankruptcy CLE, I’m going to mention “the 6 Cs of Legal Ethics.”  Competence, Communication, Confidentiality, Conflicts, Candor, and Civility.

There’s actually a 7th “C”, but the word does not appear anywhere in the rules.  Rather, it’s the word we use to refer to a violation of the duty to hold property of clients and third persons separate from the lawyer’s own property.

What’s this 7th “C”?

Question 4

Lawyer represents Kennedy.   This morning, Kennedy gave Lawyer a bank check for $6,000 to pay for various expenses related to the representation, including legal fees owed to Lawyer.  Lawyer did not have time to make it to the bank today but intends to deposit Kennedy’s check on Monday.

Honestly, Kennedy is a pain.  He hasn’t paid in a long time and has a hefty outstanding bill.

Lawyer’s trust account holds funds that belong to clients other than Kennedy. This afternoon, Lawyer wants (finally) to pay herself for legal services provided to Kennedy by transferring funds from the trust account to her operating account.  Then, on Monday, Lawyer intends to replace those funds by depositing Kennedy’s bank check into trust.

Which is most accurate?

  • A.   Good plan, but only because it’s a bank check, not a personal check.
  • B.   Good plan, if Lawyer charges Kennedy a reasonable fee.
  • C.   Bad plan, because the bank check is for more than $5,000.
  • D.   Bad plan, because the disbursement would take place before Lawyer deposits Kennedy’s bank check into her trust account.

Question 5

Today is the 154th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, the amendment that abolished slavery.

One of the members of Congress who was instrumental in drafting and passing the 13th Amendment was a “radical republican” who was born & raised in Vermont.  After leaving Vermont, he practiced law in Pennsylvania.  As a trial lawyer, legend has it that he responded to a judge’s warning that he was “manifesting contempt” by saying “Sir, I’m doing my best to conceal it.”

In 2012, Tommy Lee Jones played him in a movie about Abraham Lincoln and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor .

Name the lawyer who was born & raised in Vermont and who played a critical role in drafting, passing, and ratifying the 13th Amendment.

Five for Friday #172

Welcome to #172!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to tie the quiz number to the intro.  I guess that’s what happens when you get into the 100s.  Yet, the stars aligned today.

I took up running in 2006.  Back then, my goal was to finish one leg of the relay in the Vermont City Marathon.  I accomplished my goal, completing my 5.2 mile leg.

From there, my goals evolved: finish a half-marathon, finish a marathon, qualify for Boston.  All sorts of new challenges that not only drove me, but that fed my love for running.

This year, my running goal is to complete at least one half-marathon in 10 different states or provinces.  On Sunday, I’m running a half-marathon in Rockport, MA.  It’ll be my 6th state.  I’m looking forward to it more than I’ve looked forward to the past few that I’ve run.

The first 3 – Tennessee, Vermont, Indiana – were a ton of fun. The 10-state goal was still new & exciting, and my times improved in each race.

Then, in early June, I hit a lull.  Summer and its amenities distracted me from training as often or as hard.  Yes, I finished half-marathons in Maine and Illinois. Yes, each trip was fantastic.  The races, however, weren’t fun or exciting.  Each was a grind, running just to tick off another state on the slog to 10.  I felt like I was going through the motions. I didn’t love running.

So why do I think Sunday will be different?  Because I’ve added something new to the mix.

I entered what’s called The Triple Threat Challenge:

  • 8:00 AM – 1-mile race
  • 8:30 AM – 5K
  • 9:30 AM – Half Marathon

I’ve never run an event like this.  While it presents a new challenge, Sunday will also bring me back to why I took up running: the challenge of competing against myself to accomplish something that I’ve not done before.

I think it happens to all of us.  Without really noticing it, “fresh and exciting” becomes “the same old, same old.”  Indeed, the me that existed in 2007 never would’ve envisioned being bored during a half marathon or slogging through a run for no other reason than to say I finished.  Rather, I embraced and enjoyed the challenge of finishing.  I look forward to doing so again on Sunday.  The challenge has me excited.

Don’t live life going through the motions. Whatever it is that you don’t enjoy quite as much as you used to, find a way to make it as exciting and challenging as it was when you first started doing it.  That’s part of well-being.

Which reminds me: if you’re a lawyer whose practice has become routine, contact Mary Ashcroft.  Mary is the VBA’s Legal Access Coordinator and will be more than happy to assign you a pro or low bono case that’ll bring you back to what made you excited to be a lawyer in the first place.

Oh, the tie-in to the quiz number?  It’s week 172.  The total miles in the Triple Threat Challenge?

  • 1 mile = 1 mile
  • 5K = 3.1 miles
  • Half Marathon = 13.1 miles


Onto the quiz!


  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-a-friend.
  • Exception – but one that is loosely enforced – #5 (“loosely” = “aspirational”)
  • 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 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

Fill in the blank.  (It’s 1 word).

By rule, a lawyer shall __________ a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

Question 2

Attorney called me with an ethics inquiry.  I listed, then said “a comment to the rule makes it clear that the rule doesn’t apply to an organization’s former constituents.”

Given my statement, it is most likely that Attorney called me to discuss the rule that deals with what topic?

Question 3

An attorney called me with an inquiry.  I listened.  To clarify, I asked the following question:

  • “Ok.  I’m not clear.  Will someone other than the person committing the act be harmed?”

Based upon my question, what general ethics topic did the attorney call me to discuss?

Question 4

What am I?

  • I can be a tool to help provide access to legal services for those who might not be able to afford a lawyer.
  • I am specifically authorized by Rules for Family Proceedings and the Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • Per Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct, I am permitted if I am reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent.

Again, what am I?

Question 5 (and bonus)

Having spent some time at the bar exam this week . . .

In 2002, one of Hollywood’s megastars was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor for his work playing a character named Frank Abergnale, Jr.  The movie also starred Tom Hanks as an FBI agent named Carl.

Here’s an exchange from the movie:

Carl: “How’d you do it Frank? How did you cheat on the bar exam in Louisiana?

Frank: “I didn’t cheat. I studied for two week and I passed.”     

Name the movie and the actor who played Frank.

Five for Friday #170

Welcome to Friday!

I’m in a bit of a blogging hiatus, so I’m ditching the normal intro.  However, two matters deserve mention.

First, today is an important anniversary.  57 years ago tonight, a band played its first concert.  As noted by udiscovermusic, here’s how London’s Jazz News previewed the event:

  • “Mick Jagger, R&B vocalist, is taking an R&B group into the Marquee tomorrow night, while Blues Incorporated do their Jazz Club gig. Called The Rollin’ Stones. The line-up is: Mick Jagger (vocals), Keith Richards & Elmo Lewis (guitars), Dick Taylor (bass), Ian Stewart (piano), & Mick Avory (drums).”

I mention this because no blog I’ve posted generated more controversy than this one in which I expressed my preference for the Stones over The Beatles.

Second, an even more important anniversary took place two days ago: the anniversary of my mom’s birth!  She’s a regular member of the Five for Friday Honor Roll.  My blog about her life is here.  Happy birthday Mom!

PS:  my mom’s sons will officially mark her birthday at brunch this Sunday morning.  Some might call us too lazy to have gotten our act together in time for her birthday.  However, others might long for friends & family who, like Patrick and I, stretch others’ birthdays into week-long celebrations.

Onto the quiz!


  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-a-friend.
  • Exception – but one that is loosely enforced – #5 (“loosely” = “aspirational”)
  • 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 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

How long must a lawyer keep records of funds that belonged to clients or third persons and that the lawyer held in connection with a representation?

  • A.   6 years from the termination of the representation.
  • B.   The rules are silent on this issue.

Question 2

The following are exceptions to a particular rule.

  • to establish a claim or defense in a controversy between the lawyer and client;
  • to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved; or,
  • to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer’s representation of the client.

Generally, what does the rule prohibit?

Question 3

Lawyer represents Client.   Lawyer calls Witness to testify.   Witness completed his testimony and the court recessed for the day.  Preparing for the next day of trial, Lawyer comes to realize that Witness offered material evidence that was false.

Which is most accurate?

  • A.   Lawyer must take reasonable remedial measures.
  • B.   Lawyer need not correct the record since it was Witness and not Client.
  • C.   Lawyer’s duties are different depending on whether the case is criminal or civil.
  • D.  Lawyer must withdraw.

Question 4

Lawyer called me with an inquiry.  I listened, then said, “it’s okay as long as it does not imply a connection with a government agency or public or charitable legal services organization and is not otherwise false or misleading.”

What did Lawyer call to discuss?

  • A.    Using a trade name as a firm name.
  • B.    Organizing a pro bono clinic staffed by volunteer lawyers.
  • C.    Using an undercover investigator.
  • D.   Conflicts of interest that arise when moving to & from government practice.

Question 5

As readers know, I’m a huge proponent of attorney well-being and finding interests outside the law.  For me, I love running.

Earlier this week, an assistant public defender had to undergo emergency surgery after suffering a serious injury while taking a selfie as he participated in a famous “running” event.  Here’s what one of his co-workers said to the press:

  • “As an office we encourage our employees to pursue outside interests and explore their passions.  For many it’s traveling, and we think such pursuits are critical to the general wellness of our entire . We are relieved the incident was not more serious and we are looking forward to [the lawyer’s] return.”

Name the “running” event that the lawyer was participating in when he was injured.



Five for Friday #168

Welcome to #168!

Before we get started, here’s something regular readers will understand: I got the bins right this week! And I didn’t even have to check my new calendar.

So . . .

. . . on New Year’s Day I boldly announced on Facebook and Instagram that, in 2019, I’d run at least 10 half marathons in 10 different states or provinces.  New Year’s Eve has long tended to leave me confusing “bad idea” with “bold plan.”  A few things I forgot to factor into the equation? Travel and lodging.

Fortunately, my dad is vacationing in Boothbay Harbor this week.  It’s fortunate because  tomorrow is the Old Port Half in Portland.  So, as soon as I post today’s quiz, I’m heading to Maine.  Not so much to visit my dad – no offense dad – but to take advantage of the free (to me) room, run tomorrow’s half marathon, and tick off another state on my quest for 10.

Son of the Year!

Anyhow, in addition to being ready to hit the road, I’m fresh out of ideas.  So, I almost posted today’s quiz sans this intro. But, in a burst of effort meant to give the people what they likely scroll right past, I googled “168 legal ethics.”  What I found nearly made my spit out my coffee in laughter.

I found this.  It’s an advisory ethics opinion that was issued in Texas in 1958.  The summary:

“It is improper for an attorney to send Christmas cards to his clients which indicate that he is an attorney at law either on the cards or their envelopes.”

And, the opinion itself:

  • The sending of Christmas cards with the language ‘Attorney at Law’ and ‘Attorney at Law, 1137 Big Building, City, Texas’ or of a card without such language in an envelope which shows a return address reading. ‘John Doe, Attorney at Law, 1137 Big Building, City, Texas’ violates Canon 24 of the Canons of Ethics of the State Bar. If the Christmas cards and the envelope merely stated the name of the sender without any reference to his being an attorney, the sending thereof would not violate the Canons of Ethics of the State Bar. (9-0).'”

Not a single dissent!  I’ll give them this: at least their opinions were brief.

The brevity, however, leaves me unclear as to the reasoning.  I assume it wasn’t necessarily “Christmas cards,” but any card, whether birthday, graduation, or get well.  Also, I’m  aware that, back then, advertising was frowned upon.  We’re a noble profession!  But cards to your own clients????  Come on!  And, it’d be okay if you remove any reference to being an attorney???  Huh?

It makes me laugh.  Yet, at the same time, it makes me wonder.

In legal ethics, what are we requiring, prohibiting, or allowing that, years from now, will make the profession scratch its collective head?  Something.  Because that’s how life works: we look back and wonder “what the hell were they thinking?”  Often, we’re right to wonder.

I used to tell my players that once we stop looking for ways to get better, we stop getting better.  Both as players and as a team.

It’s the same with legal ethics.  Actually, it’s the same with life.

It’s likely that every single one of us is doing something today that, years from now, we’ll wonder why we ever did it this way.  Whether as lawyers, judges, bar associations or courts.  Whether as friends or family members. Whether in athletics, law, or interpersonal relationships.

Self-reflection and introspection are personal and professional responsibilities.  Let’s resolve always to work to improve.

Oh – you lawyers & firms who send me holiday cards? Keep it up! They brighten up an otherwise drab office.

Onto the quiz!


  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-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 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

What is the quoted language more commonly known as?

  • “a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibility to another client, a former client or a third person . . .”

Question 2

Someone Other Than Client (“SOTC”) is paying Lawyer to represent Client. Which is most accurate?

With respect to information related to the representation of Client, Lawyer

  • A.  may disclose to SOTC without Client’s consent;
  • B.  must disclose to SOTC even over Client’s objection;
  • C.  may not disclose to SOTC without Client’s consent or unless disclosure is otherwise authorized by the rules.
  • D.  None of the above.

Question 3

Confidences. Competence.  Conflicts.  Candor.  Communication. Civility.

There’s another word that begins with “C” that is a serious violation of the rules. However, the word doesn’t appear in any of the rules, notable in its absence from the trust accounting rules and the rule on safekeeping client property.

What’s the word?

Question 4

Former Client sued Lawyer for malpractice.  Lawyer had represented Former Client in a divorce.  Attorney represented Former Client in the malpractice action.

Attorney proposed a settlement.  Lawyer accepted. The settlement included a provision that Lawyer will not represent clients in divorces for 5 years.

Did either Attorney or Lawyer violate the rules?

  • A.  Yes, Lawyer’s malpractice in the divorce is a per se violation.
  • B.   Yes, Attorney violated the rules by making the offer.
  • C.   Yes, Attorney and Lawyer violated the rules by making and accepting the offer.
  • D.  A and B.

Question 5

Increase Mather was born on this day in 1639. Apropos of my intro, many of Mather’s beliefs wouldn’t be acceptable in today’s society.

Yet, one likely stands the test of time.  In his work “Cases of Conscience,” Mather referred to the so-called “Blackstone Ratio,” the idea that it’s better that 10 guilty persons go free than 1 innocent person be punished.

What notorious legal event prompted Mather to write Cases of Conscience?


Five for Friday #166

Last weekend, I briefly thought that the 166th #fiveforfriday column would fall on 6/6.  It didn’t, but close enough.

D-Day always reminds me of Cleland Selby.  Mr. Selby was my 6th grade Language Arts teacher.  That year, I wrote a paper about the Allied invasion of Normandy.

Until this morning – more on that later – I didn’t remember much about the paper other than the topic. However, I’ve always remembered how much Mr. Selby helped me.

I struggled with the assignment.  I did so much research that I was overloaded with information. Overwhelmed and unable to narrow my focus, I went to Mr. Selby for help.  His response made a difference in my life.

Mr. Selby gave me a pile of 3 x 5 index cards.  He told me to write one – and only one – fact or thought about D-Day on each card.  I did.

Next, he told me to arrange the cards in an order that made sense.  I did.

Then, Mr. Selby told me that was my paper.  All I had to do was write the thoughts in the order I’d arranged them.  He was right. More importantly, his advice turned into a life lesson.

I teach a lot of CLEs during June.  I’ve already done two this week, have two more later today, and four more next week.  Different presentations at each, 12 hours total.  Last week and early this week, I felt overwhelmed trying to prepare.  Then, I remembered Mr. Selby.

I opened a power point and, on the first slide, I typed one thing I wanted to say at the first seminar.  Next slide, another thing.  One slide, one thought at a time.  My focus shifted from anxiety about the amount of work – “I’ll never get this done!” “too many presentations!” They’re gonna be terrible!” – to the work itself.  Abiding by Mr. Selby’s advice to move one thought at a time, stress melted, focus restored, and the work got done.

And isn’t that all we can do whenever overwhelmed or facing a challenge?  Deep breath, first things first, one thing at a time.

Whatever is overwhelming or challenging you today, don’t get lost in how daunting the effort will be.  Rather, whatever your version of an index card, note one thing that you can do.  Then, do it.  Even one step will help. Keep taking steps.

I have no idea where Mr. Selby is today, or if he’s even alive.  No matter, thank you Mr. Selby! The paper you helped me to organize doesn’t matter much.  But, the larger lesson you instilled in the process made a big difference in my life.

Now, before I get to the quiz, this morning, I dug through one of the many boxes of stuff that my mom saved from when we were young.  I kid you not, I found a folder of 6th grade schoolwork, including the D-Day paper!

I had it my head that I wrote about Eisenhower and his brilliant strategy.  Nope. I wrote it from the perspective of the German high command’s belief that the invasion would come at Calais.

Here’s the cover:


Look at the all the mark-ups, Mr. Selby worked hard!


And look what I gave him in return when he asked me to expand upon my conclusion:


Also, not sure why I went to law school with such mad skills in math & science:



My social studies project on the Maritime Provinces reveals less skill at map-making.

IMG_2753 (1)

Onto the quiz!


  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-a-friend.
  • Exception – but one that is loosely enforced – #5 (“loosely” = “aspirational”)
  • 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 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

True of false.

For the purposes of the rule that prohibits conduct that is degrading or disruptive to a tribunal, a deposition is not a tribunal.

Question 2

The following are exceptions to the general prohibition against what?

  • to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and client;
  • to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved;
  • to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer’s representation of the client.

Question 3

Only 1 is correct.  Which?

By rule, a lawyer shall:

  • A.   maintain copies of advertisements for 2 years;
  • B.   maintain a copy of the client’s file for 7 years following delivery thereof;
  • C.   maintain trust account records for 6 years following the termination of the representation.
  • D.    Trick question.  Each statement is correct.

Question 4

There’s a rule that prohibits a lawyer from assisting a client in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent. A few years ago, the Supreme Court promulgated a Comment to the rule to make it clear that a lawyer does not violate the rule by advising clients on matters that are legal under a set of Vermont’s state laws that apply to a specific product/industry.

What is the product/industry?

Question 5

Robert H. Jackson was an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court from 1941 to 1954.  Prior to his appoint, he served both as United States Solicitor General and United States Attorney General.  He is the only person ever to have held all 3 offices.

In 1945, Jackson took a leave from the US Supreme Court.  He did so after accepting an appointment from President Truman to serve as a special prosecutor.

Identify the proceeding at which Jackson served as a special prosecutor while on leave from the United States Supreme Court.

Five for Friday #165

Welcome to Friday!

With Memorial Day in the rearview, I took a drive today.  Time to emancipate.

Whoops…wrong blog.

What I meant to say is that with Memorial Day in the rearview, I intended to use today’s intro to remind you that, while not even here yet, summer will be over before we know it.  I expected to remind you to make time to enjoy it.

Honestly, I hope summer provides you with time for family, friends, and relaxation.  The things that matter.  But, through personal experiences, I want to share some caveats.

First, if summer isn’t your thing, that’s fine!  As I mentioned in Reach Out, Check Inspring & summer are exceedingly difficult for many.  Far less serious, but still to my point, I’m reminded of Kenny.

I love Kenny. Awesome dude.  He claims to be my cousin – we aren’t – but that’s a story for another day.  Kenny LOVES to ski.  He had more than 100 days on the slopes this past season.  Skiing – and winter – is his wellness.   Summer?  He works about 100 hours a week at a golf course.  Hard, hot, dirty work, but work that frees up his winters.  The fact that I’d prefer just the opposite doesn’t mean that Kenny is wrong or unwell.  It means he’s true to himself.

I’m a creature of summer.  Kenny is a creature of winter.  Both are ok.  Be you.

Second, don’t judge your summer by others’.  Here’s something that the Wisconsin Lawyer Assistance Program posted to Instagram a few days ago:


For the next few months, pictures of friends & colleagues having what appear to be grand ol’ summers will clog your social media feeds.  Don’t be jealous.  Don’t hope that they’re not having as much fun as it looks.  Most importantly, don’t consider their posts a reflection on you and your life.   I deal with this often with someone close to me. It makes zero sense – and is unhealthy – to compare your life to someone else’s digital moment that may or may not reflect reality.

Next, do what you want, not what you think others will approve of.

For many summers, I told myself I had to spend a week in either Maine or on the Cape.  After all, that’s what everyone else does.

I never did.  Often, just thinking about NOT doing what others had done caused me stress and anxiety.  I’d wonder what was wrong with me.  Why hadn’t I booked a week on the coast?  The stress of finding the idyllic summer getaway always ended in me never getting away, stuck in a Labor Day funk beating myself up over another wasted summer.

No more.  Last summer, I didn’t even consider a formal “vacation” somewhere out of state. Instead, I decided that every weekend, I’d drive somewhere in Vermont and go for a long run.

I loved it.  Every part of it.  I loved being on the road early: sunroof open, coffee in the console, tunes blaring.  I loved the runs – seeing parts of the state that I’d never otherwise see. I loved my post-run swims in lakes, ponds, and rivers.  I loved my post-swim-post-run stops at local breweries.  Most of all, I loved being back home that night.  On my deck, grill fired up, those local brews in a chilled glass.

Is that for everyone?  No.  But it’s what’s good for me.  Do what’s good for you. Not what you think others will “like” as good for you.

My final point is this: if you have something “big” planned this summer, enjoy the other moments too. I’ve often found myself so wrapped up in the anticipation of a future event – say a race or a trip – that I forget to make time to enjoy life as it happens along the way.

For instance, in July, my brother and I are going to Chicago for a half marathon and a Cubs game. It’s going to be great.  But it’s almost 2 months away!

I resolve not to get so focused on a late-July weekend as to lose sight of all the weekends to enjoy between now and then.  You know, life’s a journey, not a destination.  Or, maybe what I’m saying is that rather than carving out a week of time for things that matter, I’m going to make a habit of making time for things that matter.  And it’s not just the big things that matter.

Well-being isn’t one size fits all.  However, aspects of it apply to each of us:

  • Be you.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Do what works.
  • Make it a habit, one that doesn’t lose sight of the “small” things that matter.

Onto the quiz!


  •  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-a-friend.
  • Exception – but one that is loosely enforced – #5 (“loosely” = “aspirational”)
  • 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 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

 Except as permitted or required by other rules, a lawyer shall not use information relating to the representation of a client to the disadvantage of the client:

  • A.  True and that’s end of it, there are no exceptions.
  • B.   Unless the client gives informed consent.

Question 2

 True or False.

If one of the Rules of Professional Conduct requires a “writing,” an email complies with the rule.

Question 3

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

  • “the first thing that the rule requires is that you not state or imply that you’re disinterested.”

Given my response, it’s most likely that Attorney called to discuss the rule on:

  • A.  Candor to a tribunal
  • B.   Trial publicity
  • C.   Dealing with an Unrepresented Person
  • D.   Pro Bono work

Question 4

Lawyer represents Plaintiff in a civil case.  Trial is scheduled to being Monday.

Lawyer called me this morning.  Lawyer told me that, yesterday, Lawyer learned that Witness intends to lie for Plaintiff.

Which is most accurate Vermont’s rule?

  • A.  Lawyer must explain to Plaintiff the risks of providing false evidence, then abide by Plaintiff’s informed decision whether to call Witness.
  • B.   Lawyer may refuse to call Witness if Lawyer reasonably believes that the evidence Witness will offer is false.
  • C.   Lawyer may call Witness, but not ask any questions. Witness must testify in the narrative.
  • D.   Lawyer must withdraw.

Question 5

Lawyer called.  Lawyer told me that Lawyer had been asked to get involved in a matter involving Person.   Lawyer explained that Lawyer had previously belonged to a country club owned by Person’s business.  Lawyer said that Lawyer’s family resigned their membership and asked for a refund of the membership deposit.  The club did not refund the deposit, but placed Lawyer’s family on a wait list to be refunded on a “first resigned/first refunded” basis.  As tends to happen no matter who owns these clubs, no refund has yet to be made.  Lawyer asked my thoughts on whether the refund issue posed a conflict that precluded Lawyer’s involvement in the matter.

Then I woke up!

Your task: Identify Lawyer who made an ethics inquiry in my dream.

I need better dreams.

Five for Friday #151

Welcome to #151!

Bacardi isn’t today’s topic.  I can’t stand rum.

Today’s topic is my brother.

My brother is Patrick Francis Kennedy.  Some of you may know him as “The First Brother.” That’s how I list him when he earns a spot on the #fiveforfriday Honor Roll.  No, he’s not a lawyer.  He’s simply incredibly smart and can do legal research.  When he feels like it, he submits a perfect 5 for 5.   Give him a few days and he’d argue your motion to dismiss.

Then he’d argue opposing counsel’s position and leave the judge with a difficult decision.

I’m not sure how best to describe Patrick.  He is a lot of things.

Patrick makes his living as some sort of coder.  Or maybe he’s a programmer or a network engineer.  Honestly, his professional world is so Greek to me that I’m not exactly sure what he does.  But he’s damn good at it.

Patrick used to be in the Army.  He drove tanks.  Then, he did something, I can’t remember where or what, that exposed his tech competence to a superior officer.  That was the end of driving tanks. They whisked him off to West Point to run systems and such.  Now, he works for MyWebGrocer.

Patrick is also a top-notch chef.  He’s won multiple chili contests, an accomplishment that actually works to mask how adept he is at cooking anything & everything.  Not only does he know the precise temperature at which the various meats are best served, he’s knows how to order the right wine for each.  And how to make the right cheese for each wine.  Don’t like wine?  He brews beer.

My brother can fish & hunt.  He can explain how a piano works, how to attack a zone defense, and how the Union Army prevailed at Gettysburg.  He is conversant in Spanish and Italian.  He’s traveled extensively in Europe, been stationed on the DMZ, and coached a middle school basketball team to a tournament championship.

While wearing a tuxedo.

He can capably discuss Cornwallis at Yorktown, the aerodynamics at Daytona, and the paradoxes of time travel.  He could do your kid’s calculus homework then show her little sister how to build a leprechaun trap.  Afterwards, he’d let you choose whether to have him teach you how to make candles, brisket, or reservations for a Papal mass.

Patrick has constructed compelling arguments that Ignatius J. Reilly is literature’s greatest character, Rock of Ages is Broadway’s greatest musical, and Rick Burleson is Boston’s greatest shortstop.  He was the only Vermonter among the 25 finalists for the President of Red Sox Nation.

He doesn’t cheat at board games or throw tantrums when he loses.  (Hello bar counsel!) He’d crush you in Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy, but then lie to you that he was lucky to do so.

I could go on & on about my brother.  Nothing I’ve listed should be construed to indicate that something I omitted is not in his wheelhouse.  Further, if my description of him seems random, well, it is.  Because that’s him: the rare person who knows so much about so much that it makes those of us who aren’t so smart (or interesting) wonder “how does he know so much about so many random things?”

But the things that he knows and can do are not why he’s important to me.  Without diving into detail, I’ll leave you with this.

Patrick is my younger brother.  By 18 months.  For his entire life, he’s had my back, unconditionally.  24/7/365. If you have a brother, you know what that means.

I wish I was more like him.  As a person, and as a brother.

My brother is a remarkable person with a fascinating variety of talents, interests, and areas of knowledge.  Everything I’ve shared about him is true.  Yet, there’s no more accurate way to describe him than as the best brother in the world.

Oh, one other thing, Patrick Francis Kennedy was born on February 15.

Happy birthday bro!


Onto the quiz!


  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-a-friend.
  • Exception – but one that is loosely enforced – #5 isn’t open book.  (“loosely enforced” = “aspirational”)
  • 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 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

Which doesn’t belong with the others?

  • A.   Keep the client reasonably informed about the status of a matter.
  • B.   Promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.
  • C.   As far as reasonably possible, maintain a normal client-attorney relationship with the client.
  • D.   Explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation,

Question 2

Yesterday at a CLE, my answer to a question included the following words & phrases:

  • same as or substantially related to;
  • materially adverse
  • informed consent, confirmed in writing

You should assume that I accurately quoted the applicable rule.  Given that assumption, the question related to the rule on:

  • A.   Concurrent conflicts of interest.
  • B.   Conflicts of interest & former clients.
  • C.    Commingling
  • D.   Prospective clients.

Question 3

“A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation consistent with the interests of the client.”

  • A.   True.  That’s a rule.
  • B.   True.  That’s in one of the comments to the rule on diligence.
  • C.   True.   That’s in one of the comments to the rule on fees.
  • D.   It’d be nice, but it doesn’t say that anywhere in the rules or their comments.

Question 4

The phrase “without fee or expectation of fee” is in the rule on:

  • A.   Withdrawing from a representation.
  • B.    Reasonable fees.
  • C.    Referral fees.
  • D.   Pro Bono.

Question 5

Yesterday reminded me of this question.

Lawrence Mattingly practiced law in Illinois.  Once, he arranged a meeting between a client and federal agents/prosecutors who were trying to build a tax evasion case against the client.  During the meeting, the client claimed “I’ve never had much of an income.”

Later, Attorney Mattingly provided Treasury agents with a letter in which he conceded that his client had, in fact, earned a substantial income over the previous 4 years. The “Mattingly Letter” was admitted at trial and used as evidence against the client.  The client was convicted and sent to prison.

Who was the client?



Five for Friday #150

A sesquicentennial.

Milestones make me melancholy.

Sarah Katz is disciplinary counsel.  Earlier this week she told me that she’d stopped into HR in Montpelier and someone had given her something to deliver to me: a certificate marking my 20th anniversary as an employee of the Judiciary.  I was hired as deputy disciplinary counsel in December 1998, became disciplinary counsel two years later, and switched to bar counsel in 2012.

Sarah’s message made me pause.  I’m not even old enough to have been a lawyer for 20 years!   And I’m certainly not old enough to have worked in an unrelated lawyer job for the 5 years preceding my term here!  Alas, as the kids say, ball don’t lie.

Yet, I don’t want today’s reflection on 150 #fiveforfriday posts to be melancholy.  I want it to be celebratory.  Why?  Because when it comes to professional responsibility – and to borrow a phrase – we’ve come a long way baby!

First, something to keep in mind as you wend your way through this post.

Before I settled on how far we’ve come, I spent the early morning hours searching for something to tie to the number 150.  My search led me to Ptolemy’s world map. He published it in the year 150 A.D.  For the time, its accuracy shocks me.  I have no idea how they did it.

See the source image

Now, back to my tale of how far we’ve come in legal ethics.

When I first started, Vermont’s legal ethics landscape was kind of like the wild wild west. My boss (who started a few months before I did) and I inherited an incredibly large docket of active investigations.  Many were quite old.  Indeed, a local newspaper had recently run an expose on “the backlog” in the attorney disciplinare system.  New complaints continued to flow in.

On July 1, 1999, there were 174 active disciplinary investigations.  By the end of the fiscal year, 192 new complaints had been filed.  Bar counsel referred 91 of the new complaints to us for formal investigation. In other words, in FY 2000, the disciplinary office actively investigated 265 complaints.

Many were serious. That year, 37 different complaints resulted in formal disciplinary charges being filed against 18 different lawyers.

The Earps were outgunned, Doc Holliday weren’t nowhere to be found for backup, and within a year of being hired, I wanted out of Dodge.

Or did I?

Looking back, it appears as if we thought we had it so good. The Annual Report from FY 2000 is here.  In it, we touted having “eliminated the backlog.”

But did we really “have it so good?” If, as the Supreme Court has often stated, a core tenet of attorney discipline is public protection, how much protection were we providing if complaints were pouring in and sanctions were being meted out on a monthly basis?

The collective YOU were doing things that generated complaints.  WE were reacting.

It stayed that way for quite a while. Even as recently as fiscal year 2013, the PRP received 286(!) new complaints.  Of those, 133 were referred to the disciplinary office for investigation.

Things have changed. For the better.

In 2012, the Supreme Court and the Professional Responsibility Board reallocated resources.  We chose to focus as much on prevention as reaction, mainly by elevating the position of bar counsel from part to full-time.  It’s working.

Take a look.


Over 5 years, new complaints fell from 286 to 149.  YOU are no longer doing as much to generate complaints.  And, while I can’t say for certain, at least some of the reduction can be attributed to the fact that WE have become more proactive.

Here are my inquiry numbers over the same period of time. They’ve doubled.


Remember how I said that 133 complaints were referred to the disciplinary office in FY13?

Last year, I referred 28.

Now, of the 149 complaints received, I did not screen 25. In some I had conflicts, while others were overdraft notices that are automatically referred to disciplinary counsel for investigation.  Many of those that I did not screen resulted in formal investigations.  Still, even if all 25 that I did not screen resulted in a formal investigation, 53 new investigations is a significant drop from 133.

And here’s an oft-overlooked reason that the reduction is important.

Sarah Katz’s docket shouldn’t be cluttered with files that don’t belong in the discipline system.  Real public protection is keeping her free to respond to serious misconduct.  And let’s be honest: there will always be serious misconduct. Show me a cohort subject to rules and I’ll show you members thereof that violate them.

Today, Sarah is free to respond to the serious misconduct.

I am not saying that we used to ignore serious misconduct. We prosecuted a lot of cases. But, I’ll be candid: 15 and 20 years ago, we probably dismissed complaints that warranted prosecution. And we did so for no other reason than to keep our heads above water.

That’s not public protection.

Now, back to Ptolemy’s map.  As I mentioned, it’s a marvel for its time.  Back then, I’m sure everyone thought it was a spectacular accomplishment.  Much like FY 2000 when we thought it was spectacular that we “eliminated” the backlog of disciplinary investigations.

Again, on July 1, 1999, the disciplinary office had 174 open investigations.

On July 1, 2018?  21.

Oh how far maps and we have come.

So, on this milestone, thank you for reading.  Thank you for calling before trouble arises.

That’s public protection.

Onto the quiz!


  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-a-friend.
  • Exception – but one that is loosely enforced – #5 (“loosely” = “aspirational”)
  • 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 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

There’s only one rule that specifically references both criminal cases & divorces.  It’s the rule on:

  • A.   Pro Bono.
  • B.   Conflicts with former clients.
  • C.   Conflicts with current clients.
  • D.   Contingent fees.

Question 2

There’s a rule that prohibits ex parte communications with two groups of people.    Each group begins with the same letter.

Name each group.

Question 3

True or False.

Under our current rules, a nonlawyer paralegal can have an ownership stake in a law firm.

Question 4

Per one of the conflict rules, a lawyer shall not prepare for a client an instrument (ie: a Will) that gives the lawyer a substantial gift unless ____________:

  • A.  the lawyer is related to the client.
  • B.  the client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.
  • C.  the lawyer advises the client to seek independent counsel before executing the instrument.
  • D.  B & C.

Question 5

Last year, the ABA updated its list of the top 25 legal movies of all-time.  Two of the top three on the original list are set in the same state.

Name the movies and the state.




Monday Morning Answers

Monday, Monday. Can’t trust that day.

Friday’s quiz is here.  The answers follow today’s Honor Roll.

Honor Roll

  • Karen Allen, Esq.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Hadley V. Baxendale
  • Alberto Bernabe, Professor, John Marshall Law School
  • Erin GilmoreRyan Smith & Carbine
  • Bob Grundstein, Esq.
  • Mark HeymanGeneral Counsel, Logic Supply
  • Glenn Jarrett, Jarrett & Luitjens
  • Keith KasperMcCormick, Fitzpatrick, Kasper & Burchard
  • Jeanne Kennedy, Mom, JB Kennedy Associates
  • Patrick Kennedy, First Brother, My Web Grocer
  • John LeddyMcNeil, Leddy, & Sheahan
  • Jordana LevineMarsicovetere & Levine
  • Matthew Little, Esq.
  • Pam Loginsky, Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys
  • Lon McClintockMcClintock Law Offices
  • Jack McCullough, Project Director, Vermont Legal Aid Mental Health Law Project
  • Hal Miller, First American
  • Jim Runcie, Ouimette & Runcie
  • Jonathan Teller-Elsberg, Vermont Law School, Class of 2020, Staff Editor, Law Review
  • Thomas Wilkinson, Jr., Cozen O’Connor
  • Zachary York, Vermont Superior Court, Chittenden Civil & Criminal


Question 1

I often refer to the duty of competence.

True or false:  a lawyer may accept representation where the requisite level of competence can be achieved by reasonable preparation.

TRUE.  Rule 1.1, Comment 4

Question 2

Lawyer and Client agree to form a lawyer-client relationship.  Lawyer and Client have never before entered into a lawyer-client relationship.  The agreement is for an hourly fee.  Which is most accurate?

  • A.   the agreement must be in writing
  • B.   the agreement must be in a writing that is signed by the client
  • C.   the scope of the representation & basis of the fee shall be communicated to the client, preferably in writing, before the Lawyer commences the representation
  • D.  the scope of the representation & basis of the fee shall be communicated to the client, preferably in writing, before or within a reasonable time after Lawyer commences the representation.  Rule 1.5(b).

Question 3

Which does not belong with the others?

  • A.  each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing
  • B.  the lawyer reasonably believes the lawyer will be able to provide competent & diligent representation to each client
  • C.  the representation does not involve the assertion of a claim by one client against another in the same litigation
  • D.  the division is in proportion to the services performed by each lawyer or each lawyer assumes joint responsibility for the representation.

A, B , C appear in Rule 1.7(b)’s standard on when a conflict can be waived.  D is in Rule 1.5(e),  the rule that applies when a lawyer shares a fee with a lawyer who works in a different firm.

Question 4

There’s only one rule that requires a lawyer to include a specific phrase on certain types of communications.  What’s the phrase?

  • A.   Advertising Material.  Rule 7.3(c)
  • B.   Of Counsel
  • C.   Pro Bono
  • D.   Pro Se

Question 5

As I mentioned, I often refer to the duty of competence.  For some, the ultimate in competence is the utter evisceration of a witness on cross-examination.

The O.J. Simpson criminal trial started 24 years ago today.  F. Lee Bailey, who has since been disbarred for reasons unrelated to OJ, was on Simpson’s so-called “Dream Team.”  Bailey’s cross-examination of one of the investigating officers is legendary.

Among other things, during the cross-examination, Bailey got the investigating officer to invoke the privilege against self-incrimination when asked if he had planted or manufactured evidence in the case.

Who was the investigating officer?

Mark Fuhrman

Not all agree that the cross-examination was effective.  For instance, see this article in the New York Times.

See the source image

Five for Friday #147: Under Pressure

Under Pressure.

I usually use the intro to the quiz to share a memory triggered by the week’s number.

Not today.

The staggering rates at which lawyers suffer from behavioral health issues have the profession at a crossroads.  To borrow a phrase, we are Under Pressure.  More precisely, the pressures on lawyers are not only driving lawyers from the profession, they’re killing lawyers.

Our response, or lack thereof, will shape the profession for decades.

Let me back up.

I’ve blogged , some have told me “ad nauseam,” on lawyer wellness.  My first post, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyerswas in May 2016.  My most recent was two days ago: Wellness Wednesday: an action plan.  There were at least 24 in the interim.

If the seemingly endless posts bother you, I’m not sorry.

Available data suggests that approximately 500 of Vermont’s licensed, employed lawyers are problem drinkers.  At least as many have likely suffered from problem anxiety or  problem depression within the past year.

I know, for a fact, that in the past 3 years, as many of Vermont’s licensed, employed lawyers have had their law licenses transferred to disability inactive status as did in the preceding 15 years.

I know, for a fact, that at least 5 of Vermont’s licensed, employed lawyers have taken their own lives since 2014.  I also know, for a fact, that at least 1 other died of alcohol abuse.

I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that we’re killing ourselves.

What’s this got to do with ethics?  Pretty much everything.

The first of the Rules of Professional Conduct requires lawyers to provide clients with competent representation.  Here’s a quote from last summer’s report of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being:

  • “To be a good lawyer, one has to be a healthy lawyer.  Sadly, our profession is falling short when it comes to well-being.  The two studies referenced above reveal that too many lawyers and law students experience chronic stress and high rates of depression and substance abuse.  These findings are incompatible with a sustainable legal profession, and they raise troubling implications for many lawyers’ basic competence.” (emphasis added).

Last week’s quiz referenced James Valente’s fantastically competent rendition of the minutes of the Windham County Bar Association’s 2018 Annual Meeting sung to the tune of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.  Quite cleverly, a team of lawyers submitted answers to  the quiz using the team name Under Pressure.  

(For those of you who don’t know, Under Pressure is a song by Queen and David Bowie.  The official video is here.  The version with the Freddie I remember is here.)

Last night, reflecting on what to post today, I listened to music. As I navigated my Amazon Music app, I stumbled across “Top Songs in Prime.”  Scrolling thru, there, at #88, was Under Pressure.  I’d have listened anyway, because I love the song.  Still, seeing the title made me think of last week’s quiz.

I like to sing along when I listen to music.  And I like to be right.  Exactly right.  So, despite having listened (and sung along) to Under Pressure countless times in my life, I Googled the lyrics.

Until last night, I’d listened, but never heard. The lyrics almost perfectly describe the pressures that the legal profession is facing.

For example:

It’s the terror of knowing
What the world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming ‘Let me out’

That’s what 5 suicides are.


Turned away from it all like a blind man.
Sat on a fence, but it don’t work.

That’s what we’ve done for years. Ignored the problem.  Sat on the fence.

Neither works. Neither helps.

Here’s the part that most struck me:

‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word,
And love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night,
And love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves.
This is our last dance.
This is our last dance.
This is ourselves.

The Vermont Commission on the Well-Being of the Legal Profession recently released its State Action Plan.  Please read it.

It’s time to fund a Lawyers Assistance Program.

I dare you to care for the lawyers who are on the edge of the night.  The lawyers who, due to the stigma we’ve imposed, are too afraid to ask for help. If you don’t think the stigma is real, read this.

I dare you to change the way we think about caring about ourselves as a profession.

I dare you to love your fellow lawyers.

Our response the State Action Plan presents a chance to help to relieve the pressure.

We have to take the chance.  Because the problem?  This is ourselves.  And, absent action, this opportunity to act might be our last dance.

Under pressure.

Image result for freddie mercury and david bowie together

Onto the quiz.


  • None.  Open book, open search engine, text/phone/email-a-friend.
  • Exception – but one that is loosely enforced – #5 (“loosely” = “aspirational”)
  • 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 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

In Vermont, if a prospective client meets with but does not retain a lawyer, the lawyer’s duty of loyalty is relaxed vis-à-vis the client, but another duty is not.

Which duty?

Question 2

There’s a rule that prohibits “qualitative comparisons” that cannot be factually substantiated.  A disciplinary prosecution under the rule is most likely to involve:

  • A.  a frivolous pleading
  • B.  a statement made during closing argument in a jury trial
  • C.  extrajudicial statements made to the press that are likely to prejudice an adjudicative proceeding
  • D.  attorney advertising

Question 3

With respect to the Rules of Professional Conduct, the phrase “acting through its duly authorized constituents” is in the rule on:

  • A.  the duties when representing an organization
  • B.  lawyers holding public office
  • C.  firm names & letterhead
  • D.  the unauthorized practice of law

Question 4

Here are 2 things I mentioned at CLE:

  1. last minute changes to wire instructions;
  2. a prospective out of state client who claims to be owed money by a Vermonter, and who only communicates with you by e-mail

What topic was I discussing?

Question 5 (Fill in the blank)

I often blog about Rule 1.1’s duty of competence.

Some might argue that when the answer is relevant to a witness’s credibility, competence includes knowing how long it takes to cook grits .

Proponents of that theory would assert that Vincent Gambini complied with Rule 1.1 by asking that “so, Mr. Tipton, how could it take you 5 minutes to cook your grits when it takes the entire grit eating world __________ minutes?”

I got no more use for this guy.