Five for Friday #82

Welcome to #82 – the John Stallworth edition!

Loyal readers know I’m a  Steeler fan.  What many people don’t know is that my favorite Steeler of all time is #82, John Stallworth.

I used to save Sports Illustrateds.  Not only my own, but issues published before I was even a subscriber.  You see, as a kid, I was a J.I.M.  That stands for “Junior Independent Merchant.”  Odds are some former J.I.M’s are reading this blog.  What did J.I.M’s do? They delivered The Burlington Free Press.   That’s right – I was a paper boy.

I stunk at it.  Actually, I did fine delivering the papers.  Mainly because my dad got up every day at 4:40 AM and made sure I was out doing my thing.  It was the “collecting” that I stunk at.  Yes, back then, J.I.M.’s had to walk their routes in the evening, knock on doors, and collect payment.  Child cruelty!  Anyway, I didn’t collect all that often.  My customers probably didn’t mind, but, essentially, I failed the “merchant” part of J.I.M.  No wonder I’m not in private practice.

Anyway, one of my customers was a guy named Mr. Bittner. I don’t remember much about him except that he lived on Davis Parkway and, one day, let me have all his old Sports Illustrateds.  For years thereafter, my trunk and milk crates full of SI’s made every move I made, including to the condo in which I live today. Alas, I got rid of the magazines a few years ago, but not without keeping a few of my favorite covers.

One of the covers that I kept is this one:


That’s John Stallworth making the winning catch in Super Bowl XIV.  Eagle-eyed readers will note that the mailing label bears the name & address of Mr. Bittner.

For those of you who need to see the 82 better, I agree! So, here’s a picture of Stallworth scoring a TD vs. Dallas in Super Bowl XIII:

Stallworth v Cowboys


On to 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.
    • After that intro, I hope someone enters as Stairway to Seven this week
  • 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

Attorney represents Steeler.   Lawyer represents Cowboy.   Attorney receives from Lawyer a document that Attorney knows was inadvertently sent.

With respect to Vermont’s Rules of Professional Conduct (not the rules of civil procedure), Attorney’s obligation is to:

  • A.  Notify Lawyer
  • B.  Notify Lawyer and return the document
  • C.  Notify Steeler
  • D.  Notify Steeler and consult with Steeler as to the pros & cons of notifying Lawyer


Question 2

We often use the term “IOLTA” to described what the rules call a “pooled interest-bearing trust account.”  That’s right – “IOLTA” does not appear in the rules.  Nevertheless, what does “IOLTA” stand for?

Question 3

Former Client isn’t happy with Attorney.   FC insists to Attorney that Attorney committed malpractice. FC is not represented in connection with the potential malpractice claim.

Attorney makes an offer to settle the potential malpractice claim.  FC accepts.

In Vermont,

  • A.   If FC files a disciplinary complaint, Attorney’s offer is an admission that Attorney violated Rule 1.1 by failing to provide competent representation to FC in the original matter;
  • B.   Attorney has a duty to self-report a potential violation of Rule 1.1;
  • C.   A & B
  • D.  The settlement violates the rules unless Attorney advised FC in writing of the desirablity of seeking independent legal counsel in connection with the potential malpractice claim and gave FC a reasonable opportunity to do so before agreeing to the settlement.

Question 4

Fill in the blank.

Lawyer called me with an inquiry.  She told me that her firm is considering whether to hire two attorneys: one who currently works as a government attorney, and one who is an associate at another firm.  Lawyer had several questions related to potential conflicts of interests that her firm would have to deal with if it hired the 2 attorneys.

We talked for a while.  At one point, I said “well, not to get too technical on you, but ____________ means “the isolation of a lawyer from any participation in a matter through timely imposition of procedures within your firm that are reasonably adequate to protect information that the isolated lawyer is obligated to protect.”

What word fills in the blank?

Question 5

A former super hero took a job at a law firm.  Alas, while not exactly the most super of heros, he’s even less competent as a lawyer.  But he got some great cases, including:

  • defending Scooby Doo & Shaggy on drug charges;
  • representing The Jetsons when they travelled back in time to sue us all for ruining the planet;
  • defending Ricochet Rabbit against charges of wilfull & wanton destruction of property;
  • representing Dr. Quest in the doctor’s legal battle with Race Bannon over custody of Johnny Quest;
  • representing the plastic surgeon sued for botching Droopy’s Botox injections; and,
  • representing Fred Flinstone and Peebles in the federal investigation into their potential mob ties.

Who is our erstwhile, yet often incompetent, super hero turned lawyer?



Five for Friday: #47

47.  And right about now, I’m feeling every single one of them.

In our 47th week, I honor Steeler great and NFL Hall of Famer, Mel Blount.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he could start for the Steelers this weekend.  And he’s 68 years old.

To the business of the day…..

  • No rules.  It’s open book, open search engine. You may call friends, e-mail/text friends who talk too much to call, or even huddle at a bench conference with the judge and opposing counsel.
  • Except for #5.  Try to play that one honest.
  • Team entries welcome.
  • Please forward the quiz to anyone who might be interested.
  • E-mail answers to
  • I’ll post the answers on Monday morning.

Question 1

Several commentators and experts, including the ABA’s Standing Committee on Ethics & Professional Responsibility, have opined that a prosecutor’s ethical duty to disclose information that tends to negate the guilt of the accused:

  • A.  is not as broad as a prosecutor’s duties under Brady v. Maryland.
  • B.  is more broad than a prosecutor’s duties under Brady v. Maryland.
  • C.  does not apply until a “critical stage” of the prosecution
  • D.  does not apply in cases where there is little or no possibility of incarceration

Question 2

Which of the following is most often cited as a concern with authorizing payments to be credited to a trust account via ACH transfer?

  • A.  The potential for the originator to reverse the transfer.
  • B.   Scams designed to take advantage of the prevalence of ACH transfers.
  • C.   Lawyers using ACH transfers as “floats” in the trust account
  • D.  ACH transfers can facilitate the unauthorized practice of law

Question 3

With respect to the rules & fees, which is different than the others and, arguably, does not belong:

  • A.  The amount of the fee and the results obtained.
  • B.  Whether the fee is fixed or contingent.
  • C.  The reputation & ability of the lawyer(s) performing the services
  • D.  The fact that the client paid the fee.

Question 4


Lawyer called me with an inquiry. It related to a matter involving Sansa & Baelish.  I listened and replied:

  • “I didn’t know you represented Sansa. That’s wild.”

Then, I said:

  • “Ok, I’ll be quick.  The rule says 3 things:  First,don’t state or imply to Baelish that you’re disinterested.  Second, correct any misunderstanding Baelish has as to your role. And, third . . .”

What’s the third thing I told Lawyer?

Question 5

In honor of Associate Justice Harold “Duke” Eaton, chief Cubs fan in the Vermont legal community .  . .

. . . name the former United States Supreme Court Justice who made the news last weekend by attending Game 4 of the World Series.


Name the TV show referenced in this week’s quiz. (Not knowing it will not prevent you from achieving a perfect score.)




Answers (Late!)

Very belatedly, here are the answers to last Friday’s quiz.  I apologize for the delay.

Tough crowd this week.  Entrants needed to get at least 4 correct to make the honor roll.


Question 1

Builder is a plaintiff in a suit vs. Developer.  Attorney represents Builder. The case is pending in Chittenden Superior Court.

Builder also owns property in Addison County.  He’s asked a local zoning board to rezone the property.   Neighbor opposes the request.

Builder is represented by zoning lawyer in the zoning case.  Neighbor wants to hire Attorney.

Which is most accurate under Vermont’s Rules of Professional Conduct?

  • A.   Attorney may not represent Neighbor.
  • B.  Since the two cases are not substantially related, Attorney may represent Neighbor.
  • C.   Attorney may represent Neighbor if Attorney complies with the waiver provisions in the rule on concurrent conflicts of interest.  See, Rule 1.7.
  • D.   Attorney may represent Neighbor if Attorney complies with the waiver provisions in the rule on communicating with a represented party.

Question 2

Which is the more accurate statement?

  • A.  Vermont’s rules require lawyers to charge reasonable fees.
  • B.   Vermont’s lawyers prohibit lawyers from charging unreasonable fees.  See, Rule 1.5.

Several of you correctly pointed out that Rule 1.5 was amended in 2009 because while requiring reasonable fees, Rule 1.5 did not specifically prohibit unreasonable fees.  In addition, Allison and Kane correctly observed that a lawyer is not required to charge a fee at all.  Yes, lawyers being lawyers, in the old days, lawyers actually wondered if a rule requiring reasonable fees prevented lawyers from charging low (or no) fees.


Question 3

Fill in the blank.  Four words.

“In the course of representing a client, a lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person.”

Hint: size doesn’t matter.  The length of the blanks is irrelevant.

Question 4

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

“The rules don’t reference ‘standby counsel.’  I worry for lawyers who agree to do it.  At the very least, I urge them to review an advisory opinion that the NH Bar issued in April. The opinion states that serving as standby counsel isn’t per se unethical.  However, it goes on to suggest that the first thing standby counsel should do is to clarify what’s expected of her. I agree with that suggestion.”

Most likely, what area of law does Lawyer practice?

Criminal law. See my post on Standby Counsel.

Question 5

Another fill in the blank (kind of).

Earlier this week, the Second Circuit issued this order:

“_____________________, filed a petition for panel rehearing, or, in the alternative, for rehearing en banc. The panel that determined the appeal has considered the request for panel rehearing, and the active members of the Court have considered the request for rehearing en banc.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the petition is denied.”

Given the 2nd Circuit’s Order, whose unethical behavior may finally be behind us once and for all?

Tom Brady.

We must live in New England, because everyone who entered got it right.

Technical answer:  the NFL Players Association and Tom Brady.

No credit to my brother for his addendum that, as phrased, the question’s answer should be Roger Goodell.

This question was asked on behalf of Steeler fans everywhere, including Allison Wannop and me.

Tech Updates

A few updates on issues related to tech ethics.

In other words, I’m suffering from writer’s block and don’t have an original thought to post today.

A few weeks ago, I blogged on cloud storage.  Many lawyers want a recommendation as to the best cloud storage vendors.  That’s not something I’m supposed to do.

However, I can point you to this:  Robert Ambrogi is one of nation’s leading commentators on legal technology, with his LawSites blog consistently one of the best.  Earlier this week, he reviewed Citrix Sharefile.  The review is HERE.

Also, for those of you who were in Montreal, you’ll recall that I mentioned that Ravel Law and Harvard Law Library had partnered to make HLL’s entire collection available for free online.  When it was announced last fall, the project was heralded as a significant change in the access to justice landscape.  As Ambrogi updates,  Ravel and Harvard have the complete collection of California caselaw online.

Speaking of legal technology and access to justice, if you’d like to contribute to A2J while at the same time honoring Bob Paolini’s service to the VBA, check out this post from a few days ago.

Thank you to everyone who offered their condolences on the Steelers playoff loss.  I’m over it and am looking forward to next season, when I’ll resume climbing the Stairway to Seven.