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Flashcards in PR-Missed Questions Deck (10):
1

Withdrawal or Termination of Representation

An attorney was convinced that his client was suffering from dementia. The attorney spoke to his client’s family physician and the client’s only daughter to determine whether a guardian should be appointed to monitor the client’s finances. These were the only discussions the attorney had ever had with either the physician or the daughter. In these discussions, the attorney revealed confidential information about a bank account maintained by the client before learning that the daughter and her mother were estranged because the daughter had stolen from her mother in the past.

Was the attorney’s revelation of the confidential information proper?

Answers:

A. Yes, because the attorney was trying to determine whether his client needed a guardian.

B. Yes, because the daughter had relevant information to help determine whether the client needed a guardian.

C. No, because the attorney should not have disclosed confidential information about a client to others without prior court approval.

D. No, because the attorney did not first determine whether either the doctor or his client’s daughter might act adversely to his client’s interests.

D. No, because the attorney did not first determine whether either the doctor or his client’s daughter might act adversely to his client’s interests.

When taking protective action such as seeking the appointment of a guardian, however, an attorney is impliedly authorized to reveal information about the client, but only to the extent reasonably necessary to protect the client's interests. The attorney should determine whether it is likely that the person consulted will act adversely to the client’s interests BEFORE DISCUSSING matters rela

2

Withdrawal or Termination of Representation

A judge hearing a divorce case appointed an attorney to represent the couple’s 12-year-old child. Under state law, the attorney will be compensated by one or both parents at the court’s discretion. The child told the attorney that she planned to falsely accuse her father of sexual abuse at the behest of her mother. Although the attorney counseled the child not to make the accusation, the child insisted that she intended to do so. As a result of the attorney’s advice, the child indicated that she no longer trusted the attorney, and she wanted the court to appoint another guardian. Disgusted by the child’s stated course of action, the attorney sought the judge’s permission to withdraw. Both parents object, and the court refuses such permission.

Must the attorney continue to serve as the child’s attorney?

Answers:

a. No, because a client has the absolute right to discharge an attorney.
b. No, because the attorney finds the child’s course of action repugnant.
c. Yes, because the child’s parents object to the attorney’s withdrawal.
d. Yes, because the court denied the attorney permission to withdraw from the case.


d. Yes, because the court denied the attorney permission to withdraw from the case.

A lawyer who is denied permission by a court to withdraw from representation of a client must continue to represent the client, even though there is otherwise good cause for the lawyer to withdraw.

3

Privilege and Confidentiality

A business owner hired an attorney solely to prepare a contract for the sale of the business. Shortly after the sale was completed, the attorney learned from an employee of the business that the owner had falsified the business’s records in order to make the business, which had been losing money for several years, appear profitable. When the attorney confronted the owner about the owner’s actions, the owner acknowledged the fraud but refused to take any action. The attorney contacted the buyer of the business, who had used his retirement savings to purchase the business, and revealed the owner’s fraud.
Is the attorney subject to discipline for this revelation to the buyer of the business?

Answers:

A. Yes, because the attorney breached the duty of confidentiality the attorney owed to the business owner.
B. Yes, because disclosure was not necessary to prevent reasonably certain death or bodily harm.
C. No, because the attorney did not learn of his client’s fraud during the course of a litigation.
D. No, because the owner had used the attorney’s services in the sale of the business.

D. No, because the owner had used the attorney’s services in the sale of the business.

A lawyer may reveal confidential information concerning the representation of a client to the extent that the lawyer reasonably believes it is necessary to RECTIFY substantial injury to the financial interests of another that is reasonably certain to result from the client’s commission of a fraud, provided that the client has USED the lawyer’s services IN FURTHERANCE of the fraud.

This is past-tense, so if the party used the lawyers services in the fraud the lawyer can try to fix it AFTER the representation has ceased.

4

Conduct During the Course of Litigation

An attorney was passionate about civil rights, but the jurisdiction in which he practiced was less progressive than he. The attorney accepted the case of a client whose claim was not supported by law within the jurisdiction. If the client had been able to bring the claim in another state, however, his claim would likely have been successful. The attorney accepted the claim despite his knowledge that the client would lose because he was confident that the media attention would provide momentum for a change of the law. He notified the client of the likelihood of losing, but the client wished to pursue the claim regardless.

Is the attorney subject to discipline for bringing this suit?

Answers:

A. No, because the client wishes to pursue the claim even if it will be unsuccessful.
B. No, because the case, even if unsuccessful, might lead to a change in existing law.
C. Yes, because he knows the claim will likely lose.
D. Yes, because there is no basis of law in the jurisdiction to support the claim.

B. No, because the case, even if unsuccessful, might lead to a change in existing law.


An attorney is prohibited from bringing or defending a proceeding, or asserting or opposing an issue in a proceeding, unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous. A good-faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law is not frivolous. An action is also not frivolous merely because the attorney believes that the client’s position ultimately will not prevail. Here, although the attorney knew that his client would lose in the jurisdiction, the ultimate purpose of the litigation was to lead to a reversal of existing law

5

Differing Roles of the Lawyer

An attorney represented a shopkeeper who was trying to sell his business, and was approached by an interested buyer. The attorney told the potential buyer that she believed the opportunity to purchase the business would be brief because the business was being offered at a very low price. In fact, the attorney believed that the business was priced too high, and that the shopkeeper would have difficulty selling it for that reason.

Was the attorney’s statement to the potential buyer proper?

Answers:

A. No, because the attorney did not believe in the truthfulness of her statement.

B. No, because the attorney, as a negotiator, owed a duty of candor to the potential buyer.

C. Yes, because as a negotiator, the attorney owes a duty of zealous representation to her client.

D. Yes, because the attorney’s statement did not constitute a statement of fact.

D. Yes, because the attorney’s statement did not constitute a statement of fact.

An attorney is not permitted to make a false statement of material fact. Statements that constitute “puffing” (i.e., opinions or judgments not made as a representation of fact) are permissible as part of a NEGOTIATION.

6

Public Communications about Services

An attorney took out an advertisement in a local newspaper, which stated that the cost of his services was “50 percent cheaper than the customary attorney fees in town.” The attorney never researched the fees of other attorneys in the area, but he planned to reduce his own fees to half of any such fees if and when a potential client brought them to his attention.

Would the attorney’s actions subject him to discipline?

Answers:

A. Yes, because the attorney posted an advertisement that mentioned his rates.
B. Yes, because the attorney’s claims regarding his rates were unsubstantiated and specific.
C. No, because the attorney planned to modify his rates to conform to the advertisement.
D. No, because the attorney did not state a specific dollar amount for his rate.

B. Yes, because the attorney’s claims regarding his rates were unsubstantiated and specific.

Answer choice B is correct. An unsubstantiated comparison of the attorney’s services or fees with the services or fees of other attorneys may be misleading if presented with such specificity as would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the comparison can be substantiated. Here, the attorney has not researched the fees of other local attorneys and could not substantiate that his fees are 50 percent lower. However, a reasonable person would conclude that, because he stated that his rate was 50 percent lower than the rates of other local attorneys, he likely had a basis for his statement.

7

A judge and an attorney were formerly law partners and during their partnership acquired several parcels of real property as co-tenants. After the judge was elected to the trial court in the county, she remained a co-tenant with the attorney, but left the management of the properties to the attorney.

The judge's term of office will expire soon and she is opposed for re-election by two members of the bar. The attorney, who has not discussed the matter with the judge, intends to make a substantial contribution to her campaign for re-election.

The judge is one of fifteen judges sitting as trial court judges in the county.

Is the attorney subject to discipline if he contributes $10,000 to the judge's re-election campaign?

A Yes, if the attorney frequently represents clients in cases tried in the trial court of the county.

B Yes, because the judge and the attorney have not discussed the matter of a campaign contribution.

C No, if the contribution is made to a campaign committee organized to support the judge's re-election.

D No, because the attorney and the judge have a long-standing personal and business relationship.


C No, if the contribution is made to a campaign committee organized to support the judge's re-election.


Lawyers have a right to participate fully in the political process, which includes making and soliciting political contributions to candidates for judicial and other public office. MRPC 7.6, cmt 1. The Code of Judicial Conduct permits reasonable campaign contributions to a judge's election campaign, so long as they are made through a CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE. Answer choice A is not correct, as representation of clients in courts in the county where a judge holds office would not prohibit a campaign contribution. Answer choice B is not correct, as there is no requirement that a candidate for judicial office and a lawyer discuss a campaign contribution in order for it to be made. Answer choice D is not correct, as the long-standing personal and business relationship is not relevant and would not prevent a proper contribution under the ethics rules.

8

As required by a purchase agreement, a consumer and a retailer submitted a dispute to an arbitration panel. The consumer and retailer each named an attorney to be a partisan member of the panel and together those two panel members chose the third member of the panel. After listening to both sides, the panel ruled 2-1 in favor of the retailer, with the panel member named by the consumer voting in favor of the consumer. Without seeking the consent of the retailer, the consumer employed the attorney he had appointed to the panel to challenge the arbitration of the dispute.

Is it proper for the attorney to accept this employment?

A Yes, because the attorney served as a partisan member of the three-member arbitration panel.

B Yes, because the attorney voted against the decision reached by the panel.

C No, because the retailer did not consent to the attorney’s subsequent representation of the consumer with regard to the arbitrated matter.

D No, because the attorney personally and substantially participated as a member of the arbitration panel.

A Yes, because the attorney served as a partisan member of the three-member arbitration panel.


Generally, an attorney who personally and substantially participates as an arbitrator MAY NOT represent anyone in connection with the matter arbitrated, unless all parties to the proceeding give informed, written consent. However, this restriction does not apply to an arbitrator selected as a PARTISAN of a party in a multi-member arbitration panel (meaning the party is selected to represent a certain side). Answer choice B is incorrect because there is no requirement that an attorney who serves as an arbitrator vote against the panel’s decision in order to be able to represent a party in connection with the matter arbitrated. Answer choice C is incorrect. As noted with respect to answer choice A, while generally each party to an arbitration must give informed, written consent for an attorney who personally and substantially participated as an arbitrator to represent anyone in connection with the matter arbitrated, this restriction does not apply to an arbitrator selected as a partisan of a party in a multi-member arbitration panel. Answer choice D is incorrect because, although the attorney personally and substantially participated as a member of the arbitration panel by listening to both parties to the arbitration present their cases and voting on the matter being arbitrated, the attorney could nevertheless represent the consumer in an action challenging the arbitration of the dispute because the attorney was selected as a partisan of the party in the multi-member arbitration panel.

9

An attorney represented a real estate developer who was trying to buy several properties. The attorney arranged a meeting with an owner of two large parcels of land, hoping to arrange a sale to the developer. When the attorney scheduled this meeting, he neither knew nor asked whether the owner was represented by counsel in the matter. Shortly after the meeting began, the owner disclosed that he had retained counsel to assist in the sale of the two parcels of land, but that his lawyer could not be present that day. He further stated that he would be meeting with his lawyer the next day. The attorney asked the owner if they could talk anyway, and stated that he wouldn't ask the owner to sign anything until his lawyer had a chance to look over anything they discussed.

The owner, an experienced businessman and negotiator, agreed to continue as suggested, and a tentative agreement was soon worked out.

Was the attorney's conduct proper?

Answers:

Yes, because the owner knowingly agreed to continue the discussions without his own lawyer being present.

Yes, because the attorney did not present the owner with any documents to sign during the meeting.

No, because the attorney negotiated with the owner after learning that the owner was represented by a lawyer in the matter.

No, because the attorney failed to ascertain whether the owner was represented by a lawyer before beginning the negotiation session.

No, because the attorney negotiated with the owner after learning that the owner was represented by a lawyer in the matter.

MRPC 4.2 prohibits a lawyer from communicating about a matter with a person known to be represented in the matter unless the person's LAWYER CONSENTS to the communication.

10

A judge of the city's trial court has served for many years as a director of a charitable organization that maintains a camp for disadvantaged children. The organization has never been involved in litigation. The judge has not received any compensation for her services. The charity has decided to sponsor a public testimonial dinner in the judge's honor. As part of the occasion, the local bar association intends to commission and present to the judge her portrait at a cost of $4,000. The money to pay for the portrait will come from a "public testimonial fund" that will be raised by the City Bar Association from contributions of lawyers who are members of the association and who practice in the courts of the city. Is it proper for the judge to accept the gift of the portrait?

Answers:

Yes, because the gift is incident to a public testimonial for the judge.

Yes, because the judge did not receive compensation for her services to the charitable organization.

No, because the cost of the gift exceeds $1,000.

No, because the funds for the gift are contributed by lawyers who practice in the courts of the city.


Correct Answer: Yes, because the gift is incident to a public testimonial for the judge.

Answer choice A is correct. CJC Rule 3.13 generally permits a judge to accept gifts incident to a public testimonial (but the judge must generally report such acceptance). Answer choice B is not correct, as the lack of compensation by the charitable organization is not relevant to the issue of whether the gift is proper under CJC Rule 3.13. Answer choice C is not correct, as CJC Rule 3.13 allows a judge to accept a gift incident to a public testimonial without a limitation on the cost of the gift. Answer choice D is not correct, as the source of the funds for the gift is not relevant. CJC Rule 3.13 allows a judge to accept a gift incident to a public testimonial.