PREP Students Present Legal Ethics CLE Programming at Local Bar Associations

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Luiz Mirando, Karyn Sanchez, Elizabeth Gill at the Cuban Bar Association

Every semester, Professional Responsibility and Ethics Program Director Jan Jacobowitz and students visit with attorneys at various bar associations to present interactive legal ethics CLE programs. The animated discussions that ensue create a valuable and fun experience for both the students and the attorneys.  

PREP students wrapped up the semester by developing ethics trainings for the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA), the Caribbean Bar Association, and the Florida Association of Women Lawyers (FAWL). The bar associations each requested “hot topic” issues, which included updates in the areas of social media discovery, cyber security, attorney advertising, and professionalism.

Cuban American Bar Association

PREP Fellow Karyn Sanchez, along with interns Elizabeth Gil and Luiz Miranda, returned to CABA this semester to discuss cybersecurity and social media in the legal profession.
Cybersecurity is a topic that many lawyers may not know much about, but it has become an extremely important aspect of a law practice. It is a lawyer’s duty to maintain confidentiality of client information regardless of where a client’s information is stored. As a result, lawyers must assure that all client information remains secure regardless of the technology that the lawyer may employ.

“During the training it was very beneficial to hear from one of the participating lawyers who practices in the area of cybersecurity,” said Sanchez. “It was enlightening to hear his perspective about the current state of the legal profession, which was that too many lawyers do not know how to properly investigate and analyze the security of devices and systems that they are using to store client information.”

 “It was great discussing cybersecurity with attorneys at all levels of the practice, and with different knowledge of the topic,” said Miranda. “Cybersecurity covers a wide range of issues, and it was very rewarding to help address attorney’s personal concerns in regards to their specific scenarios, and how the Florida Board’s ethical rules, opinions and best practices would apply.”

Gil presented on social media evidence and was also gratified to address spoliation of evidence in a social media context. “Social media is the phenomenon of the decade,” she said. “It is important that attorneys understand that as a matter of competence, they must keep abreast of the changes that occur with regards to social media.”

Caribbean Bar Association

Second row: Justin Boyd, Daniel Hentschel, Wilford Harris; first row: Karyn Sanchez with members of the Caribbean Bar Association Board

Fellow Daniel Hentschel also presented at the Caribbean Bar Association with Sanchez and interns Wilford Harris and Justin Boyd. They discussed effective lawyering in the digital age at the Caribbean Bar Association and included a discussion of professionalism, social media evidence, cybersecurity, and attorney advertising.

“The attorney’s present at the meeting were very engaged and shared many of their stories which allowed me to further understand what I can expect to encounter when I begin practicing law,” said Sanchez. “In addition it was nice to hear from a member of the Florida Bar Board of Governor’s on updates to ethical rules and the process undergone when considering updating the rules.”

“The Caribbean Bar Association was the most interesting and interactive presentation in which I have participated,” said Harris. “The members had excellent questions and issues for discussion. I really enjoyed the vibe.”

Boyd agreed. “It was great presenting in front of such an interactive crowd.”

“The Caribbean Bar training is hands down the most interactive and fun experience I had as a PREP fellow,” said Hentschel. “Being able to discuss hot topics with practicing attorneys and hearing the various opinions around the room was enlightening. The advertising rules always spark discussion and being able to be a part of these discussions while at the same time teaching the relevant changes to the rules is a great experience.”

FAWL

Daniel Hentschel, Ivana Alvarez, Dalisi Otero, Elisa D'Amico, Jan Jacobowitz at FAWL

Fellows Dalisi Otero and Hentschel, along with intern Ivana Alvarez, presented ethical issues in social media evidence, attorney advertising and judges on social media to FAWL.

“Presenting at FAWL was a unique experience; it was the first group that was a mixture of professionals not only from across practice areas, but also across legal positions,” said Alvarez. “Learning from judges and attorneys about the practical consequences of an inadequate understanding of legal ethics rules was truly eye-opening.”

Hentschel agreed. “Being able to teach attorneys about the new rules on advertising as technology is advancing is an incredible opportunity. Learning from the judge and an attorney who is a member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors, about how technology and social media is impacting the practice of the law, was fascinating.”

PREP is an award-winning program, which develops continuing legal education (CLE) ethics training for the legal community. The program combines the attributes of an ethics institute and an ethics clinic, has dedicated hundreds of student hours to public service, and has educated thousands of members of the Bench & Bar. In 2012, PREP was recognized by the ABA with its E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award —the leading national award recognizing programs and projects contributing to the understanding and advancement of professionalism among lawyers and judges. In addition to presenting ethics trainings, throughout the semester PREP students publish blog posts regarding the nation’s newest ethics opinions. The blog, Legal Ethics in Motion, can be found here.