PREP Students Present Ethics Seminar at the Key Biscayne Bar Association

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PREP Interns Haley Moss, Marissa Shulman, & Matt Dennison

Each semester, the Professional Responsibility & Ethics Program visits local bar associations to provide legal ethics seminars. This March, PREP visited the Key Biscayne Bar Association.

PREP Interns Marissa Shulman, Haley Moss, and Matthew Dennison, and PREP director, Jan L. Jacobowitz, returned to the Key Biscayne Bar Association with a presentation on ethical issues relating to cybersecurity and the practice of mindfulness.

Given the ubiquity of technology in the legal profession today, cybersecurity and its numerous facets are topics that the Florida Bar has recently brought to the forefront. In September, the Florida Bar emphasized the importance of attorneys understanding technology by amending the state’s CLE requirements to include three hours of technology credits. Shulman had the opportunity to explain the new state requirements as well as provide best practices for attorneys using cloud computing, public Wi-Fi, and portable flash drives.

“Researching the topics of cybersecurity and technology was fascinating,” said Shulman. “Technology has become an essential and indivisible feature of the legal field and it is important for lawyers to be aware of the ethical implications of evolving technological advancements."

Further building on the issues surrounding cybersecurity and technology, Moss, a 2L, presented on the subject of using public storage devices, such as printers, and complicated phishing schemes that hackers and organizations use to illegitimately obtain confidential information such as passwords and medical information from lawyers.

“I really enjoyed getting to present to the lawyers on everyday issues they may face in practice such as phishing emails, and on a larger scale, hacking,” Moss explained. “Anyone could be a target of hackers, and being able to confidently tell lawyers how to best avoid being victims themselves was a great experience.”

To conclude the evening, Dennison, a 2L, taught attorneys mindfulness techniques to aid in making thoughtful, clear decisions, increased awareness of feelings and bodily sensation, and to manage stressful situations, such as a difficult opposing counsel.

“Learning about the affect mindfulness can have on decision-making in the legal arena was insightful,” Dennison said. “As the use of technology proliferates the legal profession, it is increasingly important to be thoughtful in decision-making.”

PREP is an award-winning program, which develops continuing legal education ethics training for the legal community. The program combines the attributes of an ethics institute and an ethics clinic, and has dedicated hundreds of student hours to public service and has educated thousands of members of the Bench & Bar. During training, students are often able to make a positive impact on attendees by prompting them to consider and reconsider their approaches to some of the toughest ethical dilemmas that may arise in the practice of law.

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 training, 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.