In Presentations to Lawyers, Students Emphasize Role of Honesty, Civility


Students from Miami Law's award-winning Professional Responsibility and Ethics Program presently provided training in ethics to members of the Miami-Dade Public Defender's Office and the Dade County Bar Association.

Students Daniel Ilani and Frank Sardinha III conducted a training session at the Public Defender's Office. Under the supervision of the program's Director, Jan L. Jacobowitz, and Postgraduate Fellow Courtney Daniels, Sardinha and Ilani led a discussion focused on civility in the courtroom and the ethical issues that may arise when using social media as a litigation tool.

Ilani said later that he was pleasantly surprised by the attorneys' passionate responses to issues posed in the hypothetical. "It was interesting seeing their perspective and how they approached the different hypothetical questions," he said.

"The presentation was an encouraging glimpse into the commitment and dedication of these excellent attorneys, and it was an honor to be a part of a great interactive setting," Sardinha added.

In a separate session, students Matthew Friendly, Patrick Poole and Andrew Williams presented an interactive ethics and technology CLE training for the Dade County Bar Association titled "Competency in the Computer Age." The students created a lively hypothetical format, which focused on ethical issues pertaining to attorney use of social media, e-filing and outsourcing of legal work. The PREP students prompted an in-depth conversation regarding whether the information an individual puts on social media is subject to discovery.

"I enjoyed leading a discussion about how new technologies present ethical challenges for attorneys," Friendly said. "It was enlightening to hear the variety of perspectives from the DCBA members concerning how attorneys advise their clients regarding the use of social media."

Poole gave a presentation on a number of current ethical issues, ranging from using so-called "daily deal" advertising to retaining an outsourcing firm for legal work. "The training was a huge success," Poole said. "The Banker's Club was filled with a large audience, which engaged in a great discussion on the practical effects of the hypothetical situations."

PREP, a 2012 recipient of the American Bar Association's Smythe E. Gambrell Award, was established in 1996 as an in-house program within the Center for Ethics and Public Service at Miami Law. PREP's programming originated as an outgrowth of a collaborative effort with the nonprofit legal community to provide training on ethics issues arising in the context of serving the underprivileged. PREP now presents ethics training to lawyers working in the legal profession in venues ranging from small gatherings at nonprofit offices to large bar association meetings and national webinars.