Shayla Waldon, who participated in PREP training, shown after graduating from Miami Law on May 11. (Photo: Therese Lambert/Miami Law)
What is the best way to communicate with fellow attorneys and the court? In a "court-eous" manner, of course.
In a presentation titled "Court-eous Communication," Miami Law students Shayla Waldon, Garrett Lorentz and Adam Fischer, speaking on behalf of the Professional Responsibility and Ethics Program, addressed members of the Bankruptcy Bar Association of the Southern District of Florida and discussed the importance of candid communication before the court and the effect that dishonesty may have on a case. The students were joined by PREP Director Jan L. Jacobowitz, as well as by the Honorable Laurel M. Isicoff, J.D. '82, the first woman to be sworn in as judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Southern Florida, and the Honorable A. Jay Cristol, J.D. '59, Chief Judge Emeritus of the same court, as they explained the ethical consequences that await attorneys who are less than completely candid in their communications with the court.
"This semester's presentation was especially interesting because of the participation of two bankruptcy Judges," Fischer said. "Judge Isicoff and Judge Cristol provided great insight into some of the ethical issues they encounter on a regular basis."
Waldon's portion of the presentation focused on the ethical issues that may arise with respect to disclosure statements and reorganization plans. "This was my last PREP presentation, as I will be graduating this spring, but this one has been my favorite," she noted. "I will always remember being a panelist along with two of the most respected judges in South Florida."
Lorentz spoke about a lawyer's ethical obligations with respect to recusal motions. "It was truly a unique experience to have such active participation from Judge Isicoff and Judge Cristol," he said. "Their first-hand experience kept the audience engaged and supplemented our presentation with real-life scenarios that the attorneys were able to relate to. I can't thank them enough."
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 has expanded to present ethics training to lawyers working throughout the legal profession in venues ranging from small gatherings at nonprofit offices to large bar association meetings and national webinars.