Zach Sonenblum; Jennifer Perez, CABA's co-chair for its CLE Ethics & Professionalism Committee; Brett Silverberg;Danny Celaya; Maria Camila Hernandez
Every year, Miami Law’s Professional Responsibility & Ethics Program visits with the Cuban American Bar Association in Miami-Dade County to present customized CLE ethics trainings that explore unique and technology-related ethical dilemmas. Recently, PREP director, Jan L. Jacobowitz, PREP fellow Daniel Celaya, and PREP interns Maria Camila Hernandez, Brett Silverberg, and Zach Sonenblum returned to CABA to discuss legal ethics “hot topics,” which included medical marijuana, Bitcoin, and the use of Artificial Intelligence in the practice of law.
To foster discussion on these topics, PREP interns presented three interactive hypotheticals. Act I, presented by Hernandez, gave rise to a discussion regarding the representation of the cannabis client.
“Our discussion on representing clients involved in the cannabis industry and the status of Florida’s medical marijuana regulations was enlightening; many ancillary issues were raised in connection with the updated regulations,” said Hernandez.
Act II, led by Silverberg, presented the question of whether lawyers can accept Bitcoin as a form of compensation in exchange for services rendered. “I really enjoyed presenting on the acceptance of Bitcoin as payment for legal services because this is a cutting-edge topic. In the wake of the recent Nebraska ethics opinion that advises lawyers on how to accept Bitcoin payment, lawyers should be mindful of the potential ethical implications associated with Bitcoin transactions,” said Silverberg.
Presenting Act III, Sonenblum introduced issues related to the use of AI in providing legal services. “Artificial Intelligence may very well become the next frontier of legal outsourcing, and lawyers should contemplate implementing such programs within the confines of the Rules of Professional Conduct,” said Sonenblum.
PREP is an award-winning program that develops continuing legal education 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. 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.