Miami Law’s Professional Responsibility & Ethics Program kicked off the fall semester with a customized CLE ethics and technology presentation for the Florida Bar’s Appellate Practice Committee’s first half-day technology seminar. PREP’s presentation was also live streamed and filmed for later online distribution. PREP director Jan L. Jacobowitz was joined by PREP interns Dimitrije Canic, Tyler Laurence, and Nico Nesenoff.
Nico Nesenoff, Dimitrije Canic, Jack R. Reiter, Co-Chair The Florida Bar Appellate Committee, Tyler Laurence
The presentation was well received as reflected by one of the attendees and co-presenters, Paul Regensdorf, who emailed feedback that included the comment, “Director Jacobowitz’s talk, with her students, was, perhaps, the most apt of any ethics hour I have ever seen in a Bar Seminar…By that I mean this hour really honed in on the ethical landmines – in technology -- that we face every single day in life – Starbucks, hotel printers, flash-drives. Yikes!!! …The students were excellent and poised and knowledgeable.”
PREP presented four interactive hypotheticals. Act I, led by Canic, facilitated a conversation about security, client confidentiality, and ethical implications that may arise when using flash drives, printers and other storage media devices, the cloud, and public Wi-Fi.
“It was such a unique opportunity to take on a teaching role and educate practicing attorneys on the ethics of using modern technology,” said Canic. “It provided the opportunity for me to learn more about how technology is impacting lawyers. The discussion with the audience allowed us to explore the various situations that may arise when using technology. The take away is to use technology smartly and to take the proper security measures to ensure client confidentiality.”
Act II, led by Laurence, focused on ethical and technological issues regarding lawyer home Wi-Fi usage. Laurence analyzed various ethics opinions and provided best practices, including safer router security measures, VPN implementation, and password procedure, so that lawyers will be best equipped to proceed ethically in conducting legal work from their own homes.
Act III, led by Nesenoff, discussed issues lawyers face when texting clients via mobile group messaging; outlined certain ‘Phishing’ techniques used by hackers to compromise servers; and presented problems involving voice–assisted smart devices.
In concluding the presentation, Laurence led a discussion on the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the legal practice. “Lawyers must be increasingly competent in knowing the risks involved with the use of AI to augment—and not replace—their practice,” said Laurence. “To present such cutting-edge information with highly regarded attorneys was an incredibly rewarding experience.”
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.