Isabella Falcon, Christina Jaramillo (behind Isabella) and Dade Legal Aid Attorneys
Miami Law’s Professional Responsibility & Ethics Program, under the supervision of director, Jan L. Jacobowitz, develops customized, interactive continuing legal education ethics trainings that are designed to facilitate discussion with practicing attorneys about cutting-edge ethical issues. During the spring semester, PREP’s annual visits included AI Justice and Dade Legal Aid. PREP also added a new nonprofit, The Victory Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, which provides children with autism and related disabilities comprehensive individualized treatment.
PREP interns Christina Jaramillo and Isabella Falcon visited both AI Justice and Dade Legal Aid. The AI Justice presentation included legal ethics issues that arise in an immigration law context. Falcon and Jaramillo presented issues concerning conflicts of interest, scope of representation, and supervision of non-lawyer assistants. Their hypotheticals facilitated a lively conversation on issues that AI Justice encounters on a daily basis. One of the AI Justice attorneys, Ivana Alvarez, is a PREP alum and remains highly engaged in legal ethics as was apparent from her participation.
“I had a great time presenting to AI Justice attorneys, who make up a lively group with an immense knowledge-base in legal ethics,” said Jaramillo.
Falcon added, “I had an incredible experience speaking to practicing attorneys about pressing legal ethics issues. The attorneys were active and engaged in the conversation.”
At Dade Legal Aid, Falcon and Jaramillo presented issues involving the impact of social media and technology on the practice of law. “It was great exploring innovative social media issues such as Facebook friendships and advising clients on what to post on social media,” said Falcon.
Jaramillo’s technology hypotheticals raised issues involving shared desktop computers, virtual assistants, public Wi-Fi networks, public printers, end-to-end encryption, and lost flash drives. “Presenting at Dade Legal Aid was a fantastic experience for me. I have learned so much about legal ethics and technology and enjoyed the small group interaction, which made for a highly engaging conversation,” she said.
The Victory Center School hosted PREP students Alice Kerr and Samantha Iglesias whose customized hypotheticals were also well-received. Kerr reflected, “I volunteered for the Victory Center presentation because I have an affinity for programs that address the educational needs of children with autism. The energy and genuine interest of the various program participants created an interactive learning experience. The presentation format gave way to discussions and information sharing. This enabled us to demystify the pitfalls of technology, social media, and conflicts of interest in a collaborative manner. The exchanges were lively and gave us a great perspective on what happens when academia meets professional practice”
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.