Miami Law Experts in the News: Trump Conflicts, NOLA Ethic Lapse, Hate Groups as Charities, and more



Proposed Fundraiser Featuring Trump’s Sons Raises Questions I The Takeaway/National Public Radio

And why did the organizers even float the idea of having Trump family members headline a charity event — especially one where the specific charities had not even been designated?

Frances Hill, a tax law professor at the University of Miami, says that if donors wanted to give big money to charities they could do it directly.

"There's no reason to make it a three-party transaction," Hill says. "It's the dynamic of currying favor and access with the powerful, and nobody cares as much about the money as about the access."

She points out that the contributions going to access events are tax-deductible.

Everybody Lies on Social Media – Just Ask Bankruptcy Asset Hunters I The Wall Street Journal

Bankruptcy lawyers have begun advising clients to be discreet on social media.

“You better embrace that social media has permeated the practice of law,” says University of Miami law professor Jan Jacobowitz, who focuses on law and ethics.

Obama just signed a law giving this group of Americans legal protections for the first time I Fusion

Obama signed the International Religious Freedom Act into law on December 16, which is believed to be the first-ever U.S. law to mention atheists— “non-theists” as the law calls them – as a protected class.

“The new law has some really interesting language in it,” University of Miami law professor Caroline Mala Corbin told the Religious News Service. “It takes an expansive view of religious liberty, saying freedom of religion is not just about the right to practice religion. It is also about the right to have your own views about religion including being agnostic and atheistic.”

As legal fees hit almost $1 million, Orleans Sheriff contract raises questions I New Orleans Times-Picayune

Legal ethicists note that the other problem in this equation is the fact that the client -- Gusman's office -- accepted and paid the bills without any documented challenges.

Jan Jacobowitz, director of the University of Miami School of Law's Professional Responsibility and Ethics program, said the legal fees and record keeping should be scrutinized by someone at the sheriff's office.

"It shouldn't be acceptable to any client, but when your client is a government entity and the government entity is spending public dollars, it is especially important to have an accurate accounting of time," Jacobowitz said.

Putting Philosophy to Work: The Eminent’s interview with Susan Haack I Psychology Today

Educated at Oxford and Cambridge, Susan Haack is Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law at the University of Miami.

She is among the tiny number of living philosophers included in Peter J. King’s book, 100 Philosophers: The Life and Times of the World’s Greatest Thinkers and was recently awarded the Ulysses Medal for her contributions to philosophy and the law.

SH: My feminism is humanist because it stresses what all human beings have in common—that as Dorothy Sayers wrote, “Women are more like men than anything else on earth,” and it’s individualistic because it stresses that every woman has her own unique mélange of temperament, tastes, strengths, weaknesses, ideas, and opinions.

Dozens of ‘Hate Groups” Have Charity Status, Chronicle Study Finds I The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Some tax experts say that standard is not easy to apply, especially in the current political moment.

"We used to have the idea that somehow we could look at ‘facts and circumstances’ and determine whether something was ‘educational’ or ‘political,' " said Frances Hill, a professor of constitutional, election, and tax law at the University of Miami. "The more I think about it, the more concerned I am that there just are no standards at all."

Though tax exemption is intended to be available to groups espousing a wide range of views, Ms. Hill worries that the concept of a nonprofit organization has become too malleable. "The idea of tax-exempt organizations devoted to hate speech is just corrosive of everything that the tax-exempt sector says it stands for."


CONTACT: Catharine Skipp at 305-294-9810 or