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Miami Law Students Present Ethics Training at Catholic Charities Legal Services

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Miami Law's Professional Responsibility and Ethics Program (PREP) recently presented an ethics training at Catholic Charities Legal Services. Under the supervision of director Jan L. Jacobowitz, law students Charles Muniz, 3L, and Amanda LeCheminant, 2L, presented a training that addressed professional responsibility issues in the area of immigration law and hotly debated ethical issues faced by lawyers in an electronic age.

The students presented a four-act hypothetical that sparked debate on issues that attorneys at Catholic Charities encounter in their everyday work. The first two acts, presented by LeCheminant, dealt with the ethical implications of lawyers interacting with other attorneys and judges on Facebook, as well as the duties imposed on lawyers when they relocate their practice. The last two acts, presented by Muniz, dealt with the ethical implications of clients who may withhold information from their attorneys during their representation and lawyers who script testimony for their clients.

"I could see that the attorneys were genuinely passionate about helping their clients within the ethical boundaries of the law and were pleased to see that the authorities did not present a major conflict with the status quo of the office's operations," said Muniz.

"I enjoyed watching the attorneys and other members of the organization learn from each other as they discussed their reactions to the hypothetical I presented," said LeCheminant. "It was exciting to hear the various interpretations of each issue, and I even learned a few things from the group's analysis."

The Professional Responsibility and Ethics Program was established in 1996 as an in-house program within the Center for Ethics and Public Service at the University of Miami School of Law. The program has dedicated countless student hours to public service and has educated thousands of members of the Florida Bench and Bar. As the students teach, they learn and quite often make a difference, prompting organizations to pause and reconsider their approaches to some of the toughest ethical dilemmas.