PREP Students Graduate and Present One Last Social Media and Technology Ethics CLE

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Joseph Kellog, Gina Villar, Jan L. Jacobowitz, Jennifer Felipe, Jim LeshawPREP Fellows Jennifer Felipe and Gina Villar graduated on May 9th and shortly afterwards conducted a CLE ethics training at the Key Biscayne Bar Association (KBBA), despite the presentation being sandwiched between graduation festivities and bar preparation. The Key Biscayne Bar Association attendees greeted the two with a warm round of applause upon learning of their recent graduation; the applause became thunderous when they both mentioned that they had found employment.

KBBA was founded two years ago. Members Joseph Kellog and Jim Leshaw contacted PREP late in the spring in hopes of scheduling an ethics training in May. PREP director, Jan L. Jacobowitz, explained that PREP students are generally not available in May, but that she would see if a presentation was possible. Jacobowitz floated the idea among her students and Felipe and Villar signed on immediately.

Their interactive presentation, “Scandal on the Key? I Am On It!,” was just as well received as the news of their employment.  Villar focused on various uses of technology in the practice of law that compel ethical compliance such as outsourcing administrative and legal work and use of the cloud.  Felipe discussed the use of social media evidence in a case and the ethical guidance that applies from the first interview of a client through discovery and jury selection.

“Presenting at Key Biscayne Bar Association was a great way to conclude my two-year experience in PREP,” said Villar. “The attorneys engaged in an intriguing discussion regarding cutting-edge ethical issues including the outsourcing of legal research and human resource personnel. It was interesting to be able to discuss various state bar opinions with the attorneys and learn how these opinions along with the attorneys’ experiences are shaping the practice of law today.” 

“Presenting for the Key Biscayne Bar Association was truly a delight; the level of engagement enriched the conversation and my knowledge on the issues I prepared, especially spoliation of social media evidence and investigation of jurors,” said Felipe.

Although initially a bit surprised at Felipe and Villar’s eager agreement to present after graduation, Jacobowitz said “Jennifer and Gina were both highly engaged and energetic law students.” 

Felipe was the managing editor of PREP’s blog,  which has over 200 posts and more than 27,000 views, and an active PREP participant for two years despite the fact that she also competed in Spain in an International Moot Court Competition during her 2L year and participated in both the Miami STREET Law  program and the Investor Rights Clinic in her 3L year. 

Villar, a member of the University of Miami Law Review,  may hold the record for the most PREP presentations by a single student.  Both her intellectual curiosity and her passion for the presentation process compelled her to participate in numerous bar association presentations, which included issues such as technology, social media, attorney advertising, and conflicts of interests set in contexts such as bankruptcy, personal injury and contract law. Villar also participated in presentations at the Miami-Dade State Attorney, Public Defender, and County Attorney offices and volunteered when PREP presented mediation ethics at JAMS and military law ethics at the Military Law Symposium.  

Both recent graduates also collaborated on a Citizen’s Government Ethics Handbook that will be published this year. 

This fall Felipe and Villar will launch their careers at Chepenik Trushin LLP and Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, respectively, and according to Jacobowitz, “will surely be exceptional young associates.  Jennifer and Gina will be missed as PREP begins a new year; however, I have no doubt that they will continue the PREP alumni tradition of becoming extremely successful, ethical professionals who serve as role models for the Miami law students who will follow in their footsteps.”