PREP Students Present to the Bankruptcy Bar and to Alumni in West Palm Beach

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 Jan L. Jacobowitz, Dalisi Otero, Gina Villar, Jennifer Felipe, Karyn Sanchez, and PREP & UM Alum, Shayla WaldenLeft to right: Jan L. Jacobowitz, Dalisi Otero, Gina Villar, Jennifer Felipe, Karyn Sanchez, and PREP & UM Alum, Shayla Walden Full Size Photo

Students from Miami Law’s Professional Responsibility & Ethics Program (PREP) explore diverse areas of the law and interact with attorneys and judges practicing in those areas regarding the ethical challenges that confront today’s legal profession. PREP students visited with bankruptcy lawyers and law school alumni in the two final CLE ethics presentations of the spring semester.

At the Bankruptcy Bar Association (BBA) program, PREP Fellow Gina Villar, along with PREP Interns, Barbara Cabrera, Tiffany Hendricks, and Karyn Sanchez, discussed some of the many ethical dilemmas that lawyers may encounter in the practice of Bankruptcy Law. The conversation, facilitated by PREP director Jan L. Jacobowitz, and joined by Judge Cristol, Judge Mark and Judge Isicoff, focused on the ethical implications that may arise in advertising, the use of social media evidence, lack of diligence in the filing of bankruptcy schedules, and the impact in bankruptcy of errors in the release of UCC statements.

"Preparing for the Bankruptcy Bar Association presentation introduced me to an area of law that I would not have otherwise studied,” said Cabrera. “It was a great experience sharing the information with the attorneys and judges, and learning the interaction between theory and practice."

“It was a unique and invaluable experience for me to speak in this training alongside the Honorable Laurel Isicoff, after having been one of her judicial interns,” said Hendricks. “The attorneys in the audience were enthusiastic to know more about a topic that I had extensively researched on the ethics of advising clients about social media. It was a wonderful opportunity to engage with them in a meaningful discussion on this topic and to learn from their own experiences in practice."

“The discussion with the attorneys at the Bankruptcy Bar Association meeting was a great learning experience as to how practicing attorneys are using social media and advertising in their practices,” said Sanchez.

Villar, along with Jennifer Felipe and PREP Interns Dalisi Otero and Karyn Sanchez, volunteered to present at the University of Miami Alumni Palm Beach Judicial and Continuing Education Program. The students presented on current “hot topic” ethics issues and networked with alumni after the CLE presentation, learning about the difference between the academic discussion of ethical challenges and the resolution of an ethical dilemma in legal practice.

"Legal ethics are always changing,” said Villar. “State bars across the country are constantly issuing opinions regarding cutting-edge ethical issues. It was interesting to be able to discuss these opinions with UM alumni and engage in an intellectual conversation about how these opinions are shaping the practice of law today."

“The attorneys at the training were very attentive and provided me with valuable insight as to how practicing attorneys deal with the ethical implications regularly faced during the legal practice,” said Sanchez.

“The event was unique because after the training, we had the opportunity to mingle with UM alumni and learn about their many accomplishments. It was exciting and definitely inspiring to hear,” said Otero.

“This CLE training was especially exciting given that we were presenting to UM alumni,” said Felipe. “Those in attendance were not only able to see first hand what PREP is all about, but were also able to contribute to its continued success by engaging in the thought provoking discussions that make our program special.”

PREP develops customized CLE ethics trainings, thereby providing an opportunity for students to explore diverse areas of the law and interact with attorneys practicing in those areas regarding the ethical challenges that confront today’s legal profession. The program combines the attributes of an ethics institute and an ethics clinic, and has dedicated hundreds of student hours to public service and has educated thousands of members of the Bench & Bar.

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 trainings, throughout the semester PREP students publish blog posts regarding the nation’s newest ethics opinions and cases.