PREP Students Present Ethics CLE Programs for Local Bar Associations

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Each semester the Professional Responsibility & Ethics Program visits local bar associations to provide legal ethics seminars. This fall PREP presented at the South Miami-Kendall Bar Association and the Coral Gables Bar Association.

Matthew Dennison, William Golden, Ellen Kruk and SMKBA President Brett Trembly

PREP Fellow Ellen Kruk, along with interns William Golden and Matthew Dennison, and PREP director, Jan L. Jacobowitz, returned to the South Miami-Kendall Bar Association with an update on ethical issues relating to attorney advertising and cybersecurity.

Given the ubiquity of technology in the legal profession today, cybersecurity is a topic that the Florida Bar has recently brought to the forefront. In September, the Florida Bar emphasized the importance of attorneys understanding technology by amending the state’s CLE requirements to add 3 hours of technology programs. 3Ls Golden and Kruk had the opportunity to explain the new state requirements as well as provide best practices for attorneys using cloud computing, public WiFi, personal laptops, and portable flash drives.

“Presenting legal ethics in front of such an engaged group of attorneys was exciting and challenging," said Golden. "I was lucky enough to present the vast, confusing, and often intimidating subject of the ethical implications of cloud computing. Explaining how the ethics rules apply to lawyers’ daily use of cloud computing was rewarding.”

Dennison, a 2L, presented on the subject of attorney advertising and explained the new, more lenient rules regarding lawyers marketing themselves as “experts” or  “specialists” in a field. He also discussed the impact and ethical implications of the innovative legal services websites like Avvo. “It was a thrill to speak with accomplished attorneys about the latest developments in legal advertising and the potential effect on how lawyers may advertise in the future,” Dennison said.

Justin Boyd, Anibal Manzano, Haley Moss, and Coral Gables Bar Association President, Jorge L. Fors, Jr.

Later in the semester, PREP Fellow, Justin Boyd, and PREP Interns Anibal Manzano and Haley Moss discussed the ethical hot-topics of advertising and outsourcing at Coral Gables Bar Association.

“Presenting to the Coral Gables Bar Association on legal services marketing was an excellent experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to other opportunities with PREP,” said Manzano.

After concluding her second presentation this semester, Moss agreed with Manzano, “It was a great experience to have an important and interesting conversation with attorneys in our community about advertising and social media. I had a great time and am looking forward to doing it again.”

Boyd discussed outsourcing e-discovery and Florida’s technology amendments to Rule 4-1.1. and felt fortunate to have retired Judge Gill Freeman in attendance. “Hearing Judge Freeman share her knowledge and experience was extremely informative," said Boyd. "I gained meaningful insight into how the legal ethics rules effect an attorney’s daily practice.”

PREP is an award-winning program, which develops continuing legal education ethics training for the legal community. 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. 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.