PREP Kicks off Semester in Broward at the Bankruptcy Court

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Every year, Miami Law’s Professional Responsibility & Ethics Program visits with the Bankruptcy Bar Association in both Broward County and Miami-Dade County to present customized CLE ethics trainings that explore unique, bankruptcy-related ethical dilemmas. Four PREP students and PREP director, Jan L. Jacobowitz, recently presented to the Broward Bankruptcy Bar Association at the Fort Lauderdale Federal Bankruptcy Courthouse. Federal Bankruptcy Judges Raymond Ray and John Olson and Broward Bankruptcy Bar Association representatives Michael Lessne and Thomas Zeichman hosted the event.

PREP fellow Nicole Chipi, and interns Blaine Remmick, Yasbel Perez, and Josh Mandel discussed common, yet complex ethical issues with local bankruptcy attorneys, including attorneys taking multiple roles in client matters during bankruptcy proceedings, the impact of social media ownership on bankruptcy proceedings, and ethical issues related to billing.

To foster discussion with the attorneys in attendance, the PREP interns provided three hypotheticals or acts which forced the attorneys to consider the proper ethical responses to such issues. Act I, presented by Chipi, gave rise to a discussion about the challenges of representing clients in multiple capacities. “Often times, clients will need attorneys for multiple aspects of legal matters during a bankruptcy and not knowing the potential ethical implications of doing so could lead to big problems,” said Chipi.

Act II, led by Remmick, presented the question of how ownership of social media accounts is a new frontier in bankruptcy. “I really enjoyed presenting on the role social media account ownership because this topic is so new that it really got the attorneys thinking, discussing, and providing their respective inputs,” said Remmick.

Presenting Act III, Mandel introduced issues related to billing, which brought about an enlightening conversation. “It was great listening to leading Broward bankruptcy attorneys discuss the intricacies that surround billing in bankruptcy matters because you could tell my research had really helped some of the attorneys gain a clearer understanding of the relevant ethical issues,” said Mandel.

PREP is an award-winning program that develops continuing legal education ethics training for the legal community. The program combines the attributes of an ethics institute and an ethics clinic, 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.