University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
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Fall 2021
LAW408  AP  MINDFUL ETHICS: PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR LAWYERS IN THE DIGITAL AGE

Course Description
A judge's courtroom procedures upset a lawyer who vents his frustration by characterizing the judge as "an evil witch" on a Halloween social media posting. Other lawyers use Facebook to share their positive and negative courtroom and client experiences. Some lawyers read a client’s negative online review and respond in kind. Still others voice their controversial opinions on the political events of the day. Many of these lawyers have been prosecuted for violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility or have otherwise damaged their reputations and lost their jobs.

Social media has become familiar ground for personal expression. Its global and instantaneous reach coupled with its permanence results in a limited and unforgiving learning curve; the Code of Professional Responsibility continues to govern. Mistakes occur frequently due to distraction, unfamiliarity and haste, and poorly thought out actions and can leave lasting scars on the otherwise unblemished reputation of lawyers (and law students). Even deliberate tactics can backfire as unforeseen consequences arise. Anyone can find herself a "test case" if she traipses into this territory without caution and awareness.

Evolving technologies provide the legal profession with ongoing opportunities for networking, advertising, discovery, research, and client development. The applicability of the rules of professional responsibility continues to develop as digital media and technology has been embraced by the legal profession. In fact, the definition of attorney competence now requires not only that attorneys understand the general benefits and disadvantages of technology, both in brick and mortar as well as virtual offices, but also that they appreciate the impact of social media on the practice of law and advise their clients accordingly.

The neuroscience associated with attention, distraction, ethical conduct, and social interaction is discussed to offer students a look of the inner workings at play. Core professional responsibility concepts and rules such as competence, diligence, communication, confidentiality, candor to the tribunal and solicitation and advertising serve as the backdrop for this instruction, which is introduced through lecture, experiential practices, and dialogue.

This course uses cutting-edge fact patterns and legal decisions involving lawyer misconduct, social media and technology to expose students to the realities of professional missteps that can follow from seemingly innocuous activities. Mindfulness practices are incorporated to offer students greater insight into what motivates them to act, and to practice developing, and wisely using, the mental brakes needed to slow down and introduce greater deliberation into decision-making.


Course Schedule
Dates Day Time Room
08-23-2021 - 12-01-2021   T  3:30 PM-6:15 PM DL

Course Frequency
This course is usually offered every semester

Course Information

Credits: 3
Pass/Fail Option: No
Prerequisite: None
Grading: Graded
Method of Evaluation: Class Participation, Mindfulness Practice, Weekly Written Assignments, and Final Project.
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Professional Responsibility
Special Attributes: None
Course Delivery:
Online (all synchronous)
Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s): None
Bar Subject(s):
MPRE
Concentration(s): None
Course Book(s): TBD/None      
First Class Assignment(s):
  • Assignment: Before the first day of class, please complete the following: 1. Complete the online survey found at: https://bit.ly/me_as12020. 2. Download the app, "Insight Timer. You do not need to pay for it. Select any username you choose, and e-mail your username to srogers@law.miami.edu and sgonzalez@law.miami.edu. Join “Mindfulness in Law” Group.

    Material:
    Jacobowitz, Jan L. & Browning, John G., Legal Ethics and Social Media: A Practitioner’s Handbook (2017).
    Rogers, Scott L., Mindfulness for Law Students (2009).
    Center for Professional Responsibility, Model Rules of Professional Conduct (2019).

    Additional materials will be provided via the class website.

    TWEN/Blackboard/Course Webpage Link:
    TBA

    Additional Information:
    We look forward to meeting you and together exploring the intersection of professional responsibility and mindfulness. The zoom link for our meetings is: https://miami.zoom.us/j/91865169714
      

 
Professor(s)

ROGERS, SCOTT


Biography
Contact Information:
Email: srogers@law.miami.edu
Phone: 305-284-5527
Office: A315

JACOBOWITZ, JAN


Biography
Contact Information:
Email: jjacobowitz@law.miami.edu