CLASS SYLLABUS
LAW 408AP

Fall Semester 2017

Mindful Ethics: 
Professional Responsibility for Lawyers in the Digital Age

3:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Tuesday: Rm. A216B


Scott L. Rogers – Office:  A-315 (305) 284-5527
Jan L. Jacobowitz - Office:  D-333 (305) 284-8564
Office Hours:  By appointment
Email: jjacobowitz@law.miami.edu; srogers@law.miami.edu

Faculty Assistant: Ebonie Carter
Email:
ecarter1@law.miami.edu
Office G-288; Tel. (305) 284-3934

_____________________________________________________


Course Description


A Judge's decision upsets a lawyer and he vents his frustration by blogging and characterizing the Judge as "an evil witch" on a Halloween posting. A young attorney excited about her practice discusses some of her cases on Facebook.  A lawyer serving as a juror blogs about the trial. All of these lawyers are enjoying the new media and all are being prosecuted for violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

New technologies provide the legal profession with opportunities for networking, advertising, discovery, research, and client development. The New Media is also becoming familiar ground for personal expression. The global and instantaneous reach of New Media coupled with its perpetual presence, 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. The applicability of the rules of professional responsibility continues to develop as the digital media comes of age.

This course uses cutting-edge fact patterns and legal decisions involving lawyer misconduct and New Media and technology to expose students to the realities of professional missteps that can follow from seemingly innocuous activities. Contemplative practices, such as mindfulness, 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.

The neuroscience associated with attention, distraction, ethical conduct, and social interaction is discussed to offer students a penetrating examination 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, role-playing, guest speakers, and dialogue. 

Required Texts:

Jacobowitz, Jan L. & Browning, John G.,
Legal Ethics and Social Media: A Practitioner’s Handbook (2017).
Rogers, Scott L.,
Mindfulness for Law Students (2009).
Rotunda, Ronald D. & Dzienkowski, John S., Professional Responsibility, A Student’s Guide (recent edition).

Additional materials will be provided in class and/or electronically.

Recommended Texts: (on reserve for your convenience)

Lerman, Lisa G., & Schrag, Philip G.,
Ethical Problems in the Practice of Law (2008) 
Martyn, Susan R., & Fox, Lawrence J., 
Traversing The Ethical Minefield (2nd Ed. 2008)
Rhode, Deborah L., & Luban, David J.,
Legal Ethics: Law Stories (2006)


CLASS POLICIES


Class Participation:
It is essential that you attend class to gain a thorough understanding of the themes (and their interconnections) introduced throughout the course. Students are encouraged to stay abreast of current events that are pertinent and give rise to meaningful classroom discussion.  

Additionally, the ABA and the Law School require regular class attendance, preparation, and participation. Poor class attendance, tardiness or inadequate class preparation and participation may result in a lowered/failing grade, withdrawal from the course or referral to the Dean of Students.

Grading:
The three primary areas of class work upon which grading is based, and their respective weightings are:  class participation (25%), weekly assignments and Mindful Space participation (25%), final project or exam (50%). 

Assignments:
Each week we will explore a new vignette that raises a series of ethical questions and mindfulness insights. The vignette is in your packet and also on the website. Please answer the questions at the bottom of the vignette on a word document in 12pt font and double-spaced. State the question and then provide a short, concise answer that makes reference to the relevant rules and class readings. Please make sure to put your name and the date at the top of the document.

Assignment Submission: Subject Line and File Names
Please bring your typed answers to the vignette in class each week to draw upon when participating in class discussion and exercises, and plan to hand in at the end of class. From time to time, you may be required to submit an assignment via e-mail. When you submit your assignments via e-mail, send to UMME@law.miami.edu, and use the following naming conventions for your subject line and for the file names.  This ensures that your assignments will be found, retained, and credit will be recorded.  

SUBJECT LINE
The subject line is to contain: 

  • (1)class information [UMME_F2017) followed by
  • (2)the date of the class for which the assignment is due, in this format [YYMMDD], followed by
  • (3)your last name and first two initials (if you only have two initials, use a Z for the third). 

Between each of the above, place an underscore character [_].  For example, if your name were Sonia Sotomayor, and the assignment was to be completed in anticipation of a class to be held on August 22, 2017, your subject line would be as follows: UMME_F2017_170822_SotomayorSM.  

SEPARATE E-MAILS
It is important that you submit a separate e-mail for each assignment that is to be submitted online.

Laptop Computers, Smart Phones & Tape Recording:
No-Laptop-in-Class policy. Please refrain from use of computers, recording devices, cell phones, and texting during class, except by permission. Throughout the semester, classes or segments of classes will be audio or video recorded.


Students with Disabilities:
If you have a disability, or suspect that you may have a disability, the Law School encourages you to contact The Office of Disability Services for information about available opportunities, resources, and services. You may also visit the Office of Disability Services website at www.law.miami.edu/disability-services.

Weekly Class Schedules 

Below is an outline of weekly topics and assignments. As noted above, approximately seven days before each class, you will be able to view the specific reading assignment and exercises assigned for the following week’s class.


WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS


Class One--August 15, 2017:  Introduction to Professional Responsibility and Mindfulness
Assignment:   August 25th assignment page and online survey.

Class Two—August 22, 2017:  The Road to Discovery: Documents and Yourself
Assignment:  Complete Assigned Readings, Read Vignette; Vignette Analysis; “Meeting of the Minds” Journaling.
Applicable Rules: 1.1, 1.3, 1.6, 1.13, 3.4, 4.4, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 8.3, 8.4

Class Three—August 29, 2017:  Using the Internet to Make it Rain--The Challenges of Advertising in a Digital World 
Assignment:  Complete Assigned Readings, Read Vignette; Vignette Analysis; “Meeting of the Minds” Journaling.
Applicable Rules: 7.1, 7.2, 7.3  Fla. Rules 7.11-7.15 

Class Four--September 5, 2017:  Outsourcing Everything But Your License
Assignment:  Complete Assigned Readings, Read Vignette; Vignette Analysis; “Meeting of the Minds” Journaling.
Applicable Rules: 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.18, 3.3, 8.4 

Class Five--September 12, 2017:  Note to File: Pay Bills, Payday, and Pay Heed
Assignment:  Complete Assigned Readings, Read Vignette; Vignette Analysis; “Meeting of the Minds” Journaling.
Applicable Rules: 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 1.6, 1.15, 1.18, 7.5, 8.4 

Class Six--September 19, 2017:  Who's In Charge
Assignment:  Complete Assigned Readings, Read Vignette; Vignette Analysis; “Meeting of the Minds” Journaling.
Applicable Rules: 1.2, 1.4, 1.16, 3.3, 6.1, 7.1, 7.4, 8.2, 8.4  

Class Seven—September 26, 2017:  Social Media Savvy: The New Normal
Assignment:  Complete Assigned Readings, Read Vignette; Vignette Analysis; “Meeting of the Minds” Journaling.
Applicable Rules: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 8.4  


October 3, 2017 * * * * No Class Fall Break * * * *

Class Eight—October 10, 2017: Mindful Immersion

Class Nine—October 17, 2017: Oh no, Uh oh, and Oops:  The Perils of Social Media are Worth Tweeting and Blogging About
Assignment:  Complete Assigned Readings, Read Vignette; Vignette Analysis; “Meeting of the Minds” Journaling. Applicable Rules: 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 7.1, 7.2, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4  

Class Ten—October 24, 2017:  Conflicts and Confidences: The Mindful Path to Clarity and Courage
Assignment:  Complete Assigned Readings, Read Vignette; Vignette Analysis; “Meeting of the Minds” Journaling.
Applicable Rules: 1,6, 1.7, 1.9, 1.16, 1.18

Class Eleven—October 31, 2017:  To Friend or Not to Friend: Who's to Judge?
Assignment:  Complete Assigned Readings, Read Vignette; Vignette Analysis; “Meeting of the Minds” Journaling.
Applicable Rules: Judicial Canons 1.2, 2.2, 3.5 

*MPRE: November 4, 2017

Class Twelve—November 7, 2017:
  Professionalism and Ethics

Class Thirteen—November 14, 2017:
  Mindful Reflection

Class Fourteen—November 21, 2017: TBA

                 
*This syllabus is subject to change, moment by moment – a reminder of the nature of life.
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