With the summer zooming by at Bilzin Sumberg, the summer associates and I have found ourselves in the next phase of the mock real estate transaction. Until now, battle lines were drawn with Eric and me playing the Seller and the Seller’s attorney and Devin, Lucas, and Ben playing joint Buyers and the Buyers’ attorney respectively in previous mock real estate negotiations.  Last week, however, a temporary truce was called with the introduction of the joint venture seminar.  In this new exercise, Devin, Lucas, and Ben continued to portray the company The Good Guys LLC composed of the Avengers. Instead, however, they were tasked to see things from the perspective of a Developer.  Eric and I, on the other hand, portrayed the mighty Starlord, also known as the leaders of the Guardians of the Galaxy. We were tasked with seeing from the perspective of a business partner. The seminar was expertly presented by Partner at the firm Marshall Pasternack and associate David Resnick, and we were all given a crash course on the pillars of joint venture contracts. We reviewed the key components of a joint venture and some of the essential elements necessary to make a joint venture succeed.  In this exercise, the venture was to build a super hero home base condo in Miami.

 

Prepared with the necessary tools, the summer associates and I came together to work on our first operating agreement. In the agreement, details like preferred returns and monetary distributions were discussed until both parties could come to an agreement. The exercise was definitely less intense as compared to the other negotiations that have occurred. It was obvious that both sides wanted to reach the end result of a good partnership, which helped the discussions to go smoothly.  Overall, it was a great exercise! However, things will definitely heat back up again once we return to our real estate transaction between The Good Guys LLC and the Bad Guy LLC!

This past Monday we experienced a wonderful opportunity to give back to our local community by volunteering at the Chapman Partnership‘s Miami Homeless Assistance Center. The Chapman Partnership provides food and shelter to approximately 5,000 homeless individuals and families on an annual basis. These homeless centers also assist with job training, job placement, and securing housing.

The Bilzin Sumberg team took part in fulfilling the Chapman Partnership‘s mission by serving meals, waiting tables, and maintaining the kitchen and cafeteria. It was an extraordinarily humbling experience for all of us, and we met absolutely amazing people who are seeking to build a brighter future for themselves and their families.

I personally met one such individual: a 16-year old local high school student who aspires to become an attorney one day. Speaking with this individual was very inspiring, and he maintained an extraordinarily positive outlook on his future despite his current challenges.

Bilzin Sumberg takes great pride in giving back to the local community on a regular basis, and I am proud to take part in this effort.

 

(L to R, Ben, Devin, Brianna, Lucas & Eric)

Unbelievable as it may seem to myself and the other 2018 Bilzin Sumberg summer associates, we are officially more than halfway through the program! Thus far, the summer has been full of exciting events, interesting assignments, and a multitude of opportunities to network with attorneys and develop our skills. One such opportunity came last Wednesday as we took a trip on the newly-operational Brightline train with members of the Real Estate and Land Use Practice Groups. Though at this point we have met almost all of the attorneys at the firm, the chance to get to spend time with them in a more intimate setting was extremely valuable and enjoyable. To start our voyage, Eric and I rode Miami’s Metro Mover, conveniently located just a block from Bilzin Sumberg‘s beautiful offices (and next to our favorite restaurant, Novecento), over to the Brightline station to catch our train from Miami to Fort Lauderdale. When we arrived, we met the rest of our group in the luxurious Select Lounge, where we enjoyed complimentary refreshments before boarding the train. Continue Reading The Summer (And the Train) Goes Flying By!

(L to R, Jessica, Eric, Lucas, Ben, Devin and Brianna)

Bilzin Sumberg provides opportunities to work together to benefit charitable organizations in South Florida and beyond.  The firm’s strong commitment to the community has constantly been conveyed.  This past Friday, our summer associate class took a break from assignments and volunteered at Feeding South Florida (FSF).  FSF is the sole Feeding America food bank serving Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties; they have the largest service area in the state, serving 25% of the state’s food insecure population and rescuing 46 million pounds of food per year.

Once we arrived to the sorting warehouse, we had orientation and got separated into 4 groups: inspectors, runners, sorters, and builders.  The Bilzin Sumberg volunteers were inspectors, managing three tables in the inspection room.  We examined the donated food, threw out unusable food, and called for a runner to bring our inspected box to the sorters, who classified food into categories.  Lastly, we were provided with the number of meals we helped provide to families in need of food assistance that day, which was—drum roll, please—a whopping 35,000 meals.

 

To finish up another amazing week, Eric Singer invited the summer associates to go sailing together on Saturday.  During the trip, we saw the beautiful Miami skyline and the historical houses of Stiltsville.  His sailboat is great, the Miami views are great, but Eric is even greater for thinking to include us!  Thanks again, Eric!

 

Brianna Sainte
(L to R, Lucas, Brianna, Devin & Ben)

Yesterday the Summer Associates joined the Litigation Group for a culinary and art tour in Wynwood. Wynwood is a neighborhood to the north of Downtown Miami that is known for its vibrant street art and incredible restaurants. Our tour started with the iconic Wynwood Walls. We saw murals from Shepard Fairey (creator of the Obama “Hope” poster), Kenny Scharf, Ron English, and many more. Admittedly ignorant of street art, I never viewed it as a “real” form of art. But on seeing the detail and the speed in which these artists create their works (each mural is created within a week!), my perspective immediately changed. A highlight of the tour was when Jerry Goldsmith, a litigation associate and lover of the arts, added his own eye-opening commentary on Lady Pink‘s mural, titled Resist. I also loved learning more about Wynwood, a neighborhood that has completely changed in the past decade.

We then proceeded to enjoy a wonderful meal at GK Bistronomie, a Peruvian restaurant. There, we ate lomo saltado, ceviche, and sipped on margaritas and Peruvian Moscow Mules. We ended the night with Italian gelato at Gelatte. Last night was a great time and really showed that the attorneys within litigation department at Bilzin Sumberg are both colleagues and friends.

 

 

While trying a real case in court won’t happen for at least a few years, Benjamin, Devin, and I had the opportunity to visit the Miami-Dade County Courthouse on our first tag-along of the summer! Of counsel at the firm, Michael E. Strauch, was gracious enough to invite us on his trip to the courthouse. With his focus being the Commercial Litigation practice at Bilzin Sumberg, Michael was on his way to meet with a judge on a case he is working on. After a quick trip on the Metro Mover and a five minute walk, we were before the courthouse. The courthouse previously served as the county jail, a fun fact that Michael informed us of as we headed up the stairs leading to the entrance.

Once inside the 100-year old courthouse, we made our way in a historic elevator to the judge’s chambers. Once there, we were told that the particular judge we came to see was momentarily out and would be back within a 20-minute window. As such, we took the opportunity to witness an ongoing jury trial happening in the next room. With Michael leading the way, we quietly slipped inside the courtroom and took our seats in the back. The trial turned out to be a civil one in which the wife of the decedent was suing a tobacco company for wrongful death.  The wife’s husband died from lung cancer. As one would expect, a team of lawyers for the tobacco company sat to our left, each of them surrounded with laptops and boxes full of paper. We took our seats on the same side as the wife’s lawyer and furthest to the right sat a jury of six of her peers.  Interestingly, we came in during the middle of a direct examination of the wife in which she told her story of her husband’s long term battle of smoking addiction.  After about 15 minutes, we all returned to the judge’s chambers so that Michael could speak with the judge.

After the discussion was over, the four of us headed back to the office and reflected on our visit. For us three summer associates, it was the first time we had visited that particular courthouse, and I believe I speak for all of us when I say that we were lucky to have had that first experience at Bilzin Sumberg!

 

Towards the conclusion of last week, the 2018 Bilzin Sumberg summer associates began one of the stages of the annual summer associate program: the real estate mock transaction. This exercise will take us through all of the stages of an actual real estate transaction while providing us with a practical dose of legal practice as we take on the roles of buyer, seller, and each parties’ respective attorneys. I will be representing Devin and Lucas, who will serve as the buyers, and Eric will be representing Brianna, who will play the role of our seller. Our fact pattern is (loosely) based on the recent Marvel Avenger’s Infinity War movie, with the buyer’s working to purchase the last “Infinity Stone property” from the seller Thanos’ holding company, “THE BAD GUY LLC”. Devin, Lucas, and I are the only thing standing between Thanos and world domination! As per usual, Jessica Bucshbaum and Betsi Cobas did an outstanding job making the exercise especially interesting by creating a fun scenario for us.

Continue Reading Some Friendly Competition for World Domination

It feels like we just started the Summer Associate Program yesterday, but we are already in our third week here at Bilzin Sumberg! During the past three weeks, each of us has had the opportunity to work on a diverse array of assignments from multiple practice groups. Some of these projects include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Lucas and Ben are working on a summer-long project with Andrej Micovic and Eric Singer from the Government Relations & Land Development Practice Group. Their assignment involves reviewing the procurement process for public-private partnerships and updating the relevant white papers.
  • Devin is working with Jay Sakalo from the Business Finance & Restructuring Practice Group. Her assignment involves researching the legal protections tenants are entitled to before the landlord files for bankruptcy and what the post-filing implications are for the tenants.
  • Brianna is working with Melissa Pallett-Vasquez and Lori Lustrin from the Litigation Practice Group. Her assignment involves analyzing and organizing court opinions and orders that reference favorable expert testimony regarding a product labeling case.
  • Finally, I am working with Jennifer Llano from the Corporate Practice Group. My assignment involves conducting due diligence for a corporate acquisition. My specific tasks include reviewing a Stock Purchase Agreement, analyzing the relevant corporate documents of the seller, and updating the Disclosure Schedule Form.

Although our development as Summer Associates primarily includes honing our legal research, writing, and transactional skills, it also includes honing our acquired tastes in fine wine.

This week, we accomplished that goal by spending the evening with the Tax, Trusts & Estates Practice Group, which graciously hosted us at Abaco Wines & Wine Bar in the Miami Design District. We enjoyed our evening conversing with the attorneys over glasses of Rose and Pinot Noir (with a collection of complimentary cheeses, of course).

But perhaps the biggest takeaway from these events is developing long-lasting personal and professional relationships. Throughout the summer, we will attend professional networking events similar to the wine bar social gathering this week. These are important because they give us an opportunity to really get to know the people here at Bilzin Sumberg. And in a firm setting, developing these relationships will go a long way.

Our first two weeks at Bilzin Sumberg surpassed all expectations!

On Thursday, May 24th, we participated in one of the numerous opportunities the firm offers to give back to the community. The firm supported Red Nose Day, an international fundraising campaign dedicated to ending child poverty. After donating, we were all invited to clown around for a good cause at a photo booth filled with props—including crowns, taco hats, and, of course, red noses. From day one, everyone has highlighted the significance of being involved through the Bilzin Sumberg Cares initiative, and Thursday was yet another example of the firm’s commitment to philanthropy.

Bilzin Sumberg not only empowers us to give back, they invest in our development to become better lawyers. Our Friday WestLaw training session included lessons on how to: find court filing rules and checklists, compare law across jurisdictions, and craft a systematic research approach. I appreciate that if I ever get stuck in my research for an assignment, there will be a small army of people to help me get on the right track; I have never felt overwhelmed, just encouraged and supported. Through substantive training programs and day-to-day legal practice support, Bilzin Sumberg fosters efficiency to ensure our success. I’m looking forward to the upcoming seven weeks!

 

(L to R, Eric, Devin & Lucas)

As the training phase of the summer program winds down, the Summer Associates are busy at work! We are currently working on a variety of projects assigned by attorneys from each practice group. Bilzin Sumberg has an assignment pool system that makes it very easy to work in the practice group of your choice and take on assignments that you never thought you would enjoy (or even knew existed)! I am currently working on projects in the Bankruptcy, Land Use & Zoning, Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (“CMBS“), and Commercial Litigation groups. As a 1L, this flexibility will allow me to find my passion in the law and have a concrete understanding of what each attorney does at the firm day-to-day. 

Bilzin Sumberg also has many mentorship opportunities that allow us to connect with lawyers throughout the firm. Continue Reading Training and Mentorship is the Name of the Game