To say that the summer program has ended on a high is an understatement. Tuesday kicked off the showdown between team Sherlock and team Moriarty. I’m referring to one of the most anticipated summer events of the program, The Great Escape Challenge! The Real Estate practice group, along with us summer associates, split into two teams of eleven with the task of escaping a room full of puzzles with only an hour to do so.  Both teams were stacked with clever and intelligent players, letting us know it was going to be a close one as to who finished first. The escape rooms each had a theme, one being Sherlock and the other Moriarty. The puzzles included math equations, astronauts, laser beams, and scrabble.  In every corner there was a clue leading to another clue and another.  I had the privilege of serving on Team Moriarty. Though we escaped our room with over fourteen minutes to spare, Team Sherlock finished with a little over fifteen minutes. Though seeing as how we were told the Moriarty room was more challenging, I’m going to take that as a win!

 

With this being my last day at Bilzin Sumberg, I have now had a chance to reflect fully on this past summer.  I had such an amazing experience thanks to Jay Sakalo, Jessica Buchsbaum, and Betsi Cobas, all of whom worked together to make this summer program an awesome one.  Spending my summer at Bilzin Sumberg has been eye-opening and informative. It has led me to confirm that I made the right choice in picking Bilzin Sumberg to expand my knowledge in different legal practices and further my legal career. Most of all, the people here have been so welcoming and inviting. It is easy to see why people love working here. Thank you so much Bilzin Sumberg, until next time!

With Week 9 (wow!) officially underway, the 2018 Bilzin Sumberg summer associates are getting ready to close out the summer. The summer associate program has provided us with an immersive, meaningful, and fun experience that we will always remember and that will help us to have a foundation when we ultimately begin our legal careers. At the outset, I need to thank Jay Sakalo, Jessica Buchsbaum, and Betsi Cobas for orchestrating such a remarkable itinerary for us. I would also like to thank my fellow summer associates, Eric, Brianna, Lucas, and Devin, for all of their friendship and support throughout the course of the summer. Further, all of the attorneys and staff at Bilzin Sumberg truly welcomed us with open arms and made us feel comfortable, and for that I am extremely grateful. Here are some of my favorite moments/assignments from this summer to provide some highlights:

1) Wynwood Culinary Tour with the Litigation Practice Group-Despite some rain, this event was amongst my favorite this summer due to the outstanding food, beautiful views, and amazing company. The chance to spend extended time with the attorneys in litigation over food and drinks was definitely a high point.

2) Work on Deposition Prep by Creating an Outline-This was my favorite assignment over the summer. With a deposition coming up, I was given the opportunity to review certain key documents, develop questions for the witness based on them, and outline the format of the deposition for use by the deposing attorney.

3) Mentorship from Shalia Sakona-Undoubtedly, I would not have enjoyed the summer nearly as much as I did without my associate mentor, Shalia. From the first week, Shalia made herself available to me for any and every question I might have, and consistently took time out of her (extremely) busy schedule to sit down with me and review my work.

4) Overall Experience in the Office-I can confidently say that there is no other firm in Miami that mixes a fun, engaging atmosphere with legal work at the highest level like Bilzin Sumberg. Every day brought a new challenge, but we were guided and surrounded by incredible attorneys, mentors, and staff every step of the way.

 

I could not have drawn this summer up any better if I had tried. All in all, these 9 weeks helped me to create lasting memories and relationships, develop critical legal skills, and get to know the ins and outs of Bilzin Sumberg!

Next week is the ninth and final week of the Bilzin Sumberg summer associate program.   As it winds down, we are finishing our remaining assignments, adding final lunches to the calendar, and preparing for vacation…or for some us…the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)!  But the past eight weeks have been amazing, and each of us has had invaluable opportunities to gain early exposure to the practice of law, develop our professional skills, and build relationships.  Below is a brief summary of my experience.

Assignments:  I have worked under the supervision of attorneys from multiple practice groups.

  • Real Estate: My assignments here included (1) drafting an amendment to a purchase agreement; (2) drafting and revising specific provisions of a consulting agreement; (3) researching and summarizing financial covenants, permitted transfers, and guarantees for loan transactions; and (4) assisting with two commercial real estate closings.
  • Corporate: My assignments here included (1) researching and summarizing Florida default rules pertaining to specific partnership disputes; (2) researching Florida and Delaware mandatory rules pertaining to limited liability companies and limited partnerships; and (3) assisting with due diligence tasks for a corporate acquisition.
  • Litigation: My assignments here included (1) researching case law regarding the requisite standards for declaratory judgment in order to defeat a motion for declaratory judgment; and (2) conducting a thorough review of foreign corporate documents in order to gather evidence of an antitrust price-fixing scheme among co-conspirators.
  • Land Use: My assignment here included researching Miami-Dade County ordinances and administrative orders pertaining to the private-development on county-owned land.

Events:  The networking events this summer have been plentiful and rewarding.  From preparing meals at a Coral Gables restaurant to volunteering at a homeless shelter in Miami, we have had opportunities to have fun and give back to our community.

Mentorship:  I want to be sure to highlight this aspect of the summer program.  Each summer associate is assigned an attorney mentor who is responsible for providing advice and guidance throughout the summer.  And all of our mentors have done a phenomenal job in making themselves available to us and looking out for our best interests.  With that being said, I want to give a special thanks to Chris Pierson for his service as my attorney mentor for the past two summers!

 

In summary, it has been an absolute pleasure to work here as a summer associate for the past two summers.  I have learned a lot, built invaluable relationships, and discovered a strong passion for a particular area of the law.  Now that I’m aging out of this whole law school thing, I look forward to stepping into the next phase of my legal career.  Stay tuned!

For my last post of the summer, I want to highlight a few of the numerous reasons that I enjoy being a part of the team at Bilzin Sumberg. First and foremost, the people at the firm are some of the greatest and brightest professionals, who are motivated to excel but still make time to help others excel too. Additionally, Bilzin Sumberg is a mid-sized firm; therefore, we can work on an assortment of cases and have access to copious resources, while still enjoying a culture where each person is valued and respected. The assignments may be challenging, but being able to work through the task, learn from others, and grow as a professional is tremendously rewarding. I am motivated to come to work every day because it is a chance to work with remarkable talent, learn something new, and gain personal and professional gratification.

Undeniably, the life of a summer associate is varied enough that it’s tough to describe a “typical” day. Nevertheless, I will attempt to do so. As they say, individual results may vary:

  • 8:30 am: Check emails, organize my to-do list, and update supervisors I am working with on the progress of assignments. Mitch Widom brings in Bagel Emporium so we zip towards the kitchen and catch up with coworkers.
  • 9:30 am: Work on a summary judgment motion for our government relations practice group. I review and analyze all of the documents in preparation for my case-strategy meeting with the partner.
  • 12:00 pm: Attend lunch with my mentor Yasmin Fernandez-Acuña and fellow summer associate Brianna Sainte. We walk across the street to the wonderful Edge. We end up ordering off the breakfast menu and also sharing buttermilk pancakes, which I highly recommend. (Yasmin has been an amazing mentor throughout the summer and I cannot thank her enough!)
  • 1:15 pm: Dive into an assignment for a litigation partner that Brianna Sainte and I work on together. As part of my research, I have two meetings: one with Brianna and one with a litigation associate who has worked on a similar project. The associate gives me useful advice on things I should be thinking about as I develop my project.
  • 3:30 pm: Meet with a partner who focuses on business finance and restructuring. He gives me feedback on a memo I completed involving a pending bankruptcy case. After discussing the memo, he lets me sit in on a client meeting involving the case.
  • 5:15 pm: Sara Herald hosts a happy hour in the office in honor of the July Fourth holiday. She serves red, white, and blue drinks and snacks. Beyond encouraging continuous learning, Bilzin Sumberg promotes an enjoyable work environment.
  • 6:30 pm: Update supervisors on assignments, check emails, log my billable hours for the day, and wish everyone a happy Fourth of July!

 

 

Last Friday, the Summer Associates attended the Federal Court Observer Program at the Wilkie D. Ferguson Federal Courthouse. This event is hosted every year by the Honorable Paul C. Huck, a Senior U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida, and provides a forum for law students working in South Florida to learn and network with judges and attorneys practicing in the area.

 

Our day began with a moot court argument between four law students regarding a motion hearing in Fresh Results, LLC v. ASF Holland, B.V. et al–a case that is actually before Judge Huck right now. This experience was great because we were able to witness how a Federal judge reasons through competing debates during oral argument. After, there was the “From Law Student to Young Lawyer” panel. Young lawyers from various different law firms gave their personal advice on how to succeed as a summer associate and practical steps we can take today to better situate ourselves for a successful career. The next panel, “How to Keep Partners Happy,” was my favorite segment of the morning. There, partners at some of the largest law firms in Miami gave advice about what they are looking for in a junior associate. They gave us real stories of characteristics that really made a particular associate stand out or, contrarily, fall behind. The event ended with a panel from U.S. District Court Judges about their daily lives and general anecdotes about the things they see from the bench. The judges included Judge Altonaga, Judge Bloom, Judge O’Sullivan, and Judge Huck.

Though the end of the summer program is fast-approaching, Bilzin Sumberg continues to make sure that us summer associates get to spend quality time with our colleagues outside of work. This past Wednesday, the summer associates and the attorneys from the Corporate practice group headed out to Top Golf! We were all very excited as we arrived at the center and could see the massive field with colorful, light-up targets synced to the beat of music playing in the background.  Suspended on the third floor, we each took turns practicing our swings. Though no matter the amount of practice, there were those who will not be named that continuously missed the golf balls with their swings, which provided another source of entertainment.

The time in-between turns also gave us all the chance to talk with and get to know one another. We got to ask questions about the corporate world and find out what exactly a corporate lawyer does, a topic rarely delved into in law school. Particularly, Devin and I got the opportunity to speak with partner at the firm Jose Sariego on his perspective on how corporate deals have changed over time and his experience of transitioning from the litigation world to corporate.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t highlight partner at the firm Jay Sakalo and his incredible score at the end of the night of over 150 points per game.  Unlike the actual sport of golf, the higher the points the better at Top Golf. Though to be fair, Sakalo is an avid golfer on his own time, an advantage that was clearly used that night. Overall, it was a night of fun and laughter as we were surrounded with never-ending chicken and steak tacos and good drinks.

(L to R, Ben, Brianna and Devin)
(L to R, Eric, Lucas, Christopher Pierson, David Resnick)

 

One of my primary objectives coming into the summer was to establish a plan of action for my future, both at Bilzin Sumberg and in the Miami community. Of course, at the top of the list was figuring out which of the firm’s prestigious Practice Groups I would prioritize, but I also wanted to put myself on a path to career development and community entrenchment that would carry me for the duration of my career. Over two-thirds of the way through the summer, I can confidently say that the summer associate program has helped me to accomplish this goal through meaningful work with substantive feedback and consistent attorney mentorship opportunities. Everyday has proven to be a new chance for us to learn, grow, and have fun, and Bilzin Sumberg could not be more welcoming in helping us to feel at home while providing us with a  practical dose of real legal work. Continue Reading Learning from Lawyers over Lunch: The Life of a Summer Associate

The summer has flown by, and we officially have three weeks left before the summer associate program concludes!  As summer associates, we have each taken on a breadth of assignments among the various practice groups.

In general, the attorneys post assignments in a centralized database from where we select projects.  Each assignment contains a description of the specific task, projected hours, and estimated deadline.  But we also have opportunities to actively seek out assignments from specific practice groups or attorneys.

I have experienced these opportunities myself.  For example, I am currently working with Suzanne Amaducci-Adams and Myles Burstein from the Real Estate practice group on different tasks through the various phases of a commercial real estate sales transaction.  I have also worked with Adam Lustig from the Real Estate practice group to create a Critical Dates List and draft an amendment to a Purchase and Sale Agreement.  Finally, I am working with Marty Schwartz from the Real Estate practice group and Audrey Ellis from the Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CBMS) practice group on researching and summarizing financial covenants and transfer provisions from multiple loan agreements for a client who securitizes commercial loans.

The opportunities to get involved and learn about the various practice areas are plentiful. And although the summer flies by quickly (as it always does), the substance of the assignments we take on are invaluable for our development as future attorneys.

Bilzin Sumberg strives to make the summer associates an integral part of the team to see what it is like to work within the office. From participating in client meetings to tag-a-longs, Bilzin Sumberg makes the summer experience as realistic as possible. We can dabble in multiple practice areas to interact with several lawyers and better understand the firm’s culture; consequently, I’ve learned diverse tips from numerous Bilzin attorneys that have helped me grow as a summer associate.

Here are some quotes of advice I’ve noted that may be beneficial to an incoming summer associate:

  • Immerse yourself in the community in whichever way makes you happy. Get involved and be a citizen. –Scott Baena
  • Enjoy dabbling in different areas of the law and meeting as many people as you can. This will help you determine which group/practice area is the best fit for you. –Misbah Farid
  • Communication and effort are keys to success; you aren’t expected to know everything about the law. If you communicate and try your best to do things right that you have control over, you should be in good shape. –Elise Holtzman
  • Everything is a learning opportunity, get to know the people you’re working with, communication is key, and don’t forget to have fun. –Jennifer Junger
  • My advice to summer associates would be to be diligent, check your work product for accuracy and consistency, as if there will not be another layer of review before it goes to the client, and ask follow-up questions when necessary. –Jennifer Llano
  • You miss every shot you don’t take. Also, treat every person with courtesy and respect, no matter the job title. –Marshall Pasternack
  • Follow-up on assignments for feedback. And if you make a mistake, do not be afraid to ask for a 2nd chance. –Jay Sakalo
  • Communicate to the attorney every fork in the road you encountered in your research, which path you chose, and why you chose it. Do not be afraid to reach out, pick up the phone, and ask questions to vet your assumptions. –Eric Singer
  • Get as much exposure to as many different practice areas as you can because you may be surprised by what captures your interest. I would also take time to understand how the firm operates, learning the ins and outs of the firm’s operations will be more important than you think as a young associate. –Craig Thompson

Bilzin Sumberg hosted a wine and cheese reception this Monday to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month. “Celebrate” in this context has a double meaning. Brian Adler ran through the history of Pride Month and taught me aspects of the movement that I never considered. From Pride Month’s inception–beginning with the Stonewall Riot–members of the LGBTQ community have used positivity and acceptance as a form of resistance. My previous understanding was that the movement essentially served as a single-issue platform: to fight for the acceptance of gay marriage. But I was completely wrong. The community through Pride Month has successfully fought for greater HIV/AIDS research, for anti-discrimination legislation (such as the Matthew Shepard Act), for more inclusion of the LGBTQ community in the military, and various other initiative pushing for equality. There is much more work that needs to be done, but certainly a lot to celebrate. Continue Reading Happy Pride Month!