Last week, Jenny and I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 Federal Court Observer Program. The program was created by the Honorable Paul C. Huck, a Southern District of Florida Federal Court Judge. Every summer he invites law students working in Miami to the federal courthouse to interact with federal judges and local attorneys as well as hear from them through panels on various topics. The morning began with breakfast and registration where both Jenny and I got to catch up with friends from law school who are also working in Miami this summer.
After we were all seated in the beautiful Wilkie D. Ferguson Federal Court House, Alan Diamond, a former Florida Bar President welcomed us with a speech about what it means to be a lawyer beyond the office and billable hours. He stressed the importance of community involvement, pro bono work, and networking, explaining that being a lawyer is not just a job, but a responsibility to the community. The first panel was called “From Law Student to Young Lawyer” and consisted of advice from young attorneys in Miami. Each of the young lawyers had a very different background and worked in very different areas, so there advice proved valuable to most of their captive audience. They gave us tips for our first years in practice, including how to please the partners, figure out what want to do with our careers, and build reputations, all while still having time for ourselves and our family and friends.
The second panel, entitled “How to Keep the Partners Happy,” consisted of partners from multiple law firms explaining how to do just that. They had great insight as to how to bridge the generational divide between millennials and current partners, as well as great tips about what we can be doing now to become partner in our respective firms. The program ended with a panel of federal judges. They explained the importance of clerkships, networking, and community involvement to becoming a well-rounded lawyer and member of the Miami legal community. Judge Huck wrapped up with some words of wisdom, cautionary tales, and an obligatory picture of the Florida Gator attendees. This experience was insightful and inspiring and marked a wonderful halfway point for our summer in the Magic City.