Time is flying by! It’s mid-June, and even though it’s hard to believe, we’re already more than halfway through the summer associate program at Bilzin Sumberg. Considering that the last 4 weeks have been packed with interesting assignments, fun after-work events, and informative lunches, I figured now would be a good time to reflect on some of the most memorable events of the summer.

One of the most underrated (maybe not that underrated) aspects of the summer associate program is lunch. Each day, the summer associates, whether individually or in a group, go out to lunch with an associate or partner from the firm. I have enjoyed each lunch I’ve taken, not because the chicken chop-chop from Edge is so delicious (even after the 5th time), but because going to lunch with coworkers has provided me with a rare and valuable opportunity to get to know people at the firm on a more personal level. At lunch, we talk about everything from sports to hobbies to travel, to selecting a particular practice area and effectively managing the everyday stresses of work in the legal profession. We are able to pick the brains of some really intelligent attorneys who also genuinely care about our interests and backgrounds.

Without a doubt, some of the most memorable lunches have come as a group. We have had the opportunity to have lunch with some of the firm’s founding partners, as well as with Michelle Weber and the first-year associates. We spoke with Brian Bilzin about his move to Miami, how the city has changed over the years, and how the firm has evolved with it. While we enjoyed cocktails and appetizers at PM, we spoke with John Sumberg about traveling and his love for the outdoors. We discussed land use and local government with Stanley Price, and we engaged in meaningful dialogue about the nature of transactional practice with Alan Axelrod.

My individual lunches have been equally as impressive. Marshall Pasternack and I talked about travel, art, teaching, and the scope of his practice, while he settled my nerves about making mistakes as a young lawyer, explaining that “a shot not taken is a goal not scored.” Melissa Pallett-Vasquez and I talked about our respect for a common mentor and the difficulty of explaining where you’re from when you moved a lot as a child. Eric Singer and I recapped key takeaways from a client meeting while we enjoyed sandwiches in his office. Ilana Drescher, Kenneth Duvall, Brian Trujillo, and I spoke about the intricacies of litigation while we enjoyed tacos at Coyo. And Jose Ferrer, Desiree Fernandez, and I debriefed a motion hearing while we took in the sights and sounds of Miami’s Wynwood Art District.

All of this is to say that each lunch has been different, but equally valuable. Some conversations have centered on work matters, while others have focused on simply getting to know one another. Nearly all have blended both aspects, providing me with an incredible opportunity to connect with people at the firm. With four weeks remaining in the summer program, I am sure I will enjoy many more lunches, but it’s the conversation and connection with my coworkers that I most look forward to.