On June 23, 2021, Bilzin Sumberg summer associates gathered on Zoom and watched a recorded message from Mary Fitzgerald of Netflix’s trending reality show, “Selling Sunset.” We also received a digital binder with a hypothetical scenario that blends the drama of the luxe life of real estate brokers at The Oppenheim Group with facts that would catch the attention of any issue spotting law student. The real fun started when the summer associates were split into two different groups and tasked with representing either the buyer or seller of a prime slice of real estate in Miami’s Brickell community.
Under the direction of Alexandra Lehson, a Partner in Bilzin Sumberg’s Real Estate Practice Area, John Trach, Saron Musa, and I are representing Nathifa Parker (Selling Sunset, LLC), the buyer. Danielle Hall and Joseph Beguiristain are representing Lucas Pizzutti (This Isn’t Us, LLC), the seller, with support from Partner Sara Herald. Thus far, we’ve attended two of three seminars aimed at providing us with an overview of each step in the real estate transaction process. Led by Partners Timothy DeKeyser and Phillip Sosnow, the seminars provide us with substantive and technical guidance for the immediate next steps in the process: negotiating terms and drafting agreements.
If you’re looking for the “Selling Sunset” drama, it’s at the negotiation session where you might catch summer associates fiercely advocating on behalf of their clients. I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that on more than one occasion I’ve had to remind myself that this was a mock scenario! However, there haven’t been any real made-for-TV moments as we’ve collectively negotiated the terms of the letter of intent and the contract and drafted the corresponding documents. With assistance from our advisors, we have been able to settle on agreeable terms. On the next and final episode of this exercise, we will be heading to closing. If all goes as planned, we will wrap this experience as dealmakers.
What I have found most beneficial about this mock transaction is the opportunity to “learn by doing” with support from leaders in Bilzin Sumberg’s Real Estate Practice Area. Often in law school, we’re asked to issue spot, but we aren’t given real-time feedback or the opportunity to course correct in the moment. This multipart program has afforded me with the chance to learn, adopt, and adjust almost instantaneously. Of course, it’s also been a great opportunity to build relationships with my peers in a scenario where everyone can be a winner. However, the verdict is still out on whether the buyer or seller will be picking up the celebratory closing dinner bill. Stay tuned!