With a little more than half of the summer under our belts, the Summer Associates have attended everything from Department-specific social events, attorney spotlights, client spotlights, and weekly Wellness Workshops. So many events have left us with a deeper appreciation for Bilzin Sumberg outside of just the great work we get to do. Even so, I have to say the monthly Women’s Book Club and the virtual Juneteenth event hosted by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee were standout events for me.

From a young age I was always an avid reader and enjoyed getting lost in a good story. Books became a form of escapism for me and simultaneously a great way to casually learn English grammar. Although, with the start of law school reading for fun slowly made its way down my list of priorities. Thankfully, last week I got an email from Ilana Drescher inviting myself, Danielle Hall, and Nathifa Parker to hop on a Zoom call for a monthly Book Club. She reassured me that reading the book was not a prerequisite and I should just attend to get a feel for the event and chat with some of the participants. I logged on to be greeted by smiling faces and lively conversations about The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth and Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid. We started with Malibu Rising, with Alexandra Lehson making a comment about the real estate value of the house, to which Michelle Weber poked fun at Alexandra for using her professional background to critique the book. During the discussion of The Good Sister, Jessica Buchsbaum mentioned the plot twist and everyone gave their opinions on if they thought it was predictable or not. At the end of the meeting, I was sold on reading both books and could not wait to attend the next meeting for What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon (which has been an excellent pick so far). With my involvement in Emory’s Legal Association of Women Students, it was nice to find a similar environment at Bilzin Sumberg and get to connect with people at the firm who shared a love for books. The event left me with a renewed faith in my ability to read for fun and also a potential idea to bring back to my law school!

Similarly, the Juneteenth event hosted by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee reminded me a lot of the extracurricular activities I am involved with at Emory. The panel was moderated by Marshall Pasternack where he talked to influential and impressive Black leaders in South Florida about tackling social injustice and racial bias. Towards the end of the event, A Personal Pledge by Dr. Tricia Rose was shared and participants pledged to not feel guilty for any of the potential privileges they carry but instead redirect their energy to meaningfully contribute to a just society. The event left me with a lot of hope and a lot of questions about Bilzin Sumberg’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. In a Zoom call with Adrian Felix, the chairperson of the DEI committee, I asked him about the future of DEI and what we can reasonably expect in the next few years. Likewise, Jennifer Fine told me all about her own involvement with the DEI committee through her subcommittee as well as discussed the importance of giving back. It was almost impossible to stifle my excitement for all the ways I could continue my involvement with DEI! At Emory, I got involved with our Black Law Students Association and worked with our Student Bar Association to craft a living anti-racism guide (something I see mirrored in Bilzin Sumberg’s own involvement with the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance). I can say that it feels really great to be in a work environment that encourages DEI and continues to want to grow and learn in that area.

At week five (almost six, can you believe it?!) I’m left with a lot of great memories and momentum to continue my passions on top of balancing my workload. I could not have asked for better opportunities to connect with people who share my interests and look forward to cultivating those interests some more in the next few weeks.