Bilzin Sumberg interacts with many complex, high-profile cases as a top-performing law firm. From billion-dollar corporation lawsuits to impactful land development deals, the Firm does precisely what one would expect from “Big Law.” Yet, in my opinion, that’s not what impresses me most. While the elaborate negotiations and high settlements are quite notable, the most impressive thing about Bilzin is their willingness to care for and protect the underprivileged South Florida community around them.
A couple weeks ago, the Firm catered lunch for all the attorneys to attend a presentation held by Legal Services of Greater Miami, a pro bono organization that works to break down the barriers to economic prosperity. Greater Miami assists the local Florida community with issues such as Healthcare Access, Education, Tenant Rights, and more. During the presentation, Greater Miami spoke about the incredible impact that they’ve had on local families and the opportunities that were still out there for Bilzin to get involved. Attorneys Andrés Rivero and Jennifer Fine lead in the Firm’s relations with Greater Miami, and they both took a moment to explain just how much working with pro bono affairs has changed their perspectives as lawyers, and how Bilzin does nothing but support such passions at all levels. Not only is Bilzin a Gold Leadership Donor for Greater Miami, but the Firm associates also participate in an Associates’ Drive, where they have raised over $2,000 just in June alone. Their stories and moments of appreciation were enough for me to leave the lunch with my own aspirations of working with Great Miami in the future.
A couple weeks after, all the summer associates got this amazing opportunity to participate in an ad-litem pro bono clinic with the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA), courtesy of Attorney Raquel Fernandez, Bilzin’s pro bono partner. We assisted immigrant minors in applying for an SIJ (Special Immigrant Juvenile) Visa by conducting their intake interviews. The interviews took place in the office, and each child had at least one adult sponsor. While I had experience with conducting intake interviews with adult clients, I had never interacted with minor clients before. I was intimidated by the responsibility at first, but CABA members took their time reviewing the case files and providing guidance on how to conduct the interviews. After getting our case assignments, we split up into groups of two and went into separate conference rooms to speak with the kids. While I went in knowing that we were doing important work, I didn’t realize just how big of a responsibility Bilzin was entrusting in us until it was all over. From effortless laughs to heavy tears, having those kids open up and trust us with their life stories was a priceless experience, and it was that day that I realized just how much the Firm goes beyond Big Law.
Miami alone is full of people who desperately need legal counsel but cannot afford it. As someone who has always considered South Florida her home, I know that while community renovations are progressing and property value is rising, the number of undocumented immigrants and low-income households in need is still a major economic issue. As fortunate professionals, we should want to give back to those who make South Florida so unique, and I am here to tell you that Bilzin truly shares that vision. That is what makes this firm so remarkable.