As we wrap up our final days at Bilzin Sumberg, we reflect on not only the work we did, but also the relationships we formed along the way. From lunches to practice group events, this summer provided us with the opportunity to engage in many different aspects of life at Bilzin Sumberg.

Continuing upon the precedent set by last year’s Summer Associates, we felt it would only be proper to conclude our summer by celebrating the unique and remarkable individuals who make Bilzin Sumberg extraordinary. We present to you the 2024 Summer Associates’ Attorney Awards:

We hope this gives you a glimpse into the firm from our eyes as we highlight a few of the many who made this summer unforgettable.

Honorary Summer Associate: Doug Aguililla

Most Likely to Crash Another Practice Group’s Event: John Trach

Best Dressed: Jessica Buchsbaum and Melissa Pallett-Vasquez

Most Likely to Come Visit Your Office on the 23rd floor: David Seifer

Most Likely to Take you to a Boujee Lunch: David Resnick

Most Likely to Miss a Summer Associate Event for Run Club: Dan Bumm

Most Likely to Say Yes to Coffee: Hannah Lidicker

Most Likely to be an Undercover Chef: Megan Barney

Best Happy Hour Recommendations: Lucas Pizzutti

Most Likely to Tell You About the Fish They Caught Over the Weekend: Mitch Widom

As we transition from firm life back to law school life, we carry with us not just legal skills, but memories of camaraderie, mentorship and laughter shared with colleagues and fellow summer associates who have become friends. Bilzin Sumberg has played a pivotal role in shaping our professional journeys and has given us cherished experiences that will stay with us. We are thankful for the opportunities and meaningful connections formed during this summer, and we eagerly anticipate the challenges and successes ahead.

As our summer with Bilzin Sumberg draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the whirlwind of experiences that have defined these past few months. From intense legal work to memorable social events, each day brought new challenges and exciting opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.

One of the highlights of the summer was undoubtedly the cooking challenge held at Two Chefs. We worked alongside the alumni of the summer associate program, testing our teamwork and creativity. It was not only a chance to showcase our skills outside the office but also a fantastic bonding experience that bridged generations of legal talent connected to the firm.

The firm’s annual dinner party was another event that stood out. Held at the stunning Margulies Gallery, it was an evening of celebration and camaraderie. Mingling with the Bilzin team in a relaxed setting underscored the firm’s commitment to fostering a tight-knit community beyond the demands of the legal world.

Another one of the highlights of our summer with Bilzin was the day spent at the puttery with the real estate department as we navigated through themed courses, each offering its own challenges and surprises. The experience provided a refreshing break and a chance to connect on a personal level outside of our usual professional settings. This outing not only strengthened our camaraderie within the department but also underscored the importance of balance and shared experiences in fostering a supportive and dynamic work environment.

Giving back to the community was also a core part of our summer experience. Volunteering at Feeding South Florida was particularly meaningful. Sorting food alongside colleagues underscored the firm’s dedication to making a positive impact beyond the courtroom and boardroom, reinforcing the importance of service in our legal careers.

Adding a touch of mystery and intrigue, the land use department’s murder mystery dinner party was a unique twist on the traditional social event. We unraveled a captivating mystery while enjoying good food and even better company. It was a night where legal minds merged with detective instincts in a setting that blended entertainment with team-building.

For those of us with a competitive edge, going to Reserve Padel with the corporate department was a thrilling experience. Padel brought out our competitive spirits while providing a fun and active break from the intensity of legal work. It was refreshing to engage in a sport that offered a mix of strategy, skill, and camaraderie.

To cap off the summer, a mystery cooking competition at the Miami Dade Culinary Institute brought our culinary adventures full circle. Tasked with creating dishes under pressure, we once again collaborated with colleagues in the litigation department, showcasing our adaptability and creativity in a different arena.

As we prepare to return to school and apply the lessons learned this summer, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities and friendships forged during my time as a summer associate. Beyond legal research and courtroom strategies, these experiences have broadened my perspective and reinforced the importance of teamwork, community, and seizing every opportunity to learn and grow. Miami’s vibrant culture and the firm’s supportive environment have made this summer unforgettable.

On July 2nd, the Bilzin summer associates teamed up with the litigation department attorneys for a mystery box cooking competition at the renowned Miami Culinary Institute, a hotspot for culinary creativity and innovation. Met with refreshing wine and a delicious charcuterie board, the attorneys and summer associates slowly gathered at the culinary institute and prepared for what would be a night filled with the type of competitive energy that goes beyond the courtroom.

Divided into four groups, each armed with nothing but a mystery basket filled with surprise ingredients and alleged cooking skills, each had to come up with a stunning dish before time ran out. With salmon and steak as the main proteins, teams had to think fast, plan strategically, and cook their hearts out to impress the panel of discerning judges. It wasn’t long before the sound of hot pans, sharp knives, and top of the line blenders filled the room; one could tell this was going to be a close battle. After an intense cooking session that saw knives flying, spices mixing, and pots bubbling, the moment of truth arrived. In the end, the winning team emerged victorious: Melissa Pallett-Vasquez, Kenneth Duvall, Lori Lustrin, Ethan Schwab, and Megan Barney! Their culinary finesse was truly put on display with a perfectly cooked filet, adorned with a tantalizing pine nut chimichurri that left the judges’ in high praise. But they didn’t stop there—pairing it with a miso gochujang salmon, alongside vegetable pineapple skewers and a velvety vegetable puree, they truly raised the bar for creativity and flavor.

Beyond the delicious dishes, the event was a testament to the power of teamwork and camaraderie within the litigation department at Bilzin. After this challenge, it became clear that they’re not just lawyers—they’re creators, problem-solvers, and, as it turns out, pretty talented chefs too!

Imagine a scenario where summer associates enter the fictional – but ever-entertaining – Miami high-stakes real estate negotiation involving none other than Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce, and Scooter Braun. This wasn’t just any transaction—it was a meticulously crafted exercise, designed by none other than Jessica Buchsbaum, to impart invaluable lessons about the complexities of real estate law and negotiation.

The function of the mock real estate exercise is to let summer associates learn and follow the entire arc of a real estate transaction, which normally would last much longer than the two months we spend at Bilzin Sumberg over the summer.

The Initial Moves: Drafting the LOI and PSA

Under the guidance of seasoned mentors Phil Sosnow and Manny Gonzalez, both teams of summer associates embarked on drafting a Letter of Intent (LOI) and a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA). Each team had its coach: Salomé, an insightful partner with a knack for detail and strategy, led Swift and Kelce’s team, while Lauren, a sharp associate with a keen understanding of real estate dynamics, guided Braun’s team.

The LOI outlined the interests of Swift and Kelce in acquiring a prime piece of Miami real estate—a piece of land in the heart of Brickell. Meanwhile, both team’s worked to craft a PSA that aimed to protect their individual interests while leveraging their negotiating prowess.

The Negotiation Dance
Throughout the summer, the teams engaged in intense negotiations, mimicking real-world scenarios where each clause and condition carried significant weight. We went back and forth over qualifiers like – what really is, to Seller’s knowledge? And, why would we want to give that representation or warranty? It was a great learning exercise to really have to think from the perspective of the team we were on, to see what we were comfortable including in our PSA, or what we absolutely did not want to see in the contract!

Closing the Deal
After a few weeks of back-and-forth, amendments, and strategic maneuvers, a breakthrough finally came. The terms were agreed upon, the closing documents meticulously reviewed and signed. The transaction culminated in a landmark agreement that satisfied both parties’ objectives—Swift and Kelce securing a prized property, and Braun achieving a favorable deal.

Celebrating at The Salty Flame
To mark the occasion and perhaps to thaw some of the icy tension that had built up during negotiations, the teams gathered for a celebratory happy hour at The Salty Flame in Brickell. Over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, there were smiles, anecdotes, and a shared sense of accomplishment.

Reflections on the Journey

The mock transaction was not just an exercise in legal negotiation—it was a transformative learning experience for the summer associates. It underscored the importance of preparation, strategic thinking, and adaptability in real estate law. For Swift, Kelce, and Braun, represented in spirit by their fictional counterparts, it was a reminder of the complexities and dynamics involved in high-profile real estate transactions.

As the sun set over Brickell, casting a warm glow over the celebration, the summer associates contemplated the invaluable lessons learned and looked forward to applying their newfound knowledge in their legal careers. The mock transaction had not only simulated the intricacies of real estate law but had also forged bonds among the participants and mentors—a testament to the collaborative spirit of legal education and practice.

Bilzin Sumberg is a great place to work because not only do the attorneys all work hard, but they also know how to take a break, get outside, and have fun! This balance was especially evident last night when the summer associates were lucky enough to spend the night at Reserve Padel with the corporate and tax departments.

The event was hosted at Reserve Padel, located on Watson Island. Many of us, who had never played padel before, were in for a treat as the courts are waterfront, providing for an amazing view of the downtown Miami skyline. For those who are not familiar with padel, it is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and is very popular in European countries. It is a racquet based ball sport that feels like a combination of squash and tennis! The unique thing about padel, compared to other racquet sports, is that the court has enclosed walls, and players are allowed to bounce the ball off of the walls to keep it in play!

The group divided up into spectators and players. Those who started out spectating, enjoyed catching up with each other while watching our fellow colleagues get started playing. Lucky for us spectators, the event was catered with food from Pura Vida so we enjoyed eating empanadas and hummus while watching the action and cheering on our colleagues!

Those who took the court at the start had the opportunity to take a lesson with a padel instructor. The instructor gave everyone the opportunity to hit some balls on their own and later let participants play doubles matches. While everyone was fantastic there were of course some highlights of the night! Jennifer Wioncek left us all impressed with her athleticism, maintaining a continuous rally on the padel court. Nate Dutt mesmerized fellow attorneys as he stayed on the court all night, showcasing determination as well as dedication to the event! John Trach was another standout consistently playing throughout the night. When it was Melissa’s turn, she effortlessly navigated the padel court, looking like a natural from the very first swing! Last but not least, Ethan and Spencer did a great job representing for the summer associates. They were even the last ones on the court!

When the lessons were over we all joined together by the tables to eat dinner, continue socializing and talk about everyone’s fantastic padel performances. But that was not the end of the night! Jessica brought out a surprise cake to celebrate Ethan’s upcoming birthday and we ended the night by singing to him!

It was an exceptional evening marked by the forging of new connections and the strengthening of existing ones, both on and off the court. The event truly demonstrated how Bilzin Sumberg attorneys balance work with a commitment to outdoor fun and fostering camaraderie.

Navigating Brickell can be a daily adventure. This bustling neighborhood is the heart of Miami’s financial district and offers a mix of walkability, public transit options, and driving challenges. Here are some best practices for getting around:


Brickell is generally walkable by Florida standards, offering easy access to numerous amenities, from office buildings to dining spots. However, the immediate vicinity around our office is currently undergoing significant construction, leading to sidewalk closures on two sides of the building. This makes navigating on foot a bit tricky, and caution is advised to avoid any mishaps.

Weather is another important factor to consider. Florida summers bring intense heat and humidity, making walking more comfortable in the morning than during the sweltering midday hours. Afternoon weather can also be unpredictable. Just yesterday, I went to lunch with Danielle Hall, Saron Musa, and Spencer Peek. We enjoyed a leisurely meal, but as we walked back to the office, a sudden downpour caught us by surprise, soaking our clothes. We ended up having to go home and change. So, while walking in Brickell can be delightful, especially in the cooler hours, always be prepared for rapid weather changes. Carrying a compact umbrella or raincoat can save you from unexpected drenchings.

The Metromover

The Metromover is a fantastic, free option for getting around Brickell and downtown Miami. This automated people mover operates in a loop, running counterclockwise around Brickell and downtown. It’s air-conditioned and usually efficient, making it an ideal way to travel between the office and Brickell City Centre or other nearby destinations.

However, it’s important to know that the route to your destination might not be the same as the route back due to its loop structure. Familiarize yourself with the stops and the direction of travel to ensure you get on the right train and avoid unnecessary delays. For example, from our office, the easiest way to reach Brickell City Centre is to board at the Financial District station. Plan your trips by checking the Metromover map, available at each station and online, to avoid any confusion.


Driving to and from Brickell from other parts of Miami is often a necessity, but driving within Brickell itself can be more trouble than it’s worth. Traffic congestion is a daily challenge, and the drawbridge connecting Brickell and downtown can cause significant delays when it goes up.

Alternatively, using ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft can save you the hassle of finding parking and dealing with traffic.

Navigating Brickell can be a bit of a balancing act, but with these tips, you can maneuver through the area with confidence and ease. Whether you’re walking, using the Metromover, or braving the traffic in your car, a little preparation goes a long way in making your journey smooth and enjoyable.

As a summer associate at Bilzin, I have had the immense privilege of gaining experience across several fascinating areas of the legal world, from research assignments for litigation to client meetings with private developers. Nothing quite prepared me, however, for the firsthand experience of attending a public hearing on the P3 redevelopment agreement for the Pompano Beach downtown district. The hearing was a vivid example of democracy in action. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance alongside Bilzin’s Al Dotson, Eric Singer, and fellow summer associate Sofia Siegel.

The setting was the Pompano Beach City Hall, where stakeholders, residents, and officials gathered to voice their opinions and concerns regarding the proposed redevelopment plan. The atmosphere buzzed with anticipation.

Upon arrival, I was struck by the number in attendance and the diversity of perspectives represented. Residents from different neighborhoods, business owners, developers, and urban planners all came together, each with a unique viewpoint on how this redevelopment could impact their lives and the future of the city.

The proceedings were both structured and dynamic. The meeting commenced with presentations from city planners, the developers, and Bilzin’s own Eric Singer, outlining the details of the proposed contract and what went into negotiating it. Charts, maps, and architectural renderings painted a picture of the envisioned transformation: a new city hall, a new community center, mixed-use developments, and enhanced public spaces. The agreements were ultimately approved by the City and Community Redevelopment Agency.

What truly stood out, however, was the public commentary session. One after another, individuals stepped up to the microphone, passionately expressing their thoughts. Some voiced enthusiastic support, citing potential economic benefits and community growth. Others discussed how the plan might have a negative impact or how it could be changed to address the community’s concerns.

Witnessing these exchanges was eye-opening. It reaffirmed my belief in the power of civic engagement and the importance of public forums in our democratic process. Here, in this room, decisions were not made in isolation but rather through dialogue, debate, and collective input from those directly affected.

As a future lawyer, I found immense value in observing how legal frameworks intersect with public policy and community interests. The role of counsel in such contexts extends beyond mere interpretation of laws.

Moreover, the experience underscored the complexity of balancing development with sustainability and community well-being—a delicate task requiring careful consideration of legal, economic, and social factors.

Attending the Pompano Beach redevelopment hearing was a profound learning opportunity. It illuminated the intricacies of municipal governance and how much work goes on behind the scenes to keep moving our community forward. The law is not static but evolves through public discourse; every voice matters in shaping the future of our communities. Witnessing democracy in action was both inspiring and humbling—a reminder of the privilege and responsibility we bear as future legal professionals.

Eric Singer, delivering his remarks.

On June 18th the Bilzin summer associates and Land Use attorneys weren’t prepping for a high-stakes closing or knee deep in research; they were attending a masquerade themed Murder Mystery dinner event, courtesy of The Murder Mystery Co., and things were about to get delightfully dicey.

The stage was set: a cozy, private dining room within the Salty Flame restaurant, dimly lit to add that touch of suspense, with an eager Bilzin crew who had come with their detective skills sharpened. As everyone took their seats, appetizers were served and characters were assigned. Those selected got to play suspects in the suspenseful story line of a newly elected billionaires’ club president who has been poisoned by someone in the room (cue instructed gasps). John Trach did an Oscar worthy job as the club president, performing an inspiring death scene that left everyone inspired and ready for some investigating.

As the dinner commenced, so did the game. Associates-turned-sleuths channeled their inner Hercule Poirot, interrogating each other for clues and motives. And let’s not forget the sneaky twist: they could bribe each other with fake money for information. Imagine a room full of lawyers bribing each other for secrets—can’t say I will ever witness that again!

The atmosphere buzzed with excitement as the story line unraveled and suspicions ran wild. “What clue can you give me?” whispered several as they slowly passed along bribe money and quietly gestured towards fellow suspects across the room.

Meanwhile, the tables were abuzz with theories and alibis. “He hated the president and wanted him dead…But he didn’t have access to the poison…Or maybe that’s what they want us to think!” As the evening progressed, clues further unraveled. Who had the means, the motive, and the opportunity to commit this dastardly deed? Everyone was determined to crack the case, even if it meant outwitting their own colleagues.

Of course, no Murder Mystery dinner would be complete without a dramatic reveal. Accusations flew, defenses were mounted, and finally, the truth emerged. Lauren Kahn ended up as our mystery murderer, and her birthday celebration served as the perfect ending to this mystifying night.

With this being a new summer associate event idea fostered by Andrés Rivero, I think it’s safe to say that it was a grand success. As the night wound down and the suspects shed their roles, awards were given out to those that deserved it the most. Those winners were as follows:

For those planning your next team-building or birthday night out, consider a Murder Mystery dinner. Who knows, you might just uncover a hidden talent for detective work—or at the very least, enjoy an evening of thrilling suspense with your colleagues.

As summer associates stepping into the dynamic world of law, navigating the intricacies of a law firm can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are new to both the firm and the city! However, amidst the bustling atmosphere of Miami and Bilzin Sumberg, there exists a spectrum of mentors ready to guide and support you in your journey. From my summer last year to now my second summer here, and from my assigned mentor in real estate, to my “social” mentors and peers within the summer associate class, each has played a vital and unique role in my professional and personal growth.

The Assigned Mentor

As a summer associate coming in with an interest in real estate law, my assigned mentors in this practice area have been a beacon of knowledge and support over these past two summers. Daniel Bumm and Hannah Lidicker are my absolute go-to’s for any question I could possibly have, whether it’s about a complicated real estate-related document, what a certain partner prefers on their critical dates list, or just where I should grab lunch that day!

At Bilzin, your assigned mentor becomes your go-to resource for understanding the intricacies of both the practice area you’re interested in, as well as the people you will work with – every partner and associate has their own preference for work product and communication, and some of the best people to ask for advice about this are your assigned mentors!

Social Mentors: Building Bridges Beyond The Firm

While legal expertise is crucial, the importance of the everyday mentors cannot be overstated. These individuals may not be directly involved in your practice area, and you may not even complete an assignment for them, but they will play a pivotal role in helping you navigate the culture of the firm and the city itself. They introduce you to the vibrant Miami scene, from the best coffee in Brickell, to the best restaurants in the Grove, to the best walking routes for a pre-work stroll! These “social” mentors help you strike a balance between work and play, fostering relationships that extend beyond the confines of the office.

Peer Mentors: Learning Together, Growing Together

Within the cohort of summer associates, peer mentors emerge as invaluable allies on your professional journey. I can remember a very specific day last summer where I spent actually eight hours in my fellow summer associate’s office on Friday, simply trying to figure out how to complete a draft of an opinion letter! I’m not sure if either of us learned from the other that day, or if it could be described more truthfully as misery loving company, but either or, your your peer mentors are among those most important to keep close over the summer!

Whether it’s collaborating on a challenging project or just grabbing happy hour after work, your peers offer unique perspectives and support that only those in a similar stage of their career can provide. Through collaboration and camaraderie, you not only sharpen your legal skills but also form lasting friendships that endure long after your summer at the firm.

Cross-Practice Mentors: Expanding Your Horizons

In a multidisciplinary firm like ours, mentors extend beyond practice areas, offering diverse perspectives and insights. Whether it’s seeking advice from a litigator on effective research strategies or learning about the latest local developments from the land use group, cross-practice mentors enrich your understanding of the legal landscape. Many assignments in your summer will cross boundaries into various groups, and these informal mentors in each area can guide you in the right direction for your research and work. These mentors encourage you to think beyond the confines of your practice area, fostering a holistic approach to problem-solving and professional growth.

Embracing the Mentorship Journey

As summer associates, embracing the mentorship journey is key to maximizing your potential and making the most of your experience in a law firm – it is so important to seek mentors out, formally and informally, and foster those relationships. Whether it’s asking for guidance from your assigned mentor in your preferred practice group, forging connections with social mentors, collaborating with peer mentors, or tapping into the expertise of mentors from different legal fields, each interaction presents an opportunity for learning and growth.

So, as you embark on your summer associate experience, remember that mentors come in various forms, each offering unique perspectives and support. Embrace the wealth of knowledge and guidance available to you, and seize every opportunity to learn, connect, and grow.

On Friday, June 7, the summer associates of Bilzin Sumberg participated in a meaningful day of service at Feeding South Florida, a local food bank committed to fighting hunger across the area. This event was not just a typical volunteering opportunity; it was a collective effort involving many summer associates from various South Florida law firms, all united by a common purpose—to sort, inspect, and ensure the safety of food destined for families in need.

Feeding South Florida operates as a crucial hub for food distribution, receiving large donations from major retailers such as Publix, Aldi, and other grocery giants. However, before these donations can reach those in need, each item must undergo a thorough inspection process to guarantee its safety and quality. This is where we, the summer associates, stepped in to assist.

Our group from Bilzin Sumberg was specifically assigned to the inspection team. Our task was clear: to meticulously check every item of food for expiration dates, damage, and contamination. Items that were expired beyond the guidelines provided by the staff were discarded, as were any packages that had exposed food. Our guiding principle was to “rescue” as much food as possible, ensuring that only safe and usable items made it to the distribution stage.

As the morning progressed, the energy and dedication of all volunteers became increasingly evident. We were divided into various roles—some sorted the food, others operated pallet jacks to move heavy loads, and a few acted as runners, ensuring that the workflow remained smooth and efficient.

By the end of our shift, we were informed by the Feeding South Florida staff that we had surpassed our initial goal. Initially, we aimed to rescue 15,000 pounds of food, but to our delight, we exceeded this target, rescuing over 17,000 pounds. This achievement was more than just a number; it represented countless meals for families who might otherwise go without.

Reflecting on the day, it’s clear that our efforts at Feeding South Florida went beyond just handling food. It was about connecting with the community and contributing to a vital mission. The experience underscored the impact that even a single day of service can have when people come together with purpose and compassion.

L to R: Spencer Peek, Ethan Schwab, Sofia Siegel, Crystal Singh, Isabella Durand, Jessica Buchsbaum & Betsi Cobas