Brian Adler and David Jessup Jr.

Dr. Maya Angelou left us with the following words: “[P]eople will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Small gestures can have a tremendous impact. Collectively such experiences create a culture. Before I started as a summer associate at Bilzin Sumberg this month, a small yet validating gesture led me to submit an application for employment to the firm.

It was March 2020, days before the world shut down. My day had a rocky start with a “Breakfast with the Bench” event at 7:30 a.m., where a law student’s nightmare came true: I spilled coffee on my white shirt—the same shirt I needed to wear to my interview at another firm later that day between my second and third classes. #MiamiTraffic made the prospect of returning home to change my shirt a pipedream.

But, it wasn’t the Miami traffic that got me; it was the interview at the firm. I received a less-than-warm greeting from the receptionist before waiting thirty minutes for the interviewing attorney. While the interview went fine, upon my departure I was informed by the receptionist that parking wasn’t validated for interviews. So, I returned to campus and entered class late in my stained shirt, with $21 less in my pocket. Continue Reading Go Where You Are Validated

(L to R Jessica Buchsbaum, Betsi Cobas, Lucas Pizzutti, Saron Musa, David Jessup, John Trach, Nathifa Parker, Joseph Beguiristain, Joy Spillis Lundeen and Danielle Hall)

Last Friday, the summer associates and I had the honor of meeting Bilzin Sumberg Partner and Construction Group Leader, Joy Spillis Lundeen. Joy, a recent addition to Bilzin Sumberg, is regarded as the reputed go-to person for all things construction and has an impressive roster of clients.

Born and raised in Miami, Joy reflected on the dramatic changes to Miami’s skyline since her childhood and recalled the excitement she felt, and continues to feel, when admiring the City’s continued development. Interestingly, her passion for construction was largely inspired by her upbringing. Growing up, Joy’s family owned a leading, Miami-based architectural firm that contributed to the development of many well-known structures throughout South Florida. This familial backdrop inspired Joy to study architecture in college and when contemplating an area of law in which to specialize, construction seemed to perfectly align with her interests. Since then, Joy hasn’t looked back as she continues to trail blaze through an often male-dominated construction field.

Continue Reading Constructing Our Future-One Attorney Spotlight at a Time

The summer associates attend their first virtual event (L to R Carrie Waggoner from Flowers for Dreams, David Jessup, Lucas Pizzutti, John Trach, Saron Musa, Jessica Buchsbaum, Nathifa Parker, Joseph Beguiristain and Danielle Hall).

With nearly an entire week under our belts—and feeling adequately oriented—the Bilzin Sumberg 2021 Summer Associates had our first social event!

Like nearly every other aspect of life coming out of the pandemic, the summer program is operating in a hybrid-model. Since that entails continued inside time, Jessica Buchsbaum and Betsi Cobas brilliantly devised a way for us to simultaneously bring a piece of the outside in, exercise our creativity, and laugh with each other along the way. It was certainly a proverbial “three birds, one stone” achievement on their end.

With a box of supplies delivered in advance to my door, I joined a zoom session with Joe Beguiristain, Danielle Hall, David Jessup, Saron Musa, Nathifa Parker, and Lucas Pizzutti. Over the following hour, we each built our own little terrarium worlds; complete with arid succulents, moss, and an air plant.

While it was fulfilling to create a mini-garden with my own hands, I began wondering if there was an intended metaphor with the event. The terrarium could represent our summer program; a micro-sampling of life as an attorney. By creating our own terrarium, was it representing the summer associates crafting their own experience; selecting assignments we find interesting in the assignment pool and creating our own, unique 8 weeks? With Jessica, Betsi, and Jay Sakalo designing the summer program, the layered symbolism was quite likely.

Beyond the realization that this was now a “four birds, one stone” situation, it was the first chance to get know my fellow summer associates after work hours. To no surprise, I discovered that they are every bit as pleasant, funny, and engaging out of work as in it.

As we wrapped up the evening, we all basked in our collective creations; eager to see what the terrarium (aka the summer program) will look like in 8 weeks when we conclude. I am confident we will all be proud of our creations in the end.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

This year, we kicked off the Summer Associate Program at Bilzin Sumberg with a warm welcome from Jessica Buchsbaum, Betsi Cobas, and Jay Sakalo. The Summer Associates and I logged into our next virtual orientation session, and we were honored to see John C. Sumberg, Chairman of Bilzin Sumberg. During the Summer Program’s welcome remarks, Mr. Sumberg shared a few of his experiences and honed in on the importance of becoming involved in the community, building your reputation, and feeding your passions.

As the week flew by, Ed Lintz, Founder of Ready to File Writing, brought energy to our legal writing program. Within moments of finishing introductions, “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift blasted through our speakers, and the countdown began. Catapulted into Zoom breakout rooms, we had fifteen minutes to draft the introduction for a motion to dismiss. The two-hour session went quickly as we learned elements of a copyright claim, drafted a music licensing agreement, and discussed email etiquette at the firm. Ed kept us on our toes by looping pop sensations Taylor Swift, Madonna, and 3LW into our assignments.

We continued with our orientation sessions centered on conflicts, billing, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law. But, the icing on the cake was a virtual meeting with my mentor, Ilana Drescher. We discussed goals for this summer, but most importantly, we updated each other on our lives while munching on lunch. As we jump into assignments and networking sessions, I plan to keep a quote that Jay mentioned at the forefront of my mind“you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So, here’s to three-pointers all summer long.

(L to R Jessica Buchsbaum, Betsi Cobas, John Trach, David Jessup, Lucas Pizzutti, Saron Musa, Joseph Beguiristain, Danielle Hall, Nathifa Parker, Jay Sakalo)

Today, we are excited to kick off our summer associate program!

This summer looks a little different than previous summers but we are excited for a hybrid program of mostly virtual programming with a few in person opportunities.  We know the Bilzin Sumberg culture will continue to transcend our physical office and we’ll be able to make the most of those in person gatherings.  The summer associates can expect our signature summer associate program – great balance of substantive work, training, mentoring and  social events.  We welcome back Danielle & John and welcome Joe, David, Saron, Nathifa and Lucas.  We know you’ll enjoy getting to know them more in the coming weeks!

The summer program has been filled with professional development courses through PowerSummer, jigsaw puzzles, coffee breaks with attorneys, negotiation sessions, attorney spotlights, and so much more! As we wrapped up our last week of the summer associate program, we were tasked with closing the deal for the Mock Real Estate Transaction, keeping a secret for a surprised client spotlight, and bringing the heat in the kitchen. 

For the final social event, the litigation department at Bilzin Sumberg joined the summer associates for a virtual culinary class made possible by an Airbnb Online Experience. Natalia Luna and Jazz hosted the Authentic Mexican Salsa course and left us with a taste of their music and city before the night ended. As I shuffled around the kitchen preparing three different salsas, Melissa Pallett-Vasquez served as the narrator for the evening and encouraged all of us to spice up our dishes. Although we were in separate kitchens, all of our salsas looked mouthwatering, and the culinary class created an unforgettable experience.

For the last event of the summer associate program, summer associates were shipped Laurent-Perrier Champagne to celebrate our hard work and determination throughout the four-week program. Partner and Practice Group Leader, Jay Sakalo, led the Summer Associate Farewell Toast with a congratulatory message to the summer associates for finishing the program and endless gratitude towards Jessica Buchsbaum and Betsi Cobas for creating a phenomenal virtual program. Although the countless Zoom meetings have come to an end, we have gained invaluable connections and experiences this summer that will last beyond the program. 

Farewell until next summer.

This past Thursday, the Summer Associates and I joined the Real Estate Practice Group for a Cuban Cocktail Mixing Class with Miami Culinary Tours. Armed with mint, soda, and, most importantly, rum, and guided by our host, Grace, we embarked on our virtual tour of the two most famous cócteles cubanos— the Cuba Libre and the mojito.

First, we mixed rum, coca cola and lime to make the Cuba Libre. While we sipped our creations, attorneys decorated the Zoom dashboard with panama hats and shared stories of their favorite vacations. We learned that Sarah Herald has been to all 50 states, and that rum reminds Jessica of the time she visited Puerto Rico.

For our second round, Grace taught us how to use mint in an aromatic, refreshing mojito. Now a drink deep, people discussed their dream vacations—trips to Italy, Argentina, and Alaska—most of which got postponed due to COVID-19.

When our culinary tour ended, the other Summers and I agreed that (1) this cocktail-making class was a great way to learn more about the Real Estate Practice Group, and (2) that everyone in the group has amazing travel experiences. We all had such a fun time that it was easy to forget we were all at home on Zoom, and instead felt like we were together in the conference room, competing over who mixed the best mojito.

One of the most important elements of being a Summer Associate is getting to know the attorneys that make up the firm. Meeting and speaking with the partners and associates of a law firm is an integral way to learn about the firm’s culture, the different practice groups, and gain advice from those who were once in your shoes.

Coming into an entirely remote summer program, my fellow Summer Associates and I were unsure how much of those interactions we would be able to have. Fortunately, we quickly realized that there would be no shortage of opportunities to meet the wonderful people of Bilzin Sumberg. Continue Reading Home Brewed Connections

CrossroadAs law students, we are often told that we have to choose one of two paths for our career trajectories. We can either go the public interest or the private sector route. While we are by no means locked into one route for the remainder of our careers, our starting point is critical. This crossroad was particularly difficult for me because I have always been passionate about service and giving back to my community. Part of me wanted to start my career in public service, while the other part wanted to explore what “big law” had to offer. After much thought, I decided to go the private sector route, but I made it a priority to find a firm that values Pro Bono work as much, if not more than, billable work. This, among many other factors, made accepting the opportunity to work at Bilzin Sumberg a no-brainer. From the Bilzin Sumberg Cares initiative to learning more about the Pro Bono work that attorneys are actively working on, it became very clear that Bilzin Sumberg truly cares about its local and national communities.
Continue Reading The Best of Both Routes: Pro Bono at Bilzin Sumberg

One of the biggest potential downsides of a virtual summer program is missing out on the day-to-day opportunities to connect with the Bilzin Sumberg family. However, this summer has proven that you can still get to know people and have fun while working from home, with two great examples being our practice group social events so far.

After a couple days of orientation, we got some much-needed cardio during the first social event of the summer, the “Virtual Scavenger Hunt” with the Corporate Practice Group. Jessica would describe an item to the group over Zoom, and then we would all run off into our respective homes to find that item and bring it back to the computer, with the first three to return getting points in each round. Sophi ended up the champion, somehow managing to track down a mango, a copy of Little Women, and three left shoes in her house before the game was done.

Next came the much-anticipated “Two Truths and a Lie” event with the Land Use Practice Group. Before the event, both the summer associates and the attorneys submitted little-known facts about themselves to Jessica, who then crafted each into a trivia question using the Kahoot app. Despite a steady flow of trash talk (and some sporadic technical difficulties), we managed to get through all 41 questions, with a boatload of fun facts coming out along the way. By the end of the evening, John had revealed that he once worked as a safari guide at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and mounted a last-minute comeback to win the game—which was especially impressive considering he just started at the Firm last Monday!

The first two practice group social events have been a blast, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Litigation and Real Estate have in store for us the next couple weeks!