Photo of Hannah Lidicker

 

After practicing our meditation at home in the early morning, we started our second day of the Academy at Bilzin Sumberg with a presentation by Werten Bellamy, on the topic of the “Indispensable Associate.” Werten discussed the best ways for us, as new associates, to make ourselves valuable to the firm and to promote our personal growth as lawyers. What will our personal brands be as new associates? How will we learn the styles and communication preferences of the partners with whom we work? These are all questions we need to be asking ourselves as new attorneys, and I think that Werten provided us with truly useful tools to make these decisions.

After Werten’s presentation, we sat down for a roundtable discussion over lunch with representatives from Bilzin Sumberg’s five practice groups: Tax, Trusts and Estates, Land Use and Government Relations, Real Estate, Corporate, and Litigation. Each partner briefly discussed his or her group’s work and then filled us all in on a few recent projects. The firm has a ton of exciting cases and deals going on, many of which include several practice groups, so it was really interesting and useful to hear how the collaboration works. We also had the opportunity to ask questions about each practice.

Next, we heard from Eric Singer about best practices for billing our time and from Laura Galeano about leveraging and improving our social media presence before sitting down for a panel on effective networking. Elise Holtzman Gerson, Adrian Felix, Andrej Micovic, Scott Baena, and Brian Bilzin sat on the panel, with Sara Herald moderating. Their pointers and advice was different from what we heard from Werten, but echoed the idea that as junior lawyers we need to be taking initiative and looking for ways to distinguish ourselves. Even though we are only two days into the Academy, I am constantly reminded how lucky I am to be working at a firm that invests so much in its young associates and emphasizes our personal development to such a degree. Afterwards, we got to practice our new skills at a fun happy hour at Morton’s with the recruiting committee!

 

This summer, I’ve had the honor of writing both the first blog post and the final blog post. In my first post, I talked about the welcome wine and cheese event, the training sessions, and being back at Bilzin Sumberg. It is hard to believe that when I was writing that post nine weeks ago I barely knew Forrest, Luis, Alex, and Eric (Lauren I knew from last year!), and I had no idea that they would become such great friends and supportive colleagues.

Before we get to the end of summer fun, we have to get through the last of our assignments and our end of summer reviews. While I’m always a little bit nervous before the reviews, the attorneys always seem to provide helpful and encouraging feedback. Plus – my great mentor Lindsey Parker is always there with me! I’ve also tried to make an effort this year to reach out to individual assigning attorneys for feedback before my review — a suggestion from Jay Sakalo and Jessica Buchsbaum that I think has been helpful in improving my work and to building stronger relationships with the attorneys at the firm.

Continue Reading The Final Few Days of a Great Summer

IMG_2508At the end of the last week, Bilzin Sumberg’s Women’s Initiative organized a Floral Design event for the women attorneys and summer associates. After work, we all headed down to a conference room and were greeted by tons of gorgeous flowers, Mediterranean food, and some wine to get the creativity flowing. At my table, we chatted about travel, tennis lessons, and how quickly the summer has blown past us, as we got ready to make flower crowns and carnation bouquets.        Continue Reading Flora and Fun

Concept image of the six most common questions and answers on a signpost.

The summer is definitely in full swing, and there are constant opportunities to learn more about Bilzin Sumberg. Tag alongs are opportunities to accompany attorneys to meetings, depositions, or court, or to listen in on phone calls. Last week, I was lucky enough to go on a tag along with Jay Sakalo and Jeff Snyder and sit in on a negotiation. In order to go, I did have to miss the Mock Real Estate Transaction’s contract negotiation, but it was definitely worth it to see a real negotiation in action!

On the way there, Jay and Jeff explained the topic and gave me all of the background information on the parties. They even filled me in on their negotiation strategy. This was helpful, because I understood much more throughout the day. I had the chance to ask a ton of questions, and overall the whole process was really interesting. I am hoping to use what I learned at our next Mock Real Estate session!

Most of the other Summer Associates have had tag alongs as well. Luis watched José Ferrer from the Litigation department argue before the 3rd DCA. José was appealing an injunction against our client made in the trial court.

Lauren attended an impromptu lunch with a client, when she and Melissa Pallet-Vasquez ran into him at Obba Sushi. Melissa had just completed a hearing on his case that morning, so he joined the lunch. Alex sat in on a phone call with Marshall Pasternack regarding a potential acquisition of property and Eric sat in on a phone call with Marty Shwartz regarding a commercial real estate sale.

Forrest hasn’t had a tag along quite yet, but he does have plans to accompany Jay Ward to the federal courthouse in a couple of weeks, so maybe he will fill us in later!

 

Summer Associate WineCheese7 As one of the two Summer Associates returning to Bilzin Sumberg for a second summer, I have the honor of writing the first blog post! While I was participating in the recruitment process, I used the blog to get an idea of what the summer program here is like. As a two-time summer associate, I am happy to help spread the word about the great summer program here at Bilzin Sumberg. Continue Reading It’s Great to be Back!

As we move into the final few days of the summer, everyone is wrapping up assignments, saying their good-byes and enjoying the last of the summer events. I’m getting sad about leaving and appreciating the view from my office more every day.

View from the Brickell Ave side of the office
View from the Brickell Ave side of the office

 

Last night, the Summer Associates, Jay, and Jessica headed to Trulucks in Brickell for an amazing feast of assorted appetizers, lobster bisque, steaks, salmon, and a decadent dessert platter. The conversation was lively, as we discussed the trips we have planned for the rest of the summer, Frankie’s apartment-hunt crisis, and Elise’s exciting run-in with the star of the Summer Shorts event.

We also reminisced about all the fun we had this summer – and everyone’s embarrassing stories. Jenny, for example, tried repeatedly to go down an up escalator during a tag along with Al Dotson. Upon realizing her mistake, she committed and tried to increase her pace, ultimately failing. Elise accidentally ordered an entire fish, eyeballs and all, at Sea Spice with Scott Baena. She claims to have ordered the filet – a likely story. Continue Reading The Last Supper

Romantic Dinner at beach in sunset, adobe rgb 1998 use...........

Favorites among the attorneys include the grilled octopus at PM, a restaurant that is practically attached to our building and is an especially great option when it is raining. Another is the Novecento Salad at Novecento, which has a surprise pile of French fries underneath the otherwise classic dark green lettuce, avocado, tomato and steak salad. Obba is the definite favorite for sushi. Edge, across the street from the firm in the Four Seasons hotel, is probably the most popular. It has great salads (like the Chicken Chop Chop), and is affectionately referred to as the “Bilzin Sumberg Cafeteria,” as you are bound to run into other people from the firm during your lunch.

Our lunch schedules filled up quickly, so some attorneys invited us to their homes, to dinner, or to happy hours as alternatives. The Land Use event at Brian Adler‘s house was one of the most memorable. Brian and his husband whipped up a real feast; there was gazpacho, baked brie with fig jam on a baguette, assorted meats and cheeses with honeycomb, and pan seared foie gras – and these were just the appetizers! Richard Goldstein’s happy hour at a cigar bar was also a fun event and included cigars, rosé champagne, and a surprise appearance from Richard’s son.

I also consulted some of my fellow Summer Associates about their favorite events. Lauren reiterated how many new restaurants she has tried since starting at the firm, despite having lived here in Brickell for more than a year! Two of her new favorites are Coyo Taco (try the fried grouper tacos!) and My Ceviche. Claudia thought our lunch with Mitch Widom at Rosa Mexicana was the most memorable. She enjoyed hearing about Mitch’s fishing trips and how he has balanced his personal life with his life as a litigator. Geoff loved going to El Carajo with Richard Goldstein and Michelle Weber. If you haven’t been, El Carajo is a cute Spanish restaurant hidden inside a nondescript-looking gas station off US1. You would never know it was there from the street.  Jenny and Elise both said amazing things about Zak the Baker in Wynwood. Frankie and I agreed that one of the most memorable afternoons was at Sea Spice with Scott Baena. He told us stories about his travels and his passion for barbeque over shared appetizers, lobster rolls, and a great view of the Miami River.

Overall, it has been great to be able to try so many new restaurants and have so much time with the attorneys outside of the office. I can’t believe we have less than three weeks left!

fortune cookieIt is hard to believe that we are at the halfway point of our summer. So much has happened and we have learned so much, but it still feels like we just walked through the doors and saw Bilzin Sumberg’s amazing ocean view for the first time.

Even though it feels like we just arrived, the Summer Associates have had tons of opportunities to get to know the attorneys. We are having lunch with different people every day (most recently at the recently-opened Brickell location of Coyo Taco with David Resnick and Josh Kaplan) and we have had tons of social events, like the Two Chefs Summer Associate Alumni Event. On Thursday, some of the associates organized an informal happy hour at Burger and Beer Joint here in Brickell. It was fun to talk to everyone outside of the office and snack on some fried pickles and mini corn dogs. Everyone here has been so friendly and welcoming, and it is great to hear more about why everyone chose to come to Bilzin Sumberg. Two of the brand new Litigation Associates, Ken Duvall and Danielle Moriber, also attended and were able to get to know everybody.

The happy hour was also a great opportunity to talk to some of the past Summer Associates about our mid-summer reviews, which were on Friday. Everyone told us not to be nervous, but it was still nerve racking! Despite the nerves, it is always great to get some feedback from Jay, Jessica and our mentors and to have the opportunity to ask questions about what we could be doing better. I asked a few questions about narrowing down my interests, because I’ve worked on a really broad range of assignments, but the best part, in my opinion, was hearing the specific feedback from each attorney we’ve worked with on an assignment. Hearing what we did well and what could be improved, in their words, was a great way to re-center and gear up for the second half of the summer!

Tuesday was our first day back from the long weekend as well as the first day of a summer-long war: the Real Estate Mock Transaction. When I first heard about the mock transaction, I was excited because I am interested in Real Estate and the Real Estate Practice Group at Bilzin Sumberg is so prominent, but also a bit apprehensive because I hhandshake with gears backgroundad no idea what to expect.

Luckily, our session today started with a brief overview of the purpose of the mock transaction, and then a brief overview of a typical real estate transaction. Bilzin Sumberg started the mock transaction about 8 years ago for two reasons: first, because most law schools do not offer transactional skills programs and second, because most summer associates are not here long enough to see a deal all the way through. Today, we negotiated for a 105 day inspection period followed by a 60 day closing period. In 165 days I will be outlining for my first semester finals instead of working on a real estate transaction, so I’m excited for the chance to see what a real deal entails.

We each received a binder to use throughout the transaction – one for the buyers’ side and one for the sellers’. On the cover, our faces were photoshopped onto the movie poster for Captain America Civil War underneath the title “The Summer War.” My face is front and center, attached to Captain America’s body. Each Summer Associate’s face was on a different superhero. Inside was a fact pattern explaining how some of the superheroes need to liquidate their assets to prepare for battle, so they were planning to sell a vacant lot here in Brickell, across from Pieducks Pizza.

On the next page, we had information specific to the buyers’ team, including which issues (price, length of inspection period, etc.) were our priorities. The sellers’ team left the room, and we discussed our strategy with our coach, Manny Gonzalez. Having our coach there was extremely helpful because we had no idea where to start. Should our first offer be below the appraisal value of the property? Is a typical deposit rate 2% or 25%? Fortunately Manny was able to put us on the right track. After a few minutes, the sellers’ team came back in and our timed negotiation ensued. Sitting on opposite sides of the table, the two teams discussed price, the closing period, the inspection period, and deposits to try to come to an agreement.

The negotiations are ongoing, so I can’t disclose too much. Check back for more updates after we sign the contract!