On Wednesday, the other summer associates and I had the opportunity to teach a group of middle school students the relationship between freedom of speech under the First Amendment and cyber bullying.

The small group of students visited the firm through the Breakthrough Miami program, which Sara Herald is deeply involved in. Breakthrough Miami is an academic enrichment program that uses student-teaching-student models to ensure that young children attending under-resourced schools still have access to educational opportunities. The program has a 100% high school graduation rate as well an over 90% college attendance rate for the young students involved.
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Law school teaches us how to analyze a case, what study habits work best, and how to prioritize time. However one thing my 1L year did not teach me is what to expect at a local government meeting or litigation hearing.

In the last week, I have attended a city commission meeting with the Bilzin Sumberg Land Use department and a hearing for the Litigation department. Both experiences highlighted the importance of over preparation and being able to adjust to changing circumstances.

We arrived to the City of Miami commission meeting nearly an hour ahead of time so we could set up and organize our materials. Although I have attended local government meetings before, I was unsure of what to expect. We did not know when our item would be heard or how long it would take. But while we waited, I was able to hear from dozens of community members as they spoke about the issues that mattered to them. Then when our item came up, the team had to be prepared to find any document or board that proved relevant all within the few minutes allotted to speak. Prior to learning about the Land Use department, I was not aware that an area of law like this even existed. In just a few weeks, I have learned about procurement and how lawyers practicing in this area often attend meetings like these as another form of advocating for their clients.

The importance of preparation proved instrumental at the civil court hearing I attended as well. This was my first time at the Miami-Dade County Court House. When the case was called, Jake Greenberg allowed me to stand with him as he addressed the judge to really get the full effect. Although the hearing lasted no more than fifteen minutes, I was able to see how crucial it is to familiarize yourself with your case. Curveballs can come up and as a lawyer, you have to be prepared to answer questions and advocate for your client.
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We started the day with a legal writing seminar taught by Ed Lintz of Legal Writing Pro—a resource to which I attribute much of my success in law school (Point Made, written by the company’s founder, was by my side at all times then and now). But the seminar was particularly helpful

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

The first year associates, Jessica Buchsbaum & Scott Baena take a picture with Oksana Esberard after our Mindfulness Session

Thanks to the Academy, our first day as real attorneys was action-packed and eye-opening. Our long-waited reunions took place last night at the Welcome Dinner, so this morning we were able

(L to R, Eric, Devin & Lucas)

As the training phase of the summer program winds down, the Summer Associates are busy at work! We are currently working on a variety of projects assigned by attorneys from each practice group. Bilzin Sumberg has an assignment pool system that makes it very easy to work in the practice group of your choice and take on assignments that you never thought you would enjoy (or even knew existed)! I am currently working on projects in the Bankruptcy, Land Use & Zoning, Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (“CMBS“), and Commercial Litigation groups. As a 1L, this flexibility will allow me to find my passion in the law and have a concrete understanding of what each attorney does at the firm day-to-day. 

Bilzin Sumberg also has many mentorship opportunities that allow us to connect with lawyers throughout the firm.
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