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

As the summer program is coming to a close, I can’t help but smile as I think back to all the wonderful experiences I’ve had in just nine weeks at Bilzin Sumberg. Though all my other blog posts have been (hopefully) funny and lighthearted, with the readers’ permission, I’d like to indulge in some philosophical introspection and for posterity give a heartfelt account of my experience.

I think I can fairly speak for my fellow summer associates in saying that we are all truly blessed to have been summer associates here: The relationships we’ve built, the work we’ve done, the skills we’ve learned—all second to none.

My fellow summer associates and I have all become incredibly close during our short time so far at the firm; this is undoubtedly due in part to the emphasis here on fostering a positive firm culture. After all, the firm’s slogan is “be judged by the company you keep.” And speaking of company, not a single summer associate ever had lunch alone. From day one, we were encouraged to make lunch plans with attorneys whose practices might be of interest. The attorneys, despite their busy schedules, always found a way to make time for us. Between all of the lunches and all of the practice-group events, the summer associates got to meet almost everyone.

But of course, there is much more to life as a summer associate than being taken out to lunch every day; there are assignments! The breadth of work that I got to do over the summer was incredible, making it much easier to rank my preferred practice groups at the end of the program. For instance, I worked on matters involving public-private partnership proposals, antitrust business development, Florida service of process requirements, luxury hotel management contracts, and I even contributed to two appellate briefs. I also attended client meetings, a mediation session, and an oral argument at the Third District Court of Appeal.

The work I’ve done this summer has been incredibly fulfilling, but I believe the people at Bilzin Sumberg are what set this firm apart from others: employees here are not just co-workers or friends—they’re family. Law is a rewarding but tough career. If we’re going to be “in the trenches,” why not be with people we can call family?

The final week of our summer associate program has suddenly approached us! Throughout the summer, my fellow summer associates and I have taken on a diverse array of assignments from all practice groups, attended multiple social events, and built invaluable relationships.

As a 1L summer associate, I am particularly grateful for the unique opportunity to grow as a professional with Bilzin Sumberg and gain early exposure to demands of the Miami legal market. Whether we just finished our first year or second year of law school, the assigning attorneys expect the highest standards of performance from each of us, and they do not hesitate to challenge us with complex assignments.

Taking on challenging assignments is what enables us to grow as future attorneys. For my very first assignment, for example, my initial task was to determine the most efficient means of serving process on a foreign corporation overseas when that corporation has no agent located in the United States. After conducting extensive research and discussing multiple courses of action with the assigning partner, a decision was made on where the complaint would be filed and on how the foreign corporation would be served. However, my involvement in this matter did not end there. My next task was to draft the complaint itself. Since a complaint is a document of first impression for the court, drafting a complaint is certainly no menial task.

Other assignments that I have taken on were equally as challenging and conducive to my legal development. These assignments have required me to research unique legal issues—from whether a corporate director breached his fiduciary duty to whether a stock transfer was complete. I have also written extensive legal memorandums, drafted letters to the county regarding government contracts, and drafted cease and desist letters.

Work is important, but so is building long-lasting relationships. Another unique aspect of our summer program includes the opportunity to do just that. This past June, for instance, Brian Adler graciously hosted us at his house for an amazing dinner, where he demonstrated his superior catering skills and expertise in fine wine. Furthermore, just last week we attended a Tax practice group event with Richard Goldstein at the Key Biscayne Yacht Club, where we enjoyed cocktails and socialized with the tax attorneys.

Overall, this summer has been a success. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing team, and I look forward to what the future holds.

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

Our first week at Bilzin Sumberg came and went. We dined with attorneys, judged a baking contest, and attended firm events. Somewhere in the midst of that, we received our first few assignments. It only took a few days of working to realize how lucky we are to have so many resources available to help us complete them.

Just down the hall from the summer associates’ offices, Bilzin Sumberg houses a sizable library. Books line the walls from floor to ceiling, a familiar sight to us students. One or more librarians at a time staff the library all day and into the night. The library staff members are experts in their field and are available to us any time we have a research question, no matter how big or small. Continue Reading I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends

As part of the summer associate experience, Bilzin Sumberg coordinates tag-along opportunities for the summer associates to attend. This week, Elise and I witnessed Al Dotson represent Related Urban Development Company before the County Commission. Hundreds of Liberty Square residents stepped up to the podiums to remind those present of the exigency of the approval of the redevelopment. Continue Reading One Step Closer

As Summer Associates at Bilzin Sumberg, we have been blessed with both an innocuous and nurturing work environment. At times, the legal questions we face can be more overwhelming than the near-lethal scent of the Axe/ Drakkar Noir body spray cocktail that Geoff bathes himself in after the firm-wide yoga classes, and we are lucky to be able to turn to our mentors for guidance (Shout-outs to Craig, Naomi, Phil, Veronica, Mildred, Carly, and Brandon). Thankfully, all of the mentors abide by the policy that “no question is a dumb question”. (Unless you are asking who got the highest score on the July 2015 Florida Bar Exam.)

Our mentors have been especially helpful in navigating the plethora of hearty assignments placed on our metaphorical plates. Every day we are presented with brand new opportunities to practice in unique areas of the law (even though Lauren’s calling might actually be professional poker) . Our assignment pool spans the legal landscape and work is constantly rolling in from partners in Litigation, Land Use, Corporate, Real Estate, Business Finance and Restructuring, and Tax. This variety has motivated and energized us throughout the daily grind (picture this, not this). Although a great deal of our work involves billable assignments incorporating serious client interaction and written work-product, that is not all we have taken on this summer.

Continue Reading Drakkar Noir, Pugs, and Madonna: A Must-Read

The very first day of orientation, the summer associates were introduced to the concept of tag alongs. Bilzin Sumberg provides opportunities for us to shadow experienced attorneys as they interact with clients, learning by observing. We were asked to rank practice groups in order of personal interest, allowing Jessica Buchsbaum to assign the experiences in order of priority as they arise.

I don’t think any of us were expecting the number and variety of tag alongs we’ve experienced in just the first two and a half weeks of the summer. All seven summer associates have had opportunities to observe associates and partners “in action,” interacting with their clients on pressing matters. So far, our group has tagged-along with the Corporate & Tax, Litigation, Land Development & Government Relations, Business Finance & Restructuring, and Real Estate practice groups. Continue Reading Summer Associates Tagging-Along

Desk, files, pen, calculatorI can’t believe we’re already diving into week 3! It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in computer training and now I’m about to start my 5th assignment. The summer is a short period of time but the firm really does try to give us a very holistic picture of what life as an associate at Bilzin Sumberg is like. As I reflect on my time here thus far, I realize I’ve already encountered some challenges balancing assignments and social events. At the time, having to balance assignments and events seemed stressful but I quickly realized this is what attorneys are always aiming for… “work-life” balancing is real and definitely a learned skill.

So, far none of us have had to miss events due to impending deadlines and I think that is a great reflection of the time management abilities of my talented colleagues. All 7 of us have very different working styles, but one thing we do share in common as Jenny says is that we all  “live by our calendars.” But sometimes even with an organized calendar, things don’t go as planned. For example, earlier this week as I was preparing to submit an assignment due on close of business day, another assignment due later on in the week suddenly became urgent. I switched gears and finished the assignment due immediately and thankfully was still able to submit the other assignment on time. That sort of adaptability and flexibility will also be necessary later on when I become a junior associate and I’m glad my summer experience is preparing me for those future situations.

It’s not only about balancing assignments themselves but also about balancing assignments with social events. I think as a summer associate it is important to complete assignments and get a feel for different practice areas but it is also just as important to meet the attorneys at the firm. That’s why social events are so crucial–I plan on not missing any this summer (plus it helps that they all look super fun)! We received a detailed calendar of our events on the first day of orientation and therefore my strategy when balancing work involves a lot of planning ahead. I try to estimate how much time certain assignments will take (with some room for the unexpected) so that I’m hopefully never faced with choosing between meeting a deadline and attending an event. So far this has worked out well for me and I’m sure my future self will be glad I practiced this early on in my career. By staying organized and planning ahead I hope to be able to maximize my time as a summer associate and seize the summer!

 

 

 

It is safe to say that I have acquired new tastes at Bilzin Sumberg, both inside and outside of the office. A week and a half in, we had our first practice group event with the Corporate and Tax group: a culinary tour at Wynwood. At first, I was nervous about this event because I’m a picky-eater. We began the tour at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar where I indulged in delicious foods and La Rubia beer that I had never tasted before. As soon as I ate the maduros, a Spanish dish at the restaurant, I knew I had been missing out my entire life. There was still so much to try!

We then continued on the tour to admire the artwork on the Wynwood Walls. As I walked with the group, the first week and a half of work began to sink in. I remember starting the summer thinking that I would only truly enjoy Corporate assignments since I majored in business law. But luckily, I opened my mind up to trying new things. During the past nine days, I worked on assignments from the Corporate and Tax, Real Estate, and Litigation departments. Just as with the maduros, I expanded my taste palate and discovered a new possible specialty. I have already changed my schedule for the following semester of law school to include Real Estate courses.

I’m really excited to keep my mind open throughout the next seven weeks so that I can get a good taste of all that Bilzin Sumberg has to offer.

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Enjoying a glass of prosecco at a Wynwood art gallery.

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The motto at BXLDR.

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Enjoying the art on the tour.

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Learning about craft beer at BXLDR.

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The group in front of the Wynwood Walls!

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Learning about the Wynwood Walls from our tour guide.

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Being silly in front of the Wynwood Walls!

 

From Left to Right: Brendan Studley (University of Miami '16), Jennifer Junger (George Washington University '16), Anthony Sirven (University of Florida '16), Camille Manso (New York University '17) and Jessica Kramer (University of Florida '16)
From Left to Right: Brendan Studley (University of Miami ’16), Jennifer Junger (George Washington University ’16), Anthony Sirven (University of Florida ’16), Camille Manso (New York University ’17) and Jessica Kramer (University of Florida ’16)

Five stellar summer associates joined us for the first day of the summer associate program yesterday.  In just two days, they have been through orientation, had lunch with their mentors, attended six trainings and selected their first assignments!  The next nine weeks are packed with training, social events and amazing opportunities for a memorable summer experience.  Some of the highlights so far have been Marshall Pasternack’s welcome and Jay Sakalo’s presentation on the Business of Lawyering.

We are excited to welcome our 2015 summer associates!  We hope that this summer provides you with real life examples of what it’s like to be a part of the Bilzin Sumberg team!  To learn more about this year’s class, please visit the summer associate bios page.