The first week has really flown by and it is hard to believe it is already the end of our first week of the Academy. The morning started out with a firm-wide breakfast for Teach for America – an organization near and dear to both the firm and our clients.  

After the breakfast, Stacia Wells walked us through a session on understanding financial statements. As a firm catering to commercial clients, spotting potential legal issues in financial statements is a critical skill. I know we all appreciated Stacia’s engaging and straightforward approach to what can be an intimidatingly complex area for recent law school graduates.  

Oksana Esberard then led us through a mindfulness session. We learned that we can add value and increase productivity by simply giving everyone a moment to gather their thoughts before diving into business in meetings.  

We then headed over to the Design District for lunch at MC Kitchen, where we were joined by clients Steven Gretenstein (of Dacra, a real estate development company) and Lyle Chariff, Mauricio Zapata, and Luis Guevara (of Chariff Realty Group). After a delightful lunch, they took us on a tour of emerging neighborhoods – starting with the Design District. The Design District is home to cafés, restaurants, and art galleries, as well as to flagship stores for luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Louboutin. Our group was privileged to visit Dacra in the Design District and see their fascinating private art collection adorning the walls of the Dacra offices.  

After the Design District, we toured Wynwood (famous for the Wynwood Walls, as well as many excellent restaurants and breweries) and the emerging neighborhood of Allapattah. It was an eye-opening and inspiring experience to hear the stories of how these three neighborhoods have evolved and grown over the years. We felt truly privileged that Bilzin Sumberg’s deep and meaningful client relationships allowed us to benefit from these insights.


Bilzin Sumberg’s reception area

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to observe Michael Krietzer, co-chair of Bilzin Sumberg’s litigation department, and John Sumberg, managing partner at Bilzin Sumberg, in a client meeting. 

At Pieducks (incredible pizza joint), I shared with Michael that, as a summer associate, not only am I interested in developing my writing and research skills, but I’m also interested in learning more about the side of the business that young, soon-to-be attorneys like myself don’t often get to see.   He then graciously extended an invitation to sit down with him and his client that same afternoon.

Although I have some experience with client management, sitting in with Michael and John was an incredibly enlightening experience.  As soon as I got back to the office, I changed into my suit (for all the guys out there, here’s a tip: always keep a suit in the office because you never know when an opportunity like this will come up).  

The client meeting lasted about an hour.  Michael and John carefully examined the facts surrounding the case, and slowly began to construct a strategy.  They clearly explained to the client where he stood legally, and the strengths and weaknesses of his case.  At the end of the meeting, the client seemed satisfied, and Michael is now working on the case. 

 Exposure like this can be invaluable to attorneys just starting their legal careers, and I’m glad I’m at a firm that provides these kinds of opportunities.

As part of the Summer Associate Program, we provide opportunities for summer associates to form personal relationships with attorneys through social events.  The social aspect of the program sets the stage for bonding, team building, learning about practices in a more relaxed environment and maybe even some friendly competition.

Each practice group hosts an event of their choice to interact with the summer associates outside of the office.  This year, among other events, our summer associates will be playing ping-pong at Chalk Miami, cooking dinner at Two Chefs, attending a client guided tour of 1111 Lincoln Road and relaxing during a private screening at the Viceroy Miami. The events are varied and the venues are located throughout Miami – giving the Summer Associates a real feel for the Miami lifestyle, not just professional life.