Day 3 of The Academy began with a presentation led by Werten Bellamy, President of Stakeholders, Inc. Mr. Bellamy examined the qualities that allow junior attorneys to reach success. In our discussion, he highlighted the importance of ingenuity in your practice. While most attorneys gain the necessary writing, analytic, and advocacy skills in law school, attributes such as innovation, enthusiasm, and drive allow you to distinguish yourself in the profession.

Mr. Bellamy noted the importance of anticipating the needs of the senior attorneys you work for.  As a junior associate, the senior attorneys are your clients. By proving yourself to be reliable, dedicated, and resilient, senior attorneys will be inclined to invest in your success. Mr. Bellamy provided wonderful insight into the expectations senior attorneys have of incoming associates, as well as how to effectively live up to those expectations. All in all, Mr. Bellamy provided an invigorating perspective on the methods by which to thrive as junior associates.

After Mr. Bellamy’s presentation, we made our way to the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Courthouse. Elise and I took our Oath of Attorney before Judge Seitz. It was the culmination of three years of legal studies and training (and many years of hard work). We were joined by our families, Scott Baena, Jessica Buchsbaum, and Michael Kreitzer. Judge Seitz reminded us all of some of the overarching principles of our profession. As lawyers, we must demonstrate an unwavering commitment to truth and justice. We must preserve the reputation of our profession. In such efforts, we must seek opportunities to bring individuals to access to justice. Judge Seitz’s words of wisdom reinforced many of the concepts we have discussed in the last few days – we must demonstrate an absolute commitment to our community and profession.

This past Monday, I had the opportunity to accompany a senior associate in the litigation department, on a tag-along to the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida for a hearing on a motion to compel arbitration. Prior to going to the hearing, I helped him research key issues regarding the motion, as well as finding and taking advantage of weaknesses in opposing counsel’s response to our motion. Overall, working with him was a great experience. Not only did he give me great latitude in developing my own arguments, he also incorporated my feedback and research in our response.

The day of the hearing we had lunch with Judge David Haimes, a judge in the criminal division. It was great getting to know him and learning his perspective on the legal market, legal education, and the intricacies of state and federal judgeships.  His hearing began soon after lunch was over. Observing him in action turned out to be a great learning opportunity, and his calm demeanor in front of the judge is a style I plan to emulate. Overall, this was an amazing experience.