One of my primary objectives coming into the summer was to establish a plan of action for my future, both at Bilzin Sumberg and in the Miami community. Of course, at the top of the list was figuring out which of the firm’s prestigious Practice Groups I would prioritize, but I also wanted to put myself on a path to career development and community entrenchment that would carry me for the duration of my career. Over two-thirds of the way through the summer, I can confidently say that the summer associate program has helped me to accomplish this goal through meaningful work with substantive feedback and consistent attorney mentorship opportunities. Everyday has proven to be a new chance for us to learn, grow, and have fun, and Bilzin Sumberg could not be more welcoming in helping us to feel at home while providing us with a practical dose of real legal work. Continue Reading Learning from Lawyers over Lunch: The Life of a Summer Associate
Bilzin Sumberg strives to make the summer associates an integral part of the team to see what it is like to work within the office. From participating in client meetings to tag-a-longs, Bilzin Sumberg makes the summer experience as realistic as possible. We can dabble in multiple practice areas to interact with several lawyers and better understand the firm’s culture; consequently, I’ve learned diverse tips from numerous Bilzin attorneys that have helped me grow as a summer associate.
Here are some quotes of advice I’ve noted that may be beneficial to an incoming summer associate:
- Immerse yourself in the community in whichever way makes you happy. Get involved and be a citizen. –Scott Baena
- Enjoy dabbling in different areas of the law and meeting as many people as you can. This will help you determine which group/practice area is the best fit for you. –Misbah Farid
- Communication and effort are keys to success; you aren’t expected to know everything about the law. If you communicate and try your best to do things right that you have control over, you should be in good shape. –Elise Holtzman
- Everything is a learning opportunity, get to know the people you’re working with, communication is key, and don’t forget to have fun. –Jennifer Junger
- My advice to summer associates would be to be diligent, check your work product for accuracy and consistency, as if there will not be another layer of review before it goes to the client, and ask follow-up questions when necessary. –Jennifer Llano
- You miss every shot you don’t take. Also, treat every person with courtesy and respect, no matter the job title. –Marshall Pasternack
- Follow-up on assignments for feedback. And if you make a mistake, do not be afraid to ask for a 2nd chance. –Jay Sakalo
- Communicate to the attorney every fork in the road you encountered in your research, which path you chose, and why you chose it. Do not be afraid to reach out, pick up the phone, and ask questions to vet your assumptions. –Eric Singer
- Get as much exposure to as many different practice areas as you can because you may be surprised by what captures your interest. I would also take time to understand how the firm operates, learning the ins and outs of the firm’s operations will be more important than you think as a young associate. –Craig Thompson
With the summer program behind us and OCI season in full swing, we are starting to get excited around here! The first year associates will be joining us in just under two weeks and we have The Academy ready and waiting for their arrival. This year’s programming promises to be as impactful and meaningful as last year.
The impending arrival of the newest Academy members has us eager to share insights into the program through the video posted below. Over the next few weeks, Elise and Jenny will be sharing their experiences in the program on our blog.
On Friday, Hannah, Luis, Forrest and I attended the Federal Court Observer Program at the Federal Courthouse downtown. The Honorable Paul C. Huck presided over a fantastic program full of information for summer associates and judicial interns. For an added treat, one of our very own—Luis—was participating in the program, arguing in a mock motion hearing for a recently settled case!
The day started with breakfast and a reception. Hannah, Forrest and I only had time to give Luis a quick “good luck” as he was already in the zone. We were ushered into a courtroom filled to the brim with rising 2L and 3L students. Chief Judge K. Michael Moore welcomed us to the Federal Court, followed by Ramón A. Abadin—past president of the Florida Bar—who gave the welcome address. Both touched on the importance of professionalism, which seemed to be an overarching theme of the program. Judge Paul C. Huck informed us that he would be asking us trivia questions throughout the program. Judge Huck based most of the questions on reading material he distributed to attendees prior to the program. The material focused on advice for young lawyers, including the importance of your reputation and intellectual curiosity. Continue Reading Court is Now in Session
Last week, the summer associates participated in a Federal Court Observer Program. Summer associates from the south Florida area shadowed attorneys during several hearings and participated in question and answer sessions. A moment that stands out is when a summer associate asked a thoughtful and brave question: “What tips do you have for the next generation of young women attorneys? How can we make sure we are excelling in our profession?”
The question reminded me of a book I read earlier this summer; one which the Women’s Book Club at Bilzin Sumberg recently read, as well – Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. Once a month, the women at Bilzin Sumberg discuss the book of the month and its characters, plot and message over lunch. In Lean In, Sheryl encourages women to seek leadership roles in the workplace by following her key messages. Many of the messages in her book have resonated with me during my summer at Bilzin Sumberg so far; in particular, Sheryl’s call to “sit at the table.”
Sheryl explains, “I still face situations that I fear are beyond my capabilities. I still have days when I feel like a fraud. But now I know how to take a deep breath and keep my hand up. I have learned to sit at the table.” Personally, there have been many instances this summer when I have made sure I am “sitting at the table.” Whether I am presenting a finished assignment to attorneys, speaking up to ask a question or participating in the Mock Real Estate transaction negotiations, as long as I am sitting at the table, I ensure I make the most of my summer at Bilzin Sumberg and, in turn, that Bilzin Sumberg is getting the best me possible.
I guess there is no clear answer to my fellow summer associate’s question, but I think Sheryl’s message — don’t just show up, make sure you are sitting at the table — is a good place to start.
We previously discussed how it was our pleasure to extend offers to the entire 2012 Summer Associate Class. Bilzin Sumberg is even more delighted to announce that all of them have accepted those offers to return to the firm!!
In addition to the effort the summer associates put forth to receive their offers, we do want to acknowledge those attorneys who participated in making the summer associate experience a “real” one and they too deserve our collective appreciation.
Whether those attorneys:
- Gave meaningful work and constructive feedback;
- Served as an informal or formal mentor;
- Conducted a training seminar;
- Took a personal interest in the summer associates;
- Attended a social function; and/or
- Provided a tag along opportunity,
they did their part to ensure that the summer experience was a rewarding one and would make Bilzin Sumberg a place where the summer associates could envision practicing law.
We are looking forward to announcing the full 2013 Summer Class in the next few months.