summer associate program

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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They were not kidding when they said our lunch plans will fill up quickly this summer! I have had the opportunity to get to know so many wonderful people during the lunch hour (while also exploring the great cuisine Brickell has to offer). One of the first invitations I received was for a “Ladies Lunch” and I became very curious as to what exactly this was. I soon learned that every so often the women at the firm go out as a group for lunch and that this has become a sort of tradition.

Although there has been an increased emphasis on diversity and inclusion within the legal field, the area is still one of the least diverse professions. Women make up roughly 38% of the legal profession overall; however, that statistic drops for the higher level positions in private practice. There are several studies that highlight the benefits of diversity in the work place. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians while those in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely. In addition to these financial benefits, efforts to embrace diversity can attribute to greater retention and morale.


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(L to R, Ben, Devin, Brianna, Lucas & Eric)

Unbelievable as it may seem to myself and the other 2018 Bilzin Sumberg summer associates, we are officially more than halfway through the program! Thus far, the summer has been full of exciting events, interesting assignments, and a multitude of opportunities to network with attorneys and develop our skills. One such opportunity came last Wednesday as we took a trip on the newly-operational Brightline train with members of the Real Estate and Land Use Practice Groups. Though at this point we have met almost all of the attorneys at the firm, the chance to get to spend time with them in a more intimate setting was extremely valuable and enjoyable. To start our voyage, Eric and I rode Miami’s Metro Mover, conveniently located just a block from Bilzin Sumberg‘s beautiful offices (and next to our favorite restaurant, Novecento), over to the Brightline station to catch our train from Miami to Fort Lauderdale. When we arrived, we met the rest of our group in the luxurious Select Lounge, where we enjoyed complimentary refreshments before boarding the train.
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Towards the conclusion of last week, the 2018 Bilzin Sumberg summer associates began one of the stages of the annual summer associate program: the real estate mock transaction. This exercise will take us through all of the stages of an actual real estate transaction while providing us with a practical dose of legal practice as we take on the roles of buyer, seller, and each parties’ respective attorneys. I will be representing Devin and Lucas, who will serve as the buyers, and Eric will be representing Brianna, who will play the role of our seller. Our fact pattern is (loosely) based on the recent Marvel Avenger’s Infinity War movie, with the buyer’s working to purchase the last “Infinity Stone property” from the seller Thanos’ holding company, “THE BAD GUY LLC”. Devin, Lucas, and I are the only thing standing between Thanos and world domination! As per usual, Jessica Bucshbaum and Betsi Cobas did an outstanding job making the exercise especially interesting by creating a fun scenario for us.

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On Wednesday, we went to South Beach Room Escape with Bilzin Sumberg’s  Real Estate department.  For the uninitiated, the purpose of an escape room is to work together with others to solve puzzles, manipulate objects, and use reasoning to – you guessed it – escape a room within one hour.

There were three different rooms: Panic, Black Ops, and Diamond Heist.  Each room had a different theme.  In the Panic room, you are trapped in an operating room.  The Panic team was Alex, Luis, Jessica Buchsbaum, Marjie Nealon, Adam Lustig, Steve Simon, Alexis Kanarek, and Craig Thompson.  Lauren and Hannah were in the Black Ops room, in which they had to retrieve a secret chemical weapon.  Audrey Ellis, Jim Shindell, Kent Koch, Ali Lehson, Manny Gonzalez, and Brendan Studley filled out the Black Ops team.  I was in the Diamond Heist room with Eric, Suzanne Amaducci-Adams, Marty Schwartz, Alan Kazan, Phil Sosnow, Katy Yankowski, and Jared Spector.  Our objective, unsurprisingly, was to steal a diamond.

After a brief tutorial, we were herded into our rooms.  The moment the door closed, the countdown clock began ticking.  We scanned our surroundings to find a room filled with everything from footlockers and mailboxes to stationary bikes and barricades.  Behind barred doors and inside a locked container was our prize: a glittering diamond (made of the finest plastic).

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