No first day jitters here! (L to R, Lucas, Brianna, Devin, Eric & Ben)

We are so excited to welcome our 2018 Summer Associates. I wanted to take a moment to officially introduce them on the blog.  Right after orientation, they will be sharing the next nine weeks with you here!  We can’t wait to see what the summer. . .although, we are hoping for a little less rain here in Miami.

Romantic Dinner at beach in sunset, adobe rgb 1998 use...........

Favorites among the attorneys include the grilled octopus at PM, a restaurant that is practically attached to our building and is an especially great option when it is raining. Another is the Novecento Salad at Novecento, which has a surprise pile of French fries underneath the otherwise classic dark green lettuce, avocado, tomato and steak salad. Obba is the definite favorite for sushi. Edge, across the street from the firm in the Four Seasons hotel, is probably the most popular. It has great salads (like the Chicken Chop Chop), and is affectionately referred to as the “Bilzin Sumberg Cafeteria,” as you are bound to run into other people from the firm during your lunch.

Our lunch schedules filled up quickly, so some attorneys invited us to their homes, to dinner, or to happy hours as alternatives. The Land Use event at Brian Adler‘s house was one of the most memorable. Brian and his husband whipped up a real feast; there was gazpacho, baked brie with fig jam on a baguette, assorted meats and cheeses with honeycomb, and pan seared foie gras – and these were just the appetizers! Richard Goldstein’s happy hour at a cigar bar was also a fun event and included cigars, rosé champagne, and a surprise appearance from Richard’s son.

I also consulted some of my fellow Summer Associates about their favorite events. Lauren reiterated how many new restaurants she has tried since starting at the firm, despite having lived here in Brickell for more than a year! Two of her new favorites are Coyo Taco (try the fried grouper tacos!) and My Ceviche. Claudia thought our lunch with Mitch Widom at Rosa Mexicana was the most memorable. She enjoyed hearing about Mitch’s fishing trips and how he has balanced his personal life with his life as a litigator. Geoff loved going to El Carajo with Richard Goldstein and Michelle Weber. If you haven’t been, El Carajo is a cute Spanish restaurant hidden inside a nondescript-looking gas station off US1. You would never know it was there from the street.  Jenny and Elise both said amazing things about Zak the Baker in Wynwood. Frankie and I agreed that one of the most memorable afternoons was at Sea Spice with Scott Baena. He told us stories about his travels and his passion for barbeque over shared appetizers, lobster rolls, and a great view of the Miami River.

Overall, it has been great to be able to try so many new restaurants and have so much time with the attorneys outside of the office. I can’t believe we have less than three weeks left!

The summer associates at their farewell ice cream social.
The summer associates at their farewell ice cream social.

Last Friday was the last day of the summer program!  We are thankful to our summer class for their commitment and effort.  It is our hope that we honored our commitment to them: a real-world experience and constructive feedback.  Along the way, we are confident they grew professionally and personally and developed strong relationships with our attorneys – and each other.

Thanks Jennifer, Jessica, Camille, Anthony & Brendan!  It was a pleasure!  On-campus interviewing is officially underway and we are excited to begin meeting next year’s bloggers.

Flashback to the first day of the summer program!
Flashback to the first day of the summer program!

 

 

We went to Virginia Key Beach in Key Biscayne to volunteer with Citizens for a Better South Florida at the Virginia Key Restoration Project, which began after Hurricane Andrew had damaged the landscape back in 1992. To help with the project’s goal of removing and replacing invasive exotic plant species throughout the 15-acre hammock, we took on planting and digging duties. I was in charge of mixing soil to create “compost,” an environmentally-friendly fertilizer that significantly reduces plant greenhouse gas emissions, and then taking it to the others for their plants. Breaking a sweat with my fellow summer associates for a good cause, and doing so while overlooking Key Biscayne’s shoreline, allowed us to bond and appreciate how lucky we are to work in such a beautiful city, and to be in a position to give back. Even though I am from Miami, its beauty never grows old for me!

After a hard day’s work, we were treated to Shorty’s Barbeque. For anyone who has not been to a Shorty’s before, there are few places in town that grill tastier ribs–take it from “Chef Tony!” During the delicious lunch we talked about how much fun we have had so far and how quickly the summer is going by. It feels like only yesterday that Marshall welcomed us to the Summer Associate Program and warned that this summer would flash by in an instant. Looking back, Marshall was absolutely right. We have now completed about 50% of the summer program and have had the opportunity to work on headline-grabbing cases, make new and lasting relationships, and eat at some of the most delicious restaurants in Miami (particularly at Edge, a firm favorite). I am excited about what the second half of the summer will bring, but am hoping to figure out a way to make the time go by just a bit more slowly since–and I know I can speak on behalf of the entire summer class–we are truly enjoying our summer journey together.

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This week was full of programming, including two especially memorable events that took place in our office. On Tuesday, the Lean In Miami Circle hosted an event at Bilzin Sumberg for women. Veronica, Naomi, Eryca, Jen, and I made our way to the conference room after our work day to participate in the community event. Our firm’s own Mindy Mora moderated a discussion with a panel of three women who have mastered a work-life balance, financial planning, and other important skills for working women. Alexia Gonzalez discussed how important it was to maintain long term insurance like disability and partner insurance and Gloria Zaldivar discussed saving money and investing early in a 401K. Last on the panel, was a summer associate alumni and Tax, Trust & Estates associate, Mildred Gomez.  Her focus at the event was on documents and resources that aid later-life decisions such as wills and power of attorney. I was surprised by how many women from all over South Florida attended; from practicing attorneys to young business owners and financial planners, the event hosted a range of successful women.

Just a few days later, the firm celebrated Brian Bilzin’s upcoming birthday with a wine and cheese event.  Between a comedic toast from John Sumberg and words from Alan Axelrod, it was amazing to see how well people in the firm knew and connected with one another. Brian ended the evening with a heartfelt thank you, calling the firm his home and saying that he never wanted to leave it. Since the early interview stages with Bilzin Sumberg, I noticed a sense of inherent comfort and closeness amongst the members of the firm. Brian’s celebration only furthered my realization that Bilzin Sumberg is more than a firm, but a family.

In the middle of our third week, this summer is flying by! All of the Summer Associates are trying out assignments with different practice groups and meeting new attorneys every day. Already, I have completed projects in Real Estate, Litigation, and even Cybersecurity. In addition to great work experience, the Summer Associates had a fun opportunity to learn how to cook some fancy dishes at the Summer Associate Alumni Event, held at Two Chef’s restaurant.

At the restaurant, we all got to socialize with attorneys who went through the Summer Associate program before us, like Veronica Gordon, Adam Fischer, and Eryca Schiffman. It was great to hear their stories and experiences from when they were Summer Associates at Bilzin Sumberg, and all of the interesting matters they are working on now.

Luckily, we had an experienced cook in the kitchen —Anthony Sirven, or “Chef Tony”–who prepared delicious steak for all of us. Camille Manso and I prepared grilled salmon with a honey glaze sauce, while Lindsey Zohn Parker and Jay Sakalo put together tasty side dishes. Following all of our cooking, it was great to sit down and enjoy the dinner with everyone. The sweetest part was the chocolate soufflé, prepared by Jennyva Araque. Already, we have gotten to know everyone well and feel right at home.

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Anthony Sirven a.k.a. Chef Tony.

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Camille Manso and Brendan Studley.

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Summer Associate Alumni Lindsey Parker preparing the vegetables.

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Carly Grimm & Veronica Gordon enjoying the tuna tartare.

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Jenny Araque and Camille Manso preparing the chocolate soufflé.

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Summer Associate Alumni Veronica Gordon, Carly Grimm and Eryca Schiffman.

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Jay Sakalo and Adam Fischer.

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Camille Manso preparing the salmon.

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Anthony Sirven a.k.a. Chef Tony preparing the skirt steak.

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Jessica Kramer preparing the quinoa.

Wendy

Summer Associate Alumni Wendy Francois and her three desserts!

Dessert

Jenny Araque's Chocolate Soufflé.

Group

Enjoying a delicious meal at Two Chefs.

Summer Associates

The 2015 Summer Associates.

Anthony Lindsey

Anthony Sirven and Lindsey Parker.

Brandon Jessica

Summer Associate Alumni Brandon Rose and Jessica Kramer.

This past Wednesday evening, the summer associates and several other Bilzin Sumberg employees volunteered to serve meals at the Chapman Partnership‘s Miami Homeless Assistance Center. It was a rewarding and meaningful experience for all in attendance. Chapman Partnership seeks to empower homeless men, women, and children to build a positive future by providing the resources and assistance critical to growth and independence.

Chapman Partnership operates two Homeless Assistance Centers with 800 beds located in Miami and Homestead. The organization provides a comprehensive support program that includes emergency housing, meals, health, dental and psychiatric care, day care, job training, job placement, and assistance with securing stable housing. Since 1995, Chapman Partnership has had more than 98,000 admissions, including 20,000 children in Miami-Dade County, and a 63% success rate of moving people from homelessness to self-sufficiency.

The Bilzin Sumberg volunteers proved to be a fantastic team outside of the office as well. Several volunteers formed an assembly line behind the cafeteria counter and put together dinner trays containing chicken, mashed potatoes, bread, corn, and dessert. Other volunteers served these trays.  According to Rafael Ribeiro, a Partner in Bilzin Sumberg’s Litigation Group, Jerry Goldsmith was the “MVP of the night” because he “kept the supply lines open and took an undue amount of abuse from all of us!”

Nadia Kruler, an associate in Bilzin Sumberg’s Tax Group,  arranged for Bilzin to participate in the volunteer opportunity. Nadia first became involved with Chapman Partnership in 2011 when a colleague and close friend invited her to volunteer at a meal service. Nadia continued volunteering at events and shortly thereafter joined the Nextgen Council. Nextgen is a group of young professionals that works to increase awareness, revenue, and advocacy for Chapman Partnership. Nadia now serves as the Vice Chair of Service and Advocacy for Nextgen.

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Rafael Ribeiro and Marty Steinberg.

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Bilzin Sumberg Cares.

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Scott Baena and Leah Aaronson.

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Moshe Zaghi and Nadia Kruler.

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From Left to Right: Jared Spector, David De La Flor, Michael Levine and Rafael Ribeiro.

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The Bilzin Sumberg volunteers after the meal service.

Last Tuesday night, the Summer Associates went go-kart racing with Bilzin Sumberg‘s Business Finance and Restructuring Group at K1 Speed Indoor Go Kart Racing. The event started off on a bit of a sad note as we watched the United States soccer team‘s demise in the World Cup. However, excitement and anticipation soon filled the air as we walked over to the indoor race track. The K1 Speed instructors gave us a quick tutorial on how to operate the go-karts, and then split us up into two groups. Each group drove a 14 lap qualifying round and the group members were ranked according to their fastest laps. K1 then rearranged the two groups for a championship round of 12 laps and once again ranked the group members.

Theories abound regarding how K1 rearranged the groups. Most believe that K1 selected the fastest drivers from each group and placed them in group 1, and then placed the remaining drivers in group 2. Others (mostly folks from group 2) maintain that the rearrangement was completely random.  

Scott Baena, Chair of the Business Finance and Restructuring Group, came in first place in both the qualifying and group 1 championship rounds and was the fastest and most efficient driver by far. He later disclosed that a family member of his is an avid go-kart racer, and that he has had some practice. John Atkinson and Jay Sakalo came in second and third place respectively.

Jenny Araque was also one of the night’s best racers. After a mediocre performance in the qualifying round, Scott Baena observed that Jenny had some serious talent but was not actualizing her full potential. He urged her to “be aggressive, Jenny!” and she ended up coming in first place in the group 2 championship round. Jared Spector, the only summer associate to rank, came in second place in group 2 and Eugene (“Gene”) Polyak came in third.

We ended the night with a Mexican dinner and an award ceremony. Overall, the night was an excellent opportunity for the summer associates to spend quality time with Bilzin’s Business Finance and Restructuring attorneys. We were able to learn about the relationship between business finance and restructuring and get to know many attorneys we have worked with over the course of the summer.

K1 Lineup

The racers warming up!

K1 Leah

Leah Aaronson at the start line.

K1 Scott Baena

Scott Baena at the start line.

K1 Atkinson

John Atkinson excited about racing!

K1 Jay

Jay Sakalo at the start line.

K1 JB & MAM

Jessica Buchsbaum & Mindy Mora in their head gear before racing.

K1 Scott Jay John Podium

Group 1 Winners! 1st Place - Scott Baena, 2nd Place - John Atkinson, 3rd Place - Jay Sakalo.

Podium Jenny, Gene, Jared

Group 2 Winners! 1st Place - Jenny Araque, 2nd Place - Jared Spector, 3rd Place - Gene Polyak.

K1 Group

The group after the racing event.

Last night, the Bilzin Sumberg summer associates, both old (alumni) and new (current), endured the traffic on US1 to drive to Two Chefs in South Miami for a night of great food, wine, and company. A favorite night of the summer for many who have attended over the years, the summer associate alumni cooking event was certainly a ton of fun.

We cooked our own dinner! After being handed an apron and a towel by our ‘master chefs,’ the 20-or-so of us split into groups. Each group was responsible for making a different dish; the menu included quesadillas, tuna tartare, risotto, quinoa, salmon, steak, and of course, Two Chefs’ famous chocolate soufflé. There was plenty of work to go around and we all played a part in some aspect of the meal.

I began my cooking contribution by helping Shalia Sakona with the soufflé – a much harder task than I had anticipated. Thankfully, Shalia had the skill needed to get the job done. I, on the other hand, found that slowly churning a giant pan of risotto with Eric Singer was much more my speed. The steak was delicious too, despite the fact that Brandon Rose almost ruined it by incorrectly laying the meat on the grill (which, admittedly, none of us knew could ruin a steak).

Eating the meal was just as fun as cooking it. Everyone had a great time sharing past summer associate stories while cleaning their plates of all the delicious food. The Two Chefs event was certainly a success!

Shalia preparing the chocolate souffle

Shalia preparing the chocolate souffle

Summer Associate Alumni Brandon, John & Kyle

Brandon, John & Kyle

David preparing salmon

David preparing salmon

Desiree making quinoa

Desiree making quinoa

Moshe preparing the broccoli

Moshe preparing the broccoli

Leah, Michael & Shalia enjoying the tuna tartare

Leah, Michael & Shalia enjoying the tuna tartare