The final week of our summer associate program has suddenly approached us! Throughout the summer, my fellow summer associates and I have taken on a diverse array of assignments from all practice groups, attended multiple social events, and built invaluable relationships.

As a 1L summer associate, I am particularly grateful for the unique opportunity to grow as a professional with Bilzin Sumberg and gain early exposure to demands of the Miami legal market. Whether we just finished our first year or second year of law school, the assigning attorneys expect the highest standards of performance from each of us, and they do not hesitate to challenge us with complex assignments.

Taking on challenging assignments is what enables us to grow as future attorneys. For my very first assignment, for example, my initial task was to determine the most efficient means of serving process on a foreign corporation overseas when that corporation has no agent located in the United States. After conducting extensive research and discussing multiple courses of action with the assigning partner, a decision was made on where the complaint would be filed and on how the foreign corporation would be served. However, my involvement in this matter did not end there. My next task was to draft the complaint itself. Since a complaint is a document of first impression for the court, drafting a complaint is certainly no menial task.

Other assignments that I have taken on were equally as challenging and conducive to my legal development. These assignments have required me to research unique legal issues—from whether a corporate director breached his fiduciary duty to whether a stock transfer was complete. I have also written extensive legal memorandums, drafted letters to the county regarding government contracts, and drafted cease and desist letters.

Work is important, but so is building long-lasting relationships. Another unique aspect of our summer program includes the opportunity to do just that. This past June, for instance, Brian Adler graciously hosted us at his house for an amazing dinner, where he demonstrated his superior catering skills and expertise in fine wine. Furthermore, just last week we attended a Tax practice group event with Richard Goldstein at the Key Biscayne Yacht Club, where we enjoyed cocktails and socialized with the tax attorneys.

Overall, this summer has been a success. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing team, and I look forward to what the future holds.

The author, Luis Reyes, about to throw a strike!
The author, Luis Reyes, about to throw a strike!

No, this blog post is not about a proposed T.V. show spin-off; this blog post is about competition; this blog post is about camaraderie; this blog post is about bowling with the Bilzin Sumberg litigation department.

We all trickled in to Splitsville, a local bowling alley, at 7 p.m., where full bar service and a large buffet awaited. There was sushi, chicken, shrimp—and did I mention sushi? After about an hour of chatting and eating, we put on our bowling shoes, warmed up our wrists, and made our way to the bowling lanes.

The summer associates were all spread across the five bowling lanes, where we competed against the partners and associates for bragging rights of nabbing the highest score. Unfortunately for those with an affinity for the gutter ball, we decided not to use the lane bumpers.

I ended up on lane three, where the competition was scorching hot. Phil, Shalia, Desiree, Danielle, Ken, and I all jockeyed—some better than others—for the lead. Although I ultimately bowled one of my best games ever with a 137 (which doesn’t say a lot for me), I’ll admit, beginner’s luck played a huge part.

After saying that I had not bowled in years and that I would probably be “Mr. Gutter-ball,” I got two strikes at the outset! I found a growing confidence in my comfortable lead—a bad idea. The luck wore off soon enough. Before I knew it, Ken hit three strikes in a row (a “turkey”) and left me in the dust. And once Ken got going, he didn’t stop: with a score in the 170’s after game two, he earned the coveted highest score of the night.

We were all exhausted after a few hours of bowling and went off to the lounge area to relax. There, both the “winners” and “losers” of the night were treated to delicious chocolate brownies, which changed everyone’s concept of winning and losing. Let’s be honest—after chocolate brownies, we were all winners. And although I can say that, with a 137, I (barely) out-bowled my fellow summer associates, I can’t say I’ll be going from a career in law to one in bowling any time soon.

2017_Summer_Assoicates_GroupYesterday, we welcomed the 2017 Summer Associates (and bloggers!) to Bilzin Sumberg.  I’m excited to welcome back Hannah and Lauren and introduce to you Alex, Forrest, Eric and Luis.  Throughout the course of the summer, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from them about their experience at Bilzin Sumberg – from work assignments, tag alongs, training and mentors to social events.

We have a lot planned and we are all looking forward to next couple of months together!

This past Friday, our summer associate class spent the morning sorting through boxes of food that were donated in order to help feed hungry people across South Florida. Except for a few mishaps, our morning at Feeding South Florida was both exciting and fulfilling. The Bilzin Sumberg crew was, of course, a food-sorting force to be reckoned with.

Continue Reading Feeding South Florida

Fishing TripToday marks our second to last Monday here at Bilzin Sumberg and we cannot believe our time as summer associates is ending. Yesterday the summer associates were in for a treat! A fishing trip with our very own expert fisherman, Mitch Widom. We all met at the firm on a beautiful Sunday morning not knowing just how tired and tan (or sunburnt) we would be coming back. On the way to Isla Morada we enjoyed the famous La Spadas subs, fantastic margaritas by Mitch, and some ocean tales of wisdom by Jose.

Once we arrived it was game time. We arranged prizes for both most number of fish caught and largest fish caught and after a quick tutorial we were ready to fish. Our first and second locations were not too great for many people… except for Jenny who was able to catch the biggest fish of the day and take the cash prize home! We moved on to our third location and suddenly it seemed like all of us were shouting “fish on!” The third location was definitely the best (my unbiased opinion after catching 6 fish in the same spot).

We finished our day at Snapper’s where we had some delicious appetizers and entrees. The group’s favorite was the hog-fish, a great recommendation by Mitch. The summer associates had a lot of fun and we all agreed it was a great way to spend the day and get to know the attorneys at the firm in a more casual setting. After dinner we jumped on the bus and headed back to Miami while our driver played some great music along the way, everything from James Taylor to Justin Bieber!

Before I begin this blog post, I’d like to take a moment to wish our great country a very happy birthday. 240 has never looked so good. Now, on to business…

This past Thursday, the Corporate and Tax Group hosted an event for our summer class. Following cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at Brava!, our group was treated to Summer Shorts Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami for a performance that is not likely to be forgotten any time soon. However, the show’s memorability stems less from the actual actors’ performances than the reactions of some of my fellow summer associates.

After fervently discussing her penchant for Olympic weightlifting, Claudia proceeded to demonstrate proper clean-and-jerk techniques to Jared Spector during the pre-show reception. While not a member of the Corporate and Tax Group himself, Jared was in attendance of his own accord due to his oddly specific passion for semi-professional live performances of ten minutes or less. Jenny must have similar preferences; she was adamant that, prior to the show, she personally shake the hand of not only every actor and actress but also the entire production staff regardless of how busy each person was.

Continue Reading Summer Shorts and Sweet Shrimp Heads

As Summer Associates at Bilzin Sumberg, we have been blessed with both an innocuous and nurturing work environment. At times, the legal questions we face can be more overwhelming than the near-lethal scent of the Axe/ Drakkar Noir body spray cocktail that Geoff bathes himself in after the firm-wide yoga classes, and we are lucky to be able to turn to our mentors for guidance (Shout-outs to Craig, Naomi, Phil, Veronica, Mildred, Carly, and Brandon). Thankfully, all of the mentors abide by the policy that “no question is a dumb question”. (Unless you are asking who got the highest score on the July 2015 Florida Bar Exam.)

Our mentors have been especially helpful in navigating the plethora of hearty assignments placed on our metaphorical plates. Every day we are presented with brand new opportunities to practice in unique areas of the law (even though Lauren’s calling might actually be professional poker) . Our assignment pool spans the legal landscape and work is constantly rolling in from partners in Litigation, Land Use, Corporate, Real Estate, Business Finance and Restructuring, and Tax. This variety has motivated and energized us throughout the daily grind (picture this, not this). Although a great deal of our work involves billable assignments incorporating serious client interaction and written work-product, that is not all we have taken on this summer.

Continue Reading Drakkar Noir, Pugs, and Madonna: A Must-Read

The poker champ gets serious about the tournament!
The poker champ gets serious about the tournament!

Yesterday the summer associates joined the Real Estate and Business Finance & Restructuring practice groups at the Coral Reef Yacht Club for an exciting night filled with food, drinks, and most importantly poker. For many of us it was the first time playing poker but thanks to a quick tutorial at the Coral Reef Yacht Club and Poker for Dummies, Elise, Jenny and I were able to catch up to speed–sort of.

The night went by very quickly, everything was fast paced as the master dealer kept us all on track to have a winner sooner rather than later. As an additional incentive, partners had a “bounty” on their heads, an AMEX gift card was given to any summer or associate who was able to eliminate a partner from the table, which made everything that much more exciting. Elise and I were at the same table and I have to say we held our own for a pretty long time… although we still don’t know if we actually have good poker faces or we were just so clueless it worked to our advantage.

As players were eliminated, the best players from each table gathered at one table for the final round. A crowd of spectators gathered and many of us thought previous tournament champ Jared Spector was going to blow everyone out of the water for the second time. Not this time… we were all watching intently as Lauren slowly eliminated everyone and became the first woman to win the poker tournament. Lauren went home with multiple AMEX giftcards and an iPad mini, she was stoked and mentioned this had been her favorite event by far.

It was an exciting night and all of us learned a lot, including to take it with a grain of salt when Lauren says she’s “rusty”.. must’ve been her good poker face!

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The poker champ gets serious about the tournament!

Above-left: Frankie, my sous-chef, clearly jealous of my culinary prowess (my artisanal flatbread, seen here, was unanimously crowned “dish of the night”)

We’ve been told from day one that Bilzin Sumberg hires summer associates with the intent that they will one day become partners at the Firm. While this may sound too good to be true, attendance at last night’s dinner event exemplifies Bilzin Sumberg’s dedication to retaining the highly qualified attorneys that began their careers here as summer associates.

In addition to the 2016 summer associate stars, the event’s guest list included prominent members of previous summer classes, such as Leah Aaronson, Desiree Fernandez, Jerry Goldsmith, Jared Spector, Shalia Sakona, Lori Lustrin, Mildred Gomez, and Jeff Snyder. The night was made even more special thanks to guest appearances from Jessica Buchsbaum and Jay Sakalo who, while not summer associates at Bilzin Sumberg themselves, are certainly honorary members of the 2016 class.

Two Chefs Restaurant describes the private-party cooking class as a “cooking adventure… under the guidance of a chef… designed to build camaraderie while honing your cooking skills.” This description, while accurate, omits the wine that was certainly responsible for some of the more “imaginative” artisanal flatbread topping combinations. Other culinary highlights of the evening included pecan crusted lump crab cake, ahi tuna tartare, stuffed mushroom caps, Caesar salad, toasted quinoa, grilled salmon, and grilled New York strip steak (as if we weren’t already fed well enough). Continue Reading Two Chefs (But We’ve Got Us A Few Here)

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Paul VanderMeer’s winning lemon tart

The “freshman fifteen” is a staple of any memorable college experience. You’re living out of the house for the first time, and the amount of fat in the one dish you know how to “cook” is surpassed only by its MSG content. You’re just a swipe away from the dining hall’s endless array of every fried dish you can possibly imagine, and you’re the only one stopping yourself from indulging in that second, third, or even fourth dessert.

As we end our first week at Bilzin Sumberg, my fellow summer associates and I have encountered similar gluttonous temptations. Thursday and Friday mornings’ legal writing seminars were accompanied by breakfast spreads that could’ve fed a summer class twice our size. Thursday evening’s library happy hour included a plethora of delicious finger foods and beverages, both of the adult and non-adult varieties. Finally, Friday afternoon’s bakeoff featured desserts that would’ve impressed Gordon Ramsay, and I’m not just saying that because Jessica Buchsbaum was a star competitor.

Continue Reading The “Summer-Associate Seven”