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Summer Associate Blog

Mighty, Mighty Bilzin!

On March 20th, we participated in the 2nd Annual United Way Dare to Dodge Dodgeball Tournament.  Our dodge squad, cheer squad and fans definitely brought the most spirit to the Downtown Athletic Center as we united with 7 other Miami law firms to benefit the United Way of Miami Dade.  We had cheers, chants, dances, signs and as many noisemakers as we could carry to represent Bilzin Sumberg pride for one of our favorite charities – the United Way of Miami-Dade.

Real Estate partner, Bryan Hawks led the team to 2nd place along with the support of the “tu-tu cute” cheer squad and the dedication of our dodge squad.  Kyle Morabito, real estate associate and previous 1L & 2L summer associate, was the one of the last one’s standing as we climbed the ranks to the championship game.  2013 summer associates Eryca Schiffman and Naomi Alzate joined in the fun with our fans.

Although we didn’t bring home 1st place, we had a blast coming together for a great cause.  We made countless memories and bonded with our Bilzin Sumberg family during practices, the sign making pep rally and our pep lunch on the day of the event.  My favorite memory was rushing the court after each victory to celebrate with our team.  I know I speak for others when I say that we’ll be back again next year to show everyone that we truly are “Mighty Mighty Bilzin”!

Click here for more information on the 2014 “Dare to Dodge” Dodgeball Tournament.

 

We’ve Raised the Bar. . .

Michael, Kyle, David, Shalia & Amy post bar admission!

Bilzin Sumberg has five newly admitted bar members.  I am overjoyed to congratulate our very first bloggers (David De La Flor, Michael Levine, Kyle Morabito, Amy Podolsky and Shalia Sakona) on their admission to the Florida Bar.

Today, we were most fortunate to have the oath administered by The Honorable Jennifer Bailey who spent some time talking to the group about the integrity one needs to practice with professionalism.  She made the event special by swearing in each associate individually. 

It wouldn’t be a true celebration without food, so we headed to La Loggia with the first year associates’ family and friends.  Only when tiramisu is present, is it a true fete!

Guess Who’s Back?

L to R: Amy, Kyle, David, Shalia and Michael pose for a picture after orientation.

 

 Yesterday, we welcomed the complete 2014 First Year Associate class (a.k.a., The First Bloggers).  Bilzin Sumberg is delighted to have David, Michael, Kyle, Amy and Shalia joining us full time as associates.  I’ll have some even more exciting news about them, later this week!

Offer, Then Acceptance!

It was our pleasure to extend first year associate offers to the 2Ls of the 2013 Summer Associate Class.  We are even more delighted to announce that all of them have accepted those offers to join us in 2014!!

Special recognition goes to those attorneys and staff members who ensured the summer program was successful.  Our attorneys participated in our program by giving meaningful feedback; providing formal and informal mentoring; conducting training programs; spending time getting to know the summer associates at firm functions; and offering meaningful work and tag along opportunities.  They were generous with their time and helped to make the summer associate experience a “real” one.  Congratulations are in order to the incoming first years and to the firm!

We are in full on-campus and callback interview mode and are looking forward to the arrival of our 2013 first year associates soon! 

 

Wrapping Up the Summer

Enjoying the ice cream social farewell.

The first week of the summer associate program, Marshall Pasternack and Jessica Buchsbaum told us that the summer was going to fly by. Now, nine weeks later, I realize that they could not have been more right. My summer at Bilzin Sumberg has been an invaluable and unforgettable experience.

From the start, I was able to work on interesting and important assignments in a variety of practice areas because the firm encourages summer associates to work on projects from all practice groups. I worked with knowledgeable, skilled attorneys in Corporate, Tax, Real Estate, Litigation, Insolvency, and Land Use.

In addition, Bilzin Sumberg’s commitment to community involvement led us to participate in a host of enriching endeavors like the Virginia Key Restoration Project, a trip to the United Way of Miami-Dade, and a firm-wide “jeans day” to support the National Alzheimer’s Association. Fun and exciting social events like bowling and baseball were also on the summer calendar.

Two other highlights of the summer program: the mentor-mentee relationship and the Real Estate Mock Transaction. The firm provides mentors to help guide the summer associates, and I could not have been paired with a more perfect mentor (thank you Jessica!). In addition, the Mock Transaction allowed the summer associates to see and participate in a real estate transaction from beginning to closing.

And after nine weeks as a summer associate, my most difficult task has been trying to fit all of my amazing experiences into one blog post.

Remember the first day?

A Door Closes. . .

The original bloggers enjoying a post-bar dinner.

 

. . .and a window opens.  As we end the 2013 Summer Associate Program, I can’t help but think of the 2012 Summer Associates (the first bloggers!).  My thoughts are with them because they took the bar exam this week.  They managed a celebratory dinner to reminisce about their experience together and make plans for their future.

They will be joining us in the fall as first year associates and I am looking forward to seeing them at Bilzin Sumberg as lawyers!

The Home Stretch

As per usual, last week was filled with events.  The summer associates were invited to dinner with the Insolvency Department at Cibo Wine Bar on Miracle Mile.  It was a great ending to a very solid run of practice group events.  Throughout the summer we had many different types of these events including a Marlins game, bowling, and a yacht tour.  They gave us a great opportunity to interact with different attorneys in a more relaxed and social setting.

Last week I also had the chance to tag along in a Land Use meeting and Corporate conference call.  Tag alongs are a big part of the Bilzin Sumberg summer associate program and provide an opportunity to interact with clients and learn more about the business side of the legal profession.  The partners in charge of the assignments take the time out of their busy schedules to provide ample background information and also debrief afterwards, answering any questions you may have.

The other big highlight of the week was the grand finale of our mock real estate transaction, the closing.  The legal side of the closing was informative and interesting, but nothing compared to the summer associate bake off.  I am proud to say that Om Pandya took down the competition with a delicious fried cheesecake.  Om stepped up to the challenge and changed the closing process for the better.  A special thanks to Jessica Buchsbaum and her food network worthy baking skills for also preparing some goodies just in case the summer associate attempts were subpar.  Fortunately for all, the desserts were all delicious and a big hit around the office.

Life’s Most Persistent & Urgent Question Is: What Are You Doing For Others?

Created six years ago, Bilzin Sumberg Cares is a community involvement program that provides Bilzin Sumberg’s attorneys, staff and their families with opportunities to work together to benefit local South Florida organizations. This Tuesday, we were introduced to the program with a visit to one of the organization’s partners, United Way of Miami-Dade.

At our visit to the United Way, we described our past experiences in volunteering. It was great to hear about my peers’ interests, but it was even better to know Bilzin Sumberg is committed to shaping our South Florida community in more ways than one. At the end of our visit, Marshall reminded us: Being a lawyer is what you do. What you all just described, your experiences volunteering, is who you are.

In addition to United Way of Miami-Dade, Bilzin Sumberg Cares also partners with organizations like the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, the Miami-Dade Special Olympics, Voices for Children Foundation, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami, and numerous other non-profit organizations. For the summer class of 2013, we will start our commitment next Friday. We have chosen to donate all funds from an office-wide “jeans day” to support the National Alzheimer’s Association.

Mortgage Repurchase Assignment Remix

Last summer, I worked on a research assignment for Phil Stein for some mortgage repurchase cases the firm was working on at the time. This summer, my work on these kinds of cases continued. Not only did I get to work with Phil again on another research project, but I am also currently working with Bob Siegel on a similar matter.

 Bilzin Sumberg is uniquely positioned to represent loan originators across the country against loan aggregators who are making repurchase demands against them after the recent foreclosure crisis. Phil Stein and Bob Siegel, among other attorneys, have been sharing their expertise and providing updates on these kinds of issues on Bilzin Sumberg’s first blog, Mortgage Crisis Watch, for over a year. For the past few years, the firm has used attorneys from the Litigation, Corporate & Tax, and Real Estate groups to defend against billions of dollars of loan repurchase claims.

By working on these assignments, I have had the opportunity to learn about these relevant issues from seasoned and knowledgeable attorneys. The cases I have worked on have been thought-provoking and have given me a new perspective on the trickle-down effects of a financial crisis. Overall, I am happy I had the opportunity to revisit and learn more about an area of the law that is particularly relevant today.

Closing Time

This week, we all put on our aprons and cooked our dinner at Two Chefs for a summer associate alumni event. We managed to make ourselves an amazing dinner including tuna tartare, chicken kabobs, seared salmon, risotto, and chocolate soufflé that still had me feeling full this morning.      

I know, with all the fun events we post about, sometimes it looks like we don’t work hard, but we do. This week, Adam and I have been putting in long hours alongside Andrew Pompa and Wendy Francois on a pretty exciting project here in Miami that one of the senior partners noted “was one of the most complex deals he has seen.” Our work all came to fruition today as we learned that the closing would happen as scheduled. Knowing that the client will sign the documents that we put our sweat into is a really satisfying feeling.