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Learning By Doing: The Summer Associate Work Experience

“What exactly does a Summer Associate do?”

I remember asking myself this question when I was in the process of applying to Bilzin Sumberg last year. Much has been written about the exciting social events we’ve been able to attend during our summer at the firm. Let’s switch gears for a moment and talk about the Summer Associate work experience.

Bilzin Sumberg’s summer program has allowed us to take on sophisticated, substantive work. Each of us has access to a web portal to which attorneys from each practice group post assignments on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis. We are not required to choose assignments from a particular practice area; one of the benefits of our program is the flexibility to pursue our own unique interests and try new things. Once one of us “accepts” an assignment, we typically contact the assigning attorney to arrange an introductory meeting. During that meeting, we set a timeline for the project and narrow down any important details. From there, we get to work. Throughout the process of working on our assignments, we benefit from the support of the excellent and experienced Bilzin Sumberg law librarians, along with a range of cutting-edge research technologies. Once we complete an assignment, we receive feedback from the assigning attorney.

Beyond research and writing assignments, there are plenty of “tag-alongs” during which we accompany the firm’s attorneys at meetings, on calls, or even in court. These have been exciting opportunities to observe and learn.

My colleagues and I have certainly been busy this summer. For example, Savanah Bergeron recently wrote a thought leadership piece on new legislation, reviewed loan modification agreements, and drafted a memorandum as part of a motion to dismiss in an ongoing antitrust matter. This past week, Ridgana Bonne-Annee and Teodora Maftei observed Scott Wagner and Ilana Drescher deliver oral arguments at the Broward County Courthouse. And just a few days ago, all of us were invited to a legal drafting seminar hosted by Martin Schwartz, and an intellectual property seminar hosted by Jose Sariego.

My own personal assignments have ranged from conducting case law research to drafting limited partnership agreements as part of a corporate restructuring project. Currently, I am in the process of drafting a portion of a federal appellate brief. I’ve also had the chance to sit in on calls with Mitchell Widom (litigation) and Robert Lee (corporate), observe a virtual hearing with Kenneth Duvall (litigation), and sit in on Jake Greenberg’s (litigation) consultation with a client in preparation for a deposition.

Our work experience has been challenging yet enriching. Through our assignments and “tag-alongs,” we’ve been able to work with skilled attorneys, sharpen our legal research and writing skills, and learn more about the everyday practice of law. I look forward to our remaining two weeks as Summer Associates and cannot wait to see what interesting areas of the law I am privileged to explore next.

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