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Matters of the Heart: Pro Bono at Bilzin Sumberg

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The American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct has a preamble that describes a lawyer as “an officer of the legal system and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.” Though I’ve only been working at Bilzin Sumberg for six weeks now as a summer associate, I can confidently say that Bilzin ensures that all of its attorneys and staff truly take that special responsibility for the quality of justice seriously.

In addition to being engaged in the community through the “Bilzin Sumberg Cares” initiative, which includes community service events like the Beach Cleanup and the upcoming Bilzin Sumberg Cares Project Day at the Family Resource Center of South Florida, all members of the firm, including summer associates, are encouraged to give back to the community by taking up pro bono matters for a variety of non-profit organizations and for communities and individuals in need in the Miami area and beyond.

As a rising 2L, I didn’t think that I’d have a chance to take up pro bono matters so early in my career. Fortunately, though, the attorneys at Bilzin made sure to include the summer associates in some of their efforts to serve the community.

Because of this, I’m happy to say that the other summer associates and I have been able to do substantive legal work for organizations that truly make a difference in the community. Some projects we’ve assisted with include:

(1) Researching legislation for an organization that stands against gun violence, with Philip Stein and Ken Duvall.
(2) Attending meetings with the Cuban American Bar Association to assist with a project that helps minors, especially those who were abused or came to America alone, receive their citizenship, with Raquel Fernandez, Ben Mitchel, and Brianna Sainte.
(3) Advising a local church on how it may retain its zoning status for community housing, with David Jessup, Jr. and Andrés Rivero.
(4) Attending meetings with and researching for a national non-profit on a matter related to education policy in Florida and Georgia, with Raquel Fernandez, Adrian Felix, and David Jessup, Jr.

These opportunities are just a small sample of all the good work Bilzin does year-round. When I go back to school this fall and my peers ask what I did, I’ll of course be thrilled to talk about the fascinating work I’ve been able to do in general throughout the summer, but I’ll especially be proud to talk about the pro bono work I’ve done, too. From my first day at the firm until now, I am certainly proud to be judged by the company we keep here at Bilzin.

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