Concisely: life looks different for all of us in 2021. As past blog posts by my peers have illustrated, Bilzin Sumberg has adapted. Saron Musa noted in her recent post that the firm’s Women’s Book Club found its way to Zoom, and summer social events, from mojito making to terrarium building, have followed. At a time when employers are announcing “back-to-office” plans and headlines are reporting these decisions with gusto, I found myself engaged in something akin to yesteryear’s watercooler conversation.
On the heels of the mock real estate transaction*, I knew I wanted to learn more about Bilzin Sumberg’s Real Estate Practice Area. After a lunch meeting with Partner Martin (Marty) Schwartz and Mid-Level Associate Hannah Lidicker, I was invited to join a client call. Side note: if you’re a Miami Law student, word on the street is that Marty will add “Professor” to his nameplate this fall. If you’re interested in real estate law, you don’t want to miss this chance to learn from a leader in the field. Back to that client call, Marty and Hannah also extended invitations to Joe Beguiristain and Danielle Hall. The three of us dialed in, listened, and took notes. While I cannot speak for Joe or Danielle, I can tell you that I ended the call with more questions than answers.
Fortunately, Marty and Hannah had already anticipated potential knowledge gaps and so they scheduled a follow-up conversation. We were instructed to bring our questions. Facilitated via Zoom, Hannah and I sat in her office, with Marty, Danielle, and Joe joining from their home offices. I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that initially it was a bit awkward, until Marty exclaimed: “Okay, so you all understood everything?” Once the giggling subsided, the questions started rolling in, and Marty and Hannah facilitated the type of dialogue that a former educator like myself can appreciate. The questions were organic, the answers were honest, and the environment was one where I felt comfortable asking for clarification or briefly engaging in a sidebar with Hannah about loan-to-value ratios.
At some point, I asked Hannah to capture a photo of us all because I knew the moment was special, I just didn’t know why at the time. I’m still not sure I know why, but I think there’s something powerful brewing at Bilzin Sumberg. The firm isn’t making headlines about “back-to-office” plans, summer associates have been empowered to make decisions about their working arrangements, and partners and associates alike have been intentional about making time for watercooler conversations . . . they just look a bit different in 2021.