Follow Along With Our Summer Clerks

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

This past week was busy, since it was the first full week of prep for the upcoming mock trial. Having to build two entire cases in chief from scratch in such a short time is an interesting challenge. Interesting in the sense that, because we will be trying the case as both plaintiff and defendant, we have to look at the case from both points of view. So every time you find (or think you find) something useful or valuable for one side, you immediately have to think of how you’d counter it from the other side. I imagine that most trial lawyers do this already, to make sure they’re not blindsided by anything the other side tries to pull in court. It’s a fun assignment and I’ve enjoyed working with my partner Jessica and my coach David Marsey. I’m looking forward to heading down to Orlando next week to actually put on the trial in front of everyone.

As far as substantive assignments went last week, the most interesting one I handled was reviewing an opposing party’s brief for Linda Edwards. I was somewhat surprised at some of the more liberal claims made in their brief. Some of the statements and arguments made in the brief made me think the other side was just a little too casual with their attention to detail concerning the facts and case law. It made me think how often this kind of thing occurs. Everyone knows judges are busy. Anybody who’s sat in on a judge’s courtroom knows they often know the basic facts of a case simply because they don’t have time to learn more. So I have to imagine that this kind of corner cutting happens more than we’d like, simply because courts lack the time and resources to check people on it. That said, I doubt it was done on purpose. After all, lawyers are just as busy as judges. But it just goes to show that the old adage of measure twice, cut once still has some merit, even in a time when we have virtually every case in existence at our fingertips.

As the summer winds down, I’ve started looking back on my time at RKC and it’s still strange to think that it’s almost over. It’s somewhat surreal to think of all the things I’ve been able to work on in such a short amount of time. Thinking back on it all, one thing which stood out was how demanding managing a full caseload can be and in turn how impressive it is that all of the people I’ve worked with are all able to do so. Keeping tabs on all the various assignments one has is no easy feat I’ve learned. These are the kinds of things they can’t teach you in law school. I can only hope that with time and experience my abilities match theirs, and I’m thankful that during my brief period at RKC I’ve been able to cut my teeth, if only for a short while.

Posted Week 8  LikeTweetShare

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Practice, practice and more practice

I know that I keep saying this every week, but week 8 was by far the busiest I have had during my tenure as a summer associate at RKC. Between preparing for mock trial practice, actually practicing, and receiving countless assignments from various attorneys at the firm, I had to juggle so much. But, now it is mock trial week and I couldn’t be more excited to finalize my examinations, opening statement, and closing argument!

Week 8 began with diving into the mock trial problem more than I had the preceding week, as Michaela Kirn, the Orlando office’s summer associate and my mock trial partner, and I had our first practice on Monday night. I spent a few hours during the day preparing a draft of my opening statement, but also received assignments to draft a full motion pertaining to trying to prevent a plaintiff from appearing at our deposition by telephone/video and research some issues governed by California law.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was able to focus on the mock trial problem more so than the other days of the week. With direct and cross examination practice each day, respectively, I wanted to impress my coaches and be prepared. Although I realized afterward that all four of my scripts were going to need to be re-shaped almost in full, I received some invaluable constructive criticism and feedback that I think I will carry for the entirety of my legal career. I hope to implement that feedback into this week’s practices and continue to work toward winning the mock trial competition one week from today!

On Thursday and Friday, I had to juggle more assignments with working on the mock trial problem, including researching two distinct issues on what costs a prevailing party is entitled to in Florida, and the doctrine of impossibility/force majeure clauses in contracts. After finishing my research, I typed up full memoranda of law for each client, and then went back to revising my scripts for practice.



Posted Week Eight  LikeTweetShare

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Case presentations and soccer games

What a week! I may have consumed multiple cups of coffee every day, and I was probably the most excited to see my bed at the end of every day, but I made it through another hectic and rewarding part of the program! This week was especially busy because mock trial practices started first thing on Monday. Our mock trial schedule consists of practicing every day for at least an hour or two with our coaches for the two weeks leading up to the trial. As my last week’s blog stated, Freddy and I are each other’s co-counsel for the mock trial, so we were able to get great feedback from the Orlando and Miami attorneys all week during practices. It’s great having multiple viewpoints from different associates and partners and receiving insight from experienced attorneys that have tried many cases throughout their career.

Another big thing I had to prepare for this week was presenting at the Attorney Luncheon on Wednesday! During these luncheons, one associate is chosen to conduct a case review, which is essentially presenting three Florida District Court of Appeal or Supreme Court cases that were decided within the last week or two. This is done a couple times a month so that the firm can stay updated on developing case law. A partner is also chosen to give a presentation, after the associate, usually on a topic in their area of practice. This may sound pretty straight-forward and easy, but a lot of preparation went into my presentation! First, I had to train on Trial Director, which can be utilized as an aid during trial and the program I used to create my presentation. By the time Wednesday came around, I felt confident in my preparation on the three cases I chose and on my general knowledge of how to use Trial Director (the last thing I wanted was unexpected technical difficulties during my presentation!). It ended up being a full house in the boardroom and overall, I thought my presentation went well. I was given helpful feedback and advice from one of the firm’s founding partners, Bud Kirk, and associate, Lena Mirilovic. My public speaking has definitely transformed over the last few years, and I’m grateful my time at RKC has improved my skills even more!

On Thursday, I was able to squeeze in attending a deposition with Orlando associate and one of my mentors, Cristina Cambo. The deposition was for an insurance case, and the deposed party was a corporate representative that secured an assignment of benefits from the homeowner. Having opportunities every once in a while to get out of the office and observe depositions, hearings, etc., is what makes being a trial attorney so exciting, and I’m very thankful for those practical opportunities when they come up.


Saturday night was a fun Summer Associate outing! I met up with Orlando associates, Cristina Cambo, Lindy Keown, and Patrick Delaney for dinner and the Orlando City Soccer game. This was my first time going to an Orlando City game and it was a blast! We also beat Toronto 2 – 1, so that made it even better!



Posted Week eight  LikeTweetShare

Jessica Baik, Stetson

Jessica Baik, Stetson

How can there be only two weeks of summer left?! I really can’t believe how fast it has gone by. This week I was able to get deep into preparing for the mock trial. Jeff and I had practices scheduled every day to go over our openings, cross and direct examinations, and motions in limine. Several of the attorneys from both of our offices have attended our practices as well, which has been incredibly helpful! While it can be overwhelming preparing cases for both sides of the trial, it has also been beneficial because it has forced me to analyze opposing counsel’s arguments in more detail and anticipate objections. I think it has allowed me to feel a lot more prepared than I otherwise would. Even though work assignments continue to flow in, the mock trial is always in the back of my mind. I find myself constantly thinking of things to add or change to my arguments and practicing in front of my reflection in my office window!

This week, my assignments were focused on workers’ compensation laws, which can be incredibly complex! Going through the case law, it is nearly impossible for me to keep straight all of the contractors, subcontractors, and sub-subcontractors and who had immunity and who doesn’t. So for every case I analyze, I began creating flowcharts! I am a visual person, so it has really helped me to break down the cases, analyze the law, and apply it to the memorandums I am drafting.

I am very excited for the upcoming week since it is the last full week before all of the summer associates meet in Orlando for the mock trial! Most of my week will be spent tweaking my arguments and reading the trial packet over and over. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone in Orlando over the weekend and applying all of the skills we learned from the seminars and workshops at the mock trial!

Posted Week eight  LikeTweetShare

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

Last week was a weird one. Independence Day falling in the middle of the week just seemed to throw everything slightly off. On July 4, I remotely logged some hours in the morning and then headed to a friend’s house for a BBQ in the afternoon. I think most would agree that considered in their totality, technological advances like remote login make our lives easier. After all, being able to search every case in the Westlaw database makes research far more efficient than having to memorize key numbers and specific federal reporters for manual searches in dusty libraries. And I’ve personally been extremely thankful for the freedom provided by remote login since it’s allowed me to go back and forth to the vet’s office this summer for my dog’s frequent rehab visits, without having to worry about missing work. For those who’ve been practicing since before computers and the internet, I have to think the difference between then and now is startling. I’d be curious to know their thoughts on the matter.

Aside from Independence Day, the other big event last week was the release of the mock trial problem! I was very excited for this and I am definitely eager to dive in and get to work. The competition format means we have to learn both the plaintiff and defense cases in chief, which means having to be able to switch minds back and forth. Personally, I’ve always been more defense-minded (it’s no accident I ended up at RKC), but I always enjoy the opportunity to run plaintiff cases. Being forced out of one’s comfort zone is a necessity for growth. It’s also a great way to get in the headspace of plaintiff attorneys. Overall, I’m looking forward to the competition and the chance to practice and grow my advocacy skills.

As far as assignments go, the most interesting problem last week came up on a case I’ve been working on with partner Nicole Smith. We’d filed our Motion to Dismiss a couple weeks ago, and the plaintiff filed an amended complaint in response. Looking at their amended complaint, it was clear the plaintiff (smartly) realized the arguments from their original complaint were dead in the water. So, in response, they added some new arguments that were only tangentially addressed the first time around. We originally intended to just write a few sentences to address their new arguments, but once I did a little research I actually found some cases that (in my oh so humble opinion) bury the plaintiff deeper than the dinosaurs. So what started out as a couple sentences ended up instead becoming a few pages and an entirely new section that I think will be enough to seal the dismissal in our favor. Fingers crossed the court agrees with me! Regardless of what the court ultimately does, though, assignments like that, i.e., finding that rare needle in the haystack and crafting winning legal arguments around it—those are the things that make it all worth it.

Posted Week seven  LikeTweetShare

Jessica Baik, Stetson

Jessica Baik, Stetson

This week was a short week since Wednesday was a holiday, but the work never stops for a summer associate! I spent the holiday and most of my week trying to get ahead on assignments, so I kept myself busy by researching and drafting motions and memos. I was also able to get out of the office for a little bit to attend a deposition with Tyler Derr in Sarasota. The deposition was for a construction case and I found it to be really interesting! I had no idea just how much went into building a pool and I was able to really see the importance of following all of the witness’ answers to the very end to get all of the information that is needed.

We also got our final trial packets and teams this week! After we received the packet, Jeff and I decided to divide up our duties and figure out what we wanted to have accomplished by the end of the weekend. Because there are only two weeks to prepare both sides of the trial, and because other assignments still need to be completed, I really wanted to take advantage of the weekend and stay ahead on preparing for the trial. The packet wasn’t incredibly long, but I think one of the difficulties for trial will be staying within the allotted time constraints. With only 10 minutes for each direct and cross examination, it will be extremely important to control the witness and figure out the right questions to ask to get the information I need in a short period of time. I can’t wait to begin practicing and see everything we’ve been working so hard on come together!

Posted Week seven  LikeTweetShare

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Week 7 was a short holiday week and a nice switch-up from last week’s packed agenda. Wednesday was the Fourth of July, so my workload was slightly lighter than in previous weeks. Although it was strange having a holiday in the middle of the week, it was nice being able to take a quick breather before the Summer Associates received the mock trial packet on Thursday. I was looking forward to seeing the problem we would work on over the next few weeks! This is what all the workshops and training over the last 7 weeks prepared us for, and I couldn’t wait to get started.

On Thursday, all the Summer Associates met with Orlando associate Lindy Keown and Director of HR and Recruiting Kaye Daugherty, to go over the mock trial packet and review the rules. The case deals with a fire and casualty insurance company that is suing a business owner for a claim the insurance company paid before it found out the fire was apparently caused by arson. Both Summer Associate teams have to represent both sides in two different trials, so the next three weeks are going to be busy! I also found out that Lindy and Samantha Duke are my coaches for the trial, and Freddy Kasten in the Miami office is my co-counsel. I’m excited to work closely with Lindy, Sam, and Freddy over the next three weeks and kick some butt at the trials (sorry, Jessica and Jeff—team Orlando and Miami!).

I ended the week with Happy Hour at Mathers Social Gathering in downtown Orlando with several attorneys from the Orlando office, which was much needed before full trial-prep mode commences. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for some exciting events to wrap up my amazing summer with RKC!

Posted Week seven  LikeTweetShare

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Although the other summer associates and I did not have any workshops for the mock trial this past week, we received the mock trial problem, which was extremely exciting! It seems like just a couple of weeks ago we had our first workshop on motion practice, and now we are already gearing up for two weeks of daily practice!

Throughout week 7, I received several research assignments pertaining to a motion for attorneys’ fees, corporate representatives’ hearsay statements, substituting a party, and Florida’s defunct deadman’s statute. I even learned all about how California attorneys formulate their case citations— they employ a completely separate system than the Bluebook called the California Style Manual. All of that research turned into drafting three motions for three different partners, after which I received some exceedingly valuable feedback and constructive criticism.

When I was not busy researching Florida law for those motions, I was either summarizing plaintiffs’ responses to our interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for admissions, analyzing stores’ surveillance footage of alleged injuries, or drafting case evaluations. Having already completed similar projects on those topics in the past, it was great to continue to develop my writing and learn how young associates practice!

Thursday was the most important day of the week, as the other summer associates and I were finally provided with the mock trial problem. After meeting with one of my coaches, Jacey Kaps, I read over the case file a few times in full and started thinking about writing my opening statement, closing argument, and direct and cross examinations. Overall, I am enthralled that we get to argue for both the plaintiff and defendant and see so many potential favorable arguments already.

With weeks 8 and 9 approaching, I could not be more thrilled to start practicing in front of almost all of the Miami office’s partners and associates. I know that I am going to learn so much from them and cannot wait to see how much I progress over the next two weeks.

 

Posted Week seven  LikeTweetShare

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Double the workshops, double the practical experience

This week wins the prize for the busiest, but most exciting week of the program so far! Monday kicked off the direct and cross examination workshop with the other Summer Associates and Miami partner, Scott Sarason. Jeff went first with his direct examination of the witness who was played by Orlando associate, Christian Tiblier (a big shout-out and props to Christian for being a great witness!). Jessica went next with her cross examination. After Jeff and Jessica received feedback from Scott, Freddy presented his direct examination and I followed with my cross examination. The deposition transcript we were given to prepare for our workshop was around 350 pages, so needless to say we had more than enough information to prepare a thorough direct and cross examination. The feedback we were given was extremely helpful and made me feel more prepared for when we receive our final trial packet next week.

On Tuesday, the Summer Associates attended our seminar on Opening Statements and Closing Arguments presented by Tampa partner, Rob Blank. This week definitely forced me to hone in on my time management skills since we had two big workshops in one week, as well as our normal work assignments. It’s funny that I’m always amazed how attorneys juggle the heavy workload, on top of preparing for hearings, depositions, trial, etc., and then I find myself in a similar situation (although, it’s not without many hours of preparation and a little bit of struggle). In all seriousness, these workshops have taught me that it’s normal to be somewhat nervous. But, the more I prepare, the more comfortable I am and realize how much fun being a trial attorney really is!

In between my work assignments and preparing for my closing argument that I would present on Friday, I was able to attend mediation with the firm’s Managing Partner, Frank Sheppard. I’m not sure if all mediations are exciting, but this one was a blast! The mediation was for an employment case with claims alleging FMLA interference and retaliation, age discrimination, and workers’ compensation retaliation. I spent the day before the mediation working with Frank on some workers’ compensation retaliation research, so I was generally familiar with the case and our position for the mediation the following day. Mediation lasted from about 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and the end result was favorable for our client! Being able to sit in the room with Frank and our client and to see Frank’s reasoning behind every decision was invaluable!

Friday was the big day—Closing Arguments. I rode to the Tampa office with RKC’s Director of HR and Legal Recruitment, Kaye Daugherty, where the Closing Argument workshop would be held. The packet we received to prepare for the workshop is one of the firm’s real cases, which is set for trial next year. We presented our Closing Arguments to Kaye; Tampa partner, Rob Blank; one of RKC’s founders, Dick Caldwell; Tampa partner, Mike Forte; and Tampa Office Manager, Amy Crawford-Hale. Jeff and I represented the Plaintiff, while Jessica and Freddy represented the Defendant. Although I think we all would agree the Defendant has the better case, it was interesting to see how each of us approached our Closing Arguments differently and incorporated our own style. After the workshop, we went to lunch at the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, which was the perfect ending to a hectic and rewarding week!

Posted Week Six  LikeTweetShare

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

A bit slower, but still great

Week 6 was a little slower than the weeks preceding it, which was a nice chance to take stock of things. I started to wonder at what point attorneys feel like they truly have a handle on the job. I imagine it doesn’t come right away; it probably takes a few years to truly feel comfortable in it. But given that the law is ever changing, and in turn how people practice the law changes, part of me thinks that mastery of the craft is impossible. Rather than seeing it as a depressing outlook, I actually like that notion. Recognizing that being a good lawyer means never being satisfied with one’s own abilities, never believing you’ve learned all there is to know. That to excel at the job requires continuously honing one’s skills. In my opinion, there’s virtue in that kind of labor. One of my favorite all-time athletes is Sadaharu Oh, who most would consider the greatest Japanese baseball player ever (and possibly just the greatest outright). He has a quote that goes, “The efforts you make will surely be rewarded. If not, then you are simply not ready to call them efforts.” I like that. Hard work gets rewarded, sure, but the operative word there is hard. It’s not supposed to be easy. If it was, everybody would do it.

While Week 6 was somewhat lighter on substantive assignments, it was quite busy with summer associate activities. We had our Direct and Cross workshop on Monday, our seminar on Opening Statements and Closing Arguments on Tuesday, and the accompanying workshop on Friday. It was a lot to take in, but I’ve had some experience in these areas thanks to mock trial. Of course, real trial is quite different than mock trial, so it’s always good to gain some knowledge about how things work out in the real world. The problem we used for the Opening Statement/Closing Argument workshop is an actual case the firm is taking to trial, which I thought gave it a nice edge of realism. That said, I cannot believe the plaintiff in that case is going to trial. I was assigned the plaintiff’s closing argument, and having to come up with a convincing case theory was not easy. That case is, in my opinion, a textbook example of a frivolous lawsuit. Which means when all is said and done, I have no doubt RKC is going to bring home a win for the firm.

As we enter Week 7, I am excited that the problem for the mock trial will be distributed this week. The mock trial was one of the things which jumped out to me about RKC, so I am definitely ready to being working on it. One thing which will be interesting is the condensed timetable. Most mock trial competitions I’ve done, I’ve usually had between four to six weeks to prepare, so getting ready in about three weeks will be a fun challenge. Either way, I am eager to get down to work! Also, Spain crashed out of the World Cup which I am thrilled about. All in for team England!

Posted Week Six  LikeTweetShare

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Closing Arguments and More

This past week was a great one not only because of the closing argument workshop that all of the summer associates had to participate in, but also because I got to work on projects for seven different attorneys! Week 6 might have been the busiest week yet, and certainly one of the most eventful.

As soon as I arrived at the office on Monday, I already had three assignments waiting on my desk to complete by the end of the week. The first entailed preparing a release for one of our clients in a case in which we settled with a co-defendant, and the second and third involved researching complex state statutes and federal issues. A few of the cases that I found were utilized in one of our motions for summary judgment, which was a great feeling!

Also on Monday, the other summer associates and I attended a seminar on opening statements and closing arguments given by Rob Blank, a partner at the Tampa office. After, we were provided with the problem for Friday’s closing argument workshop, where each summer associate would perform a closing argument in front of attorneys from the Tampa office and then receive constructive criticism. Luckily, the case was extremely interesting, and everyone gave great closings on Friday. The harshest feedback I received was to wear a darker-colored tie and have my dress shirts tailored so that my cuffs did not show as much, so I was happy with my performance.

When I was not writing the script for my closing argument and practicing with my mentors, David Emas, I was working on preparing summaries of plaintiffs’ discovery responses in various third-party insurance cases and a summary of loss sections for several case evaluations. Even though I had completed similar projects in the past, I enjoyed honing in my skills even further and receiving more advice on how to continue improving my writing.

Lastly, on Thursday morning, I was afforded with the opportunity to attend two motion calendar hearings with associates David Emas and Robert Visca, which partner Darryl Gavin from the Orlando office also came down for. Fortuitously, David and Robert’s hearings were both in front of the same judge, so I was able to easily observe both. Both hearings were also in the judge’s chambers, rather than in his courtroom, which I found interesting and had not seen before.

Posted Week Six  LikeTweetShare

Jessica Baik, Stetson

Jessica Baik, Stetson

Rumberger Traditions and Winning Rays

I know I say this every week, but this week was exceptionally busy! I began the week by attending the cross and direct examination workshop. I spent the majority of my weekend reading the deposition and preparing and practicing my direct and cross examinations, so I felt well prepared by the time Monday rolled around. Unfortunately, we were short on time, so I was only able to present my cross examination during the workshop, but I think it went well and I really enjoyed it! Cross examining is definitely my favorite of the two. I think that’s when you get to really show your style. After the workshop, I got to leave work a little bit early to go to the Rays game with my office! I had such a great time with everyone and the Rays even won!

On Tuesday, all of the summer associates attended the opening and closing seminar with Rob Blank, with the workshop scheduled for Friday. This was my favorite workshop because Michaela and Kaye [Director of HR and Recruiting] drove to Tampa to join us! Having Michaela there made the workshop a lot more fun and also more effective as opposed to video conferencing. This workshop was the most nerve-racking because we had to present our closing arguments in front of five people from the Tampa office and await their feedback. All in all, everyone did a great job and the feedback was incredibly helpful! It was interesting to see how everyone took such different angles on the same fact pattern. After the workshop was over, we went to the Columbia for lunch—a Rumberger tradition! I had never been there before, but it was delicious!

This week, I was also able to attend my first set of depositions with Carie Hall and Rob Blank, which we were defending. As I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, aside from the seminar and workshop this summer, I really have not had much exposure to depositions, so this was a great experience. The depositions lasted for the majority of the day, so I felt like I was really able to get a grasp on the process. Eventually, I found myself silently objecting to opposing counsel’s questions and hypotheticals.

Next week will be spent trying to catch up on my assignments so I can hopefully get ahead before we receive the trial packet on Thursday. I am excited to see what our fact pattern will be!

Posted Week six  LikeTweetShare

Jessica Baik, Stetson

Jessica Baik, Stetson

Hearings loaded with defendants

This week was a busy one! I began the week by attending the associate college luncheon on direct and cross examination, which doubled as the summer associate seminar. Towards the end of the week, all of the summer associates were provided a deposition to read and we were instructed that we would each have to draft a cross and direct examination to present during our workshop next Monday. Although the deposition was over 350 pages long, it doesn’t seem like it will be too bad since there aren’t any exhibits to be entered into evidence. Also, there really wasn’t much testimony other than the Plaintiff repeatedly saying “I don’t know,” which would have made for a great theme if I was drafting an opening or closing for this case! It also brings some comfort knowing that I have had a little bit of experience giving a cross and direct examination from my trial ad class in school!

This week, I also got to attend a few construction hearings with Tyler Derr. I enjoyed getting exposure to a new practice area and I could not believe how many defendants there are in a typical construction suit! I also enjoyed going to the hearing because it was in state court, which I have had very little exposure too. My internships in the past were all in federal court, so it was interesting to see how the two differed. Once I arrived back at the office, I was able to catch the end of a mediation with Rob Blank and Sara Whitehead. I was looking forward to attending the mediation because I had drafted assignments earlier in the week relating to the case, so I was familiar with the issues. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to observe too much of the mediation because one of the parties left early and unannounced, so the mediation ended sooner than what was expected.

After the mediation, we all went to the Oxford Exchange for lunch. The food was delicious! But even better, we learned that we have an [almost] celebrity at the Rumberger office! Aside from being a partner at Rumberger, Rob also had a short-lived acting career as an extra in Porky 3. So the next time you are in the Tampa office, be sure to stop by Rob’s office for an autograph!



Posted Week Five  LikeTweetShare

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Gaining a ton of practical experience

These weeks keep going by faster and faster! It feels like just yesterday that I was up in Orlando for the Summer Associate Program orientation, and now it is already the end of Week 5. Over the course of this past week, I gained a plethora of real life, practical experience. Specifically, I received the opportunity to draft several motions to compel better answers to interrogatories and summaries of plaintiffs’ responses, and even observe a Motion for Summary Judgment victory!

Week 5 began with crafting a summary of a deposition of a plaintiff that I attended last week, an experience I detailed in last week’s blog post. Writing deposition summaries is something that every lawyer, no matter how experienced, has to do, so learning what information to include and exclude while still being descriptive enough was valuable. I am especially thankful for associate David Emas’ guidance throughout the process. He answered all of my questions and was the one who invited me to the deposition.

Shortly after completing that assignment, I was tasked with drafting the factual background section of a Motion for Summary Judgment. This was also something that I had not had a chance to do yet, so it was fascinating to learn how to detail the underlying facts of the case in a light that best suits the client. My prior experience helping draft a Motion to Dismiss during Weeks 2 and 3 of the Summer Associate Program definitely prepared me for this assignment.

From Wednesday through Friday, I was assigned a multitude of projects dealing with various parts of discovery, including preparing summaries of plaintiffs’ responses to our requests for production and interrogatories, motions to compel better answers to interrogatories, and answers. Just as David Emas provided me with invaluable guidance earlier in the week, so did associate Maggie Sanders here, who never once hesitated to sit down with me and answer any questions I had. Writing the affirmative defenses section of an answer that Maggie had me work on was particularly challenging, but absolutely furthered my knowledge of the discovery process as a whole.

The week concluded with starting my preparation for the summer associate workshop on direct and cross examinations on Monday, which I cannot wait for. The workshop will be presided over by Scott Sarason, the administrative partner of the Miami office, who has an abundance of trial experience!



Posted Week Five  LikeTweetShare

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

Depos and depos and more depos

Hard to believe the summer program is halfway done. After doing substantive legal work for five weeks I can’t say I’m too thrilled to still have another year of law school. Can’t I just skip my 3L year, take the Bar, and start working now? What’s that? I’m not special? Is it possible my mother lied to me all those years about how great I am? Interesting. Anyways, I wasn’t exaggerating when I said the work I’ve done so far has been substantive. I think it would’ve been easy for the people here in Tallahassee to offload their grunt work on the summer associate, leaving them free to attack the more challenging cases in their hopper. And it’s a testament to these awesome folks that that has not been the case whatsoever. From Day 1, everyone here has given me a variety of legal assignments that have challenged me to think critically about the issues and also helped to develop my research and writing abilities.

To continue a running theme in these blogs, last week was once again dominated by one big class action. I turned in my research memo the week prior, and to say I was relieved when I got approving feedback from Nicole Smith would be an understatement. When you spend so long on something that you’re eyeballs deep in, there’s always the concern that your finished product will be too wonky or opaque. In my opinion, the reason I was able to avoid falling into that trap is because Nicole was constantly available to help guide me on my research and answer any questions I had. I never felt like I was going it alone, and that gave me the confidence to really dive into some challenging stuff and come out with what (I hope) are some winning legal arguments for our side.

The highlight of last week was definitely the depositions we conducted for the class action, and I was fortunate to be able to attend three of them. Actually, if I’m being honest, the true highlight was the Diversity Lunch and the amazing food everyone brought in as well as hearing the cool stories on everyone’s culture and background. But as for work, the depositions were tops. Every depo was different, and it was interesting to see how Nicole and Dan Gerber approached them. Without going into too much detail, the style and manner varied from one to the other, as did the substance of the questions and how they approached those questions. Both of them knew when to push and when to pull back. My favorite part of the depositions was conferencing during breaks and coming up with strategies on how to get the information we needed and how to broach upcoming questions and issues. I’m humbled that Dan and Nicole valued my opinion enough to ask for my input, and I only hope that whatever contributions I made helped in some way.

The most noteworthy deposition was on Friday, which started at 9:30 and ran until around 5:00 in the afternoon. I’ll be honest…it was exhausting. Having to stay focused that long and keep track of what was said, what wasn’t said, what still needed to be addressed, etc., was mentally taxing. Deposing someone, while interesting, doesn’t quite give you the same adrenaline rush as examining them in a courtroom. That said, you still get a thrill when the deponent gives you just the answer you need, and I appreciate the strategy and gamesmanship that goes into the affair. Having had the opportunity to be so involved in such a complicated case has been the highpoint of my summer, and I’m appreciative that RKC has considered me worthy of taking on such a weighty task. Here’s hoping the last five weeks at RKC are as good, if not better, than the first.

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Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

The halfway point!

We are officially at the halfway point! It’s unbelievable how fast the first half of summer has flown by, and I know the second half will go by even faster. I’m expecting the rest of summer to consist of lots of preparation for the remaining workshops and final trial in between work assignments. All the jam-packed events over the next few weeks are going to make going back to law school for my last year extremely difficult. Nonetheless, week five was another success!

On Monday, the firm had an Associate College Luncheon that served as the Summer Associate’s seminar on direct and cross examinations presented by Miami partner, Scott Sarason. All the associates in the five offices watched the direct and cross examination presentation in Miami via video conference, which ended up being a great refresher from what I learned this past spring semester in trial advocacy at Stetson. The Summer Associate’s direct and cross examination workshop is this coming Monday, and I expect this workshop will be productive and engaging just like every other workshop has been so far!

This week must have been the week of luncheons for me, because by the end of the week I attended a luncheon every day besides Tuesday. Thursday’s luncheon was particularly special because it was the firm’s first annual Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s International Food Festival! Everyone brought food representing their culture, so there were many delicious and interesting dishes to try. I think the trend of the summer so far is that I never have to worry about going hungry, and I’m definitely not complaining about that!

I also completely finished a Motion for Summary Judgment that I have been working on over the last few weeks with Orlando associate, Patrick Delaney. Patrick was great at guiding me through the process and giving me constructive feedback on my work while I was drafting the motion. By the end of the process, I felt good about my final product and all that I had learned about drafting motions. Side note: motion practice is much more difficult than I expected! I also helped draft a Motion to Strike for a premises liability case with Orlando associate, Chase Hattaway. I helped Chase conduct legal research and craft some of our arguments on a few different issues in the motion, which felt extremely rewarding after the motion was done!

Friday morning I attended the Orlando chapter of the Federal Bar Association’s annual Morning at the Federal Courthouse with associate, Christian Tiblier. The event featured a presentation by Magistrate Judge Spaulding on practicing in federal court, a panel discussion with federal law clerks and practitioners, and an opportunity to observe closing arguments in a trial before District Judge Mendoza. After the closing arguments, we attended lunch at the courthouse and a presentation by Michael Gerhardt, a law professor and Special Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Jeff Grosholz, FSU

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

Things get serious

This week’s blog starts out with a story, but I promise it will all tie together. This past spring, I decided to take Employment Law. The benefits seemed obvious: (1) the professor is one of my favorites at the law school; (2) I’d be externing at the District Court that semester and federal courts handle tons of employment law; and (3) I knew that RKC also dealt with a lot of employment law. Whether I’d actually enjoy the subject matter wasn’t something I really considered going in to it. So it was a nice surprise when I learned that I actually really like employment law! And, I’d like to think I’m not completely terrible at it. As the semester wound down and I was preparing for the exam, I was running down the list of topics we’d covered. Agency and independent contractors, at-will v. for-cause employment, various forms of employment discrimination, etc.  I remember thinking that of all the topics we’d covered, the one thing I really, really, really hoped didn’t show up on the exam was disparate impact. After all, exams are all about efficiency and how well you use the limited time you have to address the issues you’ve been given. A disparate impact problem would demand a significant amount of that time. I was quite relieved, then, when disparate impact was not on the exam and I was instead only required to analyze easy stuff. You know, fun things like single- and mixed-motive disparate treatment.

So why the long preamble? Because I spent this last week eyeballs deep in disparate impact stuff. Turns out, it’s a lot of work! And it’s really hard! Who knew?!? Sorting through the various issues on this case was…trying to say the least, and it seemed like every time I had a handle on something out popped another case to prove me wrong. I described it like trying to fight a hydra last week, and as I was discussing it with one of the partners this week, we laughed about how it’s like playing an unwinnable game of whack-a-mole. And that was all before I had to try and understand the various stats being thrown around. I’ve spent a lot of time recently shaking my fist angrily at the ceiling and muttering about how I specifically chose law school to avoid math.

Now that I’ve gotten all the whining out of the way, let me tell you why I actually feel incredibly lucky to be working on this case. Because it is singlehandedly the most difficult legal assignment I’ve had to do in my (admittedly short) career. Because having to use every tool in my tool belt and really test how good my research skills are was an absolute joy. Because being pushed to your limit is the best way to learn how much you know about something. And because nothing good in life comes easy. This case has shown me why choosing RKC was the right call, because I’ve seen how serious the attorneys working on it are. I got to sit in on a conference call with Nicole Smith, Dan Gerber, and Samantha Duke last week and it was awesome listening to them take what our expert witness was throwing out (which sounded like a foreign language to me) and see them work it into our legal arguments in real time. I’ve seen how the strategy on this case has evolved as we feel out the issues and shape our plan of attack. And I’m even more confident now that we’re going to win.

Also, the World Cup started last week. Not really RKC-related, but it only comes around every four years and it’d feel remiss to not mention it. And to not mention the glaring absence of the US team, because of our abject failure to qualify because we couldn’t get a single, measly point in the games against Trinidad and Tobago. Am I still salty about it? No, of course not. Why do you ask?

Posted Week Four  LikeTweetShare

Jessica Baik, Stetson

Jessica Baik, Stetson

 Week four was a great week because I finally submitted my brief! When I first received the assignment I was a bit intimidated because of how large the record on appeal was, but I impressed myself with how much I accomplished and the amount of research I was able to complete. To tackle my goals, I decided it was best for me to write down all of the tasks I wanted to have competed by the end of each day and really stick to those time frames. Staying organized made the project feel more manageable and having self-discipline and sticking to that daily schedule really went a long way for me. I tend to overwhelm myself when I look at something in its entirety and think about everything that I have to complete. I’ve found that breaking a large task up into mini tasks helps me see that I am making a lot more progress than I realize! I’m one of those that likes to make a to-do list just to check things off. Once I began the revision process, it was amazing to me how many times I could keep revising the brief and still keep finding things to reorganize or small grammar errors I needed to correct. I had to force myself to step away from revising for a few hours because after reading the brief so many times, I found myself reading what I knew it was supposed to say and glazing right over the errors. It’s much better to revise with fresh eyes!

After I turned in my brief, I was given two assignments relating to the same case. The first assignment was to draft a motion for attorneys’ fees and the second was to research and write an accompanying memorandum analyzing whether a hearing is required before granting a motion to amend to assert a claim for punitive damages. Both of the assignments are due on Tuesday, so I will be doing most of the heavy lifting for those over the weekend. In the meantime, I’ve been becoming familiar with opposing counsel’s arguments on the motion to amend, the depositions, and the summary of the case.

The seminar on direct and cross examinations was cancelled this week and rescheduled for Monday. I am really looking forward to attending the seminar and workshop and seeing my fellow summer associates! It’s always nice to catch up with everyone each week. I enjoy hearing about what everyone else has been working on and comparing our summer experiences! It’s crazy to think that we will be halfway into the program next week!

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Jessica Baik, Stetson

Jessica Baik, Stetson

 Week four was a great week because I finally submitted my brief! When I first received the assignment I was a bit intimidated because of how large the record on appeal was, but I impressed myself with how much I accomplished and the amount of research I was able to complete. To tackle my goals, I decided it was best for me to write down all of the tasks I wanted to have competed by the end of each day and really stick to those time frames. Staying organized made the project feel more manageable and having self-discipline and sticking to that daily schedule really went a long way for me. I tend to overwhelm myself when I look at something in its entirety and think about everything that I have to complete. I’ve found that breaking a large task up into mini tasks helps me see that I am making a lot more progress than I realize! I’m one of those that likes to make a to-do list just to check things off. Once I began the revision process, it was amazing to me how many times I could keep revising the brief and still keep finding things to reorganize or small grammar errors I needed to correct. I had to force myself to step away from revising for a few hours because after reading the brief so many times, I found myself reading what I knew it was supposed to say and glazing right over the errors. It’s much better to revise with fresh eyes!

After I turned in my brief, I was given two assignments relating to the same case. The first assignment was to draft a motion for attorneys’ fees and the second was to research and write an accompanying memorandum analyzing whether a hearing is required before granting a motion to amend to assert a claim for punitive damages. Both of the assignments are due on Tuesday, so I will be doing most of the heavy lifting for those over the weekend. In the meantime, I’ve been becoming familiar with opposing counsel’s arguments on the motion to amend, the depositions, and the summary of the case.

The seminar on direct and cross examinations was cancelled this week and rescheduled for Monday. I am really looking forward to attending the seminar and workshop and seeing my fellow summer associates! It’s always nice to catch up with everyone each week. I enjoy hearing about what everyone else has been working on and comparing our summer experiences! It’s crazy to think that we will be halfway into the program next week!

Posted Week Four  LikeTweetShare

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Memos and Motions

I thought the first three weeks were busy . . . until I experienced week four. Interestingly enough, we did not have any seminars or workshops this week, but the workload seemed to be much more intense! Towards the beginning of the week, I worked on a Response to a Motion for Order to Show Cause. I also researched an interesting topic on what constitutes appropriate collateral sources to set-off damages, which I would later write a memo on and submit to the firm’s managing partner, Frank Sheppard.

The biggest assignment I tackled this week was a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. I worked very closely with partner, Charlie Mitchell, on this Motion and learned so much throughout the process. We spent the first half of the week bouncing ideas off of each other and talking strategy of how we wanted to approach the Motion to respond to the rather poorly-written Complaint. Once we solidified a game plan, Charlie had me type up a detailed outline of all the arguments that we would make in our Motion. He gave helpful feedback on my outline and then I was on my own to draft the Motion! I was actually excited to start writing since we spent a good amount of time going over our arguments. I really felt like I understood the arguments inside and out, which made the drafting process much easier. However, since the Complaint was very unorganized, I found myself having to organize the Complaint’s arguments first for the opposing party and then organize my own arguments for our Motion. Once I finally finished drafting, I realized I would be thankful in the future for an organized Complaint from opposing counsel.

On Wednesday I was able to attend a presentation given by partner Lori Caldwell and associates, Cristina Cambo and Brett Carey, to one of our clients. I learned a ton about first-party and third-party insurance claims, as well as ethical requirements insurance companies must follow. As week five approaches, I can’t believe I’m almost halfway through the summer!

Posted Week four  LikeTweetShare

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Research, Research and a Depo

As I sit down to write this week’s blog post, I cannot believe that it is already Week 5 of RKC’s Summer Associate Program! This past week consisted mostly of conducting research on numerous issues including class actions, trade secrets, premises liability, and discovery. I also was able to attend my first in-person deposition, which was extremely eye-opening and interesting.

Week 4 commenced with finishing my draft of the Motion to Dismiss that I spent the majority of Week 3 working on, as its due date was Monday at 5:00 PM. Having gotten most of my research done over the weekend, I came into the office ready to write the motion. After reading over a couple of previous motions drafted by some of the attorneys in the past, I transcribed my research, added in the analysis, and was able to put together a finished product by the deadline. I could not have been more proud of my work and all the time that went into finally finishing it.

On Tuesday, I was assigned a couple of very interesting research assignments on trade secrets and jurisdictional discovery, both of which I did not know much about prior. However, after conducting preliminary research, I was able to familiarize myself with the applicable standards in Florida and Eleventh Circuit. I then wrote memoranda of law on both to the partner that assigned them synthesizing my findings, which, fortunately, were favorable to our clients.

Wednesday was a very exciting day for me, as I got to attend my first in-person deposition. Experienced partner Jacey Kaps conducted the deposition, which was of one of the plaintiffs who was injured in the alleged accident. In my opinion, Jacey did a terrific job not getting sidetracked and going through everything chronologically, starting with the plaintiff’s work history before getting to the incident. I took detailed notes in anticipation of writing a deposition summary during Week 5, which I was assigned shortly after. For the rest of Week 4, I spent my time on more research projects, specifically dealing with premises liability.

Posted Week Four  LikeTweetShare

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Drafting an Entire Moton to Dismiss to Depos

Week 3 came and went faster than either of the previous two weeks, mostly because of how many different assignments I got a chance to work on! From sitting in and taking notes on a phone deposition, to conducting a practice deposition as part of a summer associate workshop, to drafting an entire motion to dismiss on six different counts, I could not have learned more or worked any harder.

At the start of Week 3, I was first tasked with writing a motion to compel and a summary of plaintiff’s discovery in a couple of insurance cases. I had never written any motions from scratch before, so that was a very valuable experience. Then, after conducting some research for a couple of aviation cases on jurisdiction issues, I spent almost all of Wednesday sitting in on a phone deposition and taking notes. The deposition was not being given by a Rumberger attorney, but it was of an expert, so I found it fascinating.

On Thursday morning, I received by far the biggest assignment yet: drafting an entire Motion to Dismiss addressing five separate counts. I not only had to spend most of Thursday and Friday working on this project, but also conducted some research over the weekend so I could come into the office on Monday ready to write most of the analysis. The issues were particularly challenging because there were very little cases on point out there, especially in controlling courts, so I had to find favorable cases with other fact patterns that I could use to support the ruling that we wanted from the Court. I still have not finished the assignment yet, but anticipate being done with it soon and so far am very proud with the product that I have produced and all of the research that I have conducted.

Other than working on that motion to dismiss, I also participated in the taking depositions workshop with Darryl Gavin from the Orlando office on Friday morning. That exercise was extremely valuable for me as I had never given a practice deposition before, and Darryl gave me great feedback on what questions I should and should not have asked. He told me that I did a great job and to just make a couple minor tweaks, but that I seemed confident and asked pertinent questions.



Posted Week three  LikeTweetShare

Jessica Baik, Stetson

Jessica Baik, Stetson

The summer is flying by!

I started week three by submitting a research assignment regarding sanctions that could be imposed for a violation of an indirect civil contempt order. I was originally supposed to draft a memo on my research, but because I needed to dedicate most of my time to writing the brief, I was told to only give a verbal presentation of my findings, which saved me a lot of time!

The rest of my week was spent working on the brief I was assigned the week before. It certainly was a challenge trying to complete the brief in such a short amount of time, but I even surprised myself with the amount of research and writing I had completed by Friday! Fortunately, the record on appeal needs to be supplemented which buys me a little more time to revise and make sure I’ve covered all my bases. Although there are a lot of issues to discuss, the research for this case is so interesting! This case is on a slip and (almost) fall.

Early this week, I attended the deposition workshop with partner Darryl Gavin. I really enjoyed this workshop because it was something new for me since I have never seen or taken a deposition. Originally, I was supposed to attend the workshop via videoconference along with the other summer associates, but Rob Blank, my administrative partner, decided that he wanted me to do the workshop in Tampa so that my office could watch me and provide feedback. No pressure. By the time Friday rolled around, I felt a little bit of uncertainty since I had never had any experience with depositions. But I did feel comfortable as far as my knowledge of the fact pattern. I spent a lot of time drafting and practicing my deposition and overall, I think I did well considering it was my first deposition. It was an awesome learning experience and I got a lot of great feedback from everyone!

This coming week will be a busy one, as I will be submitting my brief and catching up on all of my assignments that were postponed due to the brief. I will also get to brief a case at the meeting next week! Overall, I am really enjoying my time at Rumberger and appreciate all of the skills training that is incorporated into the program!

Posted Week three  LikeTweetShare

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

A third of the summer has already gone by!

It’s weird to think that nearly a third of the summer is already gone when it still feels like I just arrived yesterday. I wonder how long it normally takes associates to truly settle in at a firm. I’m very fortunate that the team in Tallahassee has been so supportive in trying to help me succeed, and for that I’m truly grateful. But it really is an interesting experience, made all the stranger when I remember I still have another year of classes and the Bar after this. I guess I should be thankful law school in America is only three years. In Australia, I’m told it’s five!

This week, like the last (and I suspect every week going forward), was busy. Are lawyers’ ‘Out’ trays ever empty? I’m going to guess no. Or at least, we want the answer to be no. After all, a full ‘In’ tray means we’re able to keep the lights on, so I’m not complaining the firm has lots for me to do. And the work is definitely fun and engaging (with the rare exception, see below). But this week wasn’t all research. I was able to get out of the office for a bit to go to some witness interviews and a deposition with partner David Marsey. It was good timing too since this week’s seminar and workshop were on how to take depositions with partner Darryl Gavin. Personally, I found not being aggressive during the deposition difficult. It was hard to not treat the opposing party’s deponent like a witness I was crossing. I find cross to be the best part of trial (something I think most litigators would agree with me on), but it was good practice to learn how to get information out of an opposing party without relying on leading questions.

And the big news this week was the big win we got in the FEA case on Friday! While in an ideal world the judge would have just granted our motion to dismiss outright, major congratulations are in order to partners Nicole Smith, Dan Gerber, and everyone else working on the case. My memo on it is due soon and I’m just hoping it’s up to snuff. Working on this case is like fighting the hydra. Every time you think you’ve got one issue down, two more spring up. They could teach an entire course on employment discrimination based on this case alone. Which might sound like grousing but I’m actually having a lot of fun with it. Disparate impact cases come along so infrequently that actually having a chance to work on one is awesome! I can only hope whatever contribution I make helps what I’m sure will eventually be a victory for the firm.

Posted Week three  LikeTweetShare

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

A week full of depositions.

This week put my skills to the next level. I was given a few different drafting assignments on top of new research projects that I was pretty familiar with completing at this point. First, I was given feedback by Dan Gerber on the proposed Order granting our Motion for Partial Summary Judgment that I completed last Friday. Patrick Delaney also asked me to draft a Motion for Final Summary Judgment for failure to join an indispensable party. These were my first two written assignments and HUGE learning curves. Although I understood the substance of what I was supposed to draft for both of these assignments, the hardest part was actually transforming and conveying these thoughts into a strategic and persuasive manner. I learned it’s not only about what you say, but how you say it. In law school, I’m used to writing more neutrally by presenting both sides so being persuasive is going to take some practice.

Our deposition seminar was also this week taught by Orlando partner, Darryl Gavin. I had no clue what went into a deposition, so I was extra excited about this seminar and workshop. Darryl taught us how to depose a witness and went through the basics of depositions, which was very helpful. After the seminar, I was determined to try and watch a real deposition to help me prepare for the workshop on Friday. Not only did I find a deposition to attend, it ended up being almost seven hours! The deposition was for one of partner Dara Jebrock’s construction litigation cases, and Plaintiff’s counsel was deposing our expert witness. I have to say, I learned a ton about waterproof membranes that day! Although an average deposition is not usually seven hours, I’m glad I was able to watch this one because it helped me get an idea of what to expect for the workshop. By the time Friday came, I was feeling prepared to give my own deposition. The workshop went great, and Darryl gave me productive feedback on how to handle a difficult witness that isn’t answering questions directly.

The week also consisted of my first attorney luncheon. A different associate and partner are chosen to give a presentation for every luncheon, and I was glad I was able to attend at least one before I present in July. Although I’ve never been a natural public speaker, I’m thankful there are many opportunities this program offers to become confident in public speaking. In between assignments, I spent more time with various attorneys and got to know them better by attending lunches throughout the week. Week three ended strong, and I’m ready to take on week four!

Posted Week Three  LikeTweetShare

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Our first workshop and more

Week 1 was a great intro into what working at Rumberger was like—I got to work on a variety of cases, from topics ranging from insurance defense to medical malpractice. However, during Week 2, I was really able to dive in and get some great experience researching issues for partners and conducting more case evaluations, including performing research on a case about aviation which was extremely interesting! I also got to attend another weekly attorney lunch, where I was able to interact with many partners and associates that I had not been able to previously.

For the majority of Week 2, I was consumed with researching issues in two aviation cases, dealing with passengers getting injured shortly after arriving in foreign cities on international flights. Before I could really dive in on the first project, I initially had to spend a ton of time learning about the Montreal Convention, which governs cases dealing with international flights in which both countries are signatories. After I finally understood the Convention’s terminology and guidelines, I was then able to delve into researching the involved issues, mainly focusing on analyzing whether or not the Convention applied at all. The second aviation project was not nearly as complex, but I found it more difficult to find relevant cases. In the end, I was able to find some state circuit court cases involving the same issue in other industries to compare our situation to, but still was not able to find all that much that was on point. I then wrote up separate, detailed memos synthesizing all of my research and sent them to the associate and partner who assigned it to me.

Additionally, at the end of the week, the other summer associates and I participated in a workshop on motion practice in which I was afforded with the opportunity to argue a motion against another of the summer associates, Jessica. Although during our first attempt, where I represented the Plaintiff and she represented the Defendant, we both read from our notes a little too much, we then switched sides and did a much better job after getting more comfortable. We both received some great feedback about our performances and I cannot wait to participate in the taking depositions workshop next Friday!

Overall, my time at Rumberger so far has absolutely exceeded my expectations, and I know it will only continue to get better with finally getting to attend a few hearings and depositions next week!

Posted Week Two  LikeTweetShare

Jessica Baik, Stetson

Jessica Baik, Stetson

Practicing Motions

Another fun and eventful week! I cannot believe week two has already come and gone! Although it was a shorter week, it definitely felt a lot busier than week one. I began the week by submitting a few assignments and receiving a research assignment on a trip and fall case. I also got to attend my very first firm meeting and was told that throughout the summer, I will be assigned cases to brief at the meetings!

After the meeting, I was assigned a new project to write an answer brief within in eleven days. This has put my moot court training to the test! I began by reading opposing counsel’s brief, the hearing transcript, and the record. I could not believe it when I saw the record was nearly 4,000 pages long! Fortunately, I have found it to be an extremely interesting case and I’ve enjoyed researching the issues on appeal.

On Tuesday afternoon, Michaela, Freddy, Jeff, and I all attended our first motions seminar taught by Dan Gerber. Before the seminar started, we were able to briefly catch up with each other to see how everyone enjoyed their first week and compare what type of assignments everyone was receiving. Later in the week, we were given a fact pattern and case law and were told we would be applying the new skill we had learned in our workshop on Friday morning. Although I have argued motions before in my final trial at Stetson, it was still a little nerve wracking to have to argue in front of one of the partners. I spent a good amount of time practicing my motions in my office. At the workshop, Freddy and I argued against each other, and then switched sides to argue the motions again. Overall, I thought we both did well and had some good arguments. I thought I definitely performed my best during the second round, since I had a little bit of time to ease into my role and get comfortable.

This week, I was also able to attend a hearing and mediation.  Being able to observe is one of the greatest learning experiences as a summer associate. When I am observing, it allows me to really think about the case and try to think of different arguments that I might make and strategies that I might consider using to achieve the end goal. I get to learn not only how attorneys from Rumberger practice, but I am also able to observe how attorneys from different law firms practice.

One of the things I have appreciated the most is how everyone is so willing to put time aside time to help me learn and offer advice. I also appreciate the responsibility that the firm has given me, because it has challenged me and has allowed me to learn so much in such a small amount of time.

Posted Week Two  LikeTweetShare

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

No slowing down

Things didn’t slow down in my second week at RKC. In fact, they only got busier, which is good because I definitely prefer to be busy over the alternative. Idle hands and whatnot. One thing that struck me this week is since RKC is primarily a defense firm; we don’t really have the luxury of choosing our cases. If a client gets sued we have to defend them whether there’s any actual merit to the suit or not. Case in point, an assignment I worked on this week is facially the textbook definition of a frivolous lawsuit. As I was researching and writing up my findings, it was hard to not get frustrated at the baselessness of the plaintiff’s claims. But ultimately I checked myself, because while the lawsuit may appear frivolous and meritless to me, who knows how the client views it. They’re not lawyers after all. So it was a nice reminder that every case deserves the appropriate level of attention, even those we think should be tossed out.

 

Week 2 also meant we started the Seminars and Workshops for the Summer Associate Program. This week the topic was Motion Practice. I’ve been lucky enough to compete in a few mock trial competitions during law school, so I’ve had a chance to practice motions in limine before. But I didn’t have any real practice in non-evidentiary hearings. Learning how to recap the facts of a case quickly and then analogizing that case to a legal precedent was new for me. I’m still more comfortable arguing the Federal Rules of Evidence, but overall I enjoyed and am thankful for the practice, especially because it dealt with arbitration. Given that arbitration is becoming more widely used, any practice with it is helpful. The only regret I have is that because Dan Gerber made the exercise a closed universe, we weren’t allowed to bring in any outside case law. And while normally I wouldn’t have minded this, just the week prior SCOTUS handed down its decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, which will almost certainly cause some shifts in the current jurisprudence on arbitration. So I would’ve enjoyed having an excuse to take an in-depth look at that opinion and see whether it was applicable here or not.

The other assignments I handled this week were rather varied. I did research for Leonard Dietzen on some school-related matters, I helped David Marsey with probable cause standards, I assisted Linda Edwards with a public records request, and I also had to learn the doctrine on some rather obscure anti-discrimination provisions for Nicole Smith. I really like that the assignments generally come from different areas of the law. It keeps thing fresh and fun. And I am firmly of the belief that work should at least be a little fun. Plus, it exposes me to parts of the law I wouldn’t otherwise know, and likely wouldn’t explore on my own.

Posted Week Two  LikeTweetShare

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Short week, but don't be fooled

Week two proved to be just as eventful as week one despite a long holiday weekend. Although the firm was closed for Memorial Day, I spent a couple of hours in the office trying to get a head-start on the week since I knew the workload was about to pick up in speed. Those few hours spent on Memorial Day were useful because the first day back on Tuesday was anything but slow! I started my day with two research assignments dealing with third party personal information being used for pattern and practice discovery and a Title VII class action issue. The Summer Associates’ first seminar was also held that day on motion practice with Orlando partner, Dan Gerber. During the seminar, Dan laid out the structure of how to organize and effectively communicate a motion to a judge so we would be prepared to present our motions on Friday.

Wednesday was a big day! Dan Gerber invited me to attend a hearing on a motion for partial summary judgment first thing in the morning. I have to say, this was hands-down the coolest hearing I had ever seen! Since Dan was the moving party, he went first and walked the judge through the facts and the law that addressed his motion. I was sitting at counsel’s table frantically taking notes when I noticed how organized and easy to follow Dan was at making his arguments. He also tied his presentation together with an analogy, which I thought was a huge homerun. It must have been, because the judge ended up granting our motion! As soon as I heard the judge’s ruling, I had to remind myself to not make a huge, obnoxious smile and to keep my composure (trust me, it was difficult). After the hearing, Dan told me to type up a summary of the hearing and asked that I draft the Order granting the partial summary judgment.

On Thursday, I spent some time catching up. Although I completed quite a few assignments over the last two weeks, my assignment list doubled with new projects this week that kept me very busy. I took a break during lunch and attended the Paul C. Perkins Bar Association luncheon with multiple Orlando partners that included LaShawnda Jackson, Sally Culley, Doug Brown; Orlando’s managing partner, Frank Sheppard, and one of the firm’s founders, Bud Kirk. That evening, I prepared for my first workshop on motion practice that would be held the next day.

I arrived to the office at about 7 a.m. on Friday morning—about a half-hour earlier than usual—so I could read over my outline of arguments for the motion practice workshop. Since the other Summer Associates are located in different cities, we used four-way webcams for the workshop. Jessica and Freddy went against each other first, which meant Jeff and I had to leave the room so we couldn’t hear their arguments. Once it was our turn, I started first since I was the moving party. Jeff had a chance to address his arguments next, and then I used time for rebuttal. We switched sides after and played the opposite roles. Dan Gerber gave useful feedback throughout the workshop and also highlighted the areas where we both did a good job. I was treated to lunch after the workshop at the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers’ monthly luncheon with associates, Lindy Keown and Samantha Duke. All in all, it was a great week!



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Jeff Grosholz, FSU

Jeff Grosholz, FSU

Week One Down


The first week at Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell was full of new faces and a lot to remember— how to keep time; how to file everything properly and how to bill things to the right client, etc. Not exactly the kinds of things you learn in law school. That said, the orientation and training in the Orlando office made it all very manageable, and since the Accounting Department hasn’t called to yell at me yet, I don’t think I’ve messed up my timesheet too bad! Honestly though, the orientation in Orlando confirmed what I thought about RKC going into this summer: that it’s a firm that truly does care about the professional development of its summer associates, with an emphasis on mentorship. That’s one of the main reasons I originally applied for this position, so it’s always nice to see faith being rewarded. Also, how many firms take their employees out for a fun night at an escape room?

After orientation, it was time to actually start the work in Tallahassee. Settling in at the Tallahassee office was no problem, and everyone here has been unbelievably welcoming. My first few assignments were all different and all presented interesting challenges. The first was about the division of powers in an employment setting. It involved some work looking up statutes, as well as some case law research. Another required me to look up federal law outside of the Eleventh Circuit, on an area I suspected going in there, was unlikely to be any precedent directly on point. My hunch was confirmed, since it was an issue that largely falls under the umbrella of judicial discretion. Writing briefs on issues like that are always tricky, because it requires walking the line between deference to the court but also being persuasive for your side. Of course, being too persuasive can in fact, come off as too aggressive, and my initial draft was a smidge too much. Thankfully, partner Linda Bond Edwards made some great edits to the motion and brief and we submitted it to the court. Fingers crossed it gets granted!

The final assignment was one that will keep me busy all this week and likely into next week as well. It’s a pretty tricky employment case, and the particular context of it almost certainly makes it a matter of first impression in this district, and possibly even this federal circuit. I love a good challenge, though. Plus, employment law is something I really enjoy, so I was happy to take the assignment on. It’ll be great experience getting to work on it and follow the course of the case over the summer. I’m looking forward to nine more weeks at RKC that were as great as the first!

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Jessica Baik, Stetson

Jessica Baik, Stetson

What an incredible first week!


The week began by having all four of the summer associates arrive at the Orlando office for training. We began the day with a delicious breakfast, followed by some housekeeping matters, and our very first Rumberger photo shoot! The photo shoot was a great way to break the ice since we couldn’t stop laughing at each other’s “natural” poses. After training, all of the summer associates and many of the Orlando staff went to the Great Escape Experience. When we arrived, a group of children had just escaped from the room we were about to be locked into for an hour, so we had no choice but to escape the room. After about 49 minutes, we escaped! We all went downstairs afterwards for a delicious dinner at The Harp & Celt Irish Pub. Once we arrived back at the house, Michaela and I talked all about our day and went to bed by 9:30! I cannot remember the last time I turned in that early!

The next day, we completed training in Orlando and all of the summer associates returned to our respective cities that afternoon. When I arrived at the Tampa office, I was given another tour and was reintroduced to everyone. Everyone was so warm and welcoming! I was then given a list of assignments to complete and began working on a summary of discovery. Wednesday was my first full day at the Tampa office. I continued to work on my summary of discovery and was given a five-inch stack (yes, I actually measured it) of medical records to sort through! That afternoon, I went to lunch with Sara Whitehead and Meredith Fee where we discussed different cases, being a first year associate, and, of course, the royal wedding—we are all big fans of Meghan’s dress!

On Thursday, I spent the majority of my day working on my summary of discovery and got through about 3 inches of the stack of medical records! At around 11:30, I went to lunch with Meredith, Carie Hall, and partner Rob Blank. I learned a little about what life was like for Carie when she was a first-time mom, Meredith’s life as a dog mom (which isn’t always glamorous), and I learned that Rob’s pet peeve is wearing jerseys to sporting games. Although, I was immediately informed that there is a picture of him floating around the office wearing a Lightning jersey to a Lightning-Capitals game at their home ice!

On Friday, I was able to attend an incredibly interesting mediation with Rob and Sara and spent the rest of the day finishing up my summary for discovery. My first week was incredibly busy and I averaged working about 11 hours each day and even came to the office over the weekend. However, it has also been an incredibly fun week and I have learned so much already. The days flew by and I really enjoyed getting to know everyone better. This feels like the perfect fit for me!

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Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

Freddy Kasten, University of Miami

A Jam-Packed and Eventful Week!


Just a little over two weeks ago, I was finishing up studying for my last exam as a 2L at the University Of Miami School Of Law. I knew that I had to focus on the task at hand, but could not stop thinking about starting the summer associate program at RKC. Now, it is crazy to think that I am already done with week one of the program!

I spent my first two days at the Orlando office for orientation with the firm’s other three summer associates: Jeff (Tallahassee), Michaela (Orlando), and Jessica (Tampa). After getting to talk with many of the attorneys there while eating breakfast, we delved into orientation with Kaye Daugherty, the firm’s HR Director. I do not think I have ever had to fill out and sign so many forms in my entire life! From there, we took a tour of both of the office’s two floors; were photographed all over the place; and then went to lunch with a few attorneys. Afterwards, we attended a few seminars in which we were taught about writing and grammar from partner Sally Culley, timekeeping from partner Damien Orato, and how to use the computers from firm trainer Robin Cutts.

The real fun began after we left the office at the end of the day.  All of the summer associates and many attorneys went to participate in the Great Escape Experience, a game where we had to work together to find clues to solve a mystery. Our time of just over 49 minutes, which would have been lower, had the guide in the room given us proper help, seemed great considering how many different puzzles we had to figure out.  But after learning that a group of fifth graders who went before us got a better time, it did not seem like nearly as much of an accomplishment. After finishing up there, we went out to a nearby pub for dinner and some drinks, and then it was time to go back to the hotel where I promptly passed out from exhaustion. On day two, we learned more about how to use the computer system from Robin and research efficiently on Westlaw, and then watched a video on sexual harassment in the workplace while eating lunch. Just like that, it was time to head back to Miami in anticipation of my first day there!

It only took a couple of hours at the Miami office for me to feel completely at home. David Emas, Justin Guido, Blanca Aguilera, and Mercy Martinez, among others, could not have been more welcoming. David gave me my first assignments around 9:30 AM, which included analyzing the interactions between our client, an insurance company, and insureds who were claiming loss of property resulting from Hurricane Irma. Later that day, partner Jacey Kaps could not have been nicer in taking me out to lunch with Maggie Sanders and Director of IT Avi Solomon. When I got back from lunch, I immediately delved right back into working on David’s assignments, and then before I knew it, it was time to go home.

On day four, I continued working on David’s cases and then received my second assignment from Justin Guido, which was to review medical records in a medical malpractice case to see if anything stood out to add to the case file. There were over 200 pages of records spanning over ten years; understandably, I have not yet finished scrutinizing them. So, at the end of the week, while writing this blog post, this is where I currently stand. I am awaiting David’s feedback on my completed Hurricane Irma summaries, still going over the medical records for Justin, and anticipating a possible assignment from partner Suzanne Singer on a motion to dismiss. All in all, I could not be happier being at RKC for the summer and cannot wait to see what comes next!

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Michaela Kirn, Stetson

Michaela Kirn, Stetson

And so it begins!


Before I left for the Orlando office on day one, I was engulfed with feelings of eagerness and excitement to start what I knew was bound to be an unforgettable ten weeks. The Tampa Summer Associate, Jessica Baik, and I carpooled to the office to begin day one of training. We arrived about 30 minutes before breakfast and waited in the conference room before meeting RKC Orlando attorneys and staff, Jeff Grosholz, the Tallahassee Summer Associate, and Freddy Kasten, the Miami Summer Associate. Once everyone arrived, we helped ourselves to a delicious buffet-style breakfast and gathered around the huge conference table to eat and get to know one another. It was great seeing the attorneys I interviewed with, and I was excited to meet new attorneys and staff that I would be working with over the next ten weeks.

After breakfast, we jumped into our busy day-long schedule of orientation, training sessions, tours, and—of course—the infamous photo-shoot. Having a full day-and-a-half of training with the other three Summer Associates made me feel relieved that we would be given all the tools to succeed throughout the program. Although I already knew Jessica from attending Stetson together, I was glad to get to know the other two Summer Associates. After a full day of training, the four of us and a group of RKC Orlando attorneys and staff walked over to the Great Escape Room and spent our night rummaging through various rooms with hidden secrets, codes, and clues to try and find our way out. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall watching everyone frantically trying to figure out how each clue fit into different puzzles and yelling across rooms when they mastered a puzzle—it was hilarious! I’m happy to say, we found our way out of the rooms with 15 minutes to spare, which is not surprising considering all the brain power we had on our side. We ended the night at an Irish Pub for dinner where we socialized and laughed about our struggles in the Great Escape Room.

The next morning consisted of more computer and Westlaw training before the other three Summer Associates headed back to their offices around lunchtime. This was it—I was now on my own and ready to get to work! My first assignment was a research project on a breach of insurance contract issue assigned by Darryl Gavin, an Orlando partner. Throughout the rest of the week, I was given many more research projects and quickly realized the key to juggling multiple assignments is staying organized. Every attorney has been great at explaining issues thoroughly and emphasizing where my focus needs to be when researching or completing any project. Besides working on multiple assignments, I was able to break up my week by going to lunches with different attorneys, including Brett Carey, Cristina Cambo, Sally Culley, Steve Klein, and Patrick Delaney.  

Aside from the assignments and lunches, I was also able to attend my first deposition (well, almost). Thursday morning I rode with Orlando partner, Damien Orato, to Maitland for a deposition. Unfortunately, the witness didn’t show up. However, I knew I would have many more opportunities to see all the depositions my heart desires during the summer. By Friday, I had seven different projects from seven different attorneys and managed to complete three. If the first week is any indication of how the rest of my summer will unfold, I’m in for an unforgettable summer!

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Welcome 2018 Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell Summer Associates!

We are so pleased to have you working with us for the next ten weeks.  Our goal is to expose you to virtually every aspect of being a trial attorney.  Our program is designed so that you will be attending presentations that will cover everything from handling written discovery, preparing and taking expert testimony to opening and closing statements.  You will then participate in practical workshops and apply the knowledge you just gained.  All the while, you will be handling billable client work and getting to know your RKC colleagues.

Then the most exciting part of the program takes place – the Mock Trial.  You will be placed into teams and given a case packet that contains the fact pattern, exhibits, deposition transcripts and more.  Each team will prepare its case under the guidance of RKC attorney coaches, and then you will present to a panel of judges comprised of RKC partners.  Each team will participate in two trials, once as plaintiff counsel and the second as defense.  You will be applying everything you learned in the workshops.  Be prepared to give opening and closing statements, argue motions in limine and question witnesses.
 


So get ready for a whole lot of experience and fun.  We hope you have a remarkable summer with RKC!

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