2015 Summer Associate Rachel Wasserman discusses her unique opportunity to travel to the firm’s Tel Aviv Office
On my first day as a Summer Associate at Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office I was certain of two things. First, I was working for a prestigious, global law firm. Second, the next 10 weeks would likely be a truly educational and life-changing experience. What I didn’t know then was that five weeks into the summer program I would receive a phone call that would enlighten me as to the global nature of the practice of law at Greenberg Traurig.
June 10th started out like any other Wednesday. I walked into the office, grabbed a coffee, conversed with some of the other summer associates and got to work. Around 10:15 a.m., I received a call from Drew Altman, one of the shareholders in the firm’s Miami office. Gary Epstein, managing shareholder of the Tel Aviv office, and Joey Shabot, a shareholder also in the Tel Aviv office, reached out to Drew about the possibility of bringing one of the Miami summer associates to the Tel Aviv office to help out on a deal.
“Do you have a passport?” Drew asked. “Yes,” I hurriedly replied, wondering why he had asked. “Would you like to go to Israel to work out of our Tel Aviv office? They are working on a big deal there and could use another hand.” I readily agreed as I was excited to work on a project that would involve interaction and coordination with multiplied Greenberg Traurig offices.
As I stepped off the plane Sunday afternoon at Ben Gurion Airport, I had no idea what to expect. I had been to Israel twice before, but only as a student and tourist. I wondered what it would be like to work there. I arrived the next morning at the Tel Aviv office and was greeted by warm, smiling faces. I immediately felt at home.
During the two weeks that followed, I learned more than I could have anticipated. I was fortunate enough to work on two deals. One deal involved a public offering where Greenberg represented Cowen & Co. as the underwriter. The company involved was Supercom Ltd., an RF-ID company based in Israel. The second deal was an M&A transaction for a large Spanish public company active in Israel. The work, of course, was both challenging and exciting. I was fortunate enough to work alongside talented attorneys who took the time to explain the deal process and really helped me learn and grow. I was truly impressed by the seamless coordination between multiple Greenberg Traurig offices, despite the significant time zone differences.
Ultimately, the legal work on the deal was timely completed and it was soon time to return home. I now could better appreciate why Greenberg Traurig, as a global law firm, is able to continually attract and service the needs of clients, even if their respective business operations extend outside of the United States.
My time in Tel Aviv wasn’t filled with just work. In fact, on one of my last days in Tel Aviv, Sara Dahan, the office’s business manager, graciously planned the “First Annual Yom Keif.” “Yom Keif” in Hebrew stands for “Fun Day.” Devora Snyder, Aaron Katz and I began our day with breakfast at the Dan Hotel. We then went to the Tel Aviv farmers market, took a tour of Tel Aviv in a double-decker open bus, and concluded our day with lunch at the Tel Aviv port. It was a wonderful day, to say the least! Additionally, I was fortunate enough to meet Gary Epstein on my trip. He took me and the other attorneys and staff in the Tel Aviv office out for lunch. We shared great conversation over authentic Israeli food.
Although it was sad to say goodbye to Israel and the new friends I made within the Tel Aviv office, I was excited to get back to Miami and share my Israel experience with friends and family. When I started the summer, I knew that Greenberg Traurig was a global firm. My Tel Aviv experience afforded me a real world perspective as to what that means for both the client and a lawyer working at the firm. I am grateful to have been afforded this opportunity as a summer associate.