January 12, 2012

The Financial Printer Diaries: Tales of an Era Gone By – Part 2

Below is Part 2 of a collection of memories from anonymous members about working at the printers (here’s Part 1). Please keep them coming and I will only blog them if you give me permission:

– Worst time at the printer? Being in-house at the same time as Joe Flom. Our deal sat totally ignored until Joe’s was done and out the door!! Imagine that!!??

– Been at Bowne around the clock for a week on a very difficult public offering. Needless, I was on a first-name basis with everyone employed at Bowne at that time. About night 5, our group is by far the largest group in-house. When I emerge from a meeting in smaller conference room about 3:00 AM, the night receptionist goes absolutely pale. She says, “Harry, I’m so sorry, I did not realize you were still here.” I say, “Thanks, but why?” She hesitates, and then says, “Well, your wife called about 30 minutes ago and I told her not only that you were not here now, but also that you had not been here tonight.” I calmly replied, “Now guess who you are going to call and wake up to correct that small gaff??!!” She did, and my long-suffering lawyer bride thought it was hysterical . . . . Now many years later still one of her favorite war stories.

– I remember slugging proof on a Merrill Lynch deal and being astonished at how fast their people could say “Merrill no com Lynch com Pierce com Fenner ampersand Smith no com Incorporated six up.”

– 3:00 a.m., eight months pregnant and recalculating a Beneficial Ownership Table for the 400th time because the bank kept changing the offering size. And then falling asleep on the couch only to wake up to the nauseating (to a pregnant woman) smell of eggs and lukewarm pancakes and some banker telling me we needed to change the table again. All while listening to the slam-whirr, slam-whirr of the ball on the Golden Tee machine. Good times.

– I graduated from law school in 2001, so I was pretty much at the end of “The Printer Era.” While you could submit changes to documents via e-mail in 2001, in order to proof what I refer to as the “Blueline” (ready to print) “book version” of the document, you had to actually go to Donnelley’s or Bowne’s offices (Bluelines could not be transmitted over PDF back then).

I am from New Orleans, so large quantities of alcohol assembled in one location do not shock me. There was one 6:00 a.m. morning at The Printer (I forget which one) where I may have confused a refrigerator full of beer with a vision of Heaven. We had just cleared to print, and The Printer Rep invited us into their darkened kitchen while opening their refrigerator. Perhaps it was the warm glow of light shining through a refrigerator stocked with beer, but I nearly dropped to my knees. I ended up (very quickly) downing a beer, running back to my apartment, showering/dressing and zooming back to the office for an 8:00 a.m. meeting with the client.

My former employer shall remain unnamed. The beer, I recall, was delicious.

Speaking of “printers,” I love this hilarious picture of one…

Latham & Watkins “Weekly Words of Wisdom” Blog

I’ve certainly been remiss in not highlighting Latham & Watkins “Weekly Words of Wisdom” Blog that has been around for nearly two years. The group at Latham responsible has been doing great work in their weekly writings. It’s informative, particularly for attorneys not deeply involved in securities law (which is true for the bulk of in-house lawyers since they often wear many hats) – and written in a style that is easy to understand. One of the things I like about the blog is that the topics tackled are not ripped from the headlines. Rather, they cover bread and butter stuff that is more likely to get them attention from potential clients. Check it out!

Sara Hanks’ “Capitol Capitalist” Blog

I’m also excited to note that Sara Hanks – former Corp Fin Chief of the Office of International Corporate Finance – has launched the “Capitol Capitalist” Blog. Check that out as well!

– Broc Romanek