March 19, 2018

The Financial Printer Diaries: Tales of an Era Gone By – Part 4

Below is Part 4 of a collection of memories from members about working at the printers (here’s Part 1; Part 2; and Part 3). Please keep them coming and I will only blog them if you give me permission – you can determine whether you want attribution or anonymity:

– Chris Chaffin notes: I started at Vinson & Elkins in Houston in 1995 right as the markets started picking up again. The “Corporate & Securities” section seemed perpetually understaffed so we were thrown right into the fire as first-years. The Spring of my first year, I started dating my eventual wife of now 19 years. After our first date, I told her “I don’t know when I will see you again” which she didn’t understand. I meant of course “well, I’m always at the printer, so I don’t know.”

I was then stuck at the printer and talking about it with one of the salesmen and he suggested that he could order in some really nice food at the printer and I should invite her to dine at the printer. So, I called her up and invited her to a “private” dinner in the corner of the Bowne dining room. Bowne brought in some really nice Italian food with sumptuous desserts and we had a “dinner date” right there at the printer. The rest is history – three beautiful children and we still laugh about our early date at the printer.

– My first night at the printer in 1987 spent proofing, correcting, redrafting, etc. For dinner, I was given a credit card and told to enjoy at the Old Homestead downtown. When I returned, the invoice was examined and it was determined that I had not eaten (or spent) enough, and lobster tails, shrimps and steaks were summarily ordered in. In those days, that was the norm.

– My favorite printer moment was a particularly protracted filing (several days shuttling between the printer and a downtown hotel) – one evening upon submission of hundreds of pages of changes, with time to kill until the turnaround would be complete – traveling uptown to the Beacon Theatre to catch one of the performances of the Allman Brothers during their annual run in March, and thence returning to the Printer to complete the proofing and filing of the documents by morning. All-in-all, a very satisfactory experience.

– In 1986, I was a first year associate at a large prestigious law firm and sent to the printer in Houston for a large bond deal. They had just converted to the computer typesetting and were busy bragging to the attorneys and bankers about how great their system was. About 3 AM, we received what we hoped was the final draft of the indenture to put into the filing package. Turns out that their fancy new system had dropped every “y” in the document. They were horrified. Eventually it was fixed and we had to re-slug a long document. At least I got a few good meals and tickets to the NBA Finals out of it.

– Kent Shafer of Miller Canfield: When I was a kid, I worked part time proofreading for the printer on the next block, which did calendars, advertising fliers, and so on. It was a hot, filthy, noisy place – linotype machines clacking, ink on the floor, and acrid smoke in the air. Shortly after joining our firm, a senior partner dispatched me to “the printer” in New York (Pandick). Having worked at a printer before, I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. I will always remember being shown into that elegant, mahogany filled room, with a cheerful fire burning in the fireplace, and being served coffee in a china cup by a uniformed waitress wearing a white apron.

More on “Proxy Season Blog”

We continue to post new items daily on our blog – “Proxy Season Blog” – for members. Members can sign up to get that blog pushed out to them via email whenever there is a new entry by simply inputting their email address on the left side of that blog. Here are some of the latest entries:

– Shareholder Proposals: Trends
– How Do You Count a Multi-Day Board Meeting?
– Shareholder Proposals: 1st “Economic Relevance” Exclusion Since New Guidance
– Shareholder Proposals: CII Jumps Into “Special Meeting” Conflicts Fray
– Shareholder Proposals: No Exclusion for “Independent Chairs & NYSE Standards”

Broc Romanek