June 18, 2019

The “Nina Flax” Files: Ways We Make Work Fun

Here’s the latest “list” installment from Nina Flax of Mayer Brown (here’s the last one):

I’m currently the Office Practice Leader for our Northern California Corporate Group – but long before that I was a cheerleader (national champions in high school and, yes, even for a year in college – that surprises some and not at all others). So I think my “rah rah” focus on team work has been a contributing factor to some of these…

1. We Chide: Mostly about lunch. It is not okay to go to lunch by yourself. If the newer members of our team go to lunch without others, or without at least telling others, they get grief. I think deservingly so.

2. We Dance: Okay, maybe not the collective “we” so much as me. But randomly blasting music sometimes and dancing in the office is fun.

3. We Nickname: One of my close college friends was excellent at nicknaming people. He would “Mc” people. Like Sketchy McSpends-A-Lot (that was seriously one of them). I do not “Mc,” but I have come up with “Stealth” (sometimes referred to as “Sneaky,” when describing the way said colleague sometimes sneaks in or out of the office without saying hello or goodbye), “Stinky” (term of endearment, though said colleague sometimes doesn’t shower before 4am calls, which really we should all think is acceptable) and most recently “Bendit” (because said colleague had his hair cut at a barbershop co-owned by Beckham).

I am frequently referred to as “Stinky” (I promise there is no odor, it is a term of endearment, and has nothing to do with not showering before 4am calls) and “Lil’Bit.” I miss the days of “Bean” or “Neener.” I also miss being more creative – some of our nicknames are still just last names. We are working on that, but you can’t force it.

4. We Prank: There was recently a motion at an all-lawyer lunch (which we have each month) to move all of our snacks from the third floor kitchen to the second floor kitchen. Since we determined that the corporate folks present held proxies for all of the corporate colleagues not in attendance due to work travel and conflicting conference calls, the motion was vetoed. But later that night some elves in the office moved all of the snacks into the motioner’s office. In response, the motioner pretended to get said elves in trouble and spread a message through the office manager and others that snacks were being taken away.

5. We Hang: In the office, by having random conversations in our offices, in the kitchen or even in the hall. And importantly outside of the office, whether it is an impromptu dinner hosted at my house, a soccer game, a toddler’s birthday party or a random home drop-by. I have even helped the other Stinky clean and organize toys on a random Saturday – it was cathartic for both of us.

6. We Walk: Sometimes you just need a break – whether it’s from being indoors, or to vent about something that is on your mind. Me and my chief partner in crime have come up with a path around the office that we frequently walk and that we encourage others to walk with us when necessary – or just whenever!

7. We Conspire: Top of mind on this one is what funny artwork we will hang on Stealth’s wall – because it’s weird that they’ve never hung anything on office walls in years. By the time this is published, I will have brought in a print from my childhood bedroom (yes, that I still own). It is called “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” by Harry Fonseca. My version of this print has buffalo in pink and white, WITH GLITTER, around the border. I am sure Stealth will love it. And even if they don’t, I suspect they won’t exert the energy to take it down, which is hilarious already. It will be a nice addition to the “farm” picture already pinned up courtesy of the other Stinky’s daughter. Stealth correctly identified the main blob as a chicken.

8. We Gift: Like bringing in an avocado with a “Happy Birthday!” post-it on it for a colleague who is on the keto diet. Or a sign from an event “The Future is Female” to put on a colleague’s door.

Transcript: “M&A Stories – Practical Guidance (Enjoyably Digested)”

We have posted the transcript for our recent webcast: “M&A Stories: Practical Guidance (Enjoyably Digested).”

Tomorrow’s Webcast: “Navigating Corp Fin’s Comment Process”

Tune in tomorrow for the webcast – “Navigating Corp Fin’s Comment Process” – to hear former Senior SEC Staffers Era Anagnosti of White & Case, Karen Garnett of Proskauer Rose and Jay Knight of Bass Berry explain the process by which the SEC Staff issues comments – step-by-step – as well as provide their practical guidance about how to respond. This program will cover both the basics, as well as advanced issues for practitioners to consider.

Liz Dunshee