Husch Blackwell associates on the firm’s Labor and Employment team kicked off the new year with a special gift to the team’s seven partners. The team’s associates created a 2024 calendar, including “awkward family photos” of the associates.
“It was a surprise-gift, and we were just tickled. I thought it was the best thing in the world,” said Erik Eisenmann, partner at Husch Blackwell.
“It makes me really proud to work at a place where our associates feel good about each other and comfortable to do this. It’s neat to see the friendships developed inside and outside of the work environment. The firm has created an outlet to express creativity and individuality,” Eisenmann said.
Eisenmann said he noticed how everyone was dressed the same one day.
“That explains why the associates had matching outfits on a particular day,” he said.
Noting that the Milwaukee office has a “fun tradition related to humor,” Eisenmann said the 2024 calendar took things to the next level after a recent comedy skit at the firm’s holiday party.
“Normally there is a live skit performed by associates intended to roast the partners,” Eisenmann said.
In more recent years, Eisenmann noted how the firm retained a professional camera crew to record the associates perform a skit recreating the television series “The Office.”
“Associates pretended to be different partners and portrayed things that actually happened over the course of the year. We screened the video at the holiday party. And just like the 2024 associate calendar, it makes us remember we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously,” Eisenmann said.
Working in employment and labor relations law, Eisenmann noted the irony of the May 2024 photo, complete with the associates dressed all in denim, piled on top of each other.
“There was a joke in the office since we are all so well versed in what you can and can’t do at work. Everyone who participated in the photo was asked to consent before taking the photo,” Eisenmann said.
Associate Edgar Ceniceros-Herrada noted how the idea for the calendar came from two of his colleagues, both associates on the labor and employment team at Husch Blackwell’s Milwaukee office.
“Catarina Colón and Caitlyn Doyle brought up the idea initially,” said Ceniceros-Herrada.
Colón said it was a really positive experience.
“The best part is you can see how much fun we had. None of it was forced. We were having an absolute blast,” Colón said.
The concept was initially developed last October, according to Doyle.
“In the beginning of October, Catarina and I joked how funny it would be to give the partners a photo of us,” Doyle said, noting the brainstorm developed into a full 12-month calendar complete with some “awkward family photos,” Doyle said.
“We wanted to give the partners something they would enjoy using all year, and we had fun making it. We were really excited to see their reactions when they started looking through it,” Ceniceros-Herrada said.
“The other associates and I thought it was a great idea. We thought the partners would love it,” Ceniceros-Herrada said.
“We took it and ran,” Ceniceros-Herrada added.
According to Ceniceros-Herrada., the photoshoot was done at his house and his sister-in-law (who is a professional photographer) traveled three hours to take the photos and edit.
According to Doyle, the associates devised a team dress code, and everyone researched “awkward family photo inspiration. We split up months, based on interests and birthdays. The whole process took about 90 minutes when we gathered on a Friday night.”
Noting that normally, “we live and die by the billable hours, we cranked this out in less than hour and a half including costume changes,” Colón said.
“It was really a testament to the associates’ efficiency,” Colón added.
Doyle said she’s pleased with the partners’ reaction.
“We expected it would get a laugh. We didn’t expect it to catch fire. The response was much more positive than I would have thought. I just assumed the partners would laugh politely and then toss the calendars in their recycle bins. Instead, Eric placed the calendar in his office and the social media team posted it on LinkedIn, Facebook and Tiktok; it’s exploded with hundreds of likes.
Speaking of social media, Colón noted, “one of the things that I posted on LinkedIn I think relates. Our firm group’s retention is really excellent over the past year. This is attributed to genuinely enjoying each others’ company. The calendar is just one example,” Colón noted.
“It was just a fun time. We genuinely like each other,” Doyle said.
“We spent Friday night together in a cool bonding moment. What a good group of people we have here in our Milwaukee office,” Doyle added.
“It was something we really enjoyed and was genuine because we are all close work friends. That’s something we are really proud of in Milwaukee, and we hope it continues,” Colón said.