Ensuring the well-being of your team in a high-level, holistic manner.

CCBJ: Tell us about your role as Director of Health and Well-Being at Akin Gump.

Kimm Merkel: At Akin Gump, we believe that benefits play an integral part in a person’s ability to manage work and life outside the office. We have a team mantra that says it’s important to meet people where they are. Individual needs differ so greatly, so it can be a challenge, but it does guide us in our programming, as well as how I approach my responsibilities. We focus on providing high-quality, competitive programs that arm each individual with resources so that they can make informed decisions.

That covers traditional benefits, like medical, dental and vision, but over the last number of years, it’s also been coupled with a strong focus on well-being, which at Akin Gump is defined as one’s physical, mental, financial and social/community health. We must be balanced in each of these respects, or we could potentially suffer in all of them. For example, if we are struggling with our finances, stressing and worrying about money, that can take a mental or physical toll on a person, and it could
Continue Reading Meeting People Where They Are: A Healthy Firm Is a Successful Firm

The message in the opening remarks was clear: Despite recent leadership changes – not to mention a certain amount of backstage drama – the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium is more committed than ever to their movement and taking it further faster.
Continue Reading AROUND THE CLOC: Highlights from the 2019 Vegas Institute 

The Gates Foundation’s Keith Matthews explains what satisfies his soul and makes him happy to come to work every day.

CCBJ: Your career followed an interesting and varied path to the Gates Foundation. Can you tell us about that?

Keith Matthews: Professionally, my first job out of college was as a credit analyst and later a middle-market loan officer at what is now JPMorgan Chase. With that background – and with a finance degree from college – I knew early on in my career that I wanted to focus on transactional work.
Continue Reading Helping the Client Achieve Its Objective: Saving Lives

Connie Collingsworth is chief business operations officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her remarks have been edited for length and style.

CCBJ: What led you to pursue a career in law?

Connie Collingsworth: I was somewhat strong-willed, always standing up for what was right, and I wanted to be an independent professional.
Continue Reading At the Table: Look Past the Paper to the Person

Gage Johnson is senior VP, general counsel and secretary of Paramount Group Inc., a New York City-based public REIT. His remarks have been edited for length and style.

CCBJ: How did you become a lawyer?

Gage Johnson: When I was a kid, there was a TV show called “Perry Mason,” a lawyer who helped people out of jams. Mason also always won and was fun to watch. My dad, a lawyer in Bowling Green, Kentucky, looked like Perry Mason. He became a judge, so it was natural for me to become a lawyer.
Continue Reading At the Table: Mushroom Lawyers Need Not Apply