When Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP announced Oct. 17 that C.W. Raines III had been named the firm’s new chief operating officer, his new role was something of a homecoming. Raines previously worked in the firm’s Indianapolis office as an associate from 2004 to 2006, where his practice focused on corporate services including mergers and acquisitions, startups, and lending transactions.
“This is a firm that’s near and dear to my heart,” said Raines, who spent two summers at the firm prior to his initial joining. He said that experience helped him cut his teeth as a young attorney and as a businessperson. When the firm contacted him about the COO opportunity, he said, “It’s like a family member calling to see if you were interested in returning home again.”
Though the path Raines took to get to his current position was circuitous, he said his experiences along the way helped shape his career.
Prior to his legal and business careers, Raines spent four seasons playing professional soccer after earning his bachelor’s degree in international business from the University of Evansville in 1997.
In 1996, he was named NCAA Division I Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year. In 1997 and 1998, he played for the Nashville Metros, which was part of what was known as the A-League immediately under Major League Soccer. In 1998 and 1999, he played for the Wichita Wings of the National Professional Soccer League before finishing his career in 1999 with the A-League Minnesota Thunder.
“I was paid to stay healthy and eat right and take care of myself and have people cheering” and wanting his autograph, he said. “I mean, what a great life to have.”
In 2003, he earned his J.D. from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and his MBA from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.
Raines said while he looks back on his days on the soccer field with fondness, he has taken the lessons he learned there with him.
“(It’s) still a great training ground for the real world, too,” he said. “We all work in teams. … Sometimes you’re the star. Sometimes you take a back seat.”
Gaining a mentor
Bob Hebert met Raines when he was a partner at the firm, which was then known as Bingham McHale, before merging with Louisville-based law firm Greenebaum Doll & McDonald in 2011.
Raines was an “all-around great personality,” said Hebert, who in retirement now volunteers two days at week at Indianapolis Legal Aid Society. “Hardest-working guy I’ve ever seen.”
Raines said Hebert was a tremendous mentor in his career and life overall.
Hebert recalled he was outside general counsel for Indianapolis-based Aearo Technologies, and when he was asked to become in-house general counsel, he had the chance to hire an associate general counsel.
“And, without hesitation, I offered the job to C.W.,” said Hebert.
In 2008, 3M acquired Aearo Technologies, presenting the two men with a fork in the road.
“At that point in my career, I stayed on with 3M for a year reporting up to the headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota,” said Hebert. “And C.W. did the same, except that they wanted him to move up there, so he did.”
Time at 3M
While at 3M, Raines served as senior legal counsel, senior global business manager, and business development and strategy manager.
“I really got a broad brush of industrial legal experience working on contracts, working on acquisitions, dealing with customer issues and supplier issues of all types, even some IT work in there, which was great,” said Raines. “It was a tremendous experience with very far-reaching responsibilities. … Every moment I knew I had issues going on no matter what time of day. It was just because of the broad brush of sales that we had across the globe. That had its own set of challenges, certainly.”
Hebert said during all that time, he maintained the utmost respect for Raines, especially his work ethic.
“He was just the kind of guy you didn’t have to worry about whether he was covering his assignment or covering your back,” said Hebert. “If you gave something to C.W. he either did it properly and on time, or he let you know that he was covered up and needed some more time or outside assistance because of the technical nature. He just never left you hanging in the wind. So, that’s a great comfort to know that he’s got your back. I can’t say enough good about him.”
3M is one of 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, with sales of more than $30 billion and more than 90,000 employees worldwide. Over the course of his career, Raines has traveled to more than 23 countries to work with customers and clients.
“Traveling the world was one of the most exciting parts of my 3M experience, not because I went to glamorous locations,” he said. “It wasn’t always a glamorous life, as much as it sounds like, ‘Wow, you’re going to all these great places.’ But, it gave me a tremendous appreciation of the diversity of thought and diversity of experiences that are out there and the value that people from different walks of life can really add to your thinking.”
Looking to the future
Tobin McClamroch is the managing partner at BGD, where he has worked since 1996. He said Raines has more than met expectations since returning to the firm.
“In the first few months, C.W. will be focused on learning the business of the practice of law and learning the drivers for success for a law firm from the business side as opposed to the billing lawyers side,” he said. “In addition to that, over the first few months he’s also going to be focused on internally operating the firm and assuming more and more responsibility for internal operations. Ultimately, in the future I’d like to see him get more involved in the strategic direction of the firm and helping with growth initiatives. … He’s done an outstanding job so far and our hopes about his different experiences and how they would help our firm have proved already to be correct.”
Hebert, who spoke in favor of Raines during the COO position hiring process, said he wasn’t surprised by this positive assessment.
“Obviously, there’s a learning curve,” said Hebert. “Managing lawyers, I mean, that’s like herding cats, with managing egos. I don’t want to underestimate the difficulty there, but that’s a little new dynamic. But, in terms of budgeting and encouraging the business entities to meet their budgets and managing expenses and looking at expansion opportunities and successfully integrating expansion companies or expansion law firms … it all has a certain pattern to it.
“I think his future looks good with the firm doing that. As long as they can keep him challenged and keep him compensated, I think he’ll be a great addition for them.”•