Day In The Life: Zachary Raimi

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Name: Zachary Raimi

Title: General Counsel, Americas

Company: HH Global

Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA

6:00 am

My alarm goes off; it’s set to a news station, the voices of the broadcasters ease me awake. With two kids to get ready for school, and a dog who demands attention, there is no time to hit  “snooze”— at least not on a workday. I spend the first 45 minutes or so waking up my two sons (ages 16 and 12), making their lunches (while my wife handles their breakfasts), taking the dog for a walk, and checking my work email. I work for a global company, so I am always greeted with overnight emails.

6:45 am

Rain or shine, hot or cold, I am in the backyard playing fetch with our dog, Penny, for 15 minutes. If I do not, she will bark and make a loud fuss until I do. Unfortunately, she has me trained instead of the other way around. Penny is a “COVID puppy”— a now three-year-old Cavapoo.

7:00 am

While the kids are getting ready for school, I grab my first cup of coffee of the day and watch the news. I usually flip around between broadcast news and the cable news channels. If it’s football season, I also check ESPN.

7:45 am

If I am working from our office in downtown Chicago, I head to the local train station for the ride into town, a trip that takes about one hour and 15 minutes door-to-door. I go into the office about once a week, and work from home the rest of the time. I find working from home to be more productive — I do not have to spend time commuting and there are fewer interruptions, which is helpful when reading complex legal documents.

If I’m working from home, I head into our spare bedroom which doubles as my home office and boot up my computer. I usually spend the first 30-60 minutes of the day responding to emails and preparing a list of what I hope to accomplish that day.

9:00 am

Today’s first call is with one of our law firms who is representing us in some complex litigation. A settlement conference is nearing, and the firm and I are discussing our settlement strategy and discussing various other strategic matters. As our company has grown, so to has the amount of litigation. Most of the cases are commercial or employment disputes. My European colleagues are always amazed at how litigious people are in the United States.

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10:00 am

I have my weekly one-to-one check-in call with a lawyer on my team. I currently lead a team of five lawyers who live and work throughout North and South America. I hold weekly one-to-one calls with each direct report. Frequent contact is important to maintain a good working relationship. It also helps me stay on top of all the many issues our team handles.

11:00 am

Our team is leanly staffed, compared to the volume of work we handle, so I work on many contracts personally. Today, I am in the late stages of negotiating a sizeable contract with a new client, and I hope to resolve all open issues. Most of our client contracts are traditional master services agreements, although a number of our clients are in regulated industries, which makes the contracting process more complex.

12:00 am

For lunch today, I am not meeting a friend or law firm lawyer, so I make myself a sandwich and read the news online. I used to be an avid consumer of printed newspapers, but like most of the rest of society, I’ve migrated to reading the news on my phone or tablet. Some days, I also try to sneak in a short run or other exercise.

1:00 pm

I finally have a chance to read and redline a new master services agreement from our new client. Most of our clients want us to review and redline their standard agreements, which adds time and complexity to the review and negotiation process. But, our team gets to see a wide array of contracts, some of which have unusual provisions, so it keeps us on our toes.

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2:00 pm

It is now time for a Teams call with a few senior executives to review our various ongoing lawsuits. I present an update on each matter including where we are procedurally, how much we have spent on outside counsel fees and whether any of the counterparties have expressed a willingness to settle. I try to offer helpful perspective and insight about the litigation process, drawing on my litigation background. (Earlier in my career, I worked as a criminal prosecutor in Chicago and then at a civil litigation firm.)

3:00 pm

Although I am pretty far removed from being a law student, every now and then a novel legal issue comes up that requires legal research on Westlaw or some other tool. Today, I am researching how different states regulate various employment law issues, including non-compete agreements and background checks.

4:00 pm

I devote this hour to managing the Americas legal function. It is budget season, so I put together a budget for the coming fiscal year. To do this, I talk to my partners in finance to get more information about last year’s legal spend with our law firms and other vendors. I reach out to our external law firms to discuss legal fees for certain types of work; in particular, I ask for annual budgets from the law firms that handle our litigation.  

5:00 pm

Toward the end of each workday, I usually go through my email inbox one more time and respond to as many emails as possible. I also use this time to ask my business colleagues for status reports. For example, we are in the process of renewing our trademarks in the United States, and I check in with our marketing team to see how they are progressing with collecting support to submit with our renewal application.

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6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

This is family time. Depending on the day, my wife or I will prepare dinner while the other drives the kids to after school activities. After dinner, my younger son and I usually play sports outside for a while — basketball, baseball, football. Like in the morning with our dog, bad weather will not keep us inside.

9:00 pm

After a long day, I finally get a chance to read for fun or watch some TV. If I’m particularly busy at work, I’ll use this time to do more work.

10:30 pm

Lights out.

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