Zachary Raimi knows the power of connections. As he’s gone from local government to a law firm to in-house roles, he’s seen the importance of professional networks first-hand. Today, as general counsel of the Americas region for outsourced marketing provider HH Global, he leverages the relationships he’s built to give new opportunities to younger lawyers and help his company thrive.
It’s an approach Raimi has nurtured from the start. He was born near Detroit and studied English in nearby Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. But Raimi wanted to see more of the country and experience life in a big city. That desire took him to Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Without roots in the city, Raimi had to build his inner circle from scratch. “Who you know matters in a career, especially at the start,” he says. “I didn’t have friends or family in the area to help me get a foot in the door.”
Raimi came up with a plan. He volunteered as a clerk in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. The move paid off. Just being inside the nation’s second-largest prosecutor’s office helped Raimi quickly meet various lawyers, judges, paralegals, government officials, and law enforcement officers. He researched applicable laws, sat in on witness interviews, and gathered facts. After earning an Illinois 711 license, Raimi was able to interview witnesses and victims of crimes, prepare briefs, appear in court, and try cases under the supervision of a licensed attorney.
The young student volunteered in the criminal division and focused on his studies. He worked on the Consumer Law Review, participated on moot court teams, and made the dean’s list. When it came time to graduate, Raimi stepped right into a full-time position as an assistant state’s attorney. He prosecuted juvenile offenses, wrote dozens of appellate court briefs, and argued seven cases before the Illinois Appellate Court.
After about four years, Raimi moved to a mid-sized downtown Chicago firm to represent insurance companies and others in civil litigation, insurance defense, and other matters. In 2007, he took his first in-house position with Allstate. The transition helped Raimi round out his experience and learn how to spot issues that affect a large employer. He advised leaders on employment and labor issues, drafted contracts, worked with international subsidiaries, and was the lead insurance compliance lawyer for various business units.
In 2015, Raimi joined HH Global for the chance to operate in a smaller environment where he could make more of an impact. The organization leverages its own proprietary technology to produce advertising materials and campaigns for leading brands around the world. Raimi, who was hired as the first and only lawyer in the Americas, had to quickly learn the full details of HH Global’s industry and internal operations. That again caused him to focus on relationships.
“I had to rely on others here and push myself to learn new areas of the law,” he says. “When you don’t have a massive legal team, everyone has to be diverse and wear many hats, which means we have to maintain willingness to learn from one another.”
In addition to his work at HH Global, Raimi is an active member of the Chicago chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, connecting him to contacts within the industry. “Some of whom have provided career and substantive legal guidance to me that has been quite useful,” he says.
In 2015, HH Global had about one thousand employees globally. The company has since acquired its largest competitor, InnerWorkings, Inc., and now has 4,500 employees spread across sixty-four countries. They manage about 72,000 digital assets and $2 billion in spend.
As the company continues to grow, Raimi works to streamline legal operations and integrate acquired companies. He’s overseen the creation of numerous new legal entities in South and Central Americas, negotiated multimillion-dollar commercial contracts, created training materials, coordinated governance matters for numerous subsidiaries, and managed outside law firms.
After the InnerWorkings deal, HH Global retained a lawyer in Brazil who acts as managing counsel for Latin America. Raimi’s team also includes one attorney in Mexico City, another in Colombia, and another in the United States. Although they are separated by distance, he makes sure everyone feels connected. Raimi may rely on video conferencing and the occasional in-person meeting, but knows that real connections are more important than ever before.
“I want the lawyers on my team to build strong relationships because that’s been undeniably important at every stage in my career,” he says. “And I know it will prove to be true for them, too.”
Campos Mello Advogados:
“Zack has always showed great leadership skills, intelligence, closely involved in all discussions. He stands out among our clients for his proactivity and ability to work with different jurisdictions/cultures, seeing the big picture and working closely to find the best solution.”
–Juliana Nunes, Partner
“Consilio is proud to be a partner to Zack Raimi and his global team. We congratulate Zack on his success at HH Global and his recognition by Modern Counsel.”
–Cherisse M. Lake, Director of Business Development