VOL. 123 | NO. 144 | Thursday, July 24, 2008
Raines Recognized for Real Estate Practice
By Rebekah Hearn
RICHARD C. RAINES
Firm: Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP
Basics: Raines recently was named among the best attorneys in his field by the Chambers USA 2008 Directory of America’s Leading Lawyers.
“I started off in litigation, and discovered it was hinder, frustrate and delay. The winners never won enough, and the losers always lost too much.”
– Richard C. Raines
Richard C. Raines is a member of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP and a part of its Real Estate and Construction Service Team.
Raines recently was named among the best attorneys in his field by the Chambers USA 2008 Directory of America’s Leading Lawyers. He was named for his work in real estate.
Raines concentrates his practice in the areas of financial transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and real estate acquisition, development and disposition. He has served as the in-house general counsel to Regions Bank and is a member of the Memphis, Tennessee and American Bar Associations.
Q: What attracted you to the practice of law?
A: I would say that my older brother, Jim Raines, who was a lawyer with the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, and then came back to Memphis with primarily Glankler Brown (PLLC). He was just an influence in seeing what he was doing, and how much he liked it and how good he was at it. So that’s probably my most single influence. He is now general in-house counsel with Thomas & Betts (Corp.), a public company here in the city. I would say my brother is my influence.
Q: What inspired you to go into the financial and real estate areas of the law?
A: I started off in litigation, and discovered it was hinder, frustrate and delay. The winners never won enough, and the losers always lost too much. After a couple of years in litigation, I was fortunate to join Union Planters Bank (now Regions Financial Corp.) as their general counsel and stayed there for 10 years, and as such I got to do all types of business transactions. It typically made me feel better about what I was doing. I still do a lot of work for Regions and other financial institutions in the city and in the region.
Q: In today’s struggling real estate market, have you seen a decrease in clientele or a different type of client or services being provided?
A: I have seen more focus on exit strategies for clients, both financial institution clients and developer clients. (There’s) more pressure on cost and expenses, and just a trend to a slower practice area.
Q: What do you think of the state of the commercial real estate market in Memphis?
A: I think Memphis and the tri-state area is a sound development practice as any other area of the country, with national companies coming in, (and) companies that are here getting bigger. So my personal feeling is that this area is very strong. I do a lot of development work for clients throughout the U.S., and I have seen projects get placed on hold, I have seen projects cancelled, but not so in this area. So I’m encouraged by what’s going on here.
Q: Do you think that is because Memphis is such a wide distribution center, or has lower property taxes than other regions?
A: I think certainly Memphis is a distribution center in both air and rail and river and trucking. It sits in a very unique geographic area to serve East Coast, West Coast, Canada (and) the Gulf. There are new railroad tracks coming through; there are new interstate highways coming through. Gas becomes a factor; the river transportation can increase. So I think we just sit geographically well-positioned.
Q: If you could change one thing about the practice of law, what would you change and why?
A: I would like to see higher levels of integrity in certain areas of law; I would like to see lawyers think more about reasonable expectations and fair dealings with fellow lawyers and clients and adverse parties.
Q: What do you like to do when you have spare time?
A: I have been very active in the Boy Scouts at a troop level, and have just had immense pleasure in being with the Boy Scouts on trips to Canada, to Chesapeake Bay, to the Appalachian Trail, and just the experience of being outdoors with young men and seeing them grow in a safe, sound but challenging atmosphere. It’s just wonderful for me. I have been (a troop leader). I like to be outdoors. There’s a national forest in northern Alabama that’s about 185,000 acres, Bankhead National Forest, and it’s just my favorite place to hike in the wintertime. It’s just breathtaking, and it’s quiet.