He practiced law in Columbia for about a year prior to entering the United States Navy. He returned to Columbia in late 1945 and opened a law office with his former roommate in college, J. Monroe Fulmer.
He served as General Counsel for the South Carolina Bankers Association for more than 30 years. He served on the Board of Trustees which organized Greenwood Methodist Home. He was the statewide attorney for The United Methodist Church.
He was considered as one of the most courteous and gentlemanly lawyers to ever practice. The greatest tribute that can be paid to Rudy Barnes was that most of his clients were his clients for 40 years.