“From a young age, I knew I wanted to be an attorney,” says Laura Hayes of Mullin Russ Kilejian PC, a full-service, boutique law firm. “Attorneys advocate for people and for principles. In some ways, I thought it was the ultimate form of civil service.”
Hayes, who grew up in the small town of Harlingen, Texas, practices in the areas of trademark and copyright law, franchise and distribution law, and is now leading the firm’s practice in the emerging field of privacy and cybersecurity.
It was during law school at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law that Hayes first became interested in intellectual property and emerging technologies. At SMU, where she was editor-in-chief of the “SMU Science & Technology Law Review,” her interest was further piqued.
“It became overwhelmingly apparent to me that the major business opportunities were going to be more in the innovation space than in your typical real property development space, so I became more and more interested in this idea of owning a concept or idea,” she says. “At the same time, personal information was being collected and stored in cyberspace, and digital money was becoming more commonplace. It was interesting to me how intangible assets were so valuable and, at the same time, concerning to me how vulnerable they were to theft or attack.”
These interests and concerns led Hayes to pursue “soft” intellectual property opportunities in the trademark, copyright and brand management areas. After researching, she joined Mullin Russ Kilejian, a firm known for its work in franchising and distribution, and immediately developed a niche in the area of privacy and cybersecurity to support the firm’s clients. In 2015, she earned her global information assurance certification in legal issues in information technology and security.
What does she love most about her practice areas? “I enjoy advocating for my clients and celebrating their achievements,” she says.
“I am privileged to be trusted with a client’s ideas,” Hayes says. “Initially my job is to protect the client’s assets under the legal and regulatory framework. As the business grows, so do the opportunities and potential threats, and I have the opportunity to assist clients on both fronts. With my background in privacy and cybersecurity, I look forward to helping clients navigate the so-called Wild Wild West of the digital world.”
Hayes’ work as an attorney extends to advocating in her community. Hayes is involved with The One Society, which raises money for Children’s Health hospital in Dallas. She works with Attorneys Serving the Community to fundraise for that organization’s annually designated charity. “The fundraising events we do typically raise between $400,000 and $600,000 for the charity.” She is currently secretary of the franchise and distribution law section of the Dallas Bar Association, and also supports other legal and alumni organizations.
Away from work, Hayes loves being in the great outdoors. She bow hunts and enjoys archery related activities. Spending time with her basset hound, Piper, who Hayes notes is very “diva-ish,” is also high on her priority list.