Veteran Spokane lawyer Shaun Cross has taken the job of CEO of Spokane’s quickly growing intellectual property law firm Lee & Hayes, pllc.
Cross, 57, said he’s excited to work for a law firm with 40 attorneys practicing in the arena of technology patents, intellectual property portfolios, and specialized services for clients such as Microsoft, Boeing and HP.
Founders Dan Hayes and Lewis Lee will remain with the firm and devote time to business development and increasing the firm’s services.
Cross, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2004 and then resumed his legal career at Spokane’s Paine Hamblen law firm, will handle day-to-day management of the firm, based in downtown Spokane. He’ll also practice law for Lee & Hayes, Cross said.
Lee said the company includes about 15 workers at a Seattle office, 10 of whom are attorneys or patent agents.
Launched in 1994, the company fills the fifth floor of the Paulsen Building with a total Spokane work force of 50 people, Lee said. In 1995, its list of clients and its work earned the firm the No. 1 ranking for quality computer and software patent firms in, according to American Lawyer magazine.
Lee & Hayes represents six of the 20 largest patent-holding firms in the nation, plus several global firms.
“We just kept getting busier, and we really never had a chance to stop and think about slowing down,” Hayes said. “We had too much work to do that.”
Hayes and Lee said they’ll turn to Cross to plan the firm’s strategic growth for the next several years.
Last year Cross concluded one of the most contentious legal battles in Spokane history, the massive bankruptcy and settlement that rocked the Catholic Diocese of Spokane. Cross spent three full years working on the case after more than 170 people filed sex abuse claims against the diocese. The diocese eventually pledged to pay $48 million in settlement money to victims.
The case was the most difficult and challenging of his 30-year career, Cross said.
“No question it underscored for me how difficult the practice of in-and-out-billable-hours, high-stakes law can be,” Cross said. “I’m still very much committed to the profession and the practice of law.”
For six years Cross had been managing partner of Paine Hamblen, at the time Spokane’s largest law firm.
He said he sees continuing growth for Lee & Hayes, particularly as IP law continues to define a large portion of any company’s business strategy and success.
Cross starts the job Monday.
Lee said the law firm’s largest customer is Redmond-based Microsoft. It’s the company’s goal to diversify its clients and services.
“In volume of work Microsoft continues to grow for us,” he said. “But at the same time the share of our total work coming from Microsoft has dropped.”