Collin has traversed a fascinating legal career path and the experiences and knowledge that he gathered along the way give him a unique vantage point over the legal landscape that his clients must navigate. Collin’s clients value his proven ability to apply his deep and diverse base of business and legal experiences and practical judgment to deliver real-world business solutions. We are so glad Collin is part of the FJ team.
FJ: I know you have had somewhat of a circuitous legal career path so far, but how did it start? What influenced you in making the decision to become a lawyer? Have you always planned to pursue law as a career?
CH: My father wanted to become a lawyer during his college days, but the path to law school was not an easy road for African Americans in his day, so he chose to pursue a career as a Speech and English teacher instead. I suppose maybe I channeled his ambition and decided to live out his dream of becoming a lawyer … I recall that this happened after I became addicted to the TV show “LA law” while in college. When I visit my father now, he tells everyone he knows “this is my son Collin … he’s an attorney.” I am proud that he is proud of me.
FJ: I know you began your legal career as an antitrust enforcement attorney at the Federal Trade Commission and then handled litigation and M&A and securities matters at Jackson Walker. What turn of events brought you to Fulton Jeang?
CH: I was practicing law with the majority of our current team of FJ attorneys at another law firm. When Suzy Fulton decided to start FJ with Wei Wei, I was more than excited to join the FJ team. It’s a great environment, and I really enjoy being able to practice law with a family of great attorneys and colleagues that I am proud to call friends.
FJ: It really does feel like family here where we support each other's goals and celebrate each other's accomplishments. Please tell us some of your career highlights or recent “wins.”
CH: There have been many, but here are a few that stand out to me. When I was in-house at Nokia, I handled all product lifecycle legal matters relating to R&D, product manufacturing, marketing and advertising, sales and distribution, support and warranty claims, and end-of-life ramp-down. Some of the highlights were the negotiation of multi-billion dollar device sales agreements with AT&T Wireless, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile USA. I also negotiated facility naming rights and sponsorship agreements with AEG for the Nokia Theatre entertainment venues in Grand Prairie, Texas, New York City Times Square, and the Los Angeles Staples Center complex. Nokia also had a multi-year, multi-million dollar sponsorship and marketing deal with the National Basketball Association that I handled and closed.
FJ: Why does Fulton Jeang’s virtual business model suit your practice and lifestyle?
CH: I had a solo practice for a number of years, and also served as General Counsel for a couple of startup growth companies. If you have ever practiced solo or worked in a fast-paced startup environment, you get used to working remotely, on the road, in client offices, in the airport, etc … I converted to a paperless, cloud-based practice prior to the COVID pandemic in 2020, so Fulton Jeang's business model is really just a continuation of the way that I've become accustomed to working. The flexibility is key for me … I can usually shift my work schedule to be able to travel to our kids’ track meets and other events. I can also better focus on clients' needs and not be bogged down by firm administrative tasks.
FJ: What are your sweet spots for client/legal issues you love to work on?
CH: My legal background is a pretty cool mix of different practice areas, including mergers and acquisitions, real estate, telecommunications, technology licensing, and cloud applications. I also work with clients in the retail space, and enjoy working through a myriad of sales, marketing, and distribution issues as supply chains continue to recover and adapt after 2020. As a former General Counsel of two companies, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and just be available for clients when they have an issue … no attorney can be an expert in all areas, so I focus on being a problem solver and my clients find value in that.
FJ: Yes, I think the beauty of a general business law firm like Fulton Jeang is that you can almost always find someone who has the expertise you need when a client's issue is not in your wheelhouse. What can the firm do to help you reach your goals for the next year?
CH: I think the lawyers in the firm have been doing a great job of cross-selling and utilizing the full offering of expertise that we have in the firm. As we add more lawyers to the team, we will be able to staff even bigger projects. I have high expectations for the firm's marketing efforts as we establish ourselves as a new virtual firm that offers a depth and breadth of legal expertise at cost-effective rates.
FJ: Finally, what do you do for fun?
CH: I love road cycling and going to auto auctions to feed a persistent car hobby (I have a Texas dealer’s license).
Collin's bio is at About Collin Hayes | Fulton Jeang Pllc