Lee & Hayes PLLC, the Spokane-based law firm specializing in intellectual property, recently has established a presence in two eastern U.S. markets and since last June has experienced a roughly one-third increase in attorneys and staff firmwide, says CEO Shaun Cross.
Its newest operations are in the Washington, D.C., area, where it opened a three-attorney office last week, and in Rochester, N.Y., where it set up shop in March with two attorneys working from separate offices but with plans to move them to a central office later this month.
Cross says the growth the firm is experiencing is due in part to a five-year strategic plan it adopted in December that calls for it to double in size by 2017.
"That plan calls for significant growth over the next five years simply to meet the client demand that we're seeing, and to continue to be relevant to the clients that we're representing," he says.
Since June 2012, employment at the firm has grown by 27 people to 107, he says, with the number of attorneys growing from 48 to 66 throughout all six of its offices. The remainder is a mix of paralegals and staff members who work in accounting, marketing, and other support roles, he says.
Located on the 14th floor of the Bank of America Financial Center, at 601 W. Riverside, the firm's Spokane headquarters has added 11 employees in the last 12 months, bringing total employment here to 58, Cross says.
Also, it has more than doubled its staff at its Portland, Ore., metro area and Austin, Texas, offices in a year, Cross says, with Portland growing to eight employees from three, and Austin increasing its staff to nine people from three. The Austin office is operating at capacity in its current location, he says, and the firm is looking for additional space.
Over the past year, the roughly 20-person Seattle office has remained almost the same size, Cross says, but he expects employment to increase there once the firm completes an expansion at its quarters in downtown Seattle. It expects to increase its physical office space to 14,000 square feet, from about 10,000 square feet currently, on the 16th floor of One Convention Place. He anticipates the additional office space will be ready for occupancy in November.
"With the new space, we'll be able to grow to almost 30 attorneys in Seattle," Cross says.
"The opening of the office in Rochester came about simply because if you're looking for talent, you're looking for a segment of the population that's pretty small when you're talking about patent attorneys," he says. He points specifically to the prevalence of technology companies based there, including Bausch & Lomb Inc., and the location there of the University of Rochester, a 10,500-student institution known for research. Cross says cities such as Rochester work well for the firm, which looks for people with a background in technology or life sciences in addition to having a law degree.
The D.C.-area office is located in Tyson's Corner, Va., just east of the capital. One of the three attorneys there relocated from the Austin office and another was a new hire, Cross says. Former U.S. representative George Nethercutt, who currently is in an of-counsel position with the firm, has strong ties to the D.C. area and will work at that office three quarters of the time as well, he says.
The creation of the office was spurred in part by the relocation of the formerly Austin-based attorney, he says. Between the two new offices, Cross projects it will hire another two to four people.
The firm mostly represents companies that develop technologies, products, and services, including Western Washington-based Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Inc., Liberty Lake-based Itron Inc., and Ecova Inc. in Spokane, among others.
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