Robert Hays serves as Chairman of King & Spalding. In this role, he oversees the strategic growth and direction of the firm and focuses on building strong relationships with the firm’s clients. Prior to his election to Chairman in 2005, Mr. Hays had held a variety of leadership positions within the firm, including six years as a member of the firm’s governing Policy Committee, which he now also chairs and 12 years as leader of the firm’s Tort and Environmental Litigation Group where he was a leading trial lawyer in that practice group.
Mr. Hays’ leadership in the legal and business communities has been recognized by numerous organizations. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and for several years has been named one of the “100 Most Influential Atlantans” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. For the past four years, he has been named to Georgia Trend magazine’s list of “Legal Elite” and ranked as a leading litigator in Georgia by Chambers USA. Other organizations that have recognized his legal skills and leadership include Best Lawyers in America, Georgia Super Lawyers, and the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “Who’s Who in Law & Accounting.”
Mr. Hays continues to handle select matters for clients as lead trial counsel and a member of the firm’s tort litigation practice group, which includes more than 100 lawyers whose practices are devoted exclusively to defending product liability and mass tort litigation. It is one of the largest practice groups of its kind anywhere, offering a complete array of expertise – from the cost-effective collection of documents, the work-up of scientific and other experts, and a sophisticated motion practice all the way through to trial and appeal, including in class actions and MDLs in notoriously dangerous jurisdictions. The group has been recognized by the American Lawyer as one of the top three product liability practices in the country, Chambers USA gave the group a “Tier 1 National” ranking, and the group has contributed to the firm’s selection as one of the top ten defense firms in the nation by National Law Journal for the past two years.
Mr. Hays has amassed extensive experience as lead trial counsel in high exposure product liability and other mass tort litigation, with over 20 years of courtroom experience as lead trial counsel in state and federal courts. His clients have included General Motors, Merck, ChevronTexaco, Schering-Plough, GlaxoSmithKline, DaimlerChrysler, The Home Depot, Temple-Inland, ExxonMobil, The Coca-Cola Company, General Electric and Wendy's.
Mr. Hays has served as Vice Chairman of the American Bar Association TIPS Product Liability Section and a was a member of the ABA Litigation Section and Product Liability Section.
Mr. Hays joined King & Spalding in 1983 after receiving his J.D. from Vanderbilt University where he was selected for the Vanderbilt Law Review and a Patrick Wilson Scholar. He graduated summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar.