Susan Hays is a lawyer, advocate, and strategist based in Austin and Alpine, Texas, with more than twenty-five years’ experience in law and politics. For the last several years her practice has focused on cannabis law, from hemp to the full regulatory scheme of cannabis. She has drafted license applications, served as the general counsel of a publicly traded, touch-the-plant cannabis company, and was intimately involved in the drafting and passage of Texas’s 2019 hemp law. She currently represents multiple clients interested in the expansion of Texas’s medical marijuana law and eventual legalization. Her idea of a good time is reading laws and regulations from other states looking for the best ideas for Texas legislation. She and her husband have been cultivating experimental crops of hemp and hops in a microclimate in the mountains of West Texas.

She began her legal career as a legislative aide to a Texas House member. She then clerked at the Supreme Court of Texas. In the years since, she has represented individual clients, corporations, and organizations in the courts and the political realm, drawing from a broad skill set to employ the best tactics to achieve the client’s goals whether litigation, press strategy, or legislative advocacy. In addition to a general appellate practice, she has extensive experience in election law. 

She has been Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2005 and became part of the first group of lawyers to be board certified in Legislative and Campaign Law in 2021 making her one of the less than 1% of Texas lawyers who are double board certified. She has handled cases ranging from securities fraud to civil rights, arguing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Supreme Court of Texas, and numerous lower appellate courts. She has had her own practice since 2004, after working at Waters & Kraus, L.L.P. and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld L.L.P. She routinely makes the Super Lawyers list for Texas whether under the appellate category or as the first Texan named under cannabis law. She earned her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. 

Susan has long been very involved in civic life serving on numerous non-profit boards. She currently serves on the advisory board to the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. She is most proud of co-founding Jane’s Due Process, Inc., a legal services nonprofit for Texas minors facing unintended pregnancies.  Her deep frustration at Texas’s failure to address cannabis reform and bungling of the hemp program prompted her to run for Agriculture Commissioner. After defeating a primary opponent with 83% of the vote, she is now the Democratic nominee for that office.