Lisa Hayes - Participant

Lisa has deep experience in law, public policy, and nonprofit governance. At CDT, she works across the organization to direct organizational strategy, oversee CDT’s court practice, guide external positioning, and produce impactful events.  In her role as General Counsel, she provides legal advice and guidance on organizational procedures, policies and controls.  Lisa also oversees the organization’s open internet project and its project on inequality and economic opportunity.

Since 2007, Lisa has been a part of the leadership team at national nonprofits where her work has covered program management, strategy, government relations, grasstops outreach, fundraising, and providing legal counsel. Her legal focus has centered on constitutional law and policy.

Before joining the nonprofit sector, Lisa spent a decade in private practice on the West Coast, where she was a partner in a Seattle law firm and general counsel to a start-up supporting the 1990s internet boom. While in private practice, Lisa served as lead counsel in more than a dozen trials and appeals, and successfully argued hundreds of motions. Her clients included a library system objecting the government’s seizure of computers to identify patron reading records, major technology companies involved in contractual disputes, and a variety of matters involving the intersection of criminal law and technology.

Lisa has a passion for fostering opportunity and finding ways to use technology to improve the lives of all people. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Lotus Circle, a Global Network for Women. When in private practice, Lisa was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court to the Gender & Justice Commission, and served as Chair of the Washington State Bar Association Professionalism Committee. She also spent significant time coordinating legal clinics to help the homeless, and volunteering for organizations focused on poverty issues in the US and Africa. She has been an active volunteer in the voting rights arena since 2004, and authored an edition of the election protection handbook for Washington State.

Lisa completed her J.D. at the University of Washington School of Law, where she was president of the Moot Court Honor Board, and an editor of the Pacific Rim Law & Policy Review. She received her B.A. in political science and communications from Boston University. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and daughter.



Center for Democracy and Technology


Vice President for Programs and Strategy, and General Counsel