Jim Hayes was raised on a farm near Forest City, Iowa, graduated from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and then from the University of Iowa College of Law. His first job out of law school was as Iowa Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety and then as the first Director of the Iowa Crime Commission. He was a candidate for State Attorney General, then began trial practice with the Meardon Law Firm in Iowa City. Karen Lorenzen and he formed their own law firm in 1999 and they have grown to the five lawyers now with Hayes Lorenzen Lawyers, PLC.
Hayes lives in the Iowa City home in which Grant Wood resided from 1935 to 1942. Hayes holds a BA in History and is an avid art collector. However, as he lived in the house, his appreciation of Wood and his commitment to honoring him grew. The Grant Wood Art Colony of The University of Iowa is the manifestation of this commitment. He began the Colony in cooperation with College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2011 and serves as the chair of the Colony’s National Board of Advisors.