Smith Anderson, the largest law firm headquartered in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, has welcomed four associates to the firm: Cherell Harris, John Harris, Elizabeth “Melissa” Schluter and John Gibson. The firm has announced five new hires since the start of the year, including lateral partner Kelsey Nix.
Cherell Harris has joined Smith Anderson as an attorney focusing her practice on technology transactions, intellectual property and life sciences. Prior to joining the firm, Cherell spent much of her career in the pharmaceutical and biotech arenas, and most recently worked as Associate Director of Network Strategy at the Durham Human Vaccine Institute, where she managed projects and the overall portfolio of programs to manufacture vaccines for Phase I clinical trials.
John Harris rejoins Smith Anderson as a member of the firm’s Litigation Group focusing on business litigation and company investigations after working for the last three years as a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. There, he represented the United States in civil and criminal matters, including conducting investigations, negotiating resolutions and litigating cases in federal district court and before the Fourth Circuit. John has represented clients through every stage of civil litigation across a wide range of subject matters, and has tried multiple cases to verdict.
Elizabeth “Melissa” Schluter is an attorney with Smith Anderson’s Real Estate group. Prior to joining Smith Anderson, she worked at an international law firm where she practiced structured finance and real estate law, with a focus on representing commercial mortgage-backed securities lenders, mortgage loan servicers, and Freddie Mac loan servicers entering into securitized transactions and servicing loans through maturity. She has also represented clients in securitization transactions, including collateralized loan obligations, leveraged loan warehouse facilities, structured lending, and asset-backed securities transactions.
John Gibson works in Smith Anderson’s Regulatory and Public Policy practice, where he advises clients on health care policy, legislative advocacy, executive strategy, litigation and complex business requirements of organized medicine. Prior to joining Smith Anderson, John worked for regional law firms in the Southeast, where he was an associate in their Healthcare and Corporate practice groups. His experience includes devising strategies for health care providers and vendors in a variety of regulatory matters, including corporate compliance, contract negotiations, and privacy and security issues, and he also advised healthcare providers and general corporate clients on contract review, business formation, joint ventures, commercial leases, operating agreements, bylaws and corporate governance.