Photo of John E. Harris

John E. Harris

AA Contact Info

Lorna Bernardo
Phone: 919.838.2042


As a member of the firm’s Litigation group, John advises individuals and businesses as they navigate all kinds of difficult disputes. Accordingly, John’s practice is diverse. He has represented large companies in complex business disputes, antitrust matters and employment-related cases. John has helped individuals and families manage difficult trust and estate litigation as well as assisted nonprofit organizations in enforcing their rights and public entities in navigating North Carolina public records and open meeting laws. His goal is to help his clients identify the key matters at issue and to use all the tools in the legal toolbox to bring the matter to a favorable resolution as efficiently as possible.

Before joining Smith Anderson, John was a law clerk for the Honorable Karen LeCraft Henderson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington, D.C. He also spent time during and briefly after college working in the North Carolina General Assembly.

  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • Robertson Scholars Leadership Program Alumni Council
  • Member, James E. & Carolyn B. Davis Society, University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Managing Editor, North Carolina Law Review, Volume 93



  • Represented clients navigating trust and estate disputes, including will caveats, and advised clients regarding rights and remedies available under revocable trust instruments.
  • Represented North Carolina public charter school against contract, employment, and fraud claims brought by a former employee, including obtaining dismissal of several claims and preventing the entry of preliminary injunctive relief.  The case was favorably resolved through a confidential settlement.
  • Represented North Carolina company in pursuing claims against former employee related to breach of confidentiality agreement and violation of the North Carolina Trade Secrets Act.  The matter was mediated and favorably resolved by confidential settlement.
  • Represented employer in defense of claims related to termination and unemployment compensation, including obtaining dismissal of all claims in North Carolina Superior Court.
  • Advised local public entity on open-meetings and public-records law compliance in connection with holding board meetings and disposing of property.

News & Publications


  • "Holes in the Defense: Evaluating the North Carolina Attorney General’s Duty to Defend and the Responses of Other Government Actors," 92 N.C. L. Rev. 2027

Bar & Court Admissions

  • North Carolina
  • United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit


  • J.D., with high honors, University of North Carolina School of Law, 2015
    • Order of the Coif
  • B.A., Political Science, with honors and highest distinction, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2012
    • Robertson Scholar, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill & Duke University
    • Phi Beta Kappa


  • Chambers of Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Washington, D.C.
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