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John E. Harris

Attorney
AA Contact Info

Lorna Bernardo
Phone: 919.838.2042
lbernardo@smithlaw.com

Overview

John represents businesses and individuals who find themselves in difficult circumstances – particularly when a dispute may be looming or has already burst onto the scene. As a member of the firm’s Investigations practice, John helps clients faced with difficult situations get to the bottom of what happened and address issues ethically, effectively and efficiently. He’s there to counsel his clients at every step of the way. 

Sometimes those steps lead to administrative proceedings or litigation, and as a member of the firm’s Litigation practice, he is well equipped to represent clients when a matter gets there. He has handled every stage of civil litigation across a wide range of subject matters, and has tried multiple cases to verdict before judges and juries. 

Although John had previous experience in private practice as a litigator, John most recently worked as a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina where 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. 

  • North Carolina Bar Association

Academic Appointments

  • University of North Carolina School of Law
    • Managing Editor, North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 93
    • Robertson Scholar
    • James E. & Carolyn B. Davis Society

Experience

Experience

  • 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

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
    2014

Bar & Court Admissions

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

Education

  • University of North Carolina, J.D, with honors, 2015
    • Order of the Coif
    • Phi Beta Kappa
  • University of North Carolina, B.A., with honors and highest distinction, 2012

Clerkships

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