Phillip Harris focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, zoning and land use matters, renewable energy, class action defense, and appellate litigation.
Mr. Harris’s experience includes litigating a broad range of matters, including commercial disputes and business torts, financial services litigation, real property disputes, land use and zoning, challenges to governmental action, and utilities litigation involving both renewable energy providers and local electric membership corporations. He appears on behalf of his clients before state and federal courts, as well as in arbitrations, mediations, and before state agencies.
Mr. Harris has served on the Durham City/County Board of Adjustment for over six years, including two years as chair, and he utilizes this experience with his clients to assist them in their zoning and land use matters. In addition to providing advice on how best to successfully navigate the land use and zoning permitting process, Mr. Harris represents his client before local government bodies responsible for permitting development projects, including for projects involving renewable energy facilities and redevelopment, and in trial and appellate courts. He also has helped his clients during the special use permit and variance processes and in establishing economic development agreements. Mr. Harris also has handled numerous public and private condemnation proceedings, in which he has represented both condemnors and condemnees before North Carolina courts.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Harris served as a law clerk to the Honorable Mark D. Martin of the North Carolina Supreme Court and worked as an associate in the Raleigh office of an AmLaw 100 firm where he practiced in the fields of business litigation, including financial services litigation and class action defense, energy and utilities law, intellectual property, and appellate litigation.
Prior to his legal career, Mr. Harris worked as a process shift coach and manufacturing engineer at a North Carolina manufacturing plant while also receiving Six Sigma Green Belt certification and serving as a TL9000 quality auditor.
Mr. Harris was recognized in 2021 as one of the "Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch" for Commercial Litigation by The Best Lawyers in America®. He has been recognized as a 2017 and 2018 "Legal Elite" in the area of Litigation by Business North Carolina magazine. Mr. Harris was named a North Carolina “Rising Star” in 2018 and 2019 for Business Litigation by Super Lawyers magazine. He is also a member of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society. In 2014, Kilpatrick Townsend awarded Mr. Harris its “Embracing Our Values Award” for extraordinary pro bono and community service efforts.
Successfully represented multiple clients throughout North Carolina during planning and permitting processes, including for special use and conditional use permits as well as for variances, before local government bodies responsible for permitting renewable energy projects and other redevelopment projects.
Member of teams representing defendants in class actions alleging, inter alia, violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, and other federal and state laws.
Obtained favorable decisions, including dismissals, from federal and state courts in cases involving complex jurisdictional issues, discovery, and substantive law.
Successfully represented multiple clients, including business and pro bono clients, before state and federal appellate courts, where the courts affirmed positive lower court rulings.
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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law J.D. (2009) with honors
Brown University B.S. (2004) Chemical Engineering
North Carolina (2009)
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina
Supreme Court of North Carolina - Honorable Mark D. Martin (Sep 2009-Sep 2010)
Durham City/County Board of Adjustment, Member (2012-2019)
Durham City/County Board of Adjustment, Chair (2015-2017)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle, Board Member (2015-Present)
Durham Partnership for Children, Board Member (2016-Present)
Durham County Board of Library Trustees, Member (2016-2019)
African American Leadership Initiative of the United Way, Member (2013-2016)
North Carolina Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division Citizen Lawyer Committee, Member (2010-2016)
Durham County Bar Association, Member (2009-Present)
Wake County Bar Association, Member (2009-Present)
North Carolina Bar Association, Member (2009-Present)
American Bar Association, Member (2009-Present)
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