areas of expertise
John B. Harris is a partner in the Litigation Group with more than 25 years of experience representing clients in high stakes civil matters and white collar criminal cases. He is a recognized leader in the professional responsibility and white collar defense bars.
In his legal ethics and professional responsibility practice, Mr. Harris defends law firms, lawyers, and other professionals against claims of legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. He frequently represents law firms in disputes with current and former partners.
A central part of Mr. Harris’ practice is the representation of individuals and entities who are the subjects of either criminal or regulatory investigations. He has represented public figures, corporate executives and securities industry professionals against allegations involving collateralized debt obligation and mortgage fraud; anti-money laundering investigations; insider trading; securities and accounting fraud; and mutual fund pricing violations. In addition, he has advised clients on research analyst independence issues, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases, and "spy shop" matters. Mr. Harris understands that his clients are best served when charges are not filed by prosecutors and regulators, and he has had substantial success for his clients in accomplishing this result.
Mr. Harris was the Chair of the Professional Responsibility Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and is a former member of the New York City Bar’s Committee on Professional and Judicial Ethics, Committee on Professional Discipline, Judiciary Committee, and Task Force on Multi-Disciplinary Practice. He has served as a delegate to the New York State Bar Association House of Delegates and currently serves as a member of the State Bar Professional Discipline Committee. He acts as a mediator for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, and has served as an expert witness.
Mr. Harris is also a member of the American Bar Association; is a past Chair of the New York Regional Board and a member of the National Executive Committee of the Anti-Defamation League; is vice-chair of the New York University Law Alumni Association; and is a board member of Summer Search, New York. He has been recognized in Super Lawyers magazine as a New York-area Super Lawyer for tweleve consecutive years.
Mr. Harris has litigated matters in New York State and federal courts (Southern and Eastern Districts), and appeared in numerous SEC, FINRA and Departmental Disciplinary Committee proceedings. Before joining Frankfurt Kurnit, he was a partner at Stillman & Friedman, P.C. and Ballard Spahr LLP. Previously, Mr. Harris was a reporter for The Hartford Courant. Mr. Harris is admitted to practice in New York and Connecticut.
Representative matters include:
- Obtained dismissal at trial and appellate levels of claims that an employment law firm engaged in retaliatory litigation against the employee of a corporate client;
- Represented a law firm accused of sexual orientation discrimination;
- Successfully defended claims against a patent law firm that conflicts of interest required the firm's disqualification from on-going federal litigation;
- Represented an in-house lawyer accused of aiding and abetting the fraud of corporate executives;
- Quashed federal subpoenas seeking outtakes and other news-gathering materials on behalf of a media organization;
- Obtained judgment dismissing claims against a religious order accused of aiding and abetting its leader's sexual misconduct;
- Represented the trustee of an ESOP accused of misconduct by the Department of Labor;
- Represented an art collector who had been sold counterfeit Art Deco goods;
- Represented a corporate executive who was the lead defendant in SEC v. Thrasher;
- Represented a public servant in New Jersey accused of insider trading;
- Obtained the dismissal, on summary judgment, of claims that former New York City mayor David Dinkins and Police Commissioner Lee Brown committed civil rights violations arising from riots in Crown Heights, Brooklyn;
- Represented a defrauded investor in a federal action against a Texas law firm that counseled the swindler;
- Obtained summary judgment dismissing First Amendment retaliation claims filed against high-ranking members of the New York State Police by three troopers.
awards & recognition
Recognized by Super Lawyers for twelve consecutive years
New York University School of Law (JD, 1985)
- Member of the Annual Survey of American Law
Yale University (BA, cum laude, 1978)
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
Past Speaking Engagements
Frankfurt Kurnit’s Third Annual Litigation Ethics Summit Webinar
Frankfurt Kurnit is hosting its Third Annual Litigation Ethics Summit -- a complimentary CLE for corporate counsel, law firm general counsel, partners with responsibility for law firm compliance and risk management, and other lawyers with interest in professional responsibility issues. Read more.
November 13 2020
Current Ethical Issues for In-House Counsel & Those Who Advise Them: Litigation Perspectives
John B. Harris presents "Current Ethical Issues for In-House Counsel & Those Who Advise Them: Litigation Perspectives" during a webinar for the New York City Bar.
June 17 2020
Hot Topics in Ethics for In-House Litigation Counsel
John B. Harris presents “Hot Topics in Ethics for In-House Litigation Counsel” during a webinar for Celesq.
January 22 2020
ADL: Never is Now Summit
John B. Harris moderates the panel “Nativism in American Immigration, Past and Present” during the Anti-Defamation League's “Never is Now” symposium at the Jacob K. Javits Center.
November 21 2019
Frankfurt Kurnit’s Second Annual Litigation Ethics Summit
Frankfurt Kurnit hosts its Second Annual Litigation Ethics Summit -- a complimentary CLE for corporate counsel, law firm general counsel, partners with responsibility for law firm compliance and risk management, and other lawyers with interest in professional responsibility issues. Read more.
October 24 2019
Current Ethical Issues for In-House Counsel
June 12 2019
John B. Harris presents, "The Use (or Abuse) of Mandatory Arbitration and Choice-of-Law Clauses" at Mondo.NYC 2016.
September 16 2016
Attorney-Client Privilege in Broker-Policyholder Communications
John B. Harris speaks on “Attorney-Client Privilege in Broker-Policyholder Communications: Maintaining or Attacking Confidentiality” for Strafford.
December 10 2015
news & press
Bank Inks $2M Settlement Over Handling Of ESOP Buy
A Primer On New York’s COVID-19 Executive Orders and What They Mean for Your Practice
This past week, New York has taken a number of steps to restrict movement in and around the State in an effort to contain the COVID-19 crisis. Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued executive orders and the chief judges of the state and federal courts have issued administrative orders that have had a sweeping impact on the legal industry as well as the business community at large. Read more.
Thirty-three Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named to Super Lawyers Metro List for 2019
Super Lawyers magazine lists thirty-three Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2019 NY-area edition. Read more.
Kirkland Lawyers in Spotlight Amid New Epstein Criminal Case
The New York Law Journal quotes John B. Harris on the ethics of meetings between prosecutors and defense lawyers in an article about accused sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein. (Behind paywall) View Article
Thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named in Super Lawyers Magazine for 2018
Super Lawyers magazine lists thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2018 edition. Read more.
California Supreme Court Holds that Conflict Invalidates Firm’s Engagement Letter But Says Firm Still May be Able to Get Paid
Last week, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP v. J-M Manufacturing Co., Inc., a decision which lawyers and law firms anxiously awaited for months. Read more.
Texas Bank Countersues Consultants For $10.5M Stock Buy
Law360 quotes John B. Harris on the TBM Consulting Group v Lubbock National Bank case (E.D. N.C.) – a case seeking to hold the bank responsible for losses in TBM’s ESOP. The article mentions John Harris and Amelia Brankov as counsel to plaintiffs TBM Consulting Group Inc. (Behind paywall) View Article
Jewish Groups File Brief With Supreme Court Against Trump Travel Ban
The Forward quotes John B. Harris discussing the Anti-Defamation League’s amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to uphold lower court rulings that blocked President Trump’s Travel Ban. Mr. Harris notes that lower courts have largely found the Travel Ban to be discriminatory. View Article
The Legal Battle Against the Trump “Travel Ban” Goes to the Supreme Court
We filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of our client, the Anti-Defamation League, and other civil rights organizations, in support of Hawaii’s challenge to President Trump’s Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” John B. Harris led the Frankfurt Kurnit drafting team that included Caren Lerner Decter, Jeremy S. Goldman and Rayna S. Lopyan. View Article
N.Y. State Bar Ethics Committee Takes On Avvo Legal Services, Says Model Violates Ethics Rules
Recently the New York State Bar Ethics Committee issued a pair of opinions about the limitations on a lawyer's ability to take advantage of certain on-line legal marketing services. Read more.
Hollywood Docket: ‘The Great Debaters’ Lawsuit Prompts First Amendment Argument
The Hollywood Reporter mentioned Frankfurt Kurnit Klein + Selz's pro bono work with The Anti-Defamation League in opposition to President Donald Trump's travel ban in their Hollywood Docket. View Article
Super Bowl All-Nighter Leads to Award-Winning Travel Ban Brief
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) awarded our law firm the Edward Brodsky Founders Award in recognition of our work for the ADL in the Trump “travel ban” cases. Bloomberg BNA and The New York Law Journal summarized our amicus brief arguments, covered our award, and explained how our brief came together.
ADL New York Honors Frankfurt Kurnit
The ADL New York region is presenting Frankfurt Kurnit with an award for our pro bono efforts in opposing the immigration ban. The award will be given at ADL’s annual meeting on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at the Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Avenue.
Federal Appeals Court Affirms Injunction Against President Trump’s “Travel Ban”
CNN posted the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, upholding the district court’s nationwide preliminary injunction order against President Trump’s Executive Order 13780. Frankfurt Kurnit drafted an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, and Women of Reform Judaism. View Article
State of Washington v. Donald J. Trump, No. 17-35105 (9th Cir.)
We filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of our client, the Anti-Defamation League, in support of Washington and Minnesota’s challenge to President Trump’s Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” You can read our brief here.
NY Court Expands Protections for Employers to Safeguard Proprietary Information
Yesterday a New York State appeals court reinstated the conviction of a former Goldman Sachs computer programmer under New York's unlawful use of secret scientific material statute. In doing so, the court gave a twenty-first century voice to a statute that was written in the age of blueprints and photocopiers. Read more.
Non-Party Has Sufficient Interest to Disqualify Law Firm from Second Circuit Case
At the request of a non-party, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently disqualified the law firm BakerHostetler LLP ("Baker") from representing its client Prevezon Holdings Ltd. ("Prevezon"). Read more.
Thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2016
Super Lawyers listed thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2016 edition. Read more.
Less Exposure: New York Appeals Court Finds Privilege For Law Firm In-House Counsel
A New York appeals court gave attorneys a reason to celebrate just before the July 4th holiday weekend. Read more.
Watch What You Say: New York Court Rule Will Expose More Attorney-Client Communications
Anyone who has ever had to litigate a dispute knows how important the attorney-client privilege is. Read more.
Not Just a New York State of Mind: Nonresident Lawyers Must Have a Physical Office in New York
On Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit struck a blow to nonresident lawyers looking to practice in New York State. Read more.
Masking Tapes: An Analysis of the Law of Secret Recording in New York
Law Firms Win Big Case Arising from Representation of Clients with Competing Interests
Law firms often struggle to determine when the rules of professional conduct permit representation of clients who compete in the marketplace. When is it OK, for example, to represent clients with competing patents, trademarks, or copyrights? A recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case provides important guidance for IP lawyers -- particularly those representing clients with patents. Read more.
New York Authorizes Temporary Practice By Out-Of-State Lawyers
In a thrilling and important development, New York has promulgated a new Court Rule, 22 NYCRR § 523 ("Section 523"), that allows lawyers admitted in other jurisdictions, but not admitted in New York, to practice here under certain circumstances. Read more.
A Storm on the Horizon - When to Communicate with Clients About Destroyed Files
As hurricane Joaquin barrels towards the Northeast, New York lawyers may be reminded of the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy as well as other recent disasters. Read more.
Thirty-five Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2015
Super Lawyers listed thirty-five Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2015 edition. Read more.
A Spirit of “Cooperation”: What You Need to Know About the DOJ’s New Enforcement Policies
On Wednesday the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memorandum outlining new policies and procedures for United States Attorneys in corporate investigations (the "Memo"). Read more.
A Wake-Up Call For Attorneys On Using Recorded Conversations
John B. Harris in the New York Law Journal
John B. Harris Joins Frankfurt Kurnit as a Professional Responsibility Partner
June 15, 2015 New York, N.Y. - Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC has added John B. Harris as a partner in the firm’s Professional Responsibility Group. Mr. Harris will also be a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Litigation Groups, and will join the editorial board of the law firm’s New York Legal Ethics Reporter. Mr. Harris joined the firm today. Read more.