Attorney Pat Harris’s legal career has been marked by a series of remarkable trial successes that have built him a reputation as one of the nation’s premier trial attorneys. His courtroom work over the past two decades has won him recognition by his peers as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America. He has tried over 150 cases to jury including some of the most high-profile criminal defendants in the country. Recently he won a not guilty verdict for a client accused of severely beating the priest who had abused him 40 years before in a case that received international media coverage. Mr. Harris has also tried numerous civil matters where he has won several verdicts in excess of a million dollars for his clients.
The focus of Mr. Harris’ practice has largely been trial work. He has spent most of his legal career in the courtroom and is known among fellow attorneys as an attorney who is not afraid to try a case. Mr. Harris began his legal career focusing solely on criminal defense work and that continues to be a substantial part of his practice. During his career, he has represented clients on serious felony cases ranging from murder, robbery and sexual assault to embezzlement and fraud cases. He also has helped clients on a variety of misdemeanor charges including assault, theft and DUI’s.
Among the cases he has won in the recent past include a woman who was found not guilty of assaulting two young men with a handgun, a not guilty for a man accused of attacking an off-duty police officer, a high school principal who was found innocent of hate crime accusations against his neighbors (and who in turned Harris sued and won a $600,000 malicious prosecution verdict for his client) and a not guilty in the highly publicized case of a man accused of beating the priest who had molested him forty years earlier. In addition, Mr. Harris has twice managed to hang the jury in a case where his client was accused of murdering his four-year old daughter.
In addition to serving as sole counsel on those cases, he has also served as co-counsel on a number of high-profile cases with famed defense attorney Mark Geragos. Those cases include two separate trials of Whitewater partner Susan McDougal, Michael Jackson, Chris Brown and Scott Peterson.
Approximately six years ago, Harris began expanding his trial duties to include a large number of civil cases where he had immediate success. In his first civil trial, he won a $600,000 judgment in a malicious prosecution counter-suit for a high school principal who had been accused of a hate crime. He followed that up with a stunning $1.3 million dollar verdict against the Glendale Police Department for the false arrest of a young man for a murder he did not commit. That was followed shortly by another $1.3 million dollar verdict against the City of Los Angeles and others for their negligence that resulted in the destruction of a home in the Hollywood Hills owned by an eighty –six year old actor. Two years ago he co-counseled on a case against Pfizer Pharmaceuticals that resulted in a $38 million verdict against the company. Over the past few years, he has produced a series of million dollar verdicts and settlements in cases involving wrongful deaths, police use of excessive force, wrongful termination and negligence.
Pat Harris was born in Clarksville, Arkansas and attended college at the University of Arkansas. He graduated with honors in History and was selected Phi Beta Kappa and as a state finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship. After college he went to work as a legislative aide for Congressman Bill Alexander in Washington D.C. After three years there, he went to work for a real estate development company in Arkansas.
In 1990, Mr. Harris began his legal career at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor. After graduation, he chose to start his career working in criminal defense by accepting a job at the Davidson County Public Defenders Office in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1996, he moved to Los Angeles to work on the Susan McDougal case (Bill Clinton’s Whitewater partner) and was hired by Mark Geragos to work at the firm of Geragos & Geragos. Harris then spent seventeen years at the Geragos firm working on both criminal and civil cases, from small misdemeanors to many of the firm’s high-profile cases. Mr. Harris focus at Geragos & Geragos was largely courtroom oriented, trying an average of 6-8 cases per year.
In addition to his work as a trial attorney, Mr. Harris co-authored two books dealing with the criminal justice system. The first one, The Woman Who Wouldn’t Talk is the story of Mr. Harris one-time fiancée and Whitewater figure, Susan McDougal. The book spent four weeks on The New York Times Bestseller List and was praised by the New York Times as “Moving and compelling” and by Newsday as “An emotional page-turner.” President Bill Clinton stated that “Every American who loves our Constitution … should read this book.”
The second book, Mistrial, co-authored by Mark Geragos, was released in April of 2013. The book is a behind the scenes look at the American judicial system and how it has changed in the last thirty years, not for the better. The Wall Street Journal reviewed the book as “A win: engaging, enlightening and entertaining.”
Along with his writing, Mr. Harris also served as the legal consultant for the TV Show “Shark” starring James Woods. The show ran on CBS for two years.