Phil Harris became vice president and general counsel of Northwestern University on January 1, 2016. Prior to coming to Northwestern, Mr. Harris was a partner at Jenner & Block. He served on the firm’s management committee and co-chaired the Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense Practice. Throughout his legal career, Harris has defended large companies in substantial and complex product liability, mass tort and commercial cases. He has been the lead attorney in jury trials for those cases. Harris also brings a long history of civic engagement and connections to Northwestern. He is a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago and the Aspen Institute Henry Crown Values Based Leadership Program. He has served on many civic boards in Chicago, including the Chicago Children’s Museum, Children’s Memorial Hospital, the Field Museum of Natural History and the Chicago Humanities Festival. He currently serves on the Chicago Zoological Society and Mather LifeWays Boards of Directors. Before becoming Vice President and General Counsel, Harris was a member of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees for 25 years. He served as vice chair of the Board and as a member of the Executive Committee. He also served as chair of the Board’s student affairs committee for 10 years, acting as a liaison between the trustees and students and he chaired several important task forces for the University, including the Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force. Harris received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern in 1980 and his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1983. He is a member of the bar in Illinois and Iowa and is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court and U.S. District Courts in both states, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals.
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