Harley R. Harris joined MSWD in early 2014 after a 4-year engagement as in-house counsel (General Counsel for MATL LLP) with the developer of the Montana Alberta Tie International Transmission Line. Harris is a 1984 graduate (with Honors) of the University of Montana School of Law. He is admitted in the states of Montana, Washington, and Colorado. Harris has had a varied legal career, initially practicing in Denver, Colorado, and Spokane, Washington, before returning to Montana in the 1990s to join the Montana Attorney General’s Office. As an Assistant Attorney General, Harris was part of the Complex Litigation Unit and participated in a number of significant cases in the Montana state and federal courts. He also was involved in several major Indian water rights settlements, and was the State Land Board advisor to Attorney General Joseph P. Mazurek. In 1996, Harris was selected to serve as a Supreme Court Fellow for the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington D.C.
In 2001 Harris joined the Helena, Montana law firm of Luxan & Murfitt, PLLP, where he became Partner in 2003. While at Luxan & Murfitt, Harris practiced in the areas of water rights (both adjudication and permitting), property, litigation, public utility, energy, corporate and commercial, environmental, and administrative law. During that time, and among other things, Harris participated in a number of significant proceedings before the Montana Public Service Commission, and won a significant constitutional case in state court involving the management of state school trust lands. In 2010 Harris accepted a position at MATL LLP as General Counsel, and was part of the senior leadership team that successfully permitted and constructed a major international electric transmission line. While at MATL, Harris had significant responsibility in the areas of land and right-of-way acquisition, contract negotiation and review, litigation, project management, environmental compliance, and corporate and commercial law.
In 2014 Harris joined MSWD, and is looking forward to using his over 25 years of experience to assist clients in finding effective solutions to complex legal and regulatory problems. He will focus his practice in the areas of water rights, property, commercial, environmental, renewable energy, public utility, oil & gas, civil litigation, and administrative law. Harris is also a member of the Board of Directors of Intermountain, a high-impact non-profit based in Helena, Montana, serving the needs of emotionally challenged children and their families. He has two active teenage sons, and likes to ski, climb, travel, mountain bike, and enjoy the Montana outdoors.