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UM law professor honored nationally

By Sara Harrison
On February 20, 2012

  • Lee Harris

"On Being a Black Lawyer" has named University of Memphis law professor Lee Harris as one of the 100 most influential black lawyers in the country.

Harris, along with the other honorees, will be recognized at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 29.

"I think I was the only black lawyer to make the list from Memphis. There's a lot a great legal talent here, which often goes unrecognized by national publications. So, this recognition was surprising and encouraging," Harris said.

Prior to teaching at The U of M, Harris started his career at the Baker Donelson firm in Memphis.

He received his bachelor's degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he received his bachelor's and earned his law degree from Yale Law School in 2003.

He has taught at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law as an associate professor since 2005, has had his work presented at the Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum, and was published in "The Economist."

"This recognition is very appropriate," said William Kratzke, Cecil C. Humphreys Professor of Law, of the prestige of Harris' reception of the honor.

Harris was one of the first Memphis-area members of the United Campus Workers of America and is a member of the Memphis City Council.

"I was just elected to the Memphis City Council. It was a competitive election and took a lot of hard work, but we pulled it off. I'm pretty proud of that. Now, I'm the only black lawyer on the City Council. I expect my legal training will come in handy," Harris said.

Along with Harris' civic and political duties, he also volunteers at Big Brothers Big Sisters and is the director of Goodwill Homes Community Service, Inc.

OBABL began as a blog in 2008 to report important news to black legal professionals. Since then, the company has received recognition from various African-American associations throughout the nation.

"All of us at the law school are delighted to see Professor Harris recognized for his many accomplishments.  He is an engaging teacher and an accomplished scholar, as well as being actively involved in numerous political and civic activities," said Kevin Smith, Dean and Thomas B. Preston Professor of Law.

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