Attorney Paul Clinton Harris is Senior Vice President at Hampton University. He is an experienced executive with a distinguished legal career and expertise in corporate compliance, ethics, privacy and governance. Attorney Harris brings to his current position a diverse 20+ years of broad corporate experience which includes significant leadership roles with several global Fortune 500 companies, a multi-national professional service firm, the United States Department of Justice and a top-rated U.S. law firm.
A native of Charlottesville, Virginia, Attorney Harris is a 1982 graduate of Charlottesville High School and a 1986 graduate of Hampton University. During his senior year at Hampton University, Attorney Harris held the unique distinction of being president of the Student Government Association and cadet battalion commander of the Hampton University Army ROTC Pirate Battalion. A Distinguished Military Graduate, Attorney Harris graduated with honors in 1986 with a B.A. degree in Political Science. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army and served four years on active duty as a military intelligence officer, achieving the rank of captain. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from The George Washington University Law School in 1995.
Attorney Harris began his legal career in the Charlottesville office of the prestigious McGuire Woods law firm, where his work focused primarily on employment and education law. Two years after joining the firm, he seized the opportunity to pursue public office. In 1997, at the age of 33, Attorney Harris was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, becoming the first African-American Republican to be elected to the Virginia legislature since 1891. Attorney Harris held the historic seat in the Virginia House of Delegates once held by President Thomas Jefferson.
In 1998, while still serving in the Virginia legislature, Attorney Harris was appointed by Congress to serve on the 19-member Federal Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce. In 2001, Attorney Harris resigned his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates to accept former President George W. Bush’s appointment to the United States Department of Justice, where he served as deputy associate attorney general. In 2003, Attorney Harris resigned from his Justice Department position to join the private sector as senior counsel for Raytheon Company. In 2007, President Bush appointed Attorney Harris to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation advisory committee, which advises the corporation on the appointment of trustees in termination proceedings, investment of moneys, and whether terminated private pension plans should be liquidated immediately or continued in operation under a trustee. Attorney Harris has held positions of increasing authority at several global companies, including Ernst & Young, Northrop Grumman and most recently as vice president/assistant general counsel at Sodexo, Inc.
Prior to joining the Hampton University administration, Attorney Harris served on the Hampton University Board of Trustees from 2014-2016. He currently serves on the Board of Visitors to Mount Vernon and has served on numerous other boards, including the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, Virginia War Memorial, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Washington Legal Foundation, Institute for Responsible Citizenship, and Boys & Girls Club of Charlottesville.
Attorney Harris’ achievements have been recognized through inclusion in Who’s Who Among Students in America’s Colleges and Universities, Outstanding Young Men in America, Who’s Who in the South, and National Association for Equal Opportunity Distinguished HBCU Alumni. In 2006, Attorney Harris received Hampton University’s Distinguished 20-Year Alumnus Award. He is a 2009 recipient of the Sons of the American Revolution Law Enforcement Citizen’s Award. He holds an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from the Virginia University of Lynchburg. Attorney Harris is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Attorney Harris is married to Carol N. Brown, a native of Greensboro, North Carolina; they have two children – Reagan Mackenzie and Hannah Madison. Attorney Harris has three children from a prior marriage – Paul, Jr., Esq., Alexandra Mackenzie and Alanah Madison. Carol holds A.B., J.D., and LL.M. degrees from Duke University. She is currently a tenured professor of law at the University of Richmond School of Law.