Jeffrey Harris recently found out that he received a summer externship placement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where he will work in the Mediation and Litigation department. He is excited because this position will allow him to explore an area of law that captured his attention when he was an undergraduate.
As a business major at California Lutheran University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and Finance, Harris learned about the way corporate decisions are made and became interested in the consequences of those choices, especially in cases such as Enron. The outcomes for employees in these scenarios - from the CEO to middle management to lower-level employees - intrigued him.
That is why he decided to go to law school. Although he has always been good at math, he knew he did not want to be an accountant because working with people was more appealing to him than crunching numbers. He is interested in many facets of the law including real estate, transactional, employment, and in-house counsel.
In particular, Harris enjoyed taking Alternative Dispute Resolution with Professor Gunning last semester and is getting a lot out of his current Employment Law course with Adjunct Professor Todd Smith. "I have had a great interest in ADR since early in my college career," he said. "I love being a mediator and negotiating. It's invigorating, gets my heart going. And it helps me see both sides of an issue."
Last summer, he completed an externship in the Public Integrity division of the District Attorney's Office. "I loved it, but it made me realize that criminal law and litigation isn't really for me. The Externship Office at Southwestern has done a world of good by enabling students to do so many externships. These experiences give us a lot of options and kinds of law to try."
Harris has also been active on campus. For the past two and half years he has focused his energies on Southwestern's General Relief Advocacy Project (GRAP), Teen Court, serving as an orientation leader and participating in other SBA clubs and activities. He is currently SBA secretary. He appreciates his choices as a student, too, beginning his law school career in Southwestern's part-time day (PLEAS) program and eventually switching to the full-time track. He will graduate this December.
Originally from San Diego, Harris says Southwestern was the right choice for him because he wanted to stay in Southern California. His wife, Courtney Duckworth-Harris, was accepted into USC's Occupational Therapy masters program at the same time.
With an inquisitive mind and diverse interests, Harris has enjoyed many of his classes and professors, including Contracts with Professor Hart, Criminal Law with Professor Strader and Civil Procedure with Dean Parrish, who he has assisted with a few projects. His favorite course was Constitutional Law with Professor Knipprath. "He opened my mind to a lot of ideas and he opened my eyes to the way I see the world," Harris said. "His way of presentation and teaching was really beneficial. He's our Faculty Advisor for the SBA, and helped us revise the SBA constitution in a way that will help it run more efficiently for years to come."