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Ellen M. Harris

Senior Counsel

Ellen Harris focuses her practice on real estate and construction law matters.

With 12 years of experience as Chief Legal Officer for Newark Housing Authority, Ellen has a strong background in municipal and federal law, negotiation of contracts, arbitration, mediation, transactional real estate, and eminent domain matters.  She has handled transactions involving the acquisition of hundreds of properties resulting in the relocation of thousands of residents and businesses within 77 redevelopment areas.

Ellen is experienced in negotiating and creating comprehensive agreements for construction projects, redevelopment agreements with private parties, and lease of facilities projects (government-owned assets).  She negotiates binding Letters of Intent and term sheets as the framework for final agreements and coordinates with bond counsel, city, federal, and state agencies, as well as financial consultants, to assist in analyzing risks, rewards, and requirements for the agreement under negotiation. Ellen understands best practices and industry standards in public/private partnerships.

Ellen’s experience gives her an understanding of asset management, management and labor relations, bond responsibilities, redevelopment agreements, coordination with a multi-governmental approval process, and reaching agreements with stakeholders holding varying opinions and interests. Further, her role as Chief Legal Officer and Executive Director at Newark Housing Authority has enhanced her ability to strategically negotiate and efficiently guide transactions to minimize risk and complications for her clients.

Ellen has served as lead counsel in transactions creating approximately 1000 units of affordable housing totaling over $500 million.

Ellen has been recognized for personal and professional achievements throughout her career, including the “Woman of Achievement Award” from the Tri-County Scholarship Foundation and the “General Counsel of the Year” from NJBiz.

Education
  • Seton Hall University School of Law
    • J.D., 1986
  • Bucknell University
    • B.S., 1981
Professional Affiliations
  • Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity
    • Board of Trustees
Bar Admissions
  • New Jersey
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