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Ellen Harris Elected to Board of Trustees of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity

Posted on February 19th, 2021

Ellen M. Harris, Senior Counsel to law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., has been invited to join the Board of Trustees of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity.

“I am humbled and excited to begin my term with the Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity. It is truly a pleasure for me to give back to this community. The work Habitat does is incredible, and I am thrilled to play my part in it,” said Harris.

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity partners with low-income people in the community to help them build or improve a place they can call home. The organization has built over 50 affordable homes in Hunterdon and Somerset counties since its founding more than 25 years ago.

“We are grateful to have Ellen join the board. Her voice will be a great asset to our efforts,” said Timothy P. McKeown, a Member of the firm, who has served on the board for the past two years.

About Ellen Harris

With 12 years of experience as Chief Legal Officer at Newark Housing Authority, Harris has a strong background in municipal and federal law, contract negotiations, 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.

Harris 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, and financial consultants to assist in analyzing risks, rewards, and requirements for the agreement under negotiation. Harris understands best practices and industry standards in public/private partnerships.

Harris’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, as Chief Legal Officer and Executive Director at Newark Housing Authority, she developed the ability to strategically negotiate and efficiently guide transactions to minimize risk and complications for her clients.

Harris 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. She earned her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1986 and her B.S. from Bucknell University in 1981.