BiographyLeslie Harris is the founder of Leslie Harris and Associates, a government and public policy firm, which provides Washington representation and strategic services to nonprofit organizations, foundations, corporations and advocacy groups acting in the public interest. The firm specializes in telecommunications, Internet, First Amendment, privacy and education policy. Among others, the firm's clients include the Consortium for School Networking, the International Society for Technology in Education, America Online-Time Warner, the Ford Foundation, the American Library Association, WGBH Television, the National School Board Association, the Center for the Public Domain, and the Markle Foundation.
Ms. Harris has been a public interest lawyer, lobbyist and public policy strategist in Washington for over fifteen years. During that time, she has been involved in the enactment of many landmark pieces of legislation including the " E-Rate" amendment to the 1996 Telecommunications. Her firm has represented clients on matters ranging from open access to cable broadband and the E-Rate to digital copyright and spectrum policy.
In 1995, Ms. Harris founded the Civic Media Project to protect free expression and public access to the Internet and other advanced telecommunications services. The Project organized the first coalition in support of expanding universal service to schools, libraries and nonprofits and served as a principal voice in opposition to the Communications Decency Act.
Prior to establishing Leslie Harris & Associates, Ms. Harris served in senior positions in two prominent civil liberties organizations. From 1993-1996, she was the Director of Public Policy for People for the American Way, where she managed the organization's legislative and government relations program and served as a national spokesperson for the organization. Before that, she served in a number of legal and policy positions for the American Civil Liberties Union, most recently as the Chief Legislative Counsel for the Washington Office from 1989-92. As Chief Legislative Counsel, she co-managed the ACLU's national legislative and public policy program. Before joining the ACLU, she was in private law practice in Washington.
Ms. Harris has served in leadership positions in the American Bar Association, most recently as the Chairperson of the Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities and currently chairs the Advisory Committee for the Center for Democracy and Technology. She is also an adjunct professor at the Washington College of Law at American University.
Ms. Harris received her law degree cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center and her BA at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.