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J.P. Harris uses his off time from law career to give back to many others

WEARE — At work, James P. Harris helps businesses protect their data and their rights. At home, he loves to be with his wife and son. And in his free time, Harris gives back to those who helped him find success. 

Harris, 37, is an attorney with Sheehan, Phinney, Bass + Green specializing in business litigation, but a growing sector of his business is in records retention – helping businesses deal effectively with their electronic data. 

"It's a lot of fun," he said. "It's very different from the litigation world. It's more collaborative and more productive." 

Harris grew up in Derry and attended Trinity High School. During his time there, he met the love of his life, his wife Chantal, and also got a taste of what his future could be. 

"I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I attended this week-long course where they simulated law school," he said. "I wasn't sure I wanted to be a lawyer, but I loved law school. I loved the Socratic method."

After completing his undergraduate degree at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, Harris attended Catholic University for law school. A summer job at Sheehan, Phinney, Bass + Green earned him a place at the firm after he graduated, and he's been there ever since. 

Harris has been named one of the Best Lawyers in America in commercial litigation, and a Rising Star by New England Super Lawyers. 

When he's not working or spending time with his family, Harris tries to serve the community, whether as a member of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce or as volunteer for Catholic Charities in their effort to get more young professionals to give back. He serves as chair of the Trinity High School board of advisers, where he works to help make the school the best it can be. 

"I feel very indebted to Trinity on a lot of levels," Harris said. "So I want to help them as best I can." 

Harris also gives his time to St. Joseph Community Services providing Meals on Wheels to homebound folks. In his role as a member of the board, Harris said he tries to help the organization find the money needed to ensure those who need assistance get it. 

"It's a really professionally run group with a lot of challenges," he said. "It's difficult to ensure there's enough money to provide food for people in need." 

In his own life, Harris said his biggest challenge is to find balance between work, family, and community service. 

"I have never had a day where I dreaded coming to work," he said, "but I need to learn how to turn work off and enjoy the time I have with my wife and son. I'm lucky to work at a place where they recognize the need to unplug."

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