His career in the private and public sectors at the highest levels has made him a valued advisor to decision makers confronted with achieving results in the face of challenges and resolving complex and nuanced matters. He embodies the highest standards for ethics and legal skills, and he is an effective advocate and a trusted counselor to his clients.
Mr. Harla specializes in government and regulatory affairs and civil litigation. He practices in State and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels, including the New Jersey Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He has represented clients in groundbreaking matters that have resulted in over 50 published opinions. Mr. Harla has also written numerous legislative enactments and Executive Orders. He has successfully guided a variety of corporate, public and individual clients through the intricacies of the legislative and administrative practice in Trenton.
Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Harla had a varied bi-partisan career in public service. He served as Deputy Chief Legal Counsel to Governor James Florio and as an Assistant Legal Counsel to Governor Thomas Kean.
He also served as the Assistant Attorney General in Charge of Administrative Agency Advice overseeing the issuance of legal opinions and administrative and regulatory matters in the Division of Law, Department of Law and Public Safety. As a Deputy Attorney General in the Division of Law, Mr. Harla acted as General Counsel to the State colleges. Additionally, he represented the State Commission on Ethical Standards and the Department of Personnel.
Mr. Harla served as an aide to a Member of the State General Assembly, and as a Research Assistant in the Office of Legislative Services for the State Legislature.
Mr. Harla is a long-time Associate Counsel of the New Jersey League of Municipalities (2008-Present).
Appointed by the New Jersey Attorney General to the Governor's Study Commission on Discrimination in Public Contracts and Procurements (1989). Appointed by the Mayor to the Princeton Neighborhood Advisory Planning Committee (2014-2015).
Mr. Harla has acted as a senior advisor to several New Jersey gubernatorial transitions for ethics, labor and matters of government organization, including the Governor's Office and the Attorney General's Office.
Teaching and Published Articles
Mr. Harla co-taught "New Jersey State and Municipal Government" at the Rutgers-Newark Law School, Spring Semester (2011). He has also been an instructor for the New Jersey Continuing Legal Education Center and the National Business Institute CLE on such topics as attorney ethics, lobbying and ethics, utility lobbying and regulation and the New Jersey judicial and public official appointments process. He has also published articles in a variety of publications on tort claim act immunity, property tax relief and pension reform.
Professional Recognition and Community Service
Martindale-Hubbell AV Peer Review Rated (highest rating for ethical and legal competence).
Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to the Professional Responsibility Rules Committee (September 1, 2015 - August 31, 2018). Appointed by the Court to the Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law (January 1, 2006 - December 31, 2011).
Princeton Area Community Foundation, Trustee (2016 - Present).
The Arts Council of Princeton: Member of the Executive Committee and of the Board of Directors (2014-present).
Dress for Success for Mercer County: Member of the Board of Directors (2010-present); 2015 Honoree.
New Jersey State Bar Association; American Bar Association.
State of New Jersey (1979); U.S. District Court of New Jersey (1979); U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals (1982).
Mr. Harla is a graduate of the Rutgers School of Law-Newark (1979) and Rutgers College (1974), where he received his B.A in Political Science with high distinction. He was editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Daily Targum.