I am Paul Harris and I am proud to have represented workers ever since I graduated from law school. I come from a small town in the Texas Panhandle called Borger. I earned my bachelor’s degree in English, with Honors, from the University of Texas-Austin. As a law student at the University of Houston Law Center, I received the Yale Rosenberg Memorial Award for writing and served as a law clerk for the Houston office of Advocacy, Inc., (currently known as Disability Rights Texas), a federally created nonprofit that protects the legal rights of individuals with disabilities.
In my final year of law school, I became a clerk for a prominent employment law firm here in Houston, Butler & Harris. After graduating law school, I became an associate at Butler & Harris, where I stayed for 12 years.
While at Butler & Harris, I worked on several, groundbreaking cases, many of which were against local governments and various federal agencies. We helped overturn a blanket ban on individuals with diabetes that kept them from serving the State Department in the Foreign Service. We won a gender discrimination, pattern-and-practice trial against the City of Beaumont and its Police Department, achieving justice for our client who worked for so long to become a Detective. We won two disability discrimination trials against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): one on behalf of a person with diabetes who was wrongfully rejected as a Special Agent, and one for a person who went on to become the first FBI Special Agent with a prosthetic hand.
Along the way, I have represented individuals in almost every field of work and almost any place on the hierarchy; from police officers and municipal employees to oil and gas executives, nurses, restaurant workers, and beverage distributors.
My work for my clients takes on many different forms. I advise people about contract negotiations and severance agreements. I have represented clients in matters before both state and federal courts in Houston. I have extensive experience assisting clients through internal grievance processes. I have represented numerous local and federal governmental employees, including employees of the City of Houston, in litigation and before the Merit Systems Protection Board. I have also successfully represented numerous clients and small businesses with claims for Unemployment Benefits through the Texas Workforce Commission.
I am admitted to practice law in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the United States District Court for the Eastern and Southern District of Texas, and all Texas state courts. I handle cases under various state and federal laws, including Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, and Texas laws that prohibit retaliation against daycare workers and nursing home workers.
I served as the President of the Houston Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, where I helped organize and emcee monthly educational luncheons for local plaintiff’s employment lawyers. I am a member of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Houston Bar Association. I am a member of the Texas Employment Lawyers Association (TELA), founded in part by my former boss, Margaret Harris, as well as the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA).
I have conducted training sessions for private sector companies, and I am a regular guest speaker at the University of Houston-Downtown’s Paralegal Certificate Program. I enjoy speaking at nearby schools on the importance of jury duty as part of the Houston Bar Association’s Speakers Bureau.
Please contact Shellist Lazarz Slobin if you have questions or are in need of legal advice. I look forward to seeing if I can be of assistance to you.