After graduating from Santa Clara University with both an MBA and a JD, and after spending a few years working for another law firm, Joel knew that he wanted to open his own law practice to avoid working for attorneys who, in his words, “give attorneys a bad reputation”.
After opening his own practice in 1993, Joel found an old Victorian on W. 3rd Street in Antioch that housed an existing law practice. He recognized a need in the Antioch community for an Estate Planning attorney who cared about helping people and their families preserve their legacies. So, in 1993, just three years out of law school, Joel opened the doors of The Law Offices of Joel A. Harris where his mission was – and still is – to do things the way his clients want to do them and to provide good service for a reasonable price in a friendly, non-confrontational atmosphere. Since then he’s opened satellite offices in San Francisco, Burlingame, Walnut Creek, and Clayton.
Born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area, Joel earned his undergraduate degree at the University of the Pacific in English (with a minor in Biology) before going on to law school. Shortly thereafter he married the love of his life Christy and moved to Clayton where they raised two children: Andy, a former Giants batboy, and Amy, tuba player extraordinaire. Both are currently attending their dad’s Alma Mater, the University of the Pacific, and plan to become attorneys. In 2004 Christy’s sister died tragically in a car accident leaving a special needs son, Carter, under their care. And in 2014, after a 2 year battle with cancer, Joel lost his beloved wife of 24 years. Joel is currently living in Clayton, raising Carter on his own.
With nearly 25 years’ experience specializing in estate planning and estate administration, Joel is both a State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law and is also a perennial California Super Lawyer; recognized by an independent firm to be among the top 5% in his field for skills and service.
When Joel isn’t spending time with family and friends in Tahoe, Hawaii, or sledding Glaciers in Alaska, he’s lending a helping hand to a friend or neighbor and giving generously to local charities. He’s also an avid collector of rare books, tin toys, good friends, and Giants World Series rings.