Harlan I. Prater, IV

Harlan I. Prater, IV










Birmingham, AL

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  • A.B., Duke University, 1983 magna cum laude
  • J.D., Duke University School of Law, 1987 with honors


  • Alabama, 1987

Harlan Prater defends clients in high-stakes civil trials — he is a tireless advocate, protecting their interests. For more than 30 years, clients have relied on Harlan for his experience and skill in product liability, pharmaceutical, medical device and business litigation. He also represents clients in environmental, consumer fraud, antitrust and patent cases.

Proven experience and record-setting wins

Harlan’s career includes landmark cases, major victories and appearances before the Alabama Supreme Court. He served as trial counsel in the largest and longest-running trial in Alabama history — an environmental contamination case that involved thousands of plaintiffs and a trial lasting more than 19 months.

He has also obtained defense verdicts in numerous potentially multi-million dollar cases for clients throughout Alabama and the Southeast, including the first verdict in more than a decade in favor of a defendant product manufacturer in Lowndes County, Alabama. Harlan has served as national counsel for various product manufacturers, and is one of only 11 Alabama lawyers selected as members of the Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC).

A leader in the legal profession and the community

From the courtroom to the community, Harlan is dedicated to giving back. He currently chairs the Alabama State Bar Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Enforcement, which makes recommendations to the Alabama Supreme Court, and he has served on the Birmingham Bar Association executive committee.

Harlan is a Fellow of some of the legal profession’s most prestigious organizations, including:

  • American College of Trial Lawyers
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • American Bar Foundation
  • Alabama Law Foundation
  • Birmingham Bar Foundation

Awards and Accolades

  • Chambers USA, “Leading Lawyer,” Litigation: General Commercial
  • Benchmark Litigation, “Litigation Star,” Product Liability
  • Best Lawyers in America, Litigation – Environmental, 2011-19; Personal Injury – Defendants, 2011-19; “2014 Lawyer of the Year” for Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; “2018 Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation – Environmental
  • Alabama Super Lawyers, Top 50

Harlan served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Birmingham YMCA, and he is the Chair of the Board of Trustees for both Canterbury United Methodist Church and the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. Harlan and Alice, his wife of 30 years, have two daughters, one of whom is in law school and the other is an elementary school teacher in Washington, D.C.


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