Harlan Prater's distinguished litigation career includes major defense wins in challenging cases.
One of a select few who are Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates, Harlan is a tireless advocate, defending clients and protecting their interests in high-stakes civil trials. A Chambers USA “Leading Lawyer,” Benchmark Litigation “Litigation Star” and three-time Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” by BL Rankings, clients have relied on Harlan’s experience and skill in product liability, pharmaceutical, medical device, environmental and business litigation for more than 30 years. He also represents clients in consumer fraud, antitrust and patent actions.
Harlan’s career includes a number of landmark trials and major victories in Alabama and other venues around the country. He served as defense counsel in the largest and longest-running trial in Alabama history — an environmental contamination case that involved thousands of plaintiffs and lasted more than 19 months. His record speaks for itself, obtaining defense verdicts in cases with millions of dollars at stake 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 13 Alabama lawyers selected as a member of the Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC).
Even beyond the courtroom, Harlan is dedicated to the law. He chairs the Alabama State Bar Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Enforcement, and he is fascinated by the implications technology and social media have on juries and courtrooms. Harlan served as chair of the Board of Directors of the Birmingham YMCA, and he has served as 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 his late wife, Alice, were married for 32 years and have two daughters, one of whom is a lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the other is an elementary school teacher in Durham, North Carolina. In 2022, Harlan married Ann Brock Prater, and the two enjoy life in Birmingham together.