Caroline Harris’ practice focuses on land use, zoning and historic preservation in New York City. She is an expert on development rights (“air rights”) deals and discretionary approvals. Harris recently co-authored “Airspace and Development Rights,” a chapter in the New York State Bar Association’s treatise, Real Estate Titles: The Practice of Real Estate Law In New York (3d ed. 2019). She represents her diverse client base before the City Planning Commission, the Board of Standards and Appeals, the Landmarks Preservation Commission and occasionally the Empire State Development Corporation.

Harris has been practicing land use law in New York City since 1983 when she was appointed Associate Counsel of the Department of City Planning/City Planning Commission. At City Planning, she was responsible for the full gamut of land use applications, including several complex projects. As part of the team on the 42nd Street Development Project, she worked in conjunction with the NYC Economic Development Corporation, the NYS Public Development Corporation (now the Empire State Development Corporation) and, on litigation issues, the Corporation Counsel.

After City Planning, Harris was associated with well-respected mid-sized and large firms where she integrated her zoning experience with real estate transactions and later focused exclusively on land use.  Harris was Counsel to Troutman Sanders and left in 2008 to join Goldman as his partner and the firm of GoldmanHarris LLC was created.

Before working at City Planning, Harris was Clerk to the Honorable John V. Singleton, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas and a litigator at a large New York law firm.  An opening at City Planning paved the way for her return to planning and land use which she had been exposed to as a summer intern at City Planning and studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Harris teaches Continuing Legal Education classes, publishes articles, and is a keen advocate for women in the law.  She established the Endowment for Leadership in the laws and policies for women and minorities at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and is a member of their Women’s Leadership Circle. 



Memberships and Current Activities

Urban Design Forum, Member (2018 – present)
Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in the Law, Member (2019-Present; Board of Directors 2019)
Women in Housing and Finance, President (2009-2014); Board of Directors (2006-Present)
City Lore: The Center for Urban Culture, Board of Directors (1999-Present); Vice President (2013-Present)
American Arbitration Association approved Neutral on Commercial Panel (2000-Present)
Association of the Bar of the City of New York
NYS Bar Association


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