Harlan Reed Ellis passed away peacefully on Jan. 9, 2020 at the age of 77, due to a chronic illness related to the kidney transplant he received 15 years prior. 

Mr. Ellis was raised in Gainesville, Fla., by his parents Harlan and Helen Ellis. He attended Harvard College, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1968. Mr. Ellis received his PhD from Columbia University Teachers’ College in law and education.  He started his legal career at Paul Weiss in New York as a tax attorney, and then became a labor lawyer, representing unions, at Cohen, Weiss and Simon. In 1976, Mr. Ellis moved to New Jersey, joining the law firm of Pitney, Hardin & Kipp, representing management. He then moved to Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus in Somerville, N.J., and later opened a labor firm in Newark, DeMaria, Ellis & Hunt. Mr. Ellis later became a shareholder at the Manhattan office of Littler Mendelson, representing national clients on labor issues and also merger & acquisitions matters. He transitioned to the role of Special Counsel in 2017.  

Mr. Ellis was active in the New Jersey and New York Bars, and was identified as one of the Best Lawyers in America from 1995- 2019. He was unusual in that he forged many long-term friendships with Union attorneys and local Union officials, despite being a Management side labor lawyer. He was consistently elected to leadership positions in his academic and professional life, reflecting the trust and confidence so many placed in him. Mr. Ellis was a mentor to many young people, and an active advocate for women in his profession.

Mr. Ellis is survived by his wife of 43 years, Nancy Lee Herron; his daughter, Laura Ellis Bieniek and his son in law, Matthew Bieniek; and his grandchildren, Henry and Molly. He is also survived by his sister, Karen Ellis Stonesifer and his brother in law, the Rev. Jeffrey Stonesifer; his nephews, Jonathan and Jared Stonesifer; and his niece, Shannon Stonesifer Stauffer.  

Visitation will be on Thursday, Jan. 23, 4-6 p.m., at the Caggiano Memorial Home in Montclair.  A memorial service will take place on Friday, Jan. 24, 5-7:30 p.m., at the Harvard Club in New York City. Please RSVP to LauraHEllis@gmail.com.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Harlan Reed Ellis Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of North Central Florida, 3919 W. Newberry Road, Suite 3, Gainesville, FL 32607.