Charles E. Harris, II, a partner in Mayer Brown’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution group, focuses his practice on a range of matters of paramount importance to the business community, including class actions, arbitration agreements, contract and real estate disputes, administrative actions, and privacy and cybersecurity. Charles has also handled many First Amendment cases alleging defamation and other privacy torts. In addition, as a registered patent attorney, he has litigated patent, copyright, trademark and trade secrets disputes. He also represents clients on appeal in both federal and state courts.

Charles has distinguished himself as a versatile lawyer who possesses abilities in many areas of litigation. For instance, he has prepared matters for trial, tried cases to completion, and argued appeals in state and federal courts. Further, he has successfully defended individual and class action suits arising under the TCPA, AIPA, FCRA, FDCPA and state consumer fraud statutes and he has defended suits seeking damages due to data security breaches.

Charles has litigated dozens of actions to enforce arbitration agreements. In doing so, he has faced many threshold questions of arbitrability, such as whether the court or an arbitrator decides if an arbitration agreement permits class arbitration. Charles has also represented clients engaged in arbitration concerning a range of subject matters before the AAA, ICDR, ICC and IFTA. And he himself acts as an arbitrator in commercial disputes before the AAA.

Charles has also defended clients in administrative actions before agencies such as the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR). He has handled administrative hearings before these bodies, and administrative reviews of their decisions in trial and appellate courts.

Charles counsels clients in a range of areas, including complying with the FTC and HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, creating and sustaining arbitration programs, complying with the TCPA, VPPA and Section 230 of the CDA, and avoiding First Amendment and privacy issues. Notably, he has passed the Certified HIPAA Privacy Security (CHPSE) exam. In addition, Charles has led the litigation due diligence assessment in a number of large mergers, including the merger of the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Charles has received a number of accolades for his leadership and legal experience, including Super Lawyers naming him to its “Illinois Rising Stars” list from 2013 to 2017, The Network Journal honoring him with its “40 Under Forty” Achievement Award, and the Illinois Diversity Council Multicultural Leadership Award. Also, Charles is a thought leader in his areas of practice, and he has published extensively on subjects such as class-action defense, arbitration agreements, and First Amendment-related issues.

Charles received a BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a MS in Biology, summa cum laude, from North Carolina Central University, and his JD, summa cum laude, from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. While in law school, Charles was an editor of the Cleveland-Marshall Law Review. After law school, he served as a law clerk to the late Judge David D. Dowd Jr., of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Spoken Languages

  • English


  • Munguia v. State of Illinois. Represented the Regional Transportation Authority of northeastern Illinois in a Title VI class action discrimination lawsuit brought by minority riders of the Chicago Transit Authority.
  • Gunartt v. Rent-A-Center. Served as lead counsel in successfully representing the nation’s largest rent-to-own company in an action seeking to invalidate the company’s consumer arbitration clause.
  • LaCost v. Roddy, Leahy, Guill & Zima. Served as lead counsel representing 10 defendants, including a 50-year-old soccer club, in a much publicized action alleging defamation and other business torts.
  • Billingnetwork v. LOGITBIT. Served as lead co-counsel for a software company in a patent infringement matter alleging that the company’s enterprise software infringes a patent covering a billing system.
  • Franklin Park O’Hare v. Digital Realty Trust. Represented Digital in real estate litigation regarding the completion of a state-of-the-art data center and the removal of a holdover tenant.
  • Mamé v. Gardner Denver. Represented Gardner Denver in international arbitration regarding the alleged breach of a supply contract for metal forging used in fracking equipment.
  • Legal Helpers v. Council of Better Business Bureaus. Served as lead counsel for the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Better Business Bureau of Chicago & Northern District of Illinois in successfully defending them against claims of defamation and other torts related to the Chicago Bureau’s rating of Legal Helpers.
  • Cleveland-Cliffs v. ArcelorMittal. Represented ArcelorMittal in separate arbitrations, both of which concerned the sale and purchase of iron ore pellets.
  • Dorinco Reinsurance Co. v. Swiss Reinsurance Co. Represented Dorinco Reinsurance Company in two international arbitrations relating to the provision of insurance coverage for damages caused at several Dow Chemical facilities in Louisiana by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
  • In re TD Ameritrade Accountholder Litig. Represented TD Ameritrade in a class action brought by its accountholders who alleged that they had been damaged by a data security breach.
  • In re Global Crossing Ltd. Securities Litig. Defended Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in a securities fraud class action brought by investors in Global Crossing who claimed that the corporation made false statements to them.
  • CME Group v. Chicago Board Options Exchange. Represented the Chicago Board of Trade in a declaratory judgment action concerning the rights of “exercise right holders” in the merger between the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the CME Group.
  • iPCS Wireless v. Sprint Nextel Corp. Represented iPCS in a dispute concerning Sprint’s failure to provide iPCS with third-generation wireless technology.
  • State of Illinois v. Deborah Taylor. Won the acquittal after trial of a woman in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division, who was charged with murdering a friend of hers 10 years prior to being charged with the crime.


Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, JD, summa cum laude

Associate and Managing Editor, Cleveland State Law Review

North Carolina Central University, MS in Biology, summa cum laude

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, BS


  • Illinois
  • New York


  • US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • US Patent and Trademark Office


  • County Commissioner, Cook County Commission on Human Rights (2013-present)
  • Board Member, Victory Gardens Theater (2014-present)
  • Board Member, Heartland Human Care Services (2012-present)
  • Board Member, Chicago Committee on Large Law Firms (2013-present)
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated (1993-present)