A nationally known trial lawyer, McGuireWoods Chairman Jon Harmon represents Fortune 500 companies in bet-the-company litigation across the country. His clients include some of the largest U.S. financial institutions as well as telecommunications giants and leading automotive, food and product manufacturers.
Jon has more than 20 years of experience communicating complex information to juries in federal and state courts. Companies often call on him to “parachute” into high-exposure cases shortly before trial and he has won verdicts in some of the most difficult, pro-plaintiff venues in the United States.
He has tried cases in Maine, California, New Jersey, Texas, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, Florida, West Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, Maryland, and Illinois. The vast majority of Jon’s cases have resulted in verdicts in favor of his clients.
Jon formerly led McGuireWoods’ Business & Securities Litigation Department. His business litigation practice spans complex commercial, fraud, class action, insurance fraud, complex business/civil tort, environmental, product liability, employment, construction, toxic tort, and federal or state protected whistle-blower cases. Jon has extensive experience with high-profile investigation involving sensitive issues relating to sexual and racial harassment/discrimination, whistleblowers, and other violations of federal and state law.
- Yahoo v. Mozilla (California Superior Ct., Santa Ana)—Retained by Yahoo approximately 80 days before a jury trial to represent it in a billion dollar dispute with Mozilla. Mozilla contended that Verizon’s $4.8 billion purchase of Yahoo triggered a change of control provision in the parties’ contract, which allowed Mozilla to switch the Firefox browser’s default search engine from Yahoo to Google. Shortly before trial, the case settled.
- International Paper Co. v. Kennedy Specialty Lumber (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas). Represented International Paper in a complex commercial fraud and conspiracy jury trial after the principal defendant was acquitted. Defendants counter-sued International Paper for $140 million in damages. More than 20,000 exhibits were introduced during the trial. The jury returned a $1 million verdict (the exact amount requested in closing) in favor of International Paper and rejected defendants’ counter-claim.
- Fort Hood Independent Review Committee—One of five civilian experts selected by the Secretary of the Army to investigate the command climate at Fort Hood, Texas as it related to sexual assault, sexual harassment, discrimination, inclusion, and crime. The investigation was ordered in the wake of the death of Vanessa Guillen and culminated in an extensive report and testimony before the House Subcommittee on Military Personnel.
- In re: Cellphone Termination Cases (Alameda County Circuit Court, California). Represented a national wireless phone company in a jury trial involving a class of approximately 2 million former California customers who had established that the wireless phone company’s early termination fee was invalid under California law. Represented the company in the damages phase of the trial in which our client was pursuing a counter-claim against the class. The jury awarded our client approximately $18 million in damages. The verdict was later overturned and the case ultimately settled.
- Commonwealth of Virginia, et al. v. Nationwide Insurance Co., et al. (Richmond Circuit Court, Virginia). Officially appointed by the commonwealth of Virginia to represent it and Virginia Tech in suing five insurance companies and their agent in a Fraud Against Taxpayers Act case involving fraud in the procurement and administration of student health insurance. Before trial, the insurance companies agreed to pay approximately $20 million, Virginia’s largest-ever Fraud Against Taxpayers Act settlement.
- Thomas v. Atlantic Richfield, DuPont (Milwaukee Circuit Court, Wisconsin). Represented DuPont in a five-week jury trial in which the plaintiff and his guardian ad litem alleged that the plaintiff suffered permanent brain damage as a result of childhood lead poisoning. As the first case in the country to go to trial under a recently created “risk contribution” theory of liability, the trial received national attention and was closely followed by the plaintiff and defense bars. The jury returned a complete defense verdict.
- Alsobrook v. UPS Ground Freight (U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee). Represented UPS in a four-plaintiff hostile environment, race and retaliation jury trial brought under Title VII and Section 1981. Plaintiffs alleged a hostile environment and sought damages in excess of $10 million. After a two-week trial, the jury returned a complete defense verdict.
- Willie Homer Stephens, Guardian ad Litem for Lillian Colvin v. CSX Transportation (Hampton County Circuit Court, South Carolina). Represented CSX in a three-week jury trial in which the plaintiff alleged that CSX’s negligence in operating one of its trains and in failing to clear vegetation at a crossing in Hampton County, S.C., resulted in an accident that caused brain damage. During closing arguments, plaintiff’s counsel requested actual and punitive damages in excess of $40 million. The 12-person jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of CSX.
The South Carolina Supreme Court later affirmed in part, reversed in part and
the case ultimately settled.
- Musburger Ltd. v. Meier (Cook County Circuit Court, Illinois). Retained approximately 45 days before trial to represent a prominent entertainment lawyer in a commercial jury trial with a Chicago radio personality. Defendant brought a $15 million counter-claim against our client for malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty. The jury returned a verdict in favor of our client.
- Nevamar v. Charleswater (Maryland District Court). Retained by Nevamar in this patent infringement case approximately 100 days before trial. The plaintiff calculated damages of approximately $100 million. The case settled favorably shortly before trial.
- The University of Texas School of LawJD1995
- United States Military Academy at West PointBS1987
Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
Member, American Law Institute
Fellow, Virginia Law Foundation
Board Member, Pro Bono Institute (PBI)
Member, Virginia Bar Association
Member, American Bar Association
Member, Defense Research Institute
- Speaker, 2022 Mid-Year Legal Industry Discussion, Thomson Reuters, July 28, 2022
- Speaker, "Industry Leaders Address Our Changing Digital Landscape", Intapp Connect21, November 17, 2021
- Speaker, "Collaboration At The Top - Law Firm Leadership & The GC", Legal Leaders 2021, Reuters, October 19, 2021
- Keynote Speaker, "Keynote Address: Inclusive Leadership: Serving the Way to Success in High-Exposure Situations", CCBJ: Women in Business & Law, Corporate Counsel Business Journal, November 21, 2019
- Speaker, Leaders in Color, July 21, 2022
- Speaker, Leaders in Color, May 18, 2022
- Speaker, Leaders in Color, February 24, 2022
- Speaker, Leaders in Color, November 4, 2021
- Speaker, Leaders in Color, September 8, 2021
- Speaker, Leaders in Color: One-Year Anniversary, July 15, 2021
- Speaker, Leaders in Color: June 2021
- Speaker, Leaders in Color: April 2021
- Speaker, Leaders in Color: March 2021
- Speaker, Leaders in Color: February 2021
- Speaker, Leaders in Color, January 28, 2021
- Speaker, Leaders in Color: November 2020
- Speaker, Leaders in Color: September 2020
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law – Individuals, 2009-2024, Commercial Litigation, 2022, 2023, 2024; Woodward/White, Inc.
Named a “Go To Lawyer,” Business Litigation, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 2023
Named to “Heavy Hitters – 50 Most Influential People in Virginia,” Virginia Business, 2022, 2023
Named to “Virginia Super Lawyers,” General Litigation, Employment Litigation: Defense, Civil Litigation Defense, Thomson Reuters, 2007-2013, 2023
Named to “Most Influential Black Lawyers,” Savoy, 2022
Top Law Firm Leader, Financial Times, 2020
Named to “Leaders in the Law,” Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 2020
Named to “The Virginia 500: Power List,” Virginia Business, 2020, 2021, 2022
Named to Virginia’s “Legal Elite,” Labor/Employment, 2009; Business Law, 2011, 2019; Civil Litigation, 2011, 2019, 2020, Virginia Business
Selected for inclusion in “Client Service All Stars,” Business and Securities Litigation, BTI Consulting Group, 2014; Commercial Litigation and Employment Litigation, 2016
Selected for inclusion in America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Labor & Employment, Virginia, Chambers USA, 2008-2011, 2013, 2014
Named to “Top 40 Under 40,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2004
Recipient, MCCA Outstanding Outside Counsel, Platinum Circle, 2001
- Author, "My Father’s Advice: ‘Don’t Hate, Don’t Hide, Don’t Be a Victim’", The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2020
- Quoted, "EY Failed Split Gives Break to US Law Firms Fearing Competition", Bloomberg Law, May 1, 2023
- Featured, "The 2023 Heavy Hitters List", Virginia Business, February 27, 2023
- Author, "Advancing Racial Justice In The Legal Industry And Beyond", Law360, August 31, 2020
- Author, "Lessons From a Cross Burning: My Father Used a Hateful Act to Teach Me Not to Hate", Black Enterprise, July 27, 2020