Harrison Pratt, the former Midway resident, was recently sworn in to practice law in the state of Georgia. The August 12 ceremony was held in front of the family at the Chatham County Courthouse, with Judge John E. Morse, Jr. of the Chatham County Supreme Court.
Now Harrison can practice law in two states: Georgia and South Carolina. Harrison has served as a district attorney in Columbia, SC since 2017. He currently works at Baker, Ravenel & Bender, LLP, one of the oldest South Carolina law firms, founded circa 1900.
“In my years as a prosecutor, I encountered and worked on a wide variety of different crimes, from shoplifting to armed robbery and assaults to murders. I had the opportunity to help the community from a different perspective. not only help those falsely thrown into the criminal justice system, but I could also help victims hurt by others Serving as a prosecutor has been both challenging and rewarding, but it remains one of the most impactful experiences I have ever had have had. “
Harrison is the son of the late Michael Pratt and Ann Pratt Ogden (Ervin).
In 1996, the elder Pratt died of cancer when his son was only five years old, but he left a lasting image on young Harrison who says his father’s death led people to tell great stories about his father and the type man he was. made him internalize the desire to become a man of good heart and reputation.
“He was described as a selfless attorney who bent over to help the less fortunate,” said Harrison. “One of the biggest compliments, I was told, was that he always stayed true to himself no matter what people thought. Honestly, after hearing these stories and descriptions for years, I started to rebel against the idea of follow his footsteps because I felt he had set a standard that I might never meet I didn’t know my rebellion against following in his footsteps would lead me to a lawyer who would help the less fortunate , just like him.
Michael Pratt was born in Oklahoma but came to Savannah when his father, Dr. Charles Pratt, was hired to head the chemistry department of Savannah State College (now University). Michael graduated from St. Pius High School in 1966, Savannah State College in 1970 and the University of Georgia School of Law in 1977. He also spent three years in active service in the Navy, becoming the first African American Assistant District Attorney in Chatham County , he ran to convention and had a profound positive impact on the people he associated with. Pratt also worked in Savannah State, teaching world history and government. He was later appointed assistant to the president. Pratt also served as legal counsel to the institution and was responsible for upholding academic standards.
In response to a specific request from Roy Allen, Chatham County Commissioner, Michael Pratt was recommended by DA Spencer Lawton to become Chatham County’s first African-American assistant DA. The Chatham County Commissioners approved the request on May 14, 1982. Michael Pratt served as the DA’s chief attorney in the juvenile court proceedings.
Standing a towering six feet tall, Harrison attended nearby Liberty County High School, where he was on the boys’ basketball team, golf team, drama club and was a member of the school’s morning news team. He was also selected as the Most Outstanding Senior in 2009. Later he attended Valdosta State University, where he would receive his bachelor’s degree in political science in 2013. While attending the institution in southwest Georgia, he helped set up the school’s first table tennis team. Harrison’s next stop was law school at the University of Tulsa College of Law.
Witnessing police misconduct and abuse of power, Harrison wanted to pursue a career where he could do something about injustice. “My first thought was ‘who controls the police?’ Through investigation I found out that the FBI is investigating police and government misconduct, so I wanted to become an FBI agent right away so I could fight the injustice of the criminal justice system. One of the routes to get to the FBI as a special agent was to become a lawyer. I chose that route because if I didn’t get a job with the FBI, I could at least become a lawyer, ”he says.
Once he studied law and began to learn about what protections the constitution afforded people, and by reviewing cases where the police continued to violate people’s rights, Harrison felt a deep empathy for those wronged by these violations. “My vision changed from supervising the police to protecting the people harmed by the system. I worked with a few private criminal defense attorneys while in school, but my best experience came when I worked for the Public Defenders office in Tulsa. People get out of prison when their bond was too high and helping innocent people fight their charges in some cases opened my eyes and heart to the important work public defenders are doing in this country. ”
Now 29, Harrison admitted that he cannot help but acknowledge the similarities between himself and his father. “I no longer shy away from comparisons and I am really proud to be compared to the amazing man he was. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am without the support of him and my family. As I get older, get I have a sense of duty to carry on his legacy of not just being a lawyer or a prosecutor, but being the type of guy who wants to help people first and tries to make our community a little better for everyone. At some point I hope to return to my home base of Savannah, Georgia and pick up where my father left off, serving the community we both love. ”
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