Bill was born in Vancouver and raised in Burnaby. After high school Bill went to college in Idaho and then returned to B.C. to attend the University of British Columbia, where he obtained a B.A. in economics. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Bill completed graduate studies in business administration. Bill graduated from the University of British Columbia law school in 1976.
Bill has devoted almost his entire legal career to acting exclusively for injured victims. Although he started his career working for a prominent Vancouver firm defending insurance companies, he quickly realized that he wanted to protect the interests of people, instead of the coffers of insurance companies.
To pursue this passion, in 1978 Bill partnered with Michael Garton to form the firm Garton & Harris in Port Coquitlam. Michael Garton passed away in 1996, but Garton & Harris is still operating in Port Coquitlam as a solicitors practice. The personal injury component of Garton & Harris, known as William J. Harris & Partners LLP, remained at the same address in Port Coquitlam for 34 years, and has become a fixture in the Tri-Cities legal community. In 2012 Bill began practising law with Guy Collette and Richard Parsons and the firm is now known as Collette Parsons Harris. Since that time Bill has retired from the practice of person injury law.
Bill lives in Vancouver and has three grown sons. In addition to work and spending time with family and friends, Bill is an avid sportsperson. Throughout high school and university he participated in a variety of sports including wrestling, hockey, baseball and rugby. He continues to play old timers hockey.