John Harrity to Chair 33rd Annual American Heart Association Lawyers Have Heart Event in Exciting New Location

Harrity & Harrity is honored to be the Platform Sponsor of the 2023 Lawyers Have Heart 10K, 5K and Fun Walk and excited to announce that Co-Founding Partner, John Harrity, will once again chair the event, alongside co-chair David Jaffe, Dean of Students at American University Washington College of Law.

Lawyers Have Heart brings together runners and walkers of all ages and levels of experience to raise vital funds for the American Heart Association (AHA)’s groundbreaking research and medical advances.  The event also raises awareness of the prevention of heart disease and stroke and the link between physical activity and stress reduction.

The Lawyers Have Heart 10K, 5K and Fun Walk returns on May 20, 2023 to West Potomac Park — the original site of the inaugural Lawyers Have Heart race held in 1991 —  an exciting change from Georgetown in recent years. The new 10K course will cross the Arlington Memorial Bridge featuring stunning views of the Potomac River, circle the Tidal Basin, and head down East Potomac Street.  The new location also boasts a larger space for the finish line festival, with plans underway to add more activities for the entire family, including a kids’ fun area, a dog zone, and a larger hospitality garden, in addition to the numerous sponsor meet-up areas and interactive booths where participants can learn Hands-Only CPR, pay tribute to a loved one, and take team photos.  A virtual option is also available for individuals around the globe to participate wherever they are located.

To kickstart fundraising for the 2023 campaign, Harrity & Harrity LLP will match up to $50,000 in sponsorships, donations, and registration fees between December 1 – 31, 2022,  doubling the impact each dollar has.

“We are thrilled to bring the race back full circle to its original location, which allows us to enhance our race day experience and takes our runners and walkers along a beautiful new course,” said Harrity. “This race is truly personal to me as my life was saved by science funded by the American Heart Association and we want to bring in even more people as a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.”

For Jaffe, the event elevates the continued need for mental health awareness and stress reduction in the legal profession. Research shows that chronic stressors like long work hours, financial stress, and work-life conflict may be as risky for health as secondhand smoke. “Reducing stress and cultivating a positive mindset is truly good for your heart and mind. If I can show my students and colleagues through my actions in supporting and adhering to the AHA’s work, that is extremely valuable,” said Jaffe.

The event began in 1991 as a running and walking event for the legal community and has evolved into a staple on DC’s running calendar, annually attracting over 6,500 runners and walkers of all levels of experience and from all walks of life. The race has grown in the virtual space as well with participation last year from around the world including throughout the United States, England, Croatia, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Turkey and Chile. Lawyers Have Heart raised a record-breaking $1.26 million in 2022. To date, Lawyers Have Heart has raised over $18.26 million to benefit the American Heart Association to further its mission as a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.

“The race continues to grow beyond our physical start line in DC and it’s incredible to see,” said Jaffe.  “The AHA makes it easy to register, fundraise and share your progress with family and friends through its apps and online platforms while creating  opportunities to engage your workforce and family all year long.”

Registration is open with virtual and in-person options; prices to enter will increase in 2023. Join Team Harrity here or start up your own team at For sponsorship opportunities, email

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John Harrity Joins American Heart Association Board of Directors

John Harrity Joins American Heart Association Board of Directors

We are thrilled to announce John Harrity‘s new position on the American Heart Association Greater Washington Region Board of Directors.

John has been involved with the American Heart Association since 2016, after suffering a near-fatal widow maker heart attack. CPR and medical advances from the AHA saved John’s life, and he has since been dedicated to promoting their vital mission through Harrity 4 Charity and as Co-Chair of the annual Lawyers Have Heart event. John’s term on the Board of Directors, from July 2022 – June 2024, will be a further opportunity for him to leverage his experiences in a way to make a positive impact on the community and to help save lives.

“So many lives depend on the critical work of the American Heart Association, including my own. It is an honor to extend my involvement with this incredible organization as a member of the AHA Greater Washington Region Board of Directors to increase awareness of heart disease, fund life-saving research and education, and encourage heart healthy lives across the globe,” says John.

Read more about John’s involvement with the American Heart Association here.

“A Million To 1 Odds I Survived” – John Harrity for Comcast Newsmakers

“A Million To 1 Odds I Survived”

John Harrity shares his story for Comcast Newsmakers on behalf of the American Heart Association.

John Harrity, Co-Chair for the Lawyers Have Heart 10K, 5K and Fun Walk sits down with Elena Russo to discuss his personal story with heart disease and his strong connection to the American Heart Association and this event.

Watch the full interview here.



Going Global with Attorney Heart Health Advocacy

Going Global with Heart Health Advocacy

Washington Lawyer Magazine features John Harrity, Co-Chair of the Lawyers Have Heart event for the American Heart Association.

When Harrity was asked to co-chair the race on its 30th anniversary in 2020, he thought it would be “a piece of cake.” “This is the easiest one to chair because it’s a big number anniversary,” he recalls thinking. “Then we had the pandemic.”

That did not stop Harrity and others at the AHA from spreading their message about the importance of physical and emotional health, especially during challenging times. The AHA originally planned on canceling the 2020 race, but Harrity had a better idea.

“I thought, ‘It’s always been a Washington, D.C., race. Why don’t we take it out of the D.C. area and not only go national but [also] global with it?’” Harrity says. “My vision for this event was to bring lawyers from around the globe together to focus on this thing that’s the number one killer, heart disease.”


Read the full article here.



Lawyers Have Heart, and It’s Time We Get Serious About Keeping It Healthy

Lawyers Have Heart, and It’s Time We Get Serious About Keeping It Healthy

By John Harrity for the D.C. Bar Blog

My experience with heart disease completely changed not just my outlook on life, but also the trajectory of the patent law firm I co-founded, Harrity & Harrity, LLP in Fairfax, Virginia. For the first 15 years of business, we were exclusively focused on success — hiring the best talent, attracting the best clients, doing the best work. While success is still important, it has moved further down the list. Now, the focus is first and foremost on giving back.

It all started on May 2, 2016, when I played in my regular Monday night basketball game. In a five-minute time span that night, I went from feeling fantastic, which I did almost every minute of every day, to feeling a kind of discomfort that I had never experienced before in my life. I told the guys I needed to go outside for some fresh air; when I got there the discomfort got even worse. That’s when I asked my friends to call 911 and I passed out. As I lay unconscious, my friend Rocky Berndsen called while another friend, James Bennin, started CPR. Their quick actions truly helped save my life.

That night on the basketball court, I experienced the worst type of heart attack you can have. It’s called the widow-maker (for a reason). It was triggered by a blockage of the left main coronary artery that runs down the front of the heart. Hours later, while I was at the hospital, my situation got gravely worse. I experienced bleeding into my lungs, which sent me into respiratory distress and eventually led to multiple organ failure. While I lay unconscious during those first few weeks in the hospital, my body fought off numerous blood clots and infections. My wife was told more than half a dozen times that the chances of me surviving were very slim and to say her goodbyes. In fact, my cardiologist said the odds of me making it through were a million to one.

But what the doctors didn’t realize, what they didn’t know about me, was that I had been training for this event my whole life. I’d been obsessive about exercising seven days a week and following a very strict diet. I was down to nearly 10 percent body fat nearing my 50th birthday. I was obsessed with my health, and this obsessiveness allowed me to survive.

I eventually woke up three weeks after my heart attack, unable to speak or move. But, from the second I opened my eyes and understood what had happened, I was laser focused on two things: getting back to 100 percent and ensuring that I didn’t waste the opportunity for a second chance. I wanted to do good with what time I had left; I wanted to leave the world better than I entered it.

I would be remiss if I didn’t address the importance and ease of learning CPR. More than 350,000 Americans experience a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year, and only 1 in 10 survives. Even though 911 is frequently called, 60 percent of people do not receive bystander CPR. Hands-only CPR (pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest) has been shown to be as effective in the first few minutes as conventional CPR for cardiac arrest at home, at work, or in public.

While I was in intensive care over the following weeks regaining my ability to speak and move, my twin brother and I had many conversations about giving back. It was in that hospital bed that Harrity 4 Charity, our firm’s philanthropic arm, was born.

To date, Harrity 4 Charity has donated more than $1.5 million, and each year our team devotes more than 1,400 hours to our diversity initiatives and charitable efforts. One of the organizations we support through Harrity 4 Charity is naturally the American Heart Association (AHA) and its Lawyers Have Heart 10K, 5K & Fun Walk, an annual event for the legal community that has evolved into a staple on Washington, D.C.’s running calendar. Launched in 1991, Lawyers Have Heart attracts more than 6,500 participants of all experience levels and from all walks of life. I love this event because of my love for fitness and exercising, and because it helps save lives. In fact, it was one of my first goals back in 2017, after all that I had been through, to cross the Lawyers Have Heart finish line.

Harrity Firm Tent

To me, Lawyers Have Heart is more than just crossing the finish line. It’s truly a movement for the health and well-being of us all. It’s a way to support the AHA in reaching its mission to eradicate heart disease and stroke and promote cardiovascular education. And if my story can motivate one person to train for the race, live a heart-healthier life, or learn CPR, then it is worth sharing.

To date, Lawyers Have Heart has raised more than $17 million to benefit the AHA. And I am here today because of the more than $4.1 billion invested in research by the AHA. It’s my mission to share this event with as many people as possible — mainly because so many lives depend on it.

Due to the pandemic, the race went virtual — and global — the last two years, with runners and walkers participating from around the world, including England, Croatia, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Turkey, Chile, and more. Lawyers Have Heart will return as an in-person event on June 11, but you can also run or walk with us from wherever you are. Sign up as a team or individual at, or learn how you can support AHA and its mission by emailing

John Harrity, co-founder of Harrity & Harrity, has been involved in the patent field for 20 years. His practice consists primarily of client counseling and preparing and prosecuting patent applications.