Professor Harter joined the faculty in 2003 after serving as the Director of the Program on Consensus, Democracy and Governance at Vermont Law School which was funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to explore democratic approaches to increasing the role of the private sector in making decisions with public implications.
He was a member of the Honors Program of the US Department of Transportation and then practiced law with the firm of Shea & Gardner in Washington, DC. He served as senior staff attorney for the Administrative Conference of the United States from 1975 to 1977; in 1976 he was co-chair of President Ford's Task Force on the Revision of OSHA Safety Standards.
Professor Harter next practiced law from 1977 to 1980 with the Washington office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. From 1980 until 2002 he was a mediator specializing in complex, controversial, multi-party issues involving government policy.
Professor Harter served as chair of the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association in 1995-1996 and was co-chair of the ABA's Task Force on Regulatory Reform in which capacity he represented the ABA in the regulatory reform debates before Congress. He was the official observer for the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice to the Uniform Mediation Act, and the reporter for multi-section committee that developed Standards for Ombuds which were adopted by the ABA. He is the founding chair of the Committee on Collaborative Governance of the Administrative Law Section. He was formerly the Chair of the Environment and Public Policy Committee and a member of the nominating committee of the Section of Dispute Resolution of the ABA.
Professor Harter has been a pioneer in both the theory and practice of the use of consensus and other forms of dispute resolution involving governmental agencies. His article Negotiating Regulations: A Cure for Malaise formed the theoretical basis for negotiated rulemaking and has served as the foundation for the subsequent practice. His writing also formed the basis of the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act.
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit appointed him as a mediator to assist the court in the resolution of its cases. His awards include the Federal Bar Association's prestigious Gellhorn Award for "improving the fairness and efficiency of the administrative process" and the Center for Public Resources' for "outstanding achievement for excellence and innovation in alternative dispute resolution." He is listed in Who's Who in America.
He has taught Administrative Law for 30 years at The American University, the University of Maryland, and Vermont Law School. He has taught Public Policy Dispute Resolution for 17 years at Vermont Law School. He has taught at the University of Paris II, Humboldt University in Berlin, and the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town.