The son of a member of the United States Army, Harley was born in Berlin and has since lived in Germany twice, Massachussetts, and Wisconsin. He stayed in Iowa after graduating Drake University Law School in 1999. Before law school, Harley graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1996.
Harley has spent his law career exclusively handling civil litigation matters, first as a member of two small Iowa law firms, then on his own as a solo attorney. He founded Erbe Law Firm in July 2005. Harley usually represents individuals and small businesses in car accident, personal injury law, employment law, contract law, insurance law, and construction defect cases.
Harley especially enjoys the challenge of pushing the law past its current boundaries and expanding legal rights. He has twice argued, in Wright v. Brooke Group Ltd. and Speight v. Walters Development Co., cases before the Iowa Supreme Court that resulted in greater protections for Iowa consumers. If there is a chance of changing the law so that a client has a claim when none had previously existed, Harley will drive the case forward as far as it needs to go. For example, the claims in the Speight case were rejected by two courts before it reached the Iowa Supreme Court, where, on his third try, Harley finally convinced a court that the law needed to be changed to protect more people than it originally had.
He has argued and tried jury and nonjury cases in Iowa state and federal court, including a trial judgment of over $950,000 in a business dispute case and a $500,000 recovery in an insurance dispute regarding payment of accidental death benefits. Harley has also argued before the United States Court of Appeals, the Iowa Supreme Court, and the Iowa Court of Appeals. He was honored to have been a member of the National Trial Lawyer Association's Top 40 Under 40, an invite-only organization that includes only the top young trial attorneys in Iowa as nominated, reviewed, and accepted by their peers. Harley has also been selected as a member of the American Academy of Trial Attorneys, an invitation-only organization that recognizes the top 100 trial lawyers in Iowa. Harley is also a member of several other legal and professional organizations, including the American Association For Justice, the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association, the Iowa State Bar Association, the Polk County Bar Association, and the American Inns of Court.
Harley lives in West Des Moines with his wife Jannay, two cats, and a mini-dachshund. In his free time he enjoys riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, enjoying Iowa's outdoors, reading, traveling, and cheering for the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Badgers, and Milwaukee Brewers.