Elaine F. Harwell
Senior Counsel
525 B Street, Suite 2200
San Diego, CA 92101
Practice Areas

Admissions: California ; New York ; New Jersey ; U.S. District Court Southern, Central and Eastern District of California ; U.S. District Court Southern and Eastern District of New York ; U.S. District Court District of New Jersey

Languages: Cantonese

Professional Summary

Elaine F. Harwell is an experienced business litigation attorney and a trained privacy professional. Her practice focuses on representing clients in privacy and data security matters, including litigating claims involving privacy issues, helping clients manage emerging risks and conduct privacy risk assessments, and advising on regulatory and compliance issues. Elaine thrives on counseling clients through a complex and ever-changing data privacy landscape and strives to find effective business solutions for clients in every situation.   

Elaine has also been involved in numerous trials as well as arbitration proceedings related to contract and general business disputes, complex unfair competition and business practice claims, and professional liability. She has earned the ANSI-accredited Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US) credential through the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). Elaine is also a frequent speaker and writer on legal issues surrounding privacy and data governance.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully defended national accounting firm against claims of breach of contract and unfair competition and business claims in state court trial and on appeal.
  • Represented rehabilitation center in litigation involving privacy violations and Confidentiality of Medical Information Act claims.
  • Litigated multiple consumer class action cases involving privacy issues and claims of unfair business practices. 
  • Assist organizations with complying with various data privacy and security laws, including the forthcoming California Consumer Privacy Act.
  • Work with clients to build data privacy programs, including forming policies and procedures around data privacy and cybersecurity.


  • San Diego County Bar Association’s Service Members Civil Relief Act Pro Bono Panel Program, assisting active duty military personnel
  • Lawyers Club of San Diego, active leader and member
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers – San Diego, member
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals, member


  • JD, Seton Hall University School of Law, 2004
  • BA, University of California, Los Angeles, 2000


  • Panelist. “You’ve Been Hacked!” Mortgage Innovators Conference, San Diego, August 12, 2019.
  • Panelist. "Become Cyber-Trained In-House Counsel, Part Three," Procopio seminar with ACC San Diego, May 21, 2019.
  • Moderator. "Become Cyber-Trained In-House Counsel, Part Two," Procopio seminar with ACC San Diego, April 16, 2019.
  • Panelist. "Become Cyber-Trained In-House Counsel, Part One," Procopio seminar with ACC San Diego, March 26, 2019.
  • Speaker. "The California Consumer Privacy Act: What You Need to Know Now,” ACC San Diego, March 14, 2019.
  • Speaker. "GDPR & CCPA Workshop," San Diego Regional Economic Development Council, February 26, 2019.
  • Panelist. "Private Eyes are Watching You: The Lawyer's Role in Cyber Security and Data Privacy," Public Interest Law Foundation, Thomas Jefferson Law School, September 7, 2018.
  • Moderator. "An Update on Cyber Insurance: Emerging Insurance Coverage & Allocation Issues," Perrin Conference, Philadelphia, April 11, 2018.
  • Panelist. "Cyber Security Panel Discussion," inewsource, San Diego State University, April 3, 2018.
  • Speaker. "Privacy Litigation Update," DRI Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Conference, Chicago, September 7, 2017.
  • Panelist. "Nightmares on Cyber Street: Recent Developments in Data Privacy Litigation and Cyber Insurance Coverage," San Diego County Bar Association, October 17, 2016.