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J. Wells Harrell

Washington, DC

t: 202.274.1164
f: 202.237.6131
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Areas of Practice



Constitutional Law and First Amendment / Mass Media

Global Investigations and White Collar Defense


University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., Order of the Coif, 2011; Articles Editor, Virginia Law Review; Raven Society; Paul Hastings Best Oralist Award, Lile Moot Court Competition; Fulbright & Jaworski LLP Best Memo Award

Carleton College, B.A., cum laude, Political Science, 2006; Carleton Merit & Distinguished Scholar; Stimson Prize; Outstanding Attorney Award, National Intercollegiate Mock Trial Tournament


Hon. T. S. Ellis, III, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 2011-2012


District of Columbia


Wells Harrell’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation. His experience spans a variety of substantive areas, including antitrust, intellectual property, trade secrets, white collar and government investigations, securities, and defamation. He has advised and represented companies in the financial services, biotechnology, computer sciences, and consumer products industries.  Mr. Harrell’s representative matters include:

  • As trial team member, successfully defending Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. before a FINRA arbitration panel against a complaint by co-founders of Marvell Technology Group Ltd., whose claims for more than $300 million in damages were denied in their entirety after a two-week hearing;
  • Securing the Second Circuit’s affirmance of dismissal of securities fraud and other claims by a hedge fund that sought nearly $2 billion in damages against GPS device manufacturers;
  • Winning summary judgment for a private label consumer products manufacturer that a national brand competitor’s patent was invalid and pursuing antitrust claims against the competitor; and
  • Participating in the representation of a computer software company advancing trade secret misappropriation and other claims in federal court and arbitration.

A substantial share of Mr. Harrell’s practice has been dedicated to pro bono matters. Significant victories he has achieved for indigent clients include:

  • As co-lead counsel, securing an extraordinary settlement for a former federal employee after obtaining summary judgment in federal litigation that her employer violated disability laws;
  • Achieving dismissal of a criminal show-cause petition against a mother in a custody-related dispute; and
  • Successfully petitioning the D.C. Housing Authority to restore the full amount of the monthly rental voucher of an indigent tenant.

Mr. Harrell joined the firm after completing a federal district court clerkship in Alexandria, Virginia. While in law school, Mr. Harrell helped three clients prevail in merits cases before the U.S. Supreme Court as a member of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic during OT2010. He also served as an Articles Editor for the Virginia Law Review. During college, Mr. Harrell was a captain of an entirely student-coached intercollegiate mock trial team, which qualified twice for the National Championship, and received several awards for outstanding individual performances. He also received the college’s Stimson Prize for contributing most to public speech and debate.


"The Speech or Debate Clause Should Not Confer Evidentiary or Nondisclosure Privileges," 98 Virginia Law Review 385 (2012)

Related News

Kimberly-Clark Loses Latest Patent Spat Over Pull-Ups Diapers (Law360)

HUD Settles Case with Former Employee for $900K (The National Law Journal)

HUD to Pay $900,000 over Failure to Accommodate Claim (SHRM)

2nd Circ. Says Harbinger’s $2B Suit Against GPS Cos. Fails (Law360)

Government Service

Law Intern, Appellate Section, U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia, 2010-2011 Law Intern, Federal Programs Branch, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 2010