Nicole J. Harrell

    MemberExecutive Committee Member • Chair of Alcoholic Beverage Team • Chair of Data Privacy and Security • Co-Chair of Franchising
    Office: Norfolk
    Admissions: Virginia


    Nicole is a Member in the firm’s Norfolk office and Chair of the Data Privacy and Security Practice Group. Nicole regularly assists clients with cyber preparedness and breach response. Her data privacy and security practice includes preparation of incident response plans and counseling clients on preparing for a cyber incident. Nicole helps clients understand their risks and plan accordingly. Once a cyber incident occurs, Nicole coordinates forensic analysis, media announcements, response plans and notifications. In addition, she works with clients on cyber insurance coverage and claims. Nicole regularly reviews and negotiates third-party vendor contracts for data security and privacy concerns.

    Nicole’s intellectual property practice includes federal and state trademark registration, copyright registration and assignment, negotiation of software development and licensing agreements, and licensing of intellectual property. Her commercial practice includes entity formation, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions and general contract negotiation. She also has experience in negotiating supply and distribution agreements. She regularly assists clients with alcoholic beverage licensing and regulatory matters in Virginia, including representation before the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

    Nicole also represents franchisors in regulatory matters, including preparation of franchise disclosure documents, franchise agreements and related ancillary documents, registration and compliance. In addition, she represents franchisees in review of franchise disclosure documents, negotiation of franchise agreements and termination of franchise agreements and relationships.

    Representative Matters

    • Represented clients in response to cyber attacks and business email compromise events
    • Represented clients in negotiation of vendor agreements which impact data privacy and security
    • Represented national clients with all alcoholic beveraging licensing matters in Virginia
    • Advised various clients with respect to entity formation and corporate law matters
    • Advised a leading business outsourcing organization providing document management, critical customer communications, business form manufacturing, promotional products programs and logistics services on customer and vendor contracts, intellectual property matters, and various acquisitions and divestitures
    • Represented software developer in several venture arrangements involving software development and licensing, structure and ownership of the joint venture, and loans to the joint venture
    • Represented franchisors in multi-state registration of franchise disclosure documents and compliance with federal and state registration and disclosure laws
    • Represented franchisees in acquisition of multiple franchise units and negotiation with franchisors involving franchise agreements, the franchise relationship, and franchise termination
    • Represented publicly-traded company on divestitures of various business segments

    Recognition & Honors

    • Women in Leadership Certificate Program, University of Richmond; Advisory Committee
    • Best Lawyers in America, 2022-2024
    • Influential Women of Law; Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 2022
    • Leaders in the Law, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 2020
    • Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation, Class of 2021
    • Women in Business Honoree, Inside Business, 2017
    • Virginia’s Legal Elite; Virginia Business Magazine, 2011-2023
    • Top Lawyers; CoVaBIZ, 2017-2020, 2022-2024
    • Virginia Rising Stars; Law & Politics, 2008-2014
    • Certified Franchise Executive, International Franchise Association
    • Walter E. Hoffman Award for Community Service, 2009
    • Spirit of Innovation Award for Leadership Excellence
    • University of Baltimore Law Review; Associate Editor


    • National Association of Licensing and Compliance Professionals; Associate Member
    • Virginia Craft Brewers Guild; Associate Member
    • Virginia Bar Association
    • Barrier Islands Center; Board of Directors, President
    • Norfolk Innovation Corridor; Board of Directors
    • Virginia State Bar
    • American Bar Association; Forum on Franchising
    • Virginia Bar Association Community Service Program Council; Chair, 2008-2009
    • Virginia Bar Association Firms in Service Hampton Roads
    • Virginia Bar Association Pro Bono Council; Co-Chair
    • International Franchise Association
    • International Franchise Association Legal Symposium Task Force, 2006, 2010-2011
    • Make-A-Wish Foundation of Eastern Virginia; President, 2006-2007
    • ForKids, Inc.; Former Board Member


    • Hollins University; B.A., 1996
    • University of Baltimore Merrick School of Business; M.B.A., magna cum laude, 2001
    • University of Baltimore School of Law; J.D., 2001

    Press & Publications