Yvette J. Harrell is a highly skilled advocate, litigator and negotiator with acute business skills. She has served as counsel to municipal governments, several Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs. Ms. Harrell also served as the Chief Administrative Officer of a local municipality and currently works with a Community Based Organization in Miami, Florida. She utilizes her legal skills and business acumen in service to her clients and various communities within Miami. Ms. Harrell is a proud honors graduate of Florida A&M University, Nova Southeastern University and the University of Miami School of Law from which she has obtained BS, MBA and JD Degrees, respectively.
After earning a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Business Administration, Ms. Harrell began her legal career upon graduating with honors from the University of Miami School of Law (UM). At UM, Ms. Harrell (formerly Ms. Bessent) received a number of honors for her scholastic efforts. After graduating, she began practicing with the prestigious law firm, Arnold & Porter, in Washington, DC. At Arnold & Porter, Ms. Harrell developed the transactional skills necessary to construct and navigate even the most complex transactional matters.
Early in her career, Ms. Harrell was introduced to the litigation aspects of the practice of law. As a result of her involvement with transactional matters, Ms. Harrell joined a litigation team that was involved in a highly publicized matter against the District of Columbia. That experience immersed Ms. Harrell in the unique situation of practicing in the areas of both litigation and transactional law. Possessing a solid understanding of business operations in addition to her significant negotiation and litigation experience allows Ms. Harrell to be a confident and effective advocate – initially for her legal clients and more recently for underserved communities as well.
Ms. Harrell’s work ethic and skills led her to the position of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the City of Opa-locka in one of its most recent tumultuous periods. In spite of the monumental financial and managerial challenges the City faced, Ms. Harrell utilized her legal skills and business knowledge to help the City avoid what was purported to be inevitable insolvency. Under her leadership, the City remained solvent, negotiated its major debt concerns and maintained a large majority of its human resources. As the CAO, Ms. Harrell was directly responsible for ensuring the City’s compliance with all local, state and federal regulations relating to the operation of the City. After working within the City to ensure the conquest of its major concerns and impediments to growth, Ms. Harrell transitioned to a role designed to impact the underserved people within the community in a more direct manner.
Ms. Harrell worked with a Community Development Corporation within the City of Opa-locka as the Vice-President of its Social Enterprise component. Her primary task was to foster the revitalization of the City of Opa-locka through the promotion of economic development programs, workforce enrichment initiatives and technical educational efforts to directly assist the most disadvantaged within the community. Upon completion of the District, its programming will serve to activate under-utilized assets, provide technical skills and resources to underserved individuals and educate the community in a number of aspects involving the community’s global health and sustainability.
Ms. Harrell appreciates being able to utilize her skills, experiences and training from both the legal and business arenas to help those in need. Today she continues to advocate for clients on both local and federal levels, but she also often participates in community-based events focused on providing resources and information to those for the underserved. Ms. Harrell also provides service to several non-profit legal entities that offer pro-bono counsel to disadvantaged individuals. Ms. Harrell recognizes that she has a unique background and has been afforded significant opportunities that resulted in her successes and achievements. In light of that, she holds fast to the old adage, “to whom much is given, much is required,” and doggedly works to make a difference in leveling the playing field, one case, one client at a time.