Professional Biography

James G. Snell Partner

  • Palo Alto

    D +1.650.838.4367

    F +1.650.838.4350

    Palo Alto

    3150 Porter Drive

    Palo Alto, CA


  • San Francisco

    T +1.415.344.7000

    F +1.415.344.7050

    San Francisco

    505 Howard Street, Suite 1000

    San Francisco, CA




James Snell represents and counsels clients on a wide range of complex commercial matters, including privacy and security, Internet, marketing and intellectual property litigation and matters.  Jim’s extensive experience includes privacy policies and terms of use, behavioral advertising, data collection and use, commercial email, spyware and adware, data breach investigations and responses, data security, social media, and computer crime statutes, including the following acts and regulations:

  • Communications Decency Act
  • CAN-SPAM Act
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
  • Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
  • Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA)
  • Stored Communications Act
  • Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Jim regularly counsels and defends clients in class action litigation, and he defended the first lawsuit filed under the CAN-SPAM Act and the first lawsuit filed under Michigan’s Child Protection Registry.

California specific laws are a focus of Jim’s practice.  He represents clients nationwide regarding California’s call recording laws (the California Invasion of Privacy Act), commercial email law, unfair competition law (UCL), the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the Online Privacy Protection Act, and the Song-Beverly Act, among other statutes.  His successful defense in California-based privacy class actions includes representing financial institutions, telecommunications companies, Internet service providers, retail companies, App providers and online companies.  

Intellectual Property Counsel and Litigation

Jim also handles intellectual property matters nationwide, representing clients as plaintiffs and defendants in patent, copyright and trade secret matters, among others.  Jim has represented companies in a wide range of technology areas, including medical device, Internet, telecommunications, energy, consumer electronics, financial services and software.  He has represented clients in a wide range of jurisdictions, including international clients in patent litigation and companies based in China, Taiwan and Japan. 

A Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) as designated by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), he serves as co-chair of the IAPP's San Francisco Bay Area Knowledgenet program, Cyberspace Law Committee of the State Bar of California (former chair), and the San Francisco Bay area Intellectual Property Inns of Court.  Jim is a frequent speaker, author and commentator on privacy and security, Internet and intellectual property issues.


Professional Recognition

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2018: Privacy and Data Security Law; Technology Law
  • Recognized as an IP Star by Managing IP, 2014, 2016
  • Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition, Top lawyer in Corporate Litigation (Intellectual Property), 2010
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California, 2005, 2009 - 2017

Professional Leadership

  • American Bar Association
  • California Bar Association
  • Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP)  
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), Nor Cal IAPP KnowledgeNet, Co-chair
  • San Francisco Bay Area Intellectual Property Inn of Court
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association
  • State Bar of California, Cyberspace Law Committee, Former Chair

Community Involvement

  • Santa Clara University Law School Moot Court Competition, Judge
  • San Francisco Assistant District Attorney, 1998
  • TechNet, Privacy Legislative Issues Adviser




Areas of Focus

Bar and Court Admissions

  • California

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas


  • UC Hastings College of the Law, J.D., 1994