Mara W. Elliott is the first woman, mother, and Latina to be elected San Diego City Attorney and will complete her second term in December 2024.

Mara Woodworth Elliott graduated from McGeorge School of Law in 1994. The daughter of a longshoreman father and immigrant mother, she was the first in her family to graduate from college, attending University of California, Santa Barbara and double majoring in English and Philosophy. Elliott served as legal counsel to public schools, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit Development Board, and the County of San Diego, before joining the City of San Diego and rising through the ranks. She was a Chief Deputy City Attorney before being elected as San Diego City Attorney in 2016. Elliott is the first woman, mother, and Latina to be elected San Diego City Attorney and will complete her second term in December 2024. 

Elliott has transformed the Office of the City Attorney with her passion for protecting San Diego families. She is a national leader in preventing gun violence, a fierce champion for consumers and the environment, and a staunch protector of victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking. She has fearlessly safeguarded taxpayer dollars, and advanced programs that keep our most vulnerable citizens safe, particularly elders who face abuse and exploitation. 

In her first term, Elliott launched San Diego’s pioneering Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) program to prevent predictable shootings by keeping dangerous people from having guns. Through her leadership, the courts have removed hundreds of firearms, including assault weapons, from those who posed a threat to themselves and others, including stalkers, disgruntled employees, and potential school shooters. San Diego is credited for spurring much of the statewide growth in the use of GVROs.  

As City Attorney, Elliott relaunched Your Safe Place, a Family Justice Center, to bolster support for victims of domestic violence and expand its services to victims of sex trafficking. Every year, Your Safe Place helps hundreds of San Diegans obtain free legal assistance, counseling, and other support services in a safe and private setting. Elliott’s advocacy has led to legislation geared towards protecting victims of domestic violence, including a law requiring Family Justice Centers to inform victims of GVROs, and a law allowing domestic violence and gun violence victims to testify remotely when seeking restraining orders. 

Elliott has also been a fierce advocate for California’s workforce, initiating lawsuits against the gig industry to ensure misclassified workers received the pay they were owed under the law. She recently delivered more than $40 million to misclassified Instacart workers throughout the State of California. 

For her exemplary reputation in the legal community and dedication to public service law, Elliott was named 2020 Public Lawyer of the Year by the California Lawyers Association and is a recipient of the 2023 Witkin Awards for Excellence in the Practice of Law. She credits McGeorge School of Law for her passion for the practice of public sector law.  


Throughout 2024, the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law will celebrate members of its vast alumni network in honor of the school’s 100-year anniversary. This post is the first in a series highlighting 100 exceptional McGeorge School of Law alumni. 

Stay tuned for more blog posts as we celebrate the law school’s centennial anniversary.