City of Philadelphia

Office of the City Solicitor





Appointed by Mayor Michael A. Nutter in January 2008, Shelley R. Smith returned to the Law Department as City Solicitor after two years in private practice.  From 1992 until early 2006, Ms. Smith was a trial lawyer and supervisor in the City's Law Department, where her practice focused on federal constitutional tort litigation.  During the last seven years of her tenure in the Department, Ms. Smith headed the Affirmative Litigation Unit, the Labor and Employment Unit, and the Corporate and Tax Group, a position she held upon her departure in 2006.


As a trial lawyer for the City, Ms. Smith tried some of the City's most prominent legal matters to verdict, including  Joseph Frazier v. City of Philadelphia, Estate of Shannon Schieber v. City of Philadelphia, and Robert Mitchell v. Mayor John F. Street.  In total, Ms. Smith was lead counsel at the trials of nearly sixty federal civil rights matters, and she litigated hundreds more equally high-profile cases, notably the 39th Police District litigation and NAACP v. City of Philadelphia.  She also coordinated Mayor Street's efforts in the 2004 negotiation of collective bargaining agreements for Philadelphia Orchestra musicians and served as in-house legal counsel for former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Neal from 1997-1998.


Immediately before returning to City government, Ms. Smith served as Associate General Counsel for Regulatory Affairs - East at Exelon Corporation.  Ms. Smith joined Exelon from her position as Of Counsel in the Labor, Employment & Immigration Group at the law firm of Ballard, Spahr, Andrews, & Ingersoll.  At Ballard, her clients included the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, whose most recent contract negotiations she oversaw. 


She began her career here after serving as a senior law clerk to The Honorable Robert N.C. Nix, Jr., Chief Justice of Pennsylvania.


In 2007, Ms. Smith was named a "Minority Attorney on the Verge" by Pennsylvania Law Weekly and The Legal Intelligencer, an honor given to minority attorneys who have risen to prominence and are on the verge of even greater accomplishments.  She was named a Philadelphia SuperLawyer by Philadelphia Magazine in 2005.


Ms. Smith is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  She is immediate past chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Judicial Selection and Retention Commission and is a past member of the Editorial Board for the "Philadelphia Lawyer" magazine. She is also a member of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Advisory Board of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts. 


Ms. Smith is a graduate of Temple University (B.A. 1985) and Villanova University School of Law (J.D. 1989).




First Deputy City Solicitor
Corporate & Tax Group
Litigation Group
Social Services Law Group