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City of Philadelphia

Commercial Law Unit

Francois A. Dutchie, Chief Deputy Commercial Law Unit

The Commercial Law Unit is responsible for the City’s commercial contracts, for legal counsel regarding municipal finance matters, for the Law Department’s technology practice and for contract and regulatory matters related to housing.  The Unit’s Finance and Contracts Division is counsel to the Office of the Director of Finance and the City Treasurer on bond issues and other finance matters and also counsel to the Procurement Department for competitive bidding matters, as well as advising the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer on issues related to the construction and application of Charter and Code provisions governing the City’s contracting process, including the contract reform legislation (Chapter 17-1400 of the Philadelphia Code) that became effective in 2006.  The Intellectual Property Division handles information technology and telecommunications matters, including contracts and RFPs for software systems and IT services and competitive bids for computer hardware, Internet law, cable franchise regulation, and right-of-way regulation.  The Division is counsel to the Office of Innovation and Technology and also handles copyright and trademark matters for the City.  The Unit’s Housing Division is counsel to the Division of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and also the Vacant Property Review Committee of City Council and assists DHCD with a myriad of contracts funded with federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The Division also serves as counsel to the Philadelphia Gas Commission.

François joined the Law Department in 1997 as an Assistant in the Transportation Division where he represented the Philadelphia International Airport in real estate, contract and regulatory matters and served as counsel to the Gas Commission.  François was head of the Finance and Contracts Division for more than fifteen years providing representation to the Office of the Director of Finance in municipal finance transactions and managing the Division’s representation of the Procurement Department and all other departments in contract matters.  He also serves as the Solicitor’s alternate on the Pension Board.  He began his practice as a commercial litigation associate at Blank Rome. Prior to his legal career, François held teaching fellowships in the Romance Languages Department at the University of Pennsylvania and in the English Department at the Université de Lyon in France. 

François is a 1993 graduate of Temple University School of Law (cum laude) and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1980 from University of Pennsylvania.

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