Every year, the Law Department hosts a two-day CLE Conference, during which attorneys are invited to complete their CLE credit requirement through a series of courses planned and presented by their colleagues. This is a unique opportunity provided to Law Department attorneys to complete their requirements free-of-charge.

Continuing Legal Education (CLE) is mandatory professional education completed by attorneys each year following their initial admission to the bar. CLE ensures that practicing attorneys in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania maintain their professional competence in accordance with current Pennsylvania law and ethics standards.

Attorneys in the Law Department are required to complete 12 CLE credits per year, in the form of legal training presented by experienced attorneys. This requirement includes CLE training in a range of topics, including basic legal skills, ethics, diversity, and more.  

This year’s CLE Conference, Life in the Big City XXIV, will take place July 27-28, 2023. We are excited to welcome attorneys and staff for a day of in-person learning at the Philadelphia Convention Center, followed by a day of virtual courses. 

Life in the Big City XXIV will host featured speaker, Joanna McClinton, Esq., Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. A member of the Democratic Party, Representative McClinton is the first woman to serve as Speaker. She is a graduate of La Salle University and Villanova Law School. 

The Law Department’s CLE Conference is entirely developed and led by our talented staff attorneys. Attorneys volunteer their time to select a course topic that interests them, and work to secure a panel of expert speakers.  

Check out what the Law Department will be learning during Life in the Big City XXIV below: 


Life in the Big City XXIV, Day 1:

“Supreme Court Round-up”

Organized and moderated by Elise Bruhl, Chief Deputy Solicitor, HIPAA and Privacy Unit

From the organizer: What the Supreme Court does each Term affects us as Law Department attorneys and as citizens. The annual Supreme Court review gives us a chance to reflect on how the substance of our practice may change, and why we became lawyers in the first place.

Speakers include:

  • David Cohen, Esq., Professor of Law, Drexel University School of Law
  • Craig Green, Esq., Professor of Law, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law
  • James Shellenberger, Esq., Professor of Law, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law

“The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Legal Profession”

Organized and Moderated by: Nicole Stokes, Esq., Assistant City Solicitor, Commercial Law Unit and Jonah Santiago-Pagan, Esq., Assistant City Solicitor, Civil Rights Unit

From the organizers: Psychologists have found that a typical lawyer is “likely to be more achievement-oriented, more aggressive, and more competitive than other professionals and people in general.” In addition, it is well known that many lawyers may struggle with both mental health and work-life balance. We believe that Emotional Intelligence is a key part of the foundation that helps lawyers to become better at dealing with clients, colleagues, and recognizing their own feelings.

Speakers include:

  • Alison Lintal, Esq,. Director of Career Services and Externship Programs at Penn State University, Dickinson Law School
  • Dena Lefkowitz, Esq., Author, Business and Career Coach for Lawyers
  • Courtney Schulnick, Esq., Special Counsel at Marshall Dennehey and Mindfulness Teacher

“Current Trends in Juvenile Justice and the Impact on Philadelphia”

Organized and moderated by: Mathieu O’Brian, Esq., Assistant City Solicitor, Health and Adult Services Unit and Rachel McHale, Esq., Deputy City Solicitor, Child Welfare Unit

From the organizers: Juvenile Justice is relevant given the prevalence of reports on juvenile violence in the city.  The youth are our future.  The system has challenges; but ensuring access to appropriate resources is vital for improving outcomes for juveniles, families, and ensuring community safety. Unfortunately for way too many children, society has failed to provide the tools needed to be successful which leads them to do things that they otherwise would not. Juvenile Justice provides the resources to help children get back on track and help shape them to be productive members of society. It is our duty to guide children as they are the future. We are excited for the attendees to hear and learn from our expert panelists!

Speakers include

  • Vanessa Garrett Harley, Esq., Deputy Mayor for the Office of Children and Families
  • Michelle Mason, Director of the Juvenile Special Defense for the Defenders Association of Philadelphia
  • Lisa Harvey, Chief of the Juvenile Branch at the First Judicial District 
  • Megan Goddard, Esq., Deputy Divisional City Solicitor, Child Welfare Unit


Life in the Big City XXIV, Day 2: 

“What I Mean to Say Is…”

Organized and moderated by Matthew Rong, Esq., Senior Attorney, Tort Litigation Unit and Michelle Reinhart, Esq., Assistant City Solicitor, Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit

From the organizers: While a significant part of law practice is understanding the law and how it applies to each of our cases, an equally important aspect is communicating with our clients and pro se parties. We hope to provide insight and best practices into communicating better.

Speakers include: 

  • Griffin Drutchas, Esq,. Deputy City Solicitor, Executive Office, eDiscovery
  • Amy Skiles, Esq., Deputy City Solicitor, Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit 
  •  Julie McGrain, Esq,. Drexel University Ethics Law Professor
  •  Francis T. Healy, Esq., Special Advisor to the Commissioner, Philadelphia Police Department      

“Addressing Modern Racism”

Organized and moderated by: Desjenee Davis, Esq,. Assistant City Solicitor, Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit and Zachary Strassburger, Esq., Deputy City Solicitor, Appeals Unit

From the organizers: We wanted to create a panel on Addressing Modern Racism because too often people think of legalized racism as something historical, but that racism still affects so much of our legal system. We wanted to talk about how as lawyers we have the power and obligation to use law as a tool to tackle racism.

Speakers include:

  • Donald Tibbs, Esq., Visiting Professor at Drexel University – racial and social justice
  • Wendy Greene, Esq,. Director of the Center for Law, Policy and Social Action (CLPSA) at Drexel University
  • Justin Simard, Esq., Assistant Professor of Law of Professional Responsibility, Legal History, and Commercial Law at Michigan State University
  • Keir Bradford-Grey, Esq., Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and partner at Montgomery McCracken.

“Negotiation in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”

Organized and moderated by: Thomas Li, Esq., Deputy City Solicitor, Finance & Contracts Department and Ryan McSherry, Esq., Deputy City Solicitor, Property Assessment Unit

From the organizers: Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic right now and we are entering into a new age of technological advancement. With that said, as every industry is bracing itself for this new age, we were very curious about how AI will transform and impact the legal profession.

Speakers include: 

  • Amy Emerson, Esq., Assistant Dean for Library and Information Services at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. 
  • Akshay Malik, Smart Cities Director at the City of Philadelphia 
  • Michael Dodge, Esq., Adjunct Professor at Michigan State University College of Law
  • Mark Wheeler, Chief Information Officer for City of Philadelphia
  • Leonard Impagliazzo IV, Esq., eDiscovery, information technology management, and data privacy at Morgan Lewis.