Diana Cortes is the City Solicitor, the City of Philadelphia’s chief legal officer. She was appointed by the Mayor on December 11, 2020. She serves as general counsel to the Mayor and his Administration, City Council, and all City departments, agencies, boards, and commissions. She manages the City’s Law Department, which employs over 215 lawyers and over 100 professional staff. The Law Department’s diverse legal practice covers federal, state, and local agency litigation, commercial and real estate transactions, tax, regulatory law, social services, and legislation.
Prior to joining the Law Department, Diana was a litigator at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. in its Professional Liability Department. She represented municipalities, school districts, and police officers in civil rights litigation involving excessive force, wrongful arrest, due process violations, and malicious prosecution, among other matters.
Prior to Marshall Dennehey, she was an assistant district attorney for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, where she tried felony jury trials. She also worked in the Juvenile Division of the District Attorney’s Office, where she worked with juvenile victims of sex crimes in testifying against their adult perpetrators. Before the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Diana was an attorney at Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP in its Litigation Department. There, her practice included a wide range of commercial litigation and white-collar criminal defense matters.
Diana began her legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable Juan R. Sánchez of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Villanova University School of Law and Cornell University.
Diana is a member of the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group. She is also fluent in Spanish.
As the First Deputy City Solicitor, Kristin K. Bray is responsible for assisting the City Solicitor in the oversight and leadership of the Law Department. Based on her extensive litigation background, Kristin provides litigation support and consultation on significant cases and other matters impacting City-wide initiatives, programs, and policies.
Before being named the First Deputy City Solicitor, Kristin served as the Chief Deputy City Solicitor of the Code and Public Nuisance Litigation Unit, leading the Unit to improve the quality of life in many underserved communities by effectively removing nuisances and blighted properties. Prior to that role, Kristin was a Senior Attorney in the Affirmative & Special Litigation Unit where she represented the City of Philadelphia in election matters and civil actions arising out of commercial disputes involving contracts and real property.
While Kristin began her Law Department career as an Assistant City Solicitor in the Code and Public Nuisance Litigation Unit, she took a brief hiatus to serve the federal government and our armed services, as a trial attorney and, eventually, senior trial attorney, at the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Troop Support. In that role, she successfully litigated complex, multi-billion and multi-million-dollar contract disputes before federal courts and federal administrative hearing boards.
Kristin started her legal career in public service, serving as a law clerk for The Honorable Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter of the Commonwealth Court. Kristin is a graduate of Immaculata College (B.A., cum laude) and Villanova University School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude).
As chair of the Compliance, Investigations & Privacy Group, Andrew oversees the following:
Andrew has been in the Department since 2009 and from 2016-2023 was the Chief of Staff to the City Solicitor. Previously, Andrew worked as a Deputy City Solicitor in the Code Enforcement Unit. Andrew is a 2009 graduate of the Temple University Beasley School of Law and holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. For as long as he can remember, he has been on the board of the Spruce Hill Community Association and enjoys refereeing his daughters swim meets on the weekends.
As chair of the Social Services Group, Nicolette Burgess-Bolden oversees the following units:
- Child Welfare
- Health & Adult Service
Nicolette began her career at the Law Department in April 2001, as an assistant city solicitor at the former Health and Human Services Unit, where she litigated child abuse and neglect cases and appeared in mental health hearings. She was later promoted to deputy city solicitor, divisional deputy city solicitor, and preceding her appointment as chair of the Social Services Law Group, Nicolette served as the inaugural chief of administration and specialty practice since September 2017 with the restructuring and expansion of the Child Welfare Unit. During her 19-year tenure of public service at the City of Philadelphia Law Department, Nicolette had the honor and privilege of serving the city’s most vulnerable population—the youth at risk of abuse, neglect, and delinquency—as a member of the Child Welfare Unit. Prior to joining the Law Department, Nicolette was an associate with the Law Office of Leon W. Tucker, Esquire where she specialized in trial advocacy and plaintiff and defense civil litigation. Nicolette is a graduate of Spelman College and North Carolina Central University School of Law.
As Chair of the Litigation Group, Renee Garcia oversees litigation matters and supervises the following litigation units:
- Affirmative & Special Litigation
- Civil Rights
- Tort Litigation
- Code & Public Nuisance Litigation
- Labor & Employment
Prior to joining the Law Department, Renee served as managing senior counsel at PNC Bank, overseeing litigation and escalated customer complaints arising from the bank’s consumer products, as well as directly managing litigation related to PNC’s wealth management services. At PNC, she also chaired the PNC Legal Pro Bono Committee. Renee has personally provided pro bono legal services through the SeniorLAW Center, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, Support Center for Child Advocates, and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, among others.
Prior to relocating to Philadelphia, Renee was an associate at the law firm Hogan Lovells US LLP with a focus on financial services litigation. Renee received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2008 and her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University in 2003.
She is on the board of the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania and arts nonprofit Intercultural Journeys, and previously served as a director on the boards of Community Legal Services/Philadelphia Legal Assistance.
Renee is the recipient of the 2020 AL DÍA Top In-House Lawyer Award; the 2017 PNC Market All-Star Award; the 2017 Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever Award; and the 2015 Rising Star Corporate Counsel Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal. She is also a Fellow, Pathfinder, and a Mentor with the Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity.
Valerie Robinson is the chair of the Corporate and Tax Group where she is responsible for providing advice to the city solicitor, the first deputy city solicitor and other City officials on corporate (commercial, transactional, and regulatory) and tax matters. The Corporate and Tax Group consists of the following five units:
- Commercial Law
- Real Estate & Development
- Regulatory Law
- Tax & Revenue
- Property Assessment
Prior to her appointment as the chair of the Corporate and Tax Group, Valerie served as an assistant and deputy city solicitor in the Finance and Contracts Division of the Law Department and as a senior attorney in the Intellectual Property Division. She has handled a wide range of commercial transactions. That includes construction and benefits contracts, as well as municipal finance matters, commission agreements for artwork, and licenses for film, performances, and events. She served as lead counsel for the City in the papal visit and Democratic National Convention transactions. Her clients have included the Managing Director’s Office; the Greater Philadelphia Film Office; the Department of Parks and Recreation; the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy; and the City Representative’s Office.
Born in New York City and raised in Michigan, she earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her Juris Doctorate from Villanova University School of Law.
Valerie is an active member of numerous social service organizations.
As Director of Professional Development, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Tianna K. Kalogerakis assesses the needs of the Law Department and develops strategies, programs and systems to advance the Law Department’s goal to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the organization, and to enhance the skill sets of lawyers and staff.
Before joining the Law Department, Tianna was an associate at Kang Haggerty & Fetbroyt LLC where she handled commercial litigation and business disputes. Prior to Kang Haggerty, Tianna served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Lillian Harris Ransom, first at the Court of Common Pleas, then at the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
An active member of the Philadelphia community, she is a Past President of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Incorporated and held several leadership positions in the Barristers, including serving as Chair of the 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Memorial Breakfast. Tianna served on the Executive Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division as an Appointed Member and is an Executive Committee Member of the Temple Law Alumni Women Leadership Initiative. Tianna also sits on the Board of galaei, a QTBIPOC social justice organization.
Tianna earned her Juris Doctorate from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law and her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida.
David Torres is Director of Administration for the City of Philadelphia’s Law Department, and has held this title since 2020. In this role, he serves as principal administrative and fiscal officer for the department.
He oversees the following areas:
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Contract Administration
David has been an employee of the City of Philadelphia since 2008, and has served in the Mayor’s Office, Inspector General’s Office, and Managing Director’s Office prior to joining the Law Department.
David is a graduate of Temple University, with a Bachelor’s degree in Adult and Organizational Development (2007).
Ava is the Director of Communications for the Law Department. She oversees the development of internal and external communications to enhance awareness of the Law Department, supports recruiting and DEI efforts, and fulfills press requests in coordination with clients in the City of Philadelphia.
She worked in the City of Burlington, Vermont’s Planning & Zoning Department as a Planning Intern, where she assisted with the drafting and publication of the 2019 update to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, . She also gained experience as a Clerk in the Office of the City Assessor, supporting communications to local business owners and managing property tax registrations.
As the Communications Coordinator for the City of Philadelphia’s Philly Counts Initiative, she worked to ensure a complete and accurate 2020 Census count. In this role, she also supported the City’s COVID-19 emergency response and supported the creation of the COVID-19 Community Response Captain Training.
Prior to the Law Department, she was the Communications and Community Partnership Manager at Friends of the Rail Park, where she led strategic communications, developed collaborative community programming, and supported planning efforts for future phases of the park.
Originally from Philadelphia, Ava is a graduate of the University of Vermont, where she received her with a minor in Green Building and Sustainable Community Design.