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Shelley R. Smith, head of the corporate and tax unit in the City Solicitor’s Office, will be moving to Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll at the beginning of next month. Her departure makes it the third loss for the city’s law department in less than two months. As reported in Tuesday’s Legal, Carlton Johnson, long-time head of the civil rights unit, will be leaving for Archer & Greiner. He will join his former second-in-command, Jeffrey M. Scott, who left for the firm last month. Smith has been with the department since 1992 and was promoted to the head of her unit just last year, according to City Solicitor Romulo L. Diaz Jr. As the head of the unit, Smith served as one of the six members on the law department’s executive committee, he said. According to Ballard Spahr chairman Arthur Makadon, Smith will handle labor and employment work in an of counsel position. Makadon said he had no reservations that Smith is not coming to the firm with a group of clients. “We actually need good lawyers,” he said, adding that the firm has plenty of work. “We’re not concerned with whether Shelley had business.” Former city solicitor Joseph A. Dworetzky, now a partner at Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin, worked with Smith back in the mid-1990s. “I think she’s a fine lawyer and has great presence,” he said. “Good catch for Ballard.” Diaz said having two people leave the office after so many years of service is not surprising. Staffing issues at the law department have caught the attention of one federal judge, as evidenced in a recent order by U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Stewart Dalzell. In an ongoing matter against the city stemming from the drowning death of a 14-year-old girl in a city-run pool, the plaintiffs asked the judge to order sanctions and an extension because of delays in discovery, according to court documents. The order in Daley v. City of Philadelphia dismissed without prejudice those requests and gave the city a March 17 deadline in reporting on the staffing situation for the case, according to the order. “The city is experiencing a staffing shortage,” Dalzell said. “This problem is well-known.” Dalzell said it seems history is repeating itself. “Regrettably, this hemorrhaging of legal talent brings to mind the ancient French wisdom plus �a change, plus c’est la m�me chose,” he said. “Early in our career on this bench, we dealt with a city solicitor’s office then in complete disarray.” The earlier disarray Dalzell was speaking of came from a 1993 case also in U.S. district court, Foy v. Dicks, that dealt with similar staffing issues at the law department, according to the order. Diaz said that there was no major staffing concern within the office, and that the counsel in this particular case, Edward D. Chew, simply became ill. “When you have one vacancy in the civil rights unit for which we are recruiting and an attorney in the middle of the trial becomes suddenly ill, I see no indication that there is anything unusual or that the city law department is in any way in disarray,” Diaz said. He said the important thing was that the civil rights unit is authorized to have nine attorneys and currently is only one below that number with eight. “We are not hemorrhaging talent,” he said. “I suspect I need to confer with him and assure him that we are fully prepared to meet our important responsibilities that he recognizes, and frankly we are.” Dalzell said in his order that “we cannot accept such a state of affairs in such an important public office.” Diaz said he is unsure whom he will choose to replace Smith, who starts at Ballard Spahr on Feb. 21. Johnson said earlier this week that he believes civil rights deputy city solicitor Lynne Sitarski has been named acting chief in his absence. Diaz said that the law department continually recruits talented attorneys. He said he is fully satisfied with the quality of attorneys the civil rights unit has attracted and is confident that the unit will meet the expectations of Dalzell and other members of the U.S. district court. Smith was not available for comment. Johnson told The Legal on Monday that he was making the move to Archer & Greiner’s litigation department. He said he will practice any type of litigation work, including municipal defense and health care litigation. For Johnson, it just seemed like the right time to make the move. “After 20 years, isn’t it time?” he joked. Johnson said he had been with the City Solicitor’s Office since graduating from law school in 1985 and became the first leader, then known as the divisional deputy, of the civil rights unit. (Copies of the two-page opinion in Daley v. City of Philadelphia , PICS No. 06-0116, are available from The Legal Intelligencer . Please call the Pennsylvania Instant Case Service at 800-276-PICS to order or for information. Some cases are not available until 1 p.m.)

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