Biography

Kelley is an accomplished litigator, trial attorney and compliance adviser with two decades of experience in the areas of higher education, investigations, school safety, civil rights, labor and employment, criminal law and state and federal policymaking.

A legal trailblazer on multiple fronts, Kelley was the first African American woman to lead the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office in its 167-year history and spearheaded key initiatives addressing juvenile justice and school violence in roles with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

She is a tenacious advocate and a strategic ally for her clients, helping them proactively assess and mitigate risk using evidence-based legal strategies that ensure compliance with complex regulations and promote cultural competency in crisis planning and response.

Labor & Employment

In her labor and employment practice, Kelley advises clients on compliance with a wide range of state and federal matters including higher education law and Title IX, criminal investigations and civil rights, as well as claims of misconduct and violations of due process that involve employees, students and law enforcement. Kelley has particular experience facilitating collaboration between educational institutions and government agencies to find common-ground solutions to a range of educational privacy rights issues. 

She was the first independently identified Title IX Coordinator at the University of Virginia, where she designed and implemented the institution's first-ever sex- and gender-based harassment policies across its 11 schools. Kelley has significant experience guiding the implementation of university-wide training on Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Clery Act.

During her tenure as Philadelphia District Attorney, Kelley addressed issues including gun violence and the opioid epidemic as well as capital punishment and criminal justice reform.

A sampling of Kelley's key representative experience includes: 

  • Co-counsel representing CBS and its station manager in the highly publicized defamation lawsuit brought by former KYW-TV news anchor Alycia Lane in connection with the termination of her employment. The matter concluded with a confidential, mutually agreed upon settlement.
  • Adjudicator in various matters involving higher education clients/entities regarding Title IX compliance
  • Oversight member/counsel for the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program established by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to financially compensate victims of child sexual abuse by clergy.

Before Fox Rothschild

Prior to joining Fox, Kelley was a member of the litigation practice at a regional Pennsylvania law firm. 

Kelley has taught at Drexel University’s School of Law and was a lecturer in law at the University of Pennsylvania during the fall of 2019. 

In 2013, Kelley served on Pennsylvania Joint State Commission on Violence Prevention following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and was appointed to the Interstate Compact for Juveniles Pennsylvania State Council. 

In December 2011, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett appointed Kelley to serve as the Safe Schools Advocate under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. In this role, Kelley worked closely with the First Judicial District Juvenile and Adult Courts, local law enforcement, mental and behavioral health agencies, community-based agencies, Philadelphia City Council, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Philadelphia Mayor’s Office and human relations agencies and national organizations that advocate for civil rights protections for marginalized or minority communities.

Beyond Fox Rothschild

Kelley is an inaugural member of the Women of Tomorrow, a national mentor and scholarship organization, and has served as a mentor for at-risk, high school-age young women in Philadelphia. 

Honors & Awards

  • Named a Women of Distinction honoree by the Philadelphia Business Journal (2020)
  • Abington Township, 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Award Recipient (2019)
  • “Strong, Smart and Bold” Honoree, Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (2019)
  • Distinguished Leader, The Legal Intelligencer (2018)