AL DÍA 40 Under Forty Honoree Diana Cortes named Acting Philadelphia City Solicitor
The promotion comes after City Solicitor Marcel S. Pratt announced he was returning to private practice.
Latinas are on the rise in the City of Philadelphia.
After four years, Philadelphia City Solicitor Marcel S. Pratt — the youngest to ever hold the position — announced on Nov. 17 that he will be returning to private practice as the Managing Partner of the Philadelphia office of Ballard Spahr. He had worked at the firm before taking a spot under then-City Solicitor Sozi Tulante.
Taking his place is Diana Cortes, who under Pratt, chaired the Litigation Group in the city’s law department. She was the first Latina to ever hold the chairmanship.
At 39, Cortes was also one of the 40 honorees at AL DÍA’s inaugural 40 Under Forty celebration of young professionals from across Philadelphia, held on Aug. 20, 2020.
At the time, she said her proudest achievement was heading the Litigation Group for the city, where she constantly advocates for expanding representation in the city’s ranks.
“In most of my places of employment, I was the only one or one of a miniscule number of Latinx employees. This experience has made me strive to improve inclusivity wherever I work. True inclusivity will happen when society values it to the same level as profitability, status, and compensation,” Cortes said in an interview before AL DÍA 40 Under Forty.
Now, she has the opportunity to do that as the chief legal officer for the City of Philadelphia
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, in addition to expressing confidence in Cortes’ ability to take the mantle as Acting City Solicitor, looked back at what’s been an impactful four years under Pratt.
“Some of our Administration’s greatest accomplishments are tied to Marcel’s leadership of our legal strategy and operations, especially our consistent success in legal matters that have defined us as a City,” said Kenney in a press release announcing the leadership change.
In addition to fighting the current battle of election integrity against the Trump administration, Pratt also battled to legitimize the city’s beverage tax in Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, and fought to maintain its status as a welcoming city for undocumented immigrants back when Trump took office.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he has also provided the legal framework for the city’s emergency orders.
Pratt will remain in charge of the department until Dec. 10, 2020. Cortes will the take the acting title after that, and will keep it until Philadelphia City Council votes to confirm her appointment.