Carolyn Short is a trial attorney who concentrates her practice on complex civil litigation matters, has tried more than 150 trials to verdict in state and federal courts across the United States and leads the firm's Philadelphia Regional Litigation team.

Ms. Short has received notable recognition for her achievements, including being named as a Fellow to the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and the Litigation Counsel of America. She also received numerous honors, including from Chambers USA as one of America's best business lawyers, Philadelphia Business Journal in the "Best of Bar: The Top Legal Minds in Philadelphia," Martindale-Hubble with an AV rating and Super Lawyer.

Ms. Short served as General Counsel to the United States Judiciary Committee for the Supreme Court nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. She was a Law Clerk to the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, a Federal Public Defender and an Assistant District Attorney in the homicide division in Philadelphia.

In addition to her litigation practice in commercial and employment disputes, including class actions and restrictive covenant matters, Ms. Short advises on complex corporate governance issues, conducts high-level executive investigations and counsels on challenging management issues including crisis management. She represents publicly traded multinational corporate clients as well as privately held companies in a variety of business sectors including healthcare and life sciences, energy and natural resources, technology, entertainment, higher education, financial services, government contracting and real estate.

Ms. Short's passionate commitment to her client's needs has earned her a reputation as a "must have" counselor in bet-the-company high-stakes matters. Many of her clients have retained her services for more than 25 years, demonstrating their satisfaction and confidence in her abilities.

Ms. Short has served on nonprofit boards in Philadelphia, including Red Cross Disaster Relief, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project and the Russell Byers Charter School. She also served as a big sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization for three years, on her local church development committee, worked on political campaigns and donated her time to pro bono activities. She and her husband, Joe Torsella, have four children.


Ms. Short's representative experience includes serving as:

  • lead counsel achieving summary judgment on behalf of a publicly traded multinational client in a federal action brought by a state Attorney General seeking in excess of $100 million in damages
  • lead counsel for a publicly traded government contractor in successfully resolving a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) action in Mississippi brought by the Attorney General
  • lead counsel in multiple bet-the-company investigations and crisis management issues
  • lead counsel for a prominent payment card firm in a national federal putative class action matter defending against assertions of Sherman Act Section 1 and 2 claims relating to merchant contract provisions, resulting in a favorable settlement
  • lead counsel for a large, quasigovernmental agency in a high-profile federal putative class action civil rights matter, defending against allegations of race and gender discrimination
  • co-lead counsel in an Illinois-based Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) putative class action matter
  • co-lead counsel in a New York-based FCRA putative class action matter
  • lead counsel in a Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower retaliation matter defending a medical device manufacturing company resulting in a dismissal of the lawsuit and a public apology by the plaintiff
  • lead counsel in federal court in New York in a commercial real estate property damage case
  • lead counsel for multiple financial services corporations in defense of claims of employment discrimination in multiple jurisdiction
  • lead counsel for the boards of trustees of institutions of higher education in crisis management and internal investigations
  • lead counsel conducting numerous high-level, C-suite investigations and designed programs for reform in governance to help leadership move companies toward business goals and missions while staying true to their culture


  • University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D.
  • University of Notre Dame, B.A.
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Pennsylvania
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Merit Selection Committee, 2006-2008
  • Third Circuit Lawyers Advisory Committee, 2006-2008
  • American Law Institute, Member, 2016-Present
  • College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Fellow, 2015-Present
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow, 2009-Present
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 2004-Present
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 2003-Present
Honors & Awards
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business guide, Litigation: General Commercial, 2016-2022
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Commercial Litigation, 2021-2023
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers magazine, 2005, 2008-2022
  • Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2021
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers magazine, Top 50 Women Attorneys, 2020
  • Philadelphia Business Journal, Best of the Bar: The Top Legal Minds in Philadelphia, 2017
  • Philadelphia Business Journal, Business Woman of Distinction, 2016
  • Nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2008
  • Lynette Norton Award, Pennsylvania Bar Association, 2006