A headshot of Emilia McKee Vassallo.

Emilia McKee Vassallo

Partner She / Her / Hers

Emilia McKee Vassallo is an experienced litigator and legal counselor who focuses on conducting internal investigations and representing businesses, organizations, and individuals in white collar defense and complex commercial litigation. She co-leads the firm's Black Lawyers Group.

Emilia has conducted internal investigations of high-profile, highly sensitive matters for major corporations, government agencies, and institutions, including investigations spurred by whistleblower complaints to federal and state agencies. She has managed all aspects of internal investigations, including electronic device imaging and data retrieval. Her work providing critical analysis during the investigative stage of cases has led to the successful resolution of matters without the filing of criminal or other charges. She drafts comprehensive internal or public reports of investigative findings and recommendations for improving corporate, institutional, and governmental policies and procedures.



  • Key member of team that conducted an independent internal investigation into the City of Philadelphia’s handling of local protests of systemic racism in law enforcement that erupted nationwide following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The resulting high-profile public report detailed a lack of adequate preparation by the City and the Philadelphia Police Department, cascading negative consequences in responding to protests, and recommendations for how to better handle similar situations in the future. Emilia led a City Council briefing on the findings and recommendations.
  • Conducted an internal investigation for a major university and made recommendations for incorporating legal, ethical, and cultural considerations into policies and procedures for academic research and instruction
  • Conducted an internal investigation for a company in response to whistleblower complaints to a state agency
  • Represented the CEO of a global retail company in an SEC investigation of insider trading claims, including negotiations with the government that resulted in an SEC declination letter terminating the investigation with no charges filed

Commercial Litigation

  • Represented a global pharmaceutical company in obtaining a preliminary injunction against a competitor on Lanham Act false advertising and common law unfair competition claims. The court enjoined the competitor’s use of “false and misleading statements” about the client’s product in the competitor’s promotional materials.
  • Ongoing representation of a global pharmaceutical company in one of the largest criminal antitrust matters in the country
  • Represented a group of investment funds in asserting various claims for breach of contract, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duties in connection with the client’s approximately $62 million investment, in a protracted arbitration that resulted in a large cash settlement for the client funds

Professional Highlights

Pro Bono Experience

Emilia maintains an active pro bono practice. She is a volunteer on the Prisoner Civil Rights Panel in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Emilia also represented an individual sentenced to life without parole as a juvenile in his re-sentencing in state court; helped an inmate who was attacked by his cellmate sue state prison officials, resulting in a favorable outcome; and assisted with a Criminal Justice Act representation of a federal criminal defendant.

In addition, Emilia also conducted an internal investigation on behalf of a nonprofit into allegations that one of its employees had engaged in fraudulent activities regarding pandemic-related benefits.

Judicial Clerkships

Honorable Ann Claire Williams, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, September 2016 – September 2017

Honorable Lawrence F. Stengel, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, September 2015 – August 2016

Judicial Externship

Honorable L. Felipe Restrepo, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Professional Activities

Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Fellow

Temple Law Alumni Association, Executive Committee

Corporate Counsel Women of Color Conference

Recognition & Accomplishments

Philadelphia Business Journal's "40 Under 40" List, 2023

The Best Lawyers in America "Ones to Watch," Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2021-2024 (Philadelphia)

The Legal Intelligencer "Lawyers on the Fast Track," 2022

Inaugural recipient of the Philadelphia Business Journal's Amber Racine Award, 2021

Benchmark Litigation, "40 & Under List," - Competition/Antitrust (Northeast), 2023

Speaking Engagements

Speaker, “Influence and Influencers: Navigating the Power and Legal Pitfalls of Social Media,” Minnesota Bankers Association, January 24, 2024

Speaker, PDLG Fellows Program Alumni Panel: "New Perspectives," Philadelphia Diversity Law Group 2024 Symposium, January 9, 2024

Speaker, “Navigating the High-Profile Investigation,” Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, November 16, 2023

Speaker, “Influence and Influencers: Navigating the Power and Legal Pitfalls of Social Media,” November 2, 2023

Speaker, “Getting Clean Beauty Advertising Right,” Better Business Bureau National Programs Webinar, July 18, 2023

Speaker, “Enhanced Antitrust Scrutiny of the Consumer Financial Services Industry,” Annual Consumer Financial Services Conference, May 18, 2023

Speaker, “Sticky Situations: Conducting Internal Investigations in Sensitive Situations Involving Race or Gender,” ACCGP In-House Counsel Conference, April 20, 2023

Speaker, “30th Annual All-Day Fraud Training Conference and Luncheon,” Philadelphia Area Chapter, December 5, 2022


Signatory, “More than 2,650 Women Partners from 190 Firms Issue Call to Action Post ‘Dobbs," July 5, 2022

Co-author, "Stimulus Fraud Part 4: CARES Act Oversight Provisions and Agency Collaboration," The Legal Intelligencer, July 8, 2020

Co-author, "Stimulus Fraud: How Agencies Investigate It and What Happens When They Find It," The Legal Intelligencer, May 26, 2020

Co-author, "$2.2T COVID-19 Stimulus Package and Fraud: Part 2, TARP’s Role," The Legal Intelligencer, May 4, 2020



Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law (J.D. 2014, magna cum laude)
Temple Law Review, Note and Comment Editor
Order of the Coif

University of Pennsylvania (B.A. 2008, cum laude)
Member, Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society




New Jersey


U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court