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Shelby Leonardi joins Polales Horton & Leonardi

Columbia, SC – June 2024 – Polales Horton & Leonardi LLP (PHL) welcomes Shelby Leonardi as its newest partner in the firm’s Columbia office. Shelby’s experience in complex civil litigation and her familiarity with the federal court system equip her to join the firm’s litigation practice alongside her husband of twenty-two years, Dan Leonardi, and the lawyers in the firm’s Chicago office. PHL focuses on complex civil and criminal litigation, primarily in federal court.

Shelby began her career at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP where she was trained to be a thorough and detail-oriented litigator. She clerked for the Honorable Joseph F. Anderson, Jr., and the Honorable Shiva V. Hodges of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. Immediately prior to joining PHL, Shelby was a full-time faculty member for ten years at the University of South Carolina Joseph F. Rice School of Law. In that role, she taught legal writing and analysis to first-year law students and guided upper-level law students in federal civil litigation and discovery. 

Shelby’s unique background makes her particularly well suited to federal practice. Where written advocacy is paramount, Shelby’s ability to craft well-reasoned and readily-understood briefs is an asset to her clients. In addition to civil and criminal litigation, Shelby advises companies and non-profit corporations in statutory compliance and governance issues and handles probate litigation involving contested estates. 

Outside the practice of law, Shelby is active in the community. She currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the East Point Academy Board of Directors and the Secretary of the Cure Sanfilippo Foundation Board of Directors. She previously served as a board member of the Riverbanks Society, where she advocated on behalf of the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens. Shelby is also active in the Richland County Bar Association and the South Carolina Bar Association.

Shelby is a magna cum laude graduate of Notre Dame Law School and a summa cum laude graduate of Marquette University, where she majored in journalism.

Shelby can be reached at (803) 467-5410 or at

About Polales Horton & Leonardi: PHL is a boutique law firm founded in Chicago and committed to delivering exceptional legal representation and personalized service to its clients. With offices in both Chicago and Columbia, South Carolina, PHL serves a diverse clientele across a wide range of practice areas, including civil litigation, criminal defense, intellectual property, corporate compliance, and insurance recovery litigation on behalf of insureds. Included among PHL’s partners are a former federal prosecutor, a former federal public defender, and several lawyers who previously worked for AmLaw 200 law firms. For more information, visit