Shelley specializes in the representation of colleges and universities, independent and charter schools, social service agencies, cultural organizations and nonprofit entities; she has been practicing law for more than thirty years.

Shelley began her legal career in the labor department of Proskauer Rose, LLP, and served for a number of years as General Counsel and Secretary at Pratt Institute in New York.

Shelley represents a number of higher education institutions providing services ranging from serving as primary outside counsel to specialized work in defined areas. Her institutions include traditional and specialized undergraduate, professional and graduate institutions. She counsels them with regard to labor and employment matters, collective bargaining, faculty issues, student matters, discrimination, compliance, corporate transactional projects, governance and acquiring and maintaining NYS regulatory authority and accreditation. Shelley works extensively with charter schools and charter networks on obtaining and maintaining charter authority, personnel and student matters, discrimination, governance and compliance. She represents a number of independent schools in the New York metropolitan area with regard to employment issues, governance, student affairs, corporate compliance, discrimination matters and regulatory oversight. Her representation of major social service providers has included client and employment issues, corporate governance and compliance, transactional matters and the issues that arise from providing government funded services. Shelley counsels cultural institutions, nonprofit entities and foundations on issues dealing with regulatory oversight, educational activities and programs for minors.

Shelley has been the Co-coordinator of the NYNACUA Affinity Group for more than twenty years and has presented at numerous NACUA Annual Conferences and at NACUA CLE meetings. She speaks regularly on law and higher education issues, including labor relations and employment law, sexual harassment and discrimination, students with disabilities and governance. She provides staff training in conducting investigations and handling discrimination matters and assists boards with issues of corporate compliance. Shelley has served as a mediator for the United States District Court, Southern District of New York and she served previously as an Assistant Counsel for the Governor's Judicial Screening Committee.


  • Listed in:
    • Martindale-Hubbell®, AV Preeminent Rated
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys Distinguished Service Award, 2018
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys, Co-Coordinator of NYNACUA Affinity Group; Past Chair, Publications Committee
  • NY Nonprofit Coordinating Committee (NPCC) Government Relations Committee
  • Managing Editor, New York Law School Law Review

  • Panel Member, NLRB Update: Critical Information and Practical Guidelines for 2016, National Association of College and University Attorneys 2016 CLE Workshop, March 30, 2016
  • The "New" NLRB: (Almost) One Year Later, National Association of College and University Attorneys Annual Conference, June 24, 2014

  • Kehl, Shelley Sanders and Richard B. Crockett-Editors, "Accommodating Students With Learning and Emotional Disabilities: A Legal Compendium," NACUA, 1996

  • Board of Trustees, Blue Hill Public Library
  • Past Chair, Board of Directors, Marine Environmental Research Institute
  • Past Member, Board of Directors, National Association of College and University Attorneys
  • Past Member, New York City Bar Association Education Committee, NonProfit Committee and Task Force on the Status of Women Attorneys
  • Professor (Adjunct) New York University
  • Co-Chair, Yale College Parents Fund, Class of 2010
  • Past Council Member, Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club, Blue Hill, Maine