Judge Lawrence F. Stengel Becomes Chief Judge of the Eastern District

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Honorable Lawrence F. Stengel became Chief Judge of the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on August 1, 2017. Judge Stengel has served as a federal judge for over thirteen years and follows the Honorable Petrese B. Tucker as the 14th Chief Judge of this district. One of thirteen original federal judicial districts created by the federal judiciary act of 1789, the Eastern District encompasses Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton counties.

Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals stated, “Larry Stengel is a judge of considerable experience, and someone who has already gained stature as a leader in the federal judiciary. Not only has he served as both a state trial court judge and as a distinguished member of the Eastern District bench, he chairs one of the major committees of the Judicial Conference of the U.S. Now as a chief district judge, Judge Stengel becomes a member of the Judicial Council of the Third Circuit—a body I chair—where I know I can always count on his sound judgment and advice.”

Judge Stengel’s colleague, Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania added, “Unlike in state court, where a vote takes place amongst judges, in federal

court, a seniority formula determines who the next Chief Judge will be. But my very strong sense is that even if we took an actual vote, Judge Stengel would be the unanimous choice next to lead our court. He is universally respected, both nationally and within our court, for his extensive leadership experience, for his judgment and his people skills. Judge Stengel also does not take himself too seriously, which makes him approachable not only to judges but to the entire courthouse community.”

Judge Stengel graduated from St. Joseph’s University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Stengel began his practice at Dickie, McCamey and Chilcote in Pittsburgh and then opened a litigation practice in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, his hometown. Judge Stengel served for fourteen years as a judge on the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas before his appointment to the federal bench in 2004. In 2015, Chief Justice Roberts appointed Judge Stengel to be Chair of the Judicial Resources Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He has served on the Judicial Resources Committee of the Judicial Conference since 2009. Judge Stengel chaired the Subcommittee on Judicial Statistics from 2012 – 2015 and has participated in the Senior Judge Working Group of the Judicial Conference. While a state judge, he was elected to the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges and appointed to serve on the Education Committee of the Conference in 2001. In that capacity, he was the planner for courses on racial disparity in sentencing, evidence law and criminal law procedure. In 2002 he received the President’s Award from the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges. Judge Stengel has served as president of the Lancaster Bar Association and has been Adjunct Professor in the Government Department at Franklin and Marshall College since 1997.

Judge Stengel said, “Chief Judge Tucker provided leadership to our Court through a period of significant transition and she did so with a thoughtful, patient and quietly effective approach. She demonstrated intelligence, understanding and humility, she never did anything to serve her own ego and she has consistently listened and worked toward consensus. Our judges are grateful to Chief Judge Tucker for her commitment to our Court and for her unwavering dedication to the process of delivering equal justice to the citizens of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She has every right to be proud of her legacy of leadership to our Court.”

The Honorable Petrese B. Tucker has been Chief Judge of the Eastern District for three years. Judge Tucker was appointed to the bench of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1999. As Chief Judge, she oversaw the hiring of a new Clerk of Court, promoted the nationally recognized Eastern District of Pennsylvania Re-Entry Court, supported IT and courtroom improvements and exercised authority over one of the busiest federal courthouses in the United States. Prior to becoming federal judge, Judge Tucker served for thirteen years as a judge in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Barristers Association of Philadelphia, past member of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. As a member of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania National and American Bar Associations, Judge Tucker chaired and worked on many committees and has received numerous distinguished service awards for her noteworthy contributions to the community.

The Honorable Cynthia M. Rufe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said, “The improvements made to the administration of our Court during Petrese Tucker’s tenure as Chief Judge are the direct result of the effective collaboration of our judges with Chief Judge Tucker’s leadership. I have been privileged to work closely with Petrese on Court administrative and

ceremonial matters and have been most impressed with her unfailing dedication to resolving all issues for the good of our Court, its litigants and counsel. Chief Judge Tucker will always be admired for her grace and courage, as well as her ready smile. Her serene countenance belies her sharp and perceptive mind, and all of her skills were well put to the many formidable tasks of moving our Court forward, administratively. Petrese Tucker has set a high bar for her successors, but few are as ready and able as Judge Larry Stengel who will bring his own congenial and effective style to this important role. We wish them both well.”

The Eastern District of Pennsylvania is headquartered at the James A. Byrne Courthouse in Philadelphia and has three divisional courthouses in Allentown, Reading and Easton with a courthouse staff of over two-hundred employees. The Chief Judge oversees the administration of the district which includes the offices of the Clerk of Court, Probation, Pre-Trial Services and Bankruptcy. The district has twenty-two active judgeships, twelve senior judges, as well as six bankruptcy, ten magistrate judges and three inactive senior judges, and is the third largest federal district court in the nation.

High Swartz Named ‘Top Attorneys’ for 2017 by Suburban Life Magazine

High Swartz Named ‘Top Attorneys’ for 2017 by Suburban Life Magazine
Attorneys named among best in greater Philadelphia area for family law, workers’ compensation and business law.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (July 2017) –   High Swartz LLP, a full-service law firm with offices in Norristown and Doylestown, Pennsylvania, is pleased to announce that its attorneys have been named among the “Top Attorneys” for 2017 by Suburban Life magazine.

The attorneys receiving the honors include Mary Cushing Dougherty, who was recognized for her excellence in the practice area of family law and divorce, Thomas E. Panzer for workers’ compensation, and Joel D. Rosen who was recognized in the practice area of business law.

A former member of the Board of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and former Chair of the Family Law Sections of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Montgomery Bar Association, Doherty has more than 35 years of legal experience in the area of family law.

Active in local politics in Bucks County, Panzer serves as the county’s elected Treasurer. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, handling both claimant and defense matters, which has made him a sought-after and frequent lecturer on Pennsylvania workers’ compensation topics.

The managing partner of High Swartz, Rosen focuses his practice on franchise law, business and commercial law, employment law, trademark/copyright law and commercial leasing. He serves on the board of directors for several area nonprofits, including the Hepatitis B Foundation, Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center and Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, and the Montgomery Bar Foundation.

The annual list of Top Attorneys in Suburban Life highlights the best legal practitioners from the greater Philadelphia area who focus their legal practices in a wide range of practice areas, from business law to criminal defense, medical malpractice and more.

Mary Cushing Dougherty, Esq.

High Swartz Family Law Attorneys Speak at PBA Family Law Section Summer Meeting

High Swartz Family Law Attorneys Speak at Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section Summer Meeting
Mary Cushing Doherty and Elizabeth Early talk executive compensation and custody case law updates at annual meeting

 NORRISTOWN, Pa. (July 2017) – Pennsylvania family law attorney Mary Cushing Doherty, a partner at High Swartz LLP and the chair of the firm’s family law practice, and Elizabeth C. Early, an associate with the firm, recently acted as speakers during the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section’s Summer Meeting, held July 13 to July 16 at the Omni Richmond in Richmond, Virginia.

Many of the sessions at the conference focused on the financial implications of divorce, including financial issues that affect the baby boomer generation. Doherty participated in a program entitled “Conquering Executive Compensation,” which explored the compensation packages being offered by the most financially sophisticated companies and discussed ways to identify, value, and distribute these complex assets during a divorce or custody action. Doherty was joined on the panel by family law attorney Mary Vidas and financial experts Sandra R. Klevan, CPA, and John Petrancosta, CPA.

Early helped close out the conference weekend with a case law update on custody during her program. In her practice at High Swartz, Early focuses her practice on divorce, custody, support, equitable distribution, pre and post-nuptial agreements and abuse matters.

A former member of the Board of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and former Chair of the Family Law Sections of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Montgomery Bar Association, Doherty has more than 35 years of legal experience in the area of family law. She concentrates her practice on all aspects of marital dissolution and family law issues including divorce, child support, visitation, custody, spousal support and alimony, premarital agreement asset protection, complex property division and more.

Mary Cushing Doherty (on left) and Elizabeth Early attend the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section’s Summer Meeting in Richmond, Virginia held July 13- July 16, 2017.


Ostroff Injury Law adds litigation attorney Diane M. Sodano, Esq.

Plymouth Meeting, PA, July 20, 2017Ostroff Injury Law is pleased to announce that Diane M. Sodano, Esq. has joined the firm as an attorney. Sodano has built an accomplished 25-year career as a litigation attorney representing plaintiffs in various types of personal injury matters, and as a law firm director responsible for assuring that firm clients receive the highest level of service and attention.

Ostroff Injury Law President Jon Ostroff said: “We are thrilled to add a lawyer with Diane’s great reputation and deep experience in personal injury. Diane is a savvy, experienced, respected litigator who will bring even greater depth to our team of litigation lawyers. Diane will also be managing the progress of many of our clients’ cases before they advance into litigation.” Ostroff added: “Her skills and experience are critical to our mission of excellence in client service and treating our clients as we would treat our own family. Her 15 years of experience independently managing a substantial personal injury practice at a well-respected Bucks County law firm makes her a great asset. Her previous 10 years working on the insurance side gives her the ability to anticipate defenses and see both sides of an issue.”

From 2002-2016, Sodano practiced civil litigation in Perkasie, Pa., and served the final two years as the firm’s Executive Director. Sodano is a graduate of Temple University (magna cum laude), and Temple University School of Law. She earned her law degree while working full-time in the insurance industry. Sodano is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Diane M. Sodano, Esq.

Jeffrey M. Williams Named President of AAML Pennsylvania Chapter

Jeffrey M. Williams Named President of AAML Pennsylvania Chapter
Williams Family Law managing partner leads statewide chapter of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (July 2017) – Bucks County family law firm Williams Family Law, P.C. is pleased to announce that Founder and Managing Partner, Jeffrey M. Williams, has been named president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Founded in 1962, the AAML is a national group of leaders in the practice area of domestic relations law. With 50 chapters and 1,600 Fellows nationally, it attracts pre-eminent family law practitioners across the country. Formerly the chapter’s president-elect, Williams was elected president at the organization’s summer meeting in July.

“Family Law in Pennsylvania continues to evolve and the AAML is committed to ensuring that the law is developed and implemented with integrity and empathy,” said Williams. “I am proud to lead the AAML Pennsylvania chapter and the pre-eminent family law practitioners of which it is comprised, and I thank my colleagues for this great honor.”

To become a Fellow of the AAML, an attorney must be highly skilled in the practice areas of divorce, drafting of marital settlement agreements, child custody and visitation, business valuation, property valuation and division, alimony, litigation, child support and other complex family law matters. Fellows must have been in legal practice for at least 10 years and must demonstrate a focus on and leadership within family law, as well as pass difficult written and oral examinations.

The only AAML Fellow with a primary office in Bucks County, Williams is widely regarded as one of the top divorce attorneys in Bucks County and Montgomery County and one of the leading family law attorneys in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Williams’ courtroom instincts and honed litigation skills have made him a fixture in Philadelphia-area divorce law for more than 30 years.

Jeffrey M. Williams, Esq.

Jamie M. Jamison Joins Antheil Maslow & MacMinn, LLP

Antheil Maslow & MacMinn, LLP, a Bucks County-based full-service law firm, is pleased to announce the addition of Jamie M. Jamison to the firm’s Family Law practice group.  Ms. Jamison practices exclusively in the area of family law where she handles all phases of the negotiation and litigation of domestic relations cases, including divorce, equitable distribution, child custody, spousal support/alimony, child support, protection from abuse, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

 Jamie M. Jamison, Esq.

Elizabeth Fineman, of Antheil Maslow & MacMinn will teach course “Child & Spousal Support Basics” on June 29th for the PBI

Elizabeth Fineman, of Antheil Maslow & MacMinn in Doylestown, will teach a course on June 29th for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute entitled “Child & Spousal Support Basics.”   This is an educational program for family law attorneys seeking to learn more about case law, procedure and local practice from a faculty composed of seasoned practitioners and those who work in the family court system.  The program will be at the CLE Conference Center, Wanamaker Building in Philadelphia, and simulcast throughout the area.

Elizabeth Fineman is part of the Firm’s Family Law Practice group.  She handles all phases of the negotiation and litigation of domestic relations cases, including divorce, child custody and support, alimony/spousal support, equitable distribution, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.