Jane Williams a Featured Presenter for Council for Exceptional Children Event

Partner Jane M. Williams of Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams LLP recently presented at a joint conference of two of Pennsylvania’s foremost organizations supporting students with diverse needs. “Promoting Resilience in All Learners” was the theme of the 2019 conference of the Pennsylvania Council for Exceptional Children (PACEC), and the International Dyslexia Association, Pennsylvania Branch. The event was held October 18th and 19th at the Philadelphia Marriott West in West Conshohocken, PA.


Williams co-presented a session with fellow attorney Liliana Yazno-Bartle entitled “A School District and Parent Attorney Playing Nicely in the Special Education Sandbox: 10 Soft Skills to Facilitate Collaboration and Avoid Litigation.” The program discussed how due process hearings can be financially, physically and emotionally exhausting on all parties, and how parents and school districts can foster a mutually beneficial relationship through communication, collaboration and trust.


The PACEC is a professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the success of children with exceptionalities through advocacy, standards and professional development. The PBIDA is a non-profit organization that champions individuals with dyslexia and all students learning to read.


With over 25 years in practice, Jane Williams is among the most experienced attorneys in Pennsylvania currently representing school entities in special education and student matters. She provides both proactive and defensive representation in all phases of special education litigation. She is a well-regarded speaker and consultant on special education and other education law-related topics and is a past president of the Pennsylvania School Board Solicitors Association.




Nominations are being accepted for the Bucks County Bar Foundation Award.


The Bucks County Bar Foundation Award

Newly established in 2019 by the Board of Trustees of the Bucks County Bar Foundation.

Nominations are being accepted for the Bucks County Bar Foundation Award.

Deadline: November 12th, 2019


The Bucks County Bar Foundation Award is presented to honor a Foundation supporter, who throughout his or her career has provided extraordinary service, including through support of the Bucks County Bar Foundation, to the mission of accomplishing access to justice for all.


To nominate someone for this award, please send a letter outlining your reasons for nominating this person to the attention of Greg Nardi at BCBA 135 E. State Street, Doylestown, PA 18901 or email at gregn@bucksbar.org.


High Swartz Recognized as a 2020 “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®

High Swartz Recognized as a 2020 “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®

 High Swartz of suburban Philadelphia recently received a “Best Law Firm”  nod while being recognized nationally in Land Use and Zoning Law and Litigation for 2020. The firm’s recognition continued regionally in the Delaware Valley, as a Tier 1 firm in Family Law, Family Law Mediation, and Municipal Law.

The “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a combination of client feedback, information provided on the Law Firm Survey, the Law Firm Leaders Survey, and Best Lawyers peer review. High Swartz’s ranking was also aided in no small part by having  9 attorneys with a “Best Lawyers” distinction.

The highest honor, a Tier 1 ranking, is based on a firm’s overall evaluation, which is derived from a combination of its clients’ feedback, the regard that lawyers in other firms in the same practice areas have for the firm, and information that the firm provided to Best Lawyers via a survey.

National Tier 2 – Land Use & Zoning Law

National Tier 3 – Litigation – Real Estate

Metropolitan Tier 1 – Philadelphia – Family Law, Family Law Mediation, Land Use & Zoning Law, Municipal Law

Metropolitan Tier 2 – Philadelphia – Litigation – Land Use & Zoning, Litigation – Municipal, Litigation – Real Estate, Real Estate Law, Workers’ Compensation Law – Claimants

Metropolitan Tier 3 – Philadelphia – Litigation – Labor & Employment, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

Original article can be found here.

About High Swartz: High Swartz LLP is a general practice law firm serving clients in the Montgomery and Bucks counties, the Delaware Valley and throughout Pennsylvania from offices in Norristown and Doylestown. Established in 1914, High Swartz serves the needs of businesses, municipalities, government entities, nonprofits and individuals. The full-service law firm provides comprehensive counsel and legal support to individuals and business entities of all sizes across a broad spectrum of industries throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more information, please call 1-833-LAW-1914.


Friedman Schuman, PC, is pleased to acknowledge that it is once again being ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the 2020 edition of ”Best Law Firms” list for Metropolitan Tier 3, Philadelphia, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.

Friedman Schuman, PC, is pleased to acknowledge that it is once again being ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the 2020 edition of ”Best Law Firms” list for Metropolitan Tier 3, Philadelphia, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.   This ranking has special significance for Friedman Schuman as firms included on this list are selected for their consistently excellent ratings by clients and peers, making this recognition all the more meaningful.

Katz Receives Award for Distinguished Career Achievement in School Law

Citing his dedication and countless contributions to school law, the Pennsylvania School Board Solicitors Association (PSBSA) presented Ellis H. Katz of Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams with the 2019 President’s Award for Distinguished Career Achievement at the Solicitors Association School Law Workshop at the Hershey Hotel on October 16, 2019.

Each year, the association honors a practitioner who has contributed to Pennsylvania school law through achievement at the highest level of professional accomplishment, has donated remarkable energy and talent to the association, its members and Pennsylvania public schools, and whose generosity of spirit, expertise and fellowship reflect and promote the association’s strong tradition of collegiality.

Katz has represented over 100 school districts in Pennsylvania in matters ranging from day-to-day solicitor work to complex federal appellate work and litigation. He has participated in hundreds of contract negotiations and bargaining sessions, advancing important issues including coordinated bargaining and subcontracting. He has been successful in establishing favorable rulings and precedent that help the managerial school law community.

An authority on both private and public sector labor law, Katz also has lectured widely and is frequently published in national and regional labor law journals.  He has taught graduate classes in labor relations at Penn State University and he served as assistant counsel for the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board from 1981 to 1983. Katz is a former managing partner of Sweet Stevens who is now “Of Counsel” to the firm.


David R. Hoffman, JD, FCPP Joins Barmak and Associates, LLC as Of Counsel

David Hoffman, an authority on the practice of health law and corporate compliance, has decades of experience litigating high-profile matters in both the public and private sectors. He joins as Of Counsel, Barmak and Associates, LLC, a healthcare law firm that represents hundreds of skilled nursing facilities throughout the United States. The law firm is headquartered in West Windsor, New Jersey.

David is president of David Hoffman & Associates PC, a national consulting firm he established in 2005 that has expertise in law, policy, corporate compliance, and regulations that apply to healthcare delivery, patient safety, long-term care, and fraud. His firm assists some of the nation’s largest healthcare providers adhere to regulatory requirements designed to ensure patient safety through legal and clinical compliance. He has also consulted the U.S. Department of Justice regarding failure of care in institutional settings and has been appointed by state and federal authorities to serve as a Monitor for long-term care facilities.

Mr. Hoffman also serves as Practice Professor of Law at the Kline School of Law at Drexel University, where he specializes in patient safety and compliance. For over a dozen years, Professor Hoffman served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, prosecuting healthcare fraud matters civilly and criminally. He led the first healthcare fraud prosecution in the district under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in a case involving multiple pharmacies and pharmacists, physicians, pharmaceutical drug representatives, and street dealers related to the illegal prescribing and distribution of opioids. As a prosecutor, Mr. Hoffman successfully brought civil and/or criminal actions against physicians, managed care organizations, nurses, pharmacists, drug manufacturers, personal care home operators, educational institutions, hospitals, and nursing homes. He also resolved allegations against the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s National Medical Center, and three researchers from a high-profile gene therapy study that resulted in the death of Jesse Gelsinger. The settlement featured a financial component of more than $1 million and led to systemic changes designed to protect participants in human research.

In both 1996 and 2001 he received the Director’s Award from the U.S. Department of Executive Office for United States Attorneys, in recognition of his work protecting the elderly from abuse and neglect. In 1999 and 2005 he received the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Inspector General’s Integrity Award.

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, David served in the Governor’s Office of General Counsel as Chief Counsel for the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Previously, he worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia.

Elected as a fellow for The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Mr. Hoffman is a former President and current Board Member of The Eastern Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society.

After receiving his JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, he clerked for Judge Anthony J. Scirica in state and federal court.
David Hoffman, Esq.

Nominations are being accepted for the Mark E. Goldberg and William Eastburn III Awards. Deadline: November 12th, 2019

The Mark E. Goldberg Award

The Mark E. Goldberg Award is presented to a member of the Bucks County Bar Association, including honorary members, demonstrating a continuing commitment to community service outside the legal profession.

The eligible candidate shall perpetuate personal relationships established with leaders of the religious, academic, recreational and charitable segments of the Bucks County community by:

  • Proven legal competence;
  • Honor;
  • Trust;
  • Service; and
  • Respect for the rule of law and the administration of justice.

 To nominate someone for this award, please send a letter outlining your reasons for nominating this person to the attention of Greg Nardi at BCBA 135 E. State Street, Doylestown, PA 18901.


William H. Eastburn, III Award Qualification

 The purpose of the William H. Eastburn, III Award is to recognize the person or entity who has made significant contributions to the Bucks County system of justice.

The qualities of the recipient(s), who shall not be a member of the Bucks County Bar Association, shall be to:

  • Promote better understanding of our system of justice;
  • Encourage greater respect for law and the courts;
  • Stimulate a deeper sense of individual responsibility so that citizens recognize their duties as well as their rights; Contribute to the effective functioning of our institutions of government; and Foster a better understanding and appreciation of the rule of law.

To nominate someone for this award, please send a letter outlining your reasons for nominating this person to the attention of Greg Nardi at BCBA 135 E. State Street, Doylestown, PA 18901.


Sweet Stevens Takes the Lead at Exceptional Children Conference 2019

Philadelphia Today’s most critical issues in special education will be explored at this year’s Exceptional Children Conference, and attorneys from Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams are again playing a pivotal role. An annual presentation hosted by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI), the 2019 conference will take place on Friday, October 25 from 8:50 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. in the CLE Conference Center, Wanamaker Building, 10th Floor, Suite 1010, Philadelphia.

Partner Thomas C. Warner is course planner for the event, which is considered one of the premier special education conferences in the commonwealth.

Partner Andrew E. Faust will co-present the “Year in Review,” a popular annual segment of the conference that highlights key legislative and case law developments.

Managing Partner Sharon W. Montanye will co-present “Transition to Adult Services.” She is also a seasoned presenter knowledgeable in special education litigation, bringing additional credentials in the field of education as a former teacher and school administrator.

Associate Kyle J. Somers will be part of a panel discussion on “Contingent IEP Case Law.”

Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams, LLP was formed in 1995 by nine experienced education lawyers who created the first private law practice in Pennsylvania dedicated entirely to Education Law. Since then, the firm has grown to 19 attorneys who represent over 290 school and municipal entities as Solicitors or as Special Counsel in more than 50 counties throughout Pennsylvania.

Jennifer Donaldson, Esq. to Speak at 2019 Exceptional Children Conference

Doylestown, PA – Jennifer Donaldson, Esq. will serve as a presenter at the 2019 Exceptional Children Conference on October 25, 2019 in Philadelphia. Her presentation entitled “Ethical Considerations for the Special Education Lawyer” will examine various rules of ethics, statistics from the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board, how to address conflicts of interest, the role of educational advocates, the implications of social media and attorney’s fees.

Ms. Donaldson is an attorney at Eastburn and Gray and her practice includes school law, special education law and litigation. She has been representing school districts and their employees in all aspects of school law for nearly fifteen years. She routinely fields questions and counsels school administrators on various regulatory compliance issues and she also is a fierce advocate in litigation matters where she represents school districts in special education administrative due process hearings. Additionally, she has vast experience handling special education appeals in federal courts and she has also successfully argued before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

To learn more about the conference or for registration information, please visit www.pbi.org

The tradition of excellence at the law firm of Eastburn and Gray, P.C. began more than 140 years ago and continues today. With law offices in Doylestown, Bucks County and Blue Bell, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, our experienced attorneys provide high quality legal services throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  As a full service firm, Eastburn and Gray attorneys practice in diverse areas of the law, effectively meeting the needs of the firm’s clients.

To learn more about our firm, our practice areas and our attorneys, please visit our website: www.eastburngray.com.

Pennsylvania lawmakers likely to propose cutting or killing property taxes by increasing sales, income taxes



OCT 17, 2019 | 7:21 PM

State Sen. David Argall on Thursday told a group of real estate professionals that he wants a group of lawmakers to present a plan this year for reducing or eliminating school property taxes. (Ford Turner / The Morning Call)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is likely to recommend cutting or eliminating school property taxes by raising state income and sales taxes, the group’s leader said Thursday.

State Sen. David Argall was asked earlier this year by Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman to lead the group, which has met repeatedly since mid-summer seeking a plan to eliminate or reduce the much-despised school property levy. The Schuylkill County Republican said the group wants to get a plan before the full Senate or House this year to avoid the intense political feelings that will come with next year’s presidential election. His comments came during a Thursday luncheon of real estate professionals in his home county and in an interview afterward.

Although the group is still working, Argall said a likely result would be a recommendation to raise both sales and income taxes.

The recommended sales tax increase would likely be less than 1 percentage point, meaning the current rate of 6 percent across much of the state would go to a level of less than 7 percent, Argall said. Philadelphia’s rate is 8 percent.

He said Philadelphia’s block of seven senators likely would oppose an increase of 1 percentage point. Out of 50 senators total, Argall said, “That is a pretty significant block to say, ‘Oh, we don’t need your help.’”

No clear consensus has emerged in the tax group on how much of an increase should be recommended for the state’s personal income tax, currently at 3.07 percent.

Reluctance by some lawmakers on raising the income tax, Argall said, is tied to worries that future election opponents will distribute “really ugly pieces of mail” against them for doing so. He said it’s easier for lawmakers to justify such votes if a lot of their constituents dislike the property tax.

Argall said his district is such a “hotbed” of opposition to the property tax he can’t go to a store or a Cub Scout meeting without being asked what he’s doing about it. But other lawmakers, Argall said, have worked in their districts for five, 10 or even 15 years and never heard a complaint about the tax.

The 15 to 20 lawmakers on the tax group, who have been joined at times by a member of Gov. Tom Wolf’s staff, roughly agree their plan must be able to pass the GOP-majority House and Senate and earn Democrat Wolf’s signature.

One of those members, Democratic Sen. Lisa Boscola of Northampton County, said the Senate’s Democratic caucus is expected to have a discussion next week on the options the work group has considered.

Lawmakers have tried for decades to replace or repeal the school property tax, a crucial part of state education funding that is believed by many to be levied in unfair fashion. Tax bills typically are issued in early summer and add up to more than $14 billion statewide.

The most urgent complaints about the tax come from seniors on fixed incomes. The median age of Schuylkill County residents is 44.2, compared to 40.7 statewide.

The roots of using a property tax to fund schools in Pennsylvania go back to 1834, Argall said Thursday.

“It is very clear that this is a very unfair tax, a very archaic tax. It’s time has come and gone, a long time ago,” he said.

Argall repeatedly has introduced legislation to replace or repeal the tax and compensate for the lost revenue with increases in other taxes.

A wide array of organizations including food banks, schools, an association of architects and bar associations have opposed the tax-shift concepts. On Thursday, Argall mentioned opposition from business groups, labor groups, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the Pennsylvania State Education Association.

His appearance came amid a burst of activity in real estate groups engaging the property tax issue.

On Wednesday, Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors hosted a speaker and discussion involving property taxes. Next week, a real estate professionals’ group in Berks County is scheduled to host a town hall which is, according to a press release, “in support of school property tax elimination.”

Alex Charlton, a former state lawmaker who recently became director of public policy and political affairs for the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, attended Argall’s appearance on Thursday.

“Something has to be done,” he said. “The burden has just become too onerous.”

When school property taxes are actually causing people to lose their homes, Charlton said, “That is not private property rights. That is government mandating who can live there.”