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Popper & Yatvin is a Philadelphia law firm established in 1988 by Alan Yatvin and Howard Popper.  We concentrate our practice in criminal defense in state and federal courts, police misconduct  litigation and representation of special education students.  Learn more about the firm at http://www.popperyatvin.com/  When reading the blog, be aware that words highlighted in blue are links to related documents or websites.

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The Bar Exam — Does it Pass the Test?

In the Spring my friend Julianne Romy received her L.L.M., magna cum laude, from Fordham Law School. Unfortunately, thanks to Covid-19, her New York City job offer evanesced and her visa along with it. So in August she was on her way home to France. In October she took the New York Bar Exam remotely from Paris, where she was taking a French Bar course. As we near the release of the New York Bar results, I share this 1983 essay in her honor.


July 27, 1983, Somewhere in New Jersey.  I am aboard Amtrak\’s Garden State Special from Philadelphia to New York. A few hours ago I completed the two‑day culmination of the worst eight weeks of my life — the Bar Exam. Continue reading “The Bar Exam — Does it Pass the Test?”

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World Serious

In this season of the Major League Baseball World Series, I am sharing a confession I wrote in October 1985The New York Times took a pass, but I did get a lovely note from the opinion page editor.  Those were the days.


With the World Series upon us, it is time for me to come out of the closet and confess a shameful membership — men who are not baseball fans.

During the early weeks of the season it was no big deal. As the season progressed, though, I was slowly edged into the backfield of my peer group.  Every conversation seemed to turn to baseball.  The trend accelerated as the weather turned nice and baseball outings became de rigueur.

Even in social settings, the talk invariably turns from shop to the \”Great American Pastime.\”  I am generally able to skirt these conversations, leaving no one to observe, with that air of astonishment only fanatics can muster, that I don\’t know a backstop from a shortstop.  Unfortunately,  I am occasionally stranded in right field, unable to punt.

Some time ago I found myself in chambers with a judge, her clerk and the court staff, playing a game called \”Acronyms.\”  The object is to stump the other players with obscure initials.· Not only was I able to hold my own against BART and SCUBA, but I threw a curb ball at them with COYOTE.  Though I was able to avoid embarrassment over ERA by referring to the constitution, I knew I was about to be tagged in. The judge quickly sensed my fear as she moved in for the kill with RBI.  I was a little startled at how fast they saw through my bluff.  One would think it would be important to keep stats on \”Runs by Infielders.\”

About ten years ago I decided to face my problem by making an ill-fated attempt to become a baseball aficionado.  The first and, alas, final step in this process was to convince a friend to squire me to a Milwaukee Brewers game.  Even though I had no idea of what was going on, I was having a great time cheering and booing, as cued by the crowd, and munching on all manner of ballpark comestibles.

That is until some now forgotten Brewer strolled up to the platter and hit a foul tap into my lap. I think my buddy, a life-long fan who\’d never caught a ball, was about to be gracious about my good fortune. However, when I plucked the ball from my popcorn and returned it to the gridiron with a toss, he simply lost control.  Fortunately, the referee I\’d beaned with my lob sent the souvenir pigskin flying back my way.

In the intervening years I have resigned myself to irreversible baseball inaptitude. Generally, I avoid the topic or keep my mouth shut, should it come up.  The rules change in October, though. Suddenly everyone is living and breathing baseball. The only topics of conversation are baseball pools and how many matches the Series will go.  Not to mention the indignity of having the semi-finals pre-empt my favorite show, Cheers (even there I can\’t escape baseball!).

I realize it is hopeless to expect to elude baseball in the real world.  So, until the Pendant Race is over, I\’ll just watch PBS and damn Abner Doublemint.

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Yatvin a 2020 Super Lawyer – 17th Consecutive Year

The 2020 list of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers includes Alan L. Yatvin of the Philadelphia Law Firm Popper & Yatvin.  This is Yatvin\’s 17th consecutive year of being honored, having been named a Super Lawyer every year since the program\’s creation in 2004.

\"\"The Super Lawyer distinction is given to only a very small percentage of Pennsylvania\’s attorneys each year.  Attorneys are only considered for inclusion in the list of top rated attorneys if they have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement across 12 indicators. Lawyers cannot buy their way onto the list. The selection process, recognized as legitimate by bar associations and courts across the United States, is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Only attorneys who can be retained by the general public are considered. Honorees are selected annually for each state and practice area.

\"A

In other news, Martindale-Hubbell has again recognized both Yatvin and Popper & Yatvin partner Howard D. Popper with the highest possible level of professional excellence – AV Preeminent. This peer review rating reflects a combination of achieving the highest General Ethical Standards and Legal Ability ratings.

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Yatvin a 2020 Super Lawyer – 17th Consecutive Year

The 2020 list of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers includes Alan L. Yatvin of the Philadelphia Law Firm Popper & Yatvin.  This is Yatvin\’s 17th consecutive year of being honored, having been named a Super Lawyer every year since the program\’s creation in 2004.

\"\"The Super Lawyer distinction is given to only a very small percentage of Pennsylvania\’s attorneys each year.  Attorneys are only considered for inclusion in the list of top rated attorneys if they have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement across 12 indicators. Lawyers cannot buy their way onto the list. The selection process, recognized as legitimate by bar associations and courts across the United States, is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Only attorneys who can be retained by the general public are considered. Honorees are selected annually for each state and practice area.

\"A

In other news, Martindale-Hubbell has again recognized both Yatvin and Popper & Yatvin partner Howard D. Popper with the highest possible level of professional excellence – AV Preeminent. This peer review rating reflects a combination of achieving the highest General Ethical Standards and Legal Ability ratings.  2020 marks Yatvin\’s 37th year as an attorney.

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NPR Philadelphia affiliate reports on Popper & Yatvin special education case

How this mom turned near-tragedy into a win for Philly’s most vulnerable kids

By  Avi Wolfman-Arent
December 2, 2019
\"Kathleen
Kathleen Connolly’s autistic daughter Olivia fled her elementary school without supervision in 2014. Olivia was found safe that day, but her mother used the potential tragedy to fight for systemic changes to special-ed in Philadelphia (Avi Wolfman-Arent/WHYY)

Kathleen Connolly tries not to think about March 7, 2014. But when she does, her mind drifts to Torresdale Avenue.

“I think about what happened there — what happened at Torresdale,” she said in a recent interview. “Only the drivers and Livvy know.”

Connolly’s daughter, Olivia, was eight years old on that chilly March afternoon. Some time around 1:30 p.m., Olivia — who has a form of autism that severely limits her ability to communicate or reason — bolted out the doors of Lawton Elementary.

The special education aide assigned to watch Olivia was only scheduled to work a half-day on March 7. It’s still unclear why. Connolly and her lawyers believe the School District of Philadelphia had been slashing hours for aides to save money during lean budget years.

Click here to read the rest of this story

Click here to read more about the case

© WHYY 2019

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Litigation helps special needs students in Philadelphia

After a six-year campaign, Kathleen and Sean, parents of twin girls with Autism and an Intellectual Disability, have succeeded in changing the policies and procedures of the School District of Philadelphia regarding identifying and assigning 1:1 assistants to children who need them. Continue reading “Litigation helps special needs students in Philadelphia”

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Court grants class certification in suit against New York Department of Education on behalf of students with diabetes.

On June 18, 2019, United States District Judge Nina Gershon, of the Eastern District of New York, certified a class defined as:

All students with diabetes who are now or will be entitled to receive diabetes related care and attend New York City Department of Education schools.

The case, M.F., et al. v. The New York City Department of Education, et al., was brought by the parents of three New York City public school students with diabetes and the American Diabetes Association, suing as an organizational plaintiff on behalf of its members who who include children with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who attend New York City Department of Education (DOE) schools and their parents. Continue reading “Court grants class certification in suit against New York Department of Education on behalf of students with diabetes.”

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Yatvin a 2019 Super Lawyer

The 2019 list of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers includes Alan L. Yatvin of the Philadelphia Law Firm Popper & Yatvin.  This is Yatvin\’s 16th consecutive year of being honored, having been named a Super Lawyer every year since the program\’s creation in 2004.

The Super Lawyer distinction is given to only a very small percentage of Pennsylvania\’s attorneys each year.  Attorneys are only considered for inclusion in the list of top rated attorneys if they have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement across 12 indicators. Lawyers cannot buy their way onto the list. The selection process, recognized as legitimate by bar associations and courts across the United States, is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Only attorneys who can be retained by the general public are considered. Honorees are selected annually for each state and practice area.

\"A

In other news, Martindale-Hubbell has again recognized both Yatvin and Popper & Yatvin partner Howard D. Popper with the highest possible level of professional excellence – AV Preeminent. This peer review rating reflects a combination of achieving the highest General Ethical Standards and Legal Ability ratings.  2019 marks Yatvin\’s 36th year as an attorney.

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Brown v. Board of Education at 65

65 years ago the Supreme Court of the United States issued the decision in Brown v. Board of Education, a historic decision on desegregation in public education, outlawing so-called separate but equal discrimination in public education.  

One might think that the issue was well-settled, but Brown is once again in the news.  As a Washington Post op-ed noted yesterday:  \”More than two dozen of President Trump’s judicial nominees have declined to answer whether Brown v. Board of Education was properly decided.\”

On the 50th anniversary of the Brown decision, I wrote an essay for Philadelphia\’s newspaper serving the legal community, The Legal Intelligencer.  On the occasion of the 65th anniversary, I am republishing that essay.1  At the time of her death in March 2018, I also wrote of Linda Brown, whose father joined the eponymous law suit on her behalf. Continue reading “Brown v. Board of Education at 65”

Footnotes[+]

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January 22, 1973, at about 10 AM

Memory is strange.  My son, Dan, has a savant-like ability to precisely place and describe even the most mundane events, going back to nursery school.  My recall of even important moments is foggier.  Unlike most people born before 1960, I do not remember where I was when I learned that John F. Kennedy had been shot.

However, one very distinct memory I have from my youth is where I was on January 22, 1973, at about 10 AM. Continue reading “January 22, 1973, at about 10 AM”

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