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Our History

Learn More About Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP

Our firm dates back to 1949 when Murray Schwartz hung up his shingle to start his own law practice. Mr. Schwartz, who had served as an anti-aircraft gunner in the Pacific in World War II, was only six months out of law school when he quickly realized that he had to forge his own path and began his own practice. Over the ensuing decades, Mr. Schwartz earned a reputation as a prominent general practice attorney in New York City, handling cases of all matters and representing high-profile clients like Mickey Mantle and The Guardian Angels.

In the 1980s, Mr. Schwartz entered into the newly-formed field of employment law. His daughter, Davida S. Perry, joined as an attorney in 1991 and the firm was renamed Schwartz & Perry LLP in 1994. The firm quickly became known as leaders in employment law, with a trilogy of landmark cases that still shape the field in New York City.

First, the firm represented the plaintiff in Thoreson v. Penthouse, a case that received national recognition and was one of the first cases that showed the significance of sexual harassment in the workplace. The plaintiff was awarded $4 million in punitive damages, though that award was ultimately reduced by the appellate courts based on the applicable statute in 1992. Second, the firm handled Bracker v. Cohen in 1994, which affirmed the constitutionality of the New York City Human Rights Law, which is intended to be the broadest human rights law in the country. We remain proud that this firm successfully defended the validity of a law that has protected the rights of so many New Yorkers. Third, in 1997, in McIntyre v. Manhattan Ford, the firm obtained a historic $6.6 million jury verdict in a sexual harassment and retaliation case. At the time, it was the largest amount awarded to a single plaintiff in a sexual harassment case in the United States.

Since that time, the firm has continued to be at the forefront of employment law in New York. We have enjoyed numerous seven-figure verdicts and appellate victories, which are accomplishments that few firms in New York City can match. It is difficult to look at any court decision in New York addressing employment law that does not include a reference to a case that we have handled. In the current era of the #metoo movement, Schwartz Perry & Heller has been assisting victims of such discrimination for decades.

Brian Heller joined the firm in 2001 and quickly became a part of our core mission to represent our clients with the highest levels of skill and experience. He became a partner in 2007 and the firm is now named Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP. Daniel Kovel, who had previously worked at The Legal Aid Society, joined the firm in 2017 and has made an immediate contribution to assisting our clients.

Sadly, Mr. Schwartz passed away at the age of 90 in 2015, but we remain proud to carry on his mission to help our clients combat workplace discrimination. We have a proven track record of ability and are passionate about helping those who feel powerless and victimized restore their dignity.

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