Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NEW PARTNERS, NEW NAME AFTER 40 YEARS REPRESENTING SCHOOL DISTRICTS, IRA WEISS ADDS TWO WOMEN TO THE FIRM'S SHINGLE [Corrected 02/06/14]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NEW PARTNERS, NEW NAME AFTER 40 YEARS REPRESENTING SCHOOL DISTRICTS, IRA WEISS ADDS TWO WOMEN TO THE FIRM'S SHINGLE [Corrected 02/06/14]

Article excerpt

The new year will bring a new name for a well-established Pittsburgh law firm.

Ira Weiss, whose has become synonymous with "school district solicitor" in southwestern Pennsylvania, is renaming his Downtown firm to reflect the addition of two of the firm's longtime attorneys, Joceyln Kramer and Janet Burkardt, to the shingle.

Weiss Burkardt Kramer LLC will continue to handle matters related to school districts and other aspects of municipal government, and enhance the firm's "special counsel" assignments. Mr. Weiss is adamant that the firm not take on any clients, such as developers, whose interests could conflict with the interests of public school districts.

But he says this isn't a succession plan for his exit from the firm.

"I prefer to think of it as a transition plan," Mr. Weiss said. "I'm not planning to stop working any time soon."

Mr. Weiss, 65, started his law career with Lloyd Fuge, who specialized in municipal government. In 1979, he left Fuge & Weiss to form Goldman Weiss & Gross. From 1981 to 1992, he served as deputy Allegheny County solicitor. In 1991, he opened the Law Offices of Ira Weiss as the firm's only lawyer.

Mr. Weiss currently serves as solicitor for Pittsburgh Public Schools and as Special Counsel to the Allegheny County Controller's Office.

Ms. Burkardt, 59, has been with the firm since 2000. She came late to the practice of law, despite having several family members who are practicing attorneys.

"I had seen what lawyers do, and I knew it was not all that glamorous," Ms. Burkardt joked. Once she finally made the transition to law from her marketing career, she said she wanted something stable, and that was personally fulfilling. Working with school districts presents opportunities to collaborate that aren't readily available in other practice areas, she said.

"This is a way to help people, to be in public service that's very intriguing to me," Ms. Burkardt said. "You always have to keep in mind you are handling public money."

Ms. Kramer, 35,who joined Weiss' firm in 2003, has a focus on student services and special education issues, which she says can be a difficult practice area, even when she gets positive results. …

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