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Edward Schoifet Family Law Award
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llen F. Schwartz to Receive
2017 Edward Schoifet Family Law Award

In recognition of her contributions to the practice of Family Law, Ellen F. Schwartz, Esq., of Ramatowski, Spilka & Schwartz in East Brunswick has been awarded the 2017 Edward Schoifet Family Law Award, to be presented by the Family Law Section of the Middlesex County Bar Association at the January 18, 2017 General Membership Dinner Meeting held at The Pines Manor in Edison. (Click here for event details.)

The Schoifet Award, the highest honor presented by the Family Law Section, commemorates the legacy of Edward Schoifet who passed away in 2006. Ed was considered the dean of the Middlesex County Family Bar and was recognized as a role model for all family law practitioners.

The Award is presented annually to a Family Law Practitioner who has been engaged in the practice for 15 years or more and who exemplifies those principles by which Ed practiced family law:  maintaining knowledge of past and present case law to advise clients thoroughly; analyzing the facts of each case in detail and diligently applying the law to those facts; presenting the issues and applicable law to the client in a manner appropriate to the client’s understanding; making purposeful efforts to settle the issues in fair and reasonable terms before resorting to litigation; fostering respect and courtesy for the bench and fellow attorneys; maintaining highest standards of integrity and professionalism; and exhibiting leadership in the Middlesex County or State Bar Association.

Ellen has been chosen by her colleagues to receive this award in honor of her 31 year career as an accomplished family law attorney. Ellen is known as a zealous advocate for her clients while maintaining an attitude of fairness with her adversaries and courtesy and professionalism in all circumstances. She at times uses her sense of humor to diffuse tension in family law matters. In representing her clients, Ellen draws on her experience in family law always seeking to provide high quality professional legal service. She is careful and precise in the details of her professional work.

Ellen received a BA degree in Political Science from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA and her JD degree from Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark in 1985. She was admitted to practice law in NJ and PA in 1985. Ellen began her legal career at Mandelbaum, Salsburg, Gold, Lazris, Discenza & Steinberg in West Orange, where she practiced family law and personal injury defense. Ellen was an associate at Hoagland, Longo, Oropollo & Moran in New Brunswick for three years before opening her own law office in 1991. In 2004 she joined with some colleagues and friends and founded the firm Ramatowski, Spilka, and Schwartz in East Brunswick, concentrating in all aspects of matrimonial law.

Ellen has been a panelist on the Middlesex County Early Settlement Panel in family law since 1991, and has served as a Blue Ribbon Panelist. She has been a member of the Supreme Court District VIII Fee Arbitration Committee and the Supreme Court District VIII Ethics Committee. Ellen participates in the Volunteer Attorney Program with Middlesex Legal Services Corporation, and she has been a qualified Family Law Mediator pursuant to Rule 1:40 since 2003.

A member of the Middlesex County Bar Association, Ellen presided over that organization as President in 2014–2015, the year the Association celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a gala event in New Brunswick. She had served as a Chair of the Women Lawyers Section, Co-Chair of the Continuing Legal Education Committee, Family Law Vicinage Liaison Committee for Best Practices, the Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee and the Nominating Committee. Ellen has been an appointee to the Assignment Judge’s Courthouse Committee for Family Law for many years. She is a member of the Courthouse Committee which established the Custody Neutral Assessment (CNA) program in the Family Court.

Ellen has been a Trustee of the Middlesex County Bar Association, and currently is active as a Trustee with the Middlesex County Bar Foundation.

Her work in other organizations, include serving as President of the Board of Directors, YM-YWHA of Raritan Valley, a subcommittee member on Curriculum and Educational Standards for the South Brunswick Board of Education, a Democratic Committee woman in South Brunswick, and a member of the Executive Board for Women Helping Women, Metuchen, New Jersey.

In 2014, Ellen received the Outstanding Service Award from Women Aware, and in 2003 she was the recipient of a Legislative Award for Outstanding Contributions to Women and Families.

Ellen is a firm believer in the importance of a strong legal community, and she has been generous with her time and efforts in supporting that legal community. Several of her long-time friends have dubbed her the "Duchess of the Brunswicks”, a designation which she has graciously accepted.

Ellen and her husband Richard have been married for 33 years, and they live in South Brunswick. They have two children, Allison, who is school psychologist in Runnemede and Brian, who is data analyst for General Motors. In her spare time Ellen enjoys running. She ran the New York City Marathon in 1997, but her running distances are shorter now. Ellen is a tennis fan and loves Broadway theater. She enjoys travel and has recently traveled to Italy and to the Napa/Sonoma wine country in California.

Previous recipients of the Award are David Wildstein (2007), John P. Paone, Jr. (2008), Manny Gerstein (2009), Jean Ramatowski (2010), Leonard Busch (2011), Evelyn M. Hartmann (2012), Charles F. Vuotto, Jr. (2013), William G. Brigiani (2014), Robert E. Goldstein (2015) and Russell H. Gale (2016).

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