Sign In
City of Philadelphia


The Appeals Unit handles appellate matters in both state and federal courts. We handle administrative agency appeals concerning tax, pension, Civil Service Commission decisions and land use matters. In addition, we litigate appeals concerning civil rights cases, labor and employment matters, tort claims, and contractual disputes. We have also defended challenges to the legality of City ordinances, and we file amicus briefs on behalf of the City and coordinate the City’s participation in amicus briefs prepared by other entities. We also advise trial attorneys on significant legal issues that arise at the trial and pre-trial level. From time to time, we have also participated in complex public policy litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts.
Jane has been a member of the Law Department since 1997. She was an appellate litigator for the City for 16 years, where she argued appeals on behalf of the City before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Pennsylvania appellate courts in civil rights, First Amendment, religious rights and labor cases, as well as a broad range of other issues, including tax, Home Rule powers, and administrative law. Jane served as Chair of the Litigation Group from January 2015-August 2016 before returning to the Appeals Unit to lead it.

Jane is co-author of Effective Brief Writing Despite High Volume Practice: Ten Misconceptions that Result in Bad Briefs, 38 Toledo L. Rev. 1113 (2007). Prior to joining the Law Department, Jane was a litigator in a small plaintiff-side employment law practice, and she litigated securities and consumer class actions at Berger & Montague, P.C. Jane clerked for the Hon. Robert S. Gawthrop III of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School, and she is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia.

Jane Istvan