(1937 - )
A ground-breaking American plaintiff lawyer known for his landmark suit against the five largest tobacco companies and his boldness in defense against large international corporations.
Flamboyant and controversial but dedicated and highly successful, Fred Levin is an American plaintiff lawyer from Pensacola, FL. He is currently the chairman of the nationally recognized law firm Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, P.A. which his brother David Levin founded in 1955. The book by Josh Young And Give Up Show Biz? is a telling description of his grand career and the astounding contributions he made to law and society.
Although he started as a near-flunking undergraduate student and a terrible and terrified public speaker, Levin graduated from the University of Florida College of Law third in his class and rose to prominence as one of the most highly acclaimed lawyers in America. His work ranges from personal injury law to large, international corporate suits and has won over 35 cases of $1,000,000, and one of $10,000,000 (1). In addition to his legal work, he is also an acclaimed and awarded manager of many champion boxers. (2)
Levin transformed his practice and reputation with the complicated and hugely successful Big Tobacco suit. During this case, he found that rewriting a portion of Florida's Medicaid Third-Party Recover Act legislation enabled him to sue the tobacco industry for billions of dollars for smoking-related illnesses. This momentous and unprecedented case was passionately acknowledged by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: “Because of what Fred did to bring Big Tobacco to its knees, he likely is responsible for saving 100,000 American lives each year. I am proud to have him as one of my law partners.” (3)
Life and Legacy
Many texts written about Levin’s life describe him as a man made of polarities. He was both extremely self-interested and motivated by profit but was insistently dedicated to civil rights and justice in the face of large, exploitative corporations. Most commenters feel that these passions did not conflict so much as drive one another.
Levin was honored by the United Nations as well as the United States Congressional Black Caucus for his indiscriminate dedication to equal justice. He belongs to the highly exclusive organization Inner Circle of Advocates, has been named by the Best Lawyers in America in every issue, was ranked as the Florida’s best civil litigator in 1999, and has consistently been praised by the journal Best Lawyers in America. As his practice and achievements demonstrate, and according to the late Chief Judge of Florida's Escambia County, Levin is "one of the best trial attorneys in the nation," and arguably is the best for the nation.
According to the late Chief Judge of Florida's Escambia County, Levin is "one of the best trial attorneys in the nation," and arguably is the best for the nation.
Levin has used his success to give back to the community in which he grew. He made the largest donation in history to the University of Florida, to what is now called their Fredric G. Levin College of Law. He created and donated many professorships to the University of Florida.
"The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena."Theodore Roosevelt