Levin Papantonio

Speaker Bio

Fred Levin is one of the most successful trial attorneys in the country. He has received more than twenty-five jury verdicts in excess of $1,000,000 (six in excess of $10,000,000). At various points in his career, he has held the national record for jury verdicts involving the wrongful death of a child, the wrongful death of a housewife, the wrongful death of a wage earner, and the largest personal injury verdict in the state of Florida.

He is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, an organization limited to 100 members throughout the country, and has been listed in every edition of the publication “Best Lawyers in America.”

Mr. Levin received the “Perry Nichols Award” in 1994, which is the highest honor bestowed by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, and is given in recognition for a person's lifetime achievements in the pursuit of justice. The late Chief Judge in Escambia County, M.C. Blanchard, stated the following to The Florida Bar about Mr. Levin: “He is the best we have in the First Judicial Circuit and probably in the State of Florida. . . . . He has, and deserves, a reputation for being one of the best trial attorneys in the nation.”

Mr. Levin has managed the careers of many champion boxers. In 1994, Mr. Levin received the Rocky Marciano National Boxing Manager of the year award. In 1995, he was selected as National Boxing Manager of the year by the National Boxing Writers Association.

For the year 1999, the National Law Journal named Mr. Levin as the top civil litigator in Florida. This honor encompassed plaintiff and defense counsel. Mr. Levin was also named in the October 4, 1999, edition of the National Law Journal as one of the “Top Ten Litigators for 1999”, which again included both plaintiff and defense counsel. Also, in 1999, Mr. Levin was honored at the United Nations by being made a Chief in the Republic of Ghana. This honor was bestowed on Mr. Levin because of his lifetime of dedication to equal justice for people of all races. At the same time, Mr. Levin received a citation honoring him by the United States Congressional Black Caucus.

Over twenty years ago, Mr. Levin gifted the first professorship at the University of West Florida, which gift was in honor of his father. Since that time, Mr. Levin, along with his late brother David, and law partner, the late Lefferts L. Mabie, Jr., have gifted a number of professorships and a Chair at the University of Florida law school. Additionally, in 1998, Mr. Levin gave the University of Florida law school the largest cash donation ever given to a public law school. In 1999, the law school name was officially changed to the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law. In 2009, Mr. Levin gave another large cash gift to the law school to have a state-of-the-art trial advocacy facility built.

When asked about his greatest accomplishment, however, Mr. Levin states he is most proud of his idea in 1993 of rewriting the Florida Medicaid Third Party Recovery Act to permit the State of Florida to sue the Tobacco Industry to recover expenditures for treating illnesses caused by cigarette smoking. Mr. Levin wrote the legislation, and was instrumental in its passage. Immediately after its passage, the legislation was described as “the single biggest blow against the tobacco industry in United States history.” The legislation eventually resulted in a $13 billion dollar settlement for the State of Florida.

Mr. Levin received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida in 1958, and graduated number three in his law school class from the University of Florida in 1961.

In 2007, Mr. Levin was voted the #1 most influential and powerful man in Northwest Florida by the Independent News. In 2009, Mr. Levin was inducted into the National Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. At the time, he was one of only nine living members. In 2012, Mr. Levin was selected as a trustee for the Florida Democratic Party. In 2017, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of West Florida. The honorary doctorate recognizes distinguished performance and is regarded as the highest form of recognition a university can bestow.

In 2014, New York Times bestseller Josh Young released a comprehensive biography on the life of Mr. Levin. It's called And Give Up Showbiz? How Fred Levin Beat Big Tobacco, Became a Chief of Ghana, Earned Boxing Manager of the Year & Transformed American Law. In 2015, Mr. Levin was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by National Trial Lawyers.