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Emeritus Professor A. Leo Levin L’42 dies at age 96

November 24, 2015

A. Leo Levin L’42, a graduate of the Law School and longtime member of the Penn Law faculty, has died. He was 96.

Levin received his BA from Yeshiva University in 1939 and his JD from Penn Law in 1942. He began his career at Penn Law as an Assistant Professor of Law in 1949, and he became a full professor in 1953. Levin received Emeritus Professor status in 1989.

In the course of his distinguished career, he was the director of the Federal Judicial Center from 1977 to 1987 and served on the Planning Committee of the Claims Commission charged with making recommendations concerning the proper disposition of hundreds of millions of dollars being paid, both as restitution and reparations, to survivors of the Holocaust.

On the occasion of his retirement in 1989, Levin drew praise from the highest precincts of the law. In recognition of Leo’s service to the federal courts, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote of Leo’s commitment to the judiciary, noting that he “made the FJC prosper during a period in which budgetary cutbacks were combined with the expansion of the judicial system.”

Among his many other contributions, Levin was known as a mentor to many. One of his esteemed colleagues at Penn Law, Professor Stephen B. Burbank, captured Leo’s essence when he wrote: “…the greatest gift Leo bestows on those fortunate enough to know him: friendship. The life of the scholar can be a lonely life, and young scholars in particular sometimes need the support of a friend more than they do the criticism, even the constructive criticism, of a master. In providing such support, Leo has shown himself a master in life as he is in teaching and scholarship. His is a fountain of love as it is of new ideas, and in his well of old ideas reposes the wisdom of the ages.”

A memorial service was held at Lower Merion Synagogue in Bala Cynwyd and the burial took place at Har Jehuda Cemetery in Upper Darby.