Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Stanley Levy to Chair National Pro Bono Practice at Manatt Phelps
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Veteran attorney Stanley W. Levy will chair the national pro bono practice at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm announced yesterday.
Levy, 64, told the MetNews that his new responsibilities entail working with pro bono partners at each of the firm’s offices to make pro bono work “more professional and more meaningful.”
Although long known for its dedication to public service, the firm last year created what it described as an “ambitious pro bono initiative” directed by Cristin Zeisler, formerly a member of the Peace Corps. Levy and Zeisler will work together, the firm said.
The firm, Levy said, intends for its pro bono work to be of the highest quality, “just like our transaction and litigation work.”
Levy also remains a member of the firm’s labor and employment group. His clients include Guess?, Inc., the apparel manufacturer where he served as general counsel from 1992 until early 1996, as well as Sun Microsystems, Guess?, Inc., Tommy Hilfiger, USA, Inc., and Williams-Sonoma.
He said he expects to “make some adjustments” in order to continue serving his clients as well as performing his new role. If necessary, he said, he will “let go” of some of his client work.
Levy is also a rabbi and will remain the spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Horin, a Westside congregation that meets in members’ homes and in various other facilities and with which he has been associated for 38 years, and chairman of the board of the Academy of Jewish Religion/California, a seminary that he helped bring into existence.
“People tell me I’m a very high energy person,” he said.
A UCLA School of Law graduate, Levy began his career in civil rights and poverty law as staff attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, where he later served as deputy director under Terry Hatter Jr., now a senior U.S. district judge. He went on to serve as the first executive director of what is now Public Counsel, the pro bono arm of the Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills bar associations; as co-founder of Bet Tzedek Legal Services, where he remains a board member; and as training director for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
In 1976, at the urging of a contact in the business, he explained, he became a producer of jazz and classical albums and concerts, his first personal involvement in the business world. He also represented music industry clients as an attorney before returning to legal work fulltime in 1984, working for several years on matters relating to the huge Penn Square Bank failure and later the bondholder class action against the owner of the Burlington Northern Railroad.
His work as a labor lawyer for major apparel companies has included development of programs and agreements to monitor industry compliance with federal and state labor, health and safety laws, and he has testified before congressional committees on the subject.
In 1996, he was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Apparel Industry Partnership, which was created to encourage compliance with appropriate workplace health and safety standards.
He has also represented apparel companies and others in intellectual property matters.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company