Photo: Levin Papantonio Rafferty
"It's all very emotional to me. I was Fred's dear friend and partner for 40 years," says Mark Proctor.
Profiles in Law
A heavy loss
Mark Proctor, President, Levin Papantonio Rafferty, Pensacola
President, Levin Papantonio Rafferty, Pensacola
In January, several years after beating cancer, Pensacola plaintiff’s attorney Fred Levin died at 83 from COVID-19. Although Levin had still been working, he’d long since stepped away from daily management of his law firm, Levin Papantonio Rafferty.
With 45 attorneys and 200 staff members, the firm — now led by UF-educated trial lawyer Mark Proctor — represents plaintiffs in local personal injury claims and national mass tort cases. Proctor himself is a longtime fixture at the firm, having worked there for 40 years, 20 of them as president.
Growing Up: “I actually grew up in Gainesville. My father was Sam Proctor, the historian for the University of Florida for 62 years. I began my law practice in 1975 in Jacksonville, moved to Tallahassee, and then, I hate to admit it as a Florida native, when I arrived on the beautiful shores of Pensacola, I barely knew that Pensacola existed. I thought Florida stopped at Tallahassee.”
Firm’s Evolution: “In 1955, Fredric’s older brother, David, began the firm as a general practice firm with his best friend, Reuben Askew, who as you know became a revered governor of Florida. Fredric came on board about 10 years later and, due to a funny happening in an early divorce case, where he got threatened by the other side, he decided matrimonial law was not for him, and he became a personal injury lawyer. Although we maintain a very vital, traditional personal injury practice — wrongful death cases, workers’ compensation, Social Security disability and medical malpractice — we’ve grown over the years into a national mass tort practice. Probably 85% our annual revenue comes from the practice of mass tort law.”
Life with Fred Levin: “Because of the fact that cancer had slowed him down so much, the firm had continued on business-wise for several years before his unbelievably untimely death. It’s all very emotional to me. I was Fred’s dear friend and partner for 40 years. I mean, we were together all day, almost every day, for 40 years. But the firm goes on from a business standpoint without any interruption.”
Fred Levin earned a reputation as one of the country’s top trial attorneys in 1997, when he helped the state reach a $13-billion settlement with tobacco companies in Florida. He also managed the career of Pensacola boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. and was a prominent philanthropist — UF’s law school is named after Levin, a 1961 graduate of the school.
Read more in Florida Trend's July issue.
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