Brilliant attorney AJ Levy passes away
ADOLPH JULES “AJ” LEVY, JR. passed peacefully away on Friday, April 2, 2021 at the age of 85 after a several months’ struggle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Levy grew up in Uptown New Orleans, graduating from Isidore Newman School in 1953. He graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1957 and was a graduate of the Tulane School of Law in 1960.
Levy was considered a “lawyer’s lawyer.” After a few years with Deutsch, Kerrigan and Styles he formed his own firm, Levy, Smith and Pailet, which later became Levy, Smith and Gennusa. He was the driving force in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Levy v. State of Louisiana in 1968. That win overturned an unconstitutional Louisiana law that denied illegitimate children their right to sue for wrongful death of a parent.
Poignantly depicted in the film “On the Basis of Sex,” Ruth Bader Ginsberg used Levy v. State of Louisiana in her argument before the Tenth Circuit as the basis to strike down other unconstitutional laws against women.
Levy’s concern for disenfranchised citizens was boundless. His expertise with both the American Trial Lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union was incalculable. Levy served on the boards of numerous law associations. An article in April of 1973 in the Detroit News cited Ralph Nader and Adolph J. Levy as two young lawyers who were supporting the public interest.
A brilliant courtroom litigator, Levy’s legendary cross-examinations were lengthy and relentless. Levy was an early advocate for computers in legal research and traveled across the country teaching law firms how to utilize computers for trial preparation. He was the author of “Solving Statute of Limitation Problems,” which established him as the premier expert on prescription.
He is listed in “Who’s Who in American Law” and his self-published “Levy’s Cites” newsletter was a source of documentation that kept lawyers up to date on recent decisions. It was intimated that judges often sat on the bench with a copy of “Levy’s Cites” on their laps while hearing a case.
In his most recent years, he worked to finish his third legal volume “Creative Legal Problem Solving.”
A man of great wit, Levy will be remembered by numerous cousins and friends. He was a member of Temple Sinai, the Temple Sinai Brotherhood and belonged to numerous law associations and computer groups.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Carolyn Wilenzick Levy, his daughter Elizabeth Ann “Beth” Levy Kleinveld (Ronald), and two grandchildren all of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Contributions in his honor are not solicited. Instead, it is asked to raise a glass (he loved Tanqueray martinis) to honor this man of honor.
No service was held. Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp Funeral home of Metairie was in charge of arrangements. To share condolences, visit www.tharpsontheimerfh.com