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Mountain States Spotlight with Brad Levin

  • August 9, 2016

LevinBrad Torch 2005

ADL National Commissioner and Former Regional Board Chair Brad Levin shares his passion for his family, the law and ADL.

How did you first become involved in ADL? How are you involved now?

Though I get kidded about it, I actually first became involved in ADL in high school. I was a student representative on the ADL Executive Committee when Shelly Steinhauser was the Regional Director. It was such a great experience for a high school kid. I was in California for ten years, but when I came back to Colorado in 1983, I reconnected with the organization through the ADL Council, which was the young professionals group for ADL at the time. I’ve been involved ever since, serving in various capacities on a regional level, culminating as Regional Board Chair from 2002-2004. More recently, I have been serving on the national level as a National Commissioner, as a member of the National Executive Committee, assisting with review of ADL’s insurance program, and chairing the Litigation Oversight Committee for three years.

What do you do in your professional life?

I’m an attorney. I’ve been practicing law for 37 years. I spent my first three years  in California and since 1983 I have practiced in Colorado. I practice in the area of civil litigation, with a large portion of my work concerning insurance issues, representing policy holders who are involved in insurance disputes.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Typical for a Jewish kid, when I went to college I was torn between being a doctor, a lawyer, or a rabbi. I chose law because growing up I always had an abiding interest in political and social issues, and felt the law was the best way to express that passion.

Where were you born? From where do your ancestors hail?

I was born in Denver at Rose Hospital. My ancestry on both sides is Eastern European.

What’s your favorite food?

I am a big fan of sweets. My favorite is rugelach.

What are you reading currently?

Other than the legal reading I do on a daily basis, I just finished The Red Notice. It’s the true story of a hedge fund guy who makes investments for clients in Russia. He subsequently becomes involved in human rights issues because the folks he’s working with get caught up in Putin’s government crackdown.

What’s a special place you have visited?

To me, there’s no place more special than Israel. To be there, to see where our forefathers are from, and to experience the confluence of world religions is remarkable.

What’s one thing every person should know or experience?

What I urge anyone to experience is finding whatever their passions are and then to see them through. That includes passions for work, for leisure and for matters from a social conscience standpoint.

What teacher or class stands out to you the most in your education and why?

During my senior year at Cherry Creek High School, I took an elective class from a teacher named Ralph Remmes. Mr. Remmes challenged us to think critically. There was an awful lot going on in 1972-73 (yes, I know I’m dating myself!) particularly with issues surrounding the Vietnam War, and many of us questioned what the government was doing. He encouraged me and my fellow classmates to really think, question, and challenge, but to do it in a very respectful way, to do it from a vantage point of understanding and knowledge, not just to react but to fully understand all sides of an issue before reacting.

What are you passionate about personally? What can’t you stop talking about?

My family, especially my kids. I spend a lot of time involved in my professional and with pursuits in the community, but the most important part of my life is my family. Watching my children grow up, mature, and develop into fully engaged members of their respective communities makes everything worthwhile.

Where can we find you when you’re not working?

It’s hard to find me not working, but when I do have free time, I try to pursue healthy endeavors. I work out on a regular basis, including at the gym, running and biking. And, I continue to pursue my hopeless dream of lowering my golf handicap.

What would be impossible for you to give up?

I have friends and colleagues who are thinking about retiring. That word is not in my lexicon. I love my work as a lawyer, as well as my pursuits outside the legal realm. As long as I am healthy, I will persist in contributing in a meaningful way to the betterment of our community.

If you had to teach something, what would you teach?

I would teach social studies and American history to high school students. I’d like to be able to help to shape kids’ minds at that level. I’ve certainly thought about teaching law but I think at the high school level the kids aren’t so young, but you are still able to affect them in the same way as did Mr. Remmes. Not that I have the time for it; it’s in my fantasy world.

Tell me a story that immediately pops into your mind that was a defining or significant moment for you.

In July 1995, John Breit, the senior partner in my law firm who was my colleague, my mentor, a man who taught me a tremendous amount about how to practice law the right way, was killed in an airplane crash. That was very much for me a turning point in my life, certainly in my professional life, but also in my personal life. The sense of loss was profound, as was my fear about the future, professionally, financially and otherwise. In the wake of that tragedy I learned a lot about myself as my colleagues and I worked together to continue what John had started and ultimately created a successful enterprise going forward.

Why do you choose to make a financial investment in ADL?

ADL has been a part of my life for decades. What ADL stands for, what the organization does locally, nationally and internationally, is relevant and important. ADL is meaningful to me and to my family, as it confronts significant challenges on a regular basis, and consistently works to improve the texture of our community. I’m fortunate that I can contribute both my time and my financial resources to this significant organization.

If you are a legacy donor, why have you chosen to invest in ADL in this way?

Legacy giving ensures that, just as it has been for me, ADL will continue to be a strong, meaningful presence for generations to come.

Complete this sentence: For me, the ADL is …

… our community’s premier civil rights organization, of which I am proud to count myself as a contributing member.