In 1955, David H. Levin and Reubin Askew founded the firm of Levin & Askew. The two were the sole attorneys in the firm, assisted by just one additional staff member. As did most young attorneys, David and Reubin accepted virtually every case, regardless of the area of law involved.
In 1961 David Levin's brother Fred Levin joined the firm and quickly became recognized as one of America's premier trial attorneys. Fred Levin has received more than twenty-five jury verdicts in excess of $1 million (including six in excess of $10 million). At various points in his career, he has held the national record for jury verdicts involving the wrongful death of a child, the wrongful death of a housewife, the wrongful death of a wage earner, and the largest personal injury verdict among Florida personal injury litigation lawyers.
Levin is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, an organization limited to 100 members throughout the country, and has been listed in every edition of the publication Best Lawyers in America. He received the "Perry Nichols Award" in 1994, which is the highest honor bestowed by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, and is given in recognition for a person's lifetime achievements in the pursuit of justice. For the year 1999, the National Law Journal named Mr. Levin as one of the "Top Ten Litigators for 1999," which included both plaintiff and defense counsel. Additionally, in 1998, the University of Florida College of Law was renamed to the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law.
More than twenty years ago, Mike Papantonio joined the firm and developed one of the most respected mass torts and complex litigation departments in America. His work in asbestos, breast implant litigation, pharmaceutical drug litigation involving Actos bladder cancer, DePuy Hip Replacement, Stryker Hip Replacement, Pradaxa bleeding and Nuvaring lawsuits, and other cases firmly places Papantonio at the center of most mass torts litigation. In 2004, Papantonio helped launch a nationwide organization called "Mass Torts Made Perfect." The organization has attracted the top lawyers across America, and has helped law firms develop successful litigation strategies for confronting wrongdoing by multi-national corporations.
Papantonio's leadership in the field of environmental law and his close friendship with "Riverkeepers" founder Bobby Kennedy, Jr. has been instrumental in building the firm's environmental law department. Papantonio is listed in the publications Best Lawyers in America and Leading American Attorney. He has represented tens of thousands of mass tort victims, and has received numerous jury verdicts in excess of $1 million.
Much has changed for the firm in the half century since it was formed. Reubin Askew went on to become a two-term governor for the State of Florida and candidate for President of the United States. The firm, now known as Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, P.A. presently has 31 attorneys, has represented more than 100,000 clients and litigates cases throughout the United States.