Civil Litigation Legal Topics Profiles

Profile in Practice: Arnold Levinson

As part of CEB’s commitment to bringing together California’s legal community, our blog will post a short interview with one of your fellow attorneys.

This week, we profile Arnold Levinson:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Arnie: My practice focuses exclusively on insurance bad faith matters. I represent insureds that have been denied their coverage, and justice, by the big insurance companies. While I came upon the practice by happenstance, I quickly decided it was my calling. I love being in a cutting-edge area of litigation where we can make change for the better, obtain justice for individuals, and work to bring balance to the profit-driven interests of many insurers.

CEB: What do you like best and least about practicing law?

Arnie: I like taking insurance companies to task for their unscrupulous activities. It is tremendously rewarding to dig into a particular insurer’s business methods, processes, and culture to determine what they do, how they do it, and why. Then, we can throw a monkey wrench into a system that denies justice to individuals who deserve fair compensation. What I like least is probably the same complaint of any family man. There is just never enough time in the day to fully satisfy the work you love and the family you love. My other complaint is that judges are humans, and as such, there is an inherent unpredictability in their rulings. You can present the same evidence to two different judges and the rulings can greatly differ. Of course, this can also be a big plus depending on your side of the fence.

CEB: What is the best legal tip you ever received?

Arnie: When I was a young attorney, an older mentor told me not to beat myself up over witness testimony. He was taking the deposition of a doctor, whose comments didn’t go the way he envisioned. He didn’t get upset. He said, “he’s going to say what he’s going to say and that’s what it is.” Don’t fret. Just accept the facts as they are and present the evidence given. No need to second guess yourself. Attorneys are under a lot of pressure. Through this lesson, my mentor reminded me that we have to give ourselves a break every now and then.

CEB: What CEB book or program have you found most helpful in your practice and why?

Arnie: I am partial to the [formerly published] Civil Litigation Reporter, after serving as a co-editor for the insurance section for more than 25 years. I find that Civil Discovery, Civil Procedure Before Trial, and the Auto Insurance Law Guide are all quite helpful.

CEB: Why do you choose to write for CEB?

Arnie: I have always been impressed with the people of CEB and its quality products. I loved writing for CEB; it made me read new cases, think critically, and express my opinions.

CEB: How do you think the practice of law will change in the next 15 years?

Arnie: Technology will continue to rapidly evolve the practice of law. When I started my firm, we needed two computers: one for accounting, and the other for word processing. Now, my iPad does both on the fly. While technology makes some jobs easier, it also makes practicing law more burdensome because we have to keep up with the ever-changing technology landscape, and the ever-evolving laws.

CEB: What is the most interesting book you have read recently?

Arnie: I really enjoy reading nonfiction. I recently finished and recommend Dreams from the Monster Factory, which is about a woman who created a very progressive program to help rehabilitate the most hardened criminals in San Francisco jails.

CEB: What is your contact information?

Arnie: Pillsbury & Levinson, LLP; 600 Montgomery Street, 31st Floor; San Francisco, CA 94111; 415.433.8000;;

CEB: Thanks, Arnie!

© The Regents of the University of California, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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