University of Rochester

Advancement Awards

John G. Levi



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John Levi is a partner in the Chicago office of the law firm Sidley Austin LLP. His practice focuses on employment litigation, executive compensation matters, and labor management relations, and he represents corporate clients before numerous courts, agencies, and arbitration forums. He also gives guidance on internal employment policies and governance. In 2009, he was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve on the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), a nonprofit corporation that provides civil legal assistance to those who otherwise would be unable to afford it. He was elected chairman of the LSC Board in 2010.

In 1969, Levi received a bachelor’s degree in history, graduating with honors from the University of Rochester. He continued his education at Harvard University where he earned his J.D. in 1972 and L.L.M. one year later. Employed at Sidley Austin for more than 30 years, he is past chair of Sidley’s Law School Recruiting Committee and heads the firm’s committee overseeing its adopt-a-school programs. In 1989, Levi hired two young attorneys to work at Sidley Austin: Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson.

For the University of Rochester, he has served on the Chicago-Midwest Regional Cabinet since 2009 and is a member of the George Eastman Circle the University’s leadership annual giving society. In addition to his service to Rochester, he is a member of the advisory board for the Northwestern University Law School Center on Wrongful Convictions, serves on the leadership council for Harvard Law School, and is the former president and a longtime trustee of the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago.

He has received many awards for civic leadership, including an honorary diploma from the Parker School as well as the Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Lend-A-Hand Award and the Mikva Challenge Corporate Citizenship Award. In 2013, he was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and was named in the Legal 500 United States under labor and employment. He was recognized in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in labor law management.

He and his wife, Jill Felsenthal Levi, live in Chicago and have three children.

(Fall, 2014)