Ron Levine and Abe Rein, the Post & Schell lawyers whose Third Circuit Facebook-threats case is pending in the Supreme Court, were featured in this front-page article yesterday by Chris Mondics of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Soft-spoken and precise, Levine is a sought-after defense lawyer whose clients typically include well-heeled executives and moneyed corporations, not indigent criminals accused of threatening to kill their wives in rap lyrics on Facebook.
He did his undergraduate work at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and then spent two years at Oxford, where he did graduate work in sociology. After law school and a clerkship with the federal district court in Philadelphia, Levine spent 17 years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the city, rising to become the head of the criminal division before founding the white-collar defense practice at Post & Schell in Center City. One reason clients seek him out is his deep familiarity with the way the Justice Department works and how prosecutors think – qualities that help head off indictments.
Levine is also among a pool of local lawyers who represent indigent clients at reduced rates, and that is how he came to represent Elonis.
Levine, 61, says it didn’t take much convincing when Lawrence Stengel, the federal district judge who presided over the Elonis trial, called and asked if he would represent Elonis.
“The issue isn’t so much my belief in guilt or innocence; the issue is, did the government in a fair way bring charges and prove charges according to the law?” Levine said.
Levine drafted Rein to assist in the case in part because Rein had spent several years running a Web design company before law school, and Levine reasoned that his deep familiarity with the Web would be an asset.
Here’s my favorite quote, Levine reflecting on his first Supreme Court case:
“This isn’t the capstone of my career,” Levine remarked, “but it isn’t a routine matter either.”