She raced for one year before deciding to follow her childhood dreams and enroll in law school.
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Judge, Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County, Florida
Favorite Class: “French, I loved the way it was taught.”
Chose Adelphi for: “Its excellent reputation as a small private school, and the recommendation of a friend.”
Job while in college: “Passenger Service Agent for Pan-Am Airlines- traveled to Germany for Oktoberfest, Paris for the Tour de France, and all over the Caribbean!”
Advice to students thinking about law: “Overcome the roadblocks and you really can achieve anything.”
At Home in the Driver’s Seat and on the Bench
Jill Levy ’92 knew that she wanted to be a judge from a very young age. Not even a year as a race car driver in the Berkshires circuit could derail her from that goal.
When the State of Florida officials announced an election for new Broward County Court judgeships in June 2006, Ms. Levy sprang into action. A successful criminal defense attorney with her own practice, Ms. Levy had waited for this opportunity for many years. She spent the next three months “getting to know every inch of Broward County” and trying to connect with its one million registered voters.
Unlike most campaigns, which are dominated by slogans and political platforms, judicial candidates are not allowed to take a position on any issue. Instead, Ms. Levy could only speak about her experience and qualifications, and work to gain key endorsements such as the Miami Herald.
The experience proved “exhilarating and exhausting,” but it also reinforced her belief that “people just want to be heard.” In the end, Ms. Levy won the three-way contest with more than 50 percent of the vote.
Prior to her campaign, Ms. Levy was a traffic court magistrate and the sole practitioner in her criminal defense practice. “My internship in the public defenders office while at Miami Law revealed how much is at stake when you are fighting for someone’s liberty rather than for money,” she says.
Inspired to pursue pro bono work in her first firm, Ms. Levy has maintained a commitment to defending those whom she felt needed a strong advocate. Among her more memorable cases, Ms. Levy relishes the victory that ensured custody for a deserving father after a two-year battle.
She also still feels the disappointment of her losses, and advises young lawyers not to take anything for granted when working in the jury system.
Ms. Levy received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Adelphi in 1992. Her graduation gift was a trip to the renowned Skip Barber racing school, where she was the only woman on the track. She then moved to the Berkshires and raced for one year before deciding to follow her childhood dreams and enroll in law school.
Ms. Levy lives in Hollywood, Florida. She still enjoys traveling and scuba diving.
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