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Levi, Edward H.


LEVI, EDWARD H. (1911–2000), U.S. educator, legal scholar, and university administrator. Levi, who was born in Chicago, was a descendant of the rabbinical families of *Einhorn and *Hirsch and a son of Rabbi Gerson B. Levi. He received his law degree at the University of Chicago in 1935. Awarded the Sterling Fellowship at Yale Law School, he earned his degree of doctor of jurisprudence in 1938. He joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1936 as an assistant professor of law. He served as dean of the University of Chicago Law School (1950 to 1962). In that capacity, he played a major role in the largest fundraising effort of any university of the time. In 1958 he founded the university's Journal of Law and Economics. He served as provost of the university (1962 to 1968) and president from 1968 to 1975, becoming the first Jew to head a major American university. From 1977 to 1983 he was the university's Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor.

An outstanding administrator, Levi also distinguished himself as a legal expert. In the 1940s he served under Thurman Arnold, head of the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust division. He was active in atomic energy legislation; his work provided the basis for the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission.

On February 7, 1975, Levi was sworn in as attorney general of the U.S., the first Jew to be appointed to this office. When William B. Saxbe, the previous attorney general, was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to India on February 3, 1975, another Jew, 30-year-old Lawrence H. Silberman, took over his duties until Levi was sworn in, and thus became in fact the first Jew to head the Department of Justice, to be followed four days later by Levi. As a man widely respected for his intelligence and integrity, Levi did much to restore credibility to the position of attorney general (1975–77) under President Ford after the Nixon-Watergate era.

Levi identified himself with Jewish communal affairs. He was a founder of the Chicago Chapter of the American Jewish Committee, a member of the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith, and a member of the Sinai Temple in Chicago, of which his grandfather Emil G. Hirsch was rabbi from 1880 to 1923.

Levi's An Introduction to Legal Reasoning (1949) is considered a classic work. He co-authored (with Roscoe Steffen) Elements of the Law (1950) and wrote Four Talks on Legal Education (1951), Point of View: Talks on Education (1969), and The Crisis in the Nature of Law (1970).

[Shnayer Z. Leiman /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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