Click the toggles below to read about each of the individuals featured in this year’s Profiles in Service.
Joseph J. Levin, Jr.
A 1966 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, Joseph Levin is co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. From 1971 until 2004, he served the Center in various capacities, including Legal Director, Chair of the Board, President & CEO, and General Counsel, retiring in 2016. He continues to serve the Center as an emeritus member of the board.
In 1976, as a member of the Carter Presidential Transition Team, Mr. Levin supervised the Department of Justice transition and oversaw preparation of briefing books identifying critical issues for the incoming Attorney General. He had special responsibility for analysis of Department of Justice national security oversight of the CIA, FBI, NSA, and Military Intelligence functions. As Special Assistant to the Attorney General, he superintended final wrap-up of Department of Justice transition affairs and advised the Associate Attorney General on the Department of Justice reorganization efforts.
In 1977, Mr. Levin was appointed Chief Counsel of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In that capacity, he represented and advised NHTSA in dealings with the Department of Transportation, Congress, the courts, federal and state agencies, and the private sector. He had principal responsibility for the massive recalls of defective Firestone “500” steel-belted radial tires and for the Ford Pinto due to defective fuel tanks.
Mr. Levin’s extensive litigation experience includes numerous jury and non-jury cases in state and federal courts and proceedings before federal administrative panels. His better-known cases include the landmark sex discrimination case of Frontiero v. Richardson (1973), and the private segregated school case of Gilmore v. City of Montgomery (1974).
Mr. Levin served in the U.S. Army, Military Intelligence branch, from 1967 to 1969, and from 1979 until 1996, Mr. Levin engaged in the private practice of law in Washington D.C. The University of Alabama is proud to count him among our most distinguished alumni.
Elizabeth Ann (“Liz”) Whipple was a 2007 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, and during her 10-year legal career, she made an enormous impact on the lives of those around her.
Liz graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in English before attending law school in Tuscaloosa. After finishing law school, Liz went to work as a staff attorney at the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless, where she advocated for people experiencing homelessness. From 2010 to 2015, she served as Director of the Domestic Violence and Guardian Ad Litem Programs for the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. In this capacity, she trained and supervised dozens of pro bono attorneys who volunteered their time through the AVLF in order to help domestic violence victims and children in need of advocates.
In 2015, Liz accepted a two-year appointment as Interim Director of the Domestic Violence Clinic at her alma mater, the University of Alabama School of Law. Liz had been among the first students to participate in the DV Clinic when it began, so it was fitting that she would return to lead the clinic and educate future advocates. During her time in Tuscaloosa, she chaired the Tuscaloosa Domestic Violence Task Force, served on the board of the local women’s shelter, and assisted in training law enforcement on issues of domestic violence.
Liz’s life ended too early when she was killed in a tragic accident, along with her co-worker Shelly Darling, in 2017. Her colleagues, friends, and the law school community miss her tremendously. To honor her memory, the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation has started a
Liz Whipple Memorial Fund to benefit its work on behalf of abuse victims who have no other access to legal help. Liz’s infectious smile could light up a room, and her passion for her clients was obvious to those who had the good fortune to work with her. “Her impact on her students, the law school, and the community will be lasting,” said Associate Dean for Clinical Programs Anne Hornsby during a memorial honoring Liz and Shelly. “We will strive to honor their lives by following the examples of service they set for us.”
John B. Bradley
John is a 2014 graduate of Faulkner Law. He has been the Admissions Director at the school since 2015, but that hasn’t stopped him from using his degree to provide access to justice for those who need help.
John’s commitment to serving the community is evident through his participation in the Montgomery Volunteer Lawyer’s Program and the Middle District of Alabama Federal Pro Se Assistance Program. In addition, John was selected as a member of the MVLP’s Inaugural Pro Bono Leadership Corps. He regularly accepts case referrals and attends clinics sponsored by the program, despite the fact that his day job keeps him extremely busy recruiting the next crop of future lawyers for Faulkner Law.
John’s service didn’t start upon passing the bar exam, though. He served six years in the United States Marine Corps reserve prior to attending law school, where he earned several honors and distinctions.
Aigner is a 2015 graduate of Faulkner Law and has been working at the Beasley Allen Law Firm ever since. Despite working for a growing and busy firm, Aigner makes it a priority to provide pro bono representation as often as possible.
Aigner is a regular volunteer at the Montgomery Volunteer Lawyers Program’s bi-weekly community clinics, in addition to taking several cases for representation each year. Not only was she recognized with MVLP’s Medal of the Samaritan in 2016, she was also chosen as a member of the MVLP’s Pro Bono Leadership Corps inaugural class.
While in law school, Aigner was known for her commitment to service. She was named a Public Interest Society Fellow upon graduation. She also served on the Alabama State Bar Pro Bono Celebration Task Force, assisted attorneys in the Middle District of Alabama Federal Pro Se Assistance Program, and interned at Legal Services Alabama.
In addition to her law-related service, Aigner is an ardent supporter of the Family Sunshine Center for abused women in Montgomery and sits on the Board of Directors for Common Ground Montgomery, an organization committed to providing opportunities and resources to low-income families in some of Montgomery’s poorest neighborhoods.