Elliott Levitas has served as a government official and acted as an international spokesperson for over fifty years. His practice during this time span includes creating and passing historical legislation, as well as fighting and winning landmark cases.
Prior to joining the firm in 1985, Mr. Levitas was a Representative from Dekalb County in the Georgia General Assembly from 1966 to 1975 and represented Georgia’s 4th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1985.
Mr. Levitas spent five consecutive terms in the Georgia General Assembly and at the end of each term was named "One of the Ten Most Effective Members" by his colleagues. He was on the Judiciary, Education and Banking Committees and was Chairman of the Committee on State Planning and Community Affairs and of the Joint Committee on Mass Transit.
In March 1999, Mr. Levitas joined the plaintiffs’ litigation team in the historic class action of Cobell v. Norton. Throughout these years, he along with several colleagues represented more than 300,000 Native Americans suing the United States government for breach of trust and for an accounting in connection with the lands and billions of dollars of Indian trust funds held by the United States since the 1880’s.
In October 2007, it was determined that the Department of the Interior has not -- and cannot -- remedy the breach of its fiduciary duty to account for the IIM trust. Following the Court of Appeals remand of the case to the District Court, the District Court Judge Robertson ordered settlement negations between high level officials in the government and the plaintiffs. Those settlement talks are now underway.
Mr. Levitas received the Thomas B. Murphy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Democratic Party of Georgia in 2008. Mr. Levitas is a 2012 recipient of the prestigious Emory Medal, the highest University honor presented exclusively to alumni by the Emory Alumni Association, “for his commitment to civic service and his unrelenting defense of justice for our nation's underserved populations.” He was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Government Relations Law in 2014 and the seven years immediately preceding and has been recognized as one of Georgia's "Legal Elite" for Governmental Affairs in Georgia Trend Magazine. Mr. Levitas is AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell.*
*CV, BV, and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedure's standards and policies.
Professional & Community Activities
Atlanta Bar Association, Member
Atlanta Commerce Club, Member
American Bar Association, Member
Anti-Defamation League, South East Region, Board Member
DeKalb Bar Association, Member
Georgia Bar Association, Member
Georgia Conservancy, Board of Trustees
Emory Law School, Adjunct Professor
Emory Law School Council
Environmental Law Institute, Board of Trustees
Lawyer's Club of Atlanta, Member
Southern Environmental Law Center, Board of Trustees
8th Air Force, Strategic Air Command
Air Force Reserve, Captain
Civil Rights Commission, South East Region, ADL, Former Chairman
Emory Law Alumni Association, Past President
National Building Museum, Former Chairman of the Board of Trustees
The U.S. Chatham House Foundation, Inc., Former Board Member