Alan Levine Named Chair of the JTS Board of Trustees, Succeeding Abby Joseph Cohen

Alan Levine, a partner in the international law firm of Cooley LLP and a leading trial lawyer in the United States, has been named Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), effective July 1. He succeeds Abby Joseph Cohen, who has served as chair of the JTS Board since 2009. Mr. Levine joined the JTS Board in 1998 and assumed the role of vice chair in 2009.  

Mr. Levine has a long and distinguished career of leadership and involvement in the Jewish community in addition to his service at JTS. He is a former chair of Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City, one of the leading Conservative congregations in the US, and has served as both chair and co-chair of the Lawyers Division of UJA Federation and the Anti-Defamation League. 

A partner in the commercial litigation and White Collar & Regulatory Defense practice groups of Cooley LLP’s litigation department, Mr. Levine joined Kronish Lieb Weiner & Hellman LLP in 1980; it was merged into Cooley Godward Kronish LLP in 2006. From 1998 to 2006, Mr. Levine was managing partner of Kronish Lieb. During his legal career-spanning nearly 45 years-Mr. Levine has represented numerous individuals and companies in complex civil, criminal, and regulatory matters, and has appeared in federal and state courts throughout the country, including the US Supreme Court. After a federal clerkship, Mr. Levine began his career as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. In 1991, he was elected to the American College of Trial Lawyers.

“I am humbled and especially privileged to be elected chair of the JTS Board of Trustees, and grateful for the work of my predecessor, Abby Joseph Cohen,” said Mr. Levine. “This preeminent institution of Jewish higher learning is at an exciting moment in its 129-year history. I look forward to working with Chancellor Arnold Eisen, the administration, the faculty, the students, and all of the JTS boards as we chart its path together for the balance of the 21st century.” 

Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen commented, “I am grateful and excited that Alan Levine has agreed to serve as the next chair of the JTS Board of Trustees. JTS has been fortunate in the high quality and dedication of its chairs. It has been my privilege over the past eight years to work closely with Abby Joseph Cohen and, before her, Gershon Kekst, and I look forward to doing so with Alan Levine. He brings to the job of chair his detailed knowledge of the institution and unbounded devotion to its faculty and students. He knows why JTS matters so much to the future of Judaism in North America, and what it will take to keep JTS strong. JTS is building for the future and I look forward to Alan’s partnership in directing that effort.

“On behalf of my entire administrative team,” Chancellor Eisen continued, “I want to give a heartfelt thank you to Abby Joseph Cohen for her spirited and dedicated service as chair these past six years. Abby never failed to bring her remarkable array of skills to the job of leading JTS: intelligence, good judgment, hard work, and knowledge of the Jewish world and the world of higher education. Abby could always be counted on for insight, eloquence, and good humor. JTS is a far better institution for her having guided and represented it. I am pleased that she has agreed to remain on the board to share her accumulated wisdom with the incoming chair.”

Ms. Cohen commented, “Alan Levine will take on the chairmanship with solid knowledge of the institution and a long-term commitment to its continued success. He is prepared and enthusiastic about the opportunities JTS will encounter in its vital role at the center of traditional Judaism.”

Mr. Levine has also had an extensive career of leadership in the legal community. In 2014, the New York Law Journal honored him with its Public Service Award for “Lawyers Who Lead by Example.” He has served on the board of the Legal Aid Society for 12 years, including as its chair from 2007 to 2011. He was appointed by New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman as co-chair of the Advisory Committee on New York State Pro Bono Bar Admission Requirements and as a member of the Task Force on the Commercial Division of the New York State Supreme Court. He also serves on the Disciplinary Policy Committee of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, First Department. Mr. Levine has also served as a trustee of the Historical Society of New York Courts since 2013.

Mr. Levine holds degrees from New York University School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review, and the University of Pennsylvania. He was recognized by the New York Law Journal for his prominence and experience in litigating cases involving complex financial transactions. Mr. Levine has been listed in Chambers USA as one of America’s “Leading Business Lawyers, New York Magazine’s “The New York Area’s Top Rated Lawyers” feature, Benchmark Litigation, The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, The International Who’s Who of Commercial Litigators, Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who Legal, New York Metro Super LawyersThe Best Lawyers in America, and Who’s Who in America. Groups that have honored Mr. Levine for his contributions include the Legal Aid Society, American Friends of the Hebrew University, the Anti-Defamation League, the Police Athletic League, and the New York Law Journal.  

Ms. Cohen has been a partner at Goldman Sachs since 1998. As senior investment strategist, her work is focused on the intersection of economic trends, public policy, and financial markets. She provides research and counsel to investors, corporations, and governments around the world. Ms. Cohen is a presidential councillor at Cornell University, where she also serves on the board of the Weill Cornell Medical School and as an advisor to the new Cornell-Tech campus in New York City. She is vice chair of the Economic Club of New York and serves on the boards of The Brookings Institution and The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. 

Ms. Cohen has been a JTS trustee since 2004 and assumed leadership of the board in 2009. Her involvement with JTS has spanned many areas, including committee work on governance and investment and service on the chancellor search committee. Ms. Cohen was honored by JTS in 2001 with the Louis Marshall Award, presented to individuals who demonstrate the philanthropic commitment embodied by Louis Marshall, an esteemed constitutional lawyer and former board chair of JTS. Highlights of Ms. Cohen’s tenure include serving as the first woman to chair the JTS board of trustees and strengthening the board through the addition of a total of 19 trustees. She oversaw multiple momentous JTS initiatives, including the 21st Century Campus project, the JTS Branding Initiative, the Strategic Plan, JTS Seeds of Innovation, and the JTS Fellows program. Under her leadership, JTS saw the launch of the Israel Studies visiting professorship, the establishment and growth of the Center for Pastoral Education, and the creation of a robust Community Engagement program.