Hon. Michael I. Levanas (Ret.) is a distinguished and respected mediator and arbitrator with 21 years of judicial experience as a Judge and Commissioner of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to the principles of fairness, integrity, and impartiality within the judicial system.
Judge Levanas earned his B.A. in Economics from the University of California, San Diego, before obtaining his J.D. from Rutgers University. Following graduation from law school, he commenced his legal career at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. Subsequently, he transitioned to private practice as a Partner at a distinguished civil and criminal defense firm located in Santa Monica, focusing on handling dependency cases.
Judge Levanas brings a wealth of judicial experience and expertise to his ADR practice. In 2002, he was elected by the Judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court to be a Commissioner. He was the first Commissioner to serve as the Assistant Site Judge at the Metropolitan Courthouse, before transitioning to the Stanley Mosk Courthouse to serve as a Family Law Commissioner. In 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him as a Judge.
While on the bench, Judge Levanas presided over various areas of law, including Family Law, Probate, Mental Health, and Juvenile Courts. In addition, Judge Levanas was selected to serve in court leadership as the Supervising Judge of the Probate and Mental Health courts and as the Presiding Judge of the 50 Los Angeles County Juvenile Courts. His knowledge and insight made him a sought-after speaker, and he regularly presented to bar associations on a range of family law and probate related topics, including custody and visitation issues, family law trial advocacy, and litigation and negotiation strategies. In his final four years on the bench, Judge Levanas presided over Civil Trials at the Santa Monica Courthouse, demonstrating his versatility and command of civil matters, including elder abuse, landlord/tenant, medical malpractice, partnership dissolution, and personal injury.
Judge Levanas possesses an exceptional reputation among his peers, attorneys, and litigants. His remarkable attention to detail and extensive legal expertise have earned him widespread respect. Attorneys particularly appreciate his patience, gracious demeanor, and ability to diffuse tension through the judicious use of humor. Known for his even-tempered nature, Judge Levanas goes above and beyond to ensure that each party feels heard and valued. In 2014, he was named Judge of the Year by the Pasadena Bar Association.
Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court 2005-2023
Commissioner of the Los Angeles Superior Court 2002-2005
Private Practice 1979-2002
Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office 1975-1979
Judge Levanas is often asked to present to various bar associations and professional groups. For a complete list of his speaking engagements, please visit his website at www.JudgeLevanas.com.
“Superb communicator and problem solver.”
“Excellent Judge!! A wonderful, fair, impartial human being.”
“As someone who has come across a variety of judges, I wanted you to know I truly appreciated your wisdom, fairness, humor, kindness, and honest demeanor.”
“I appreciate your taking the time to make us feel respected…and I admire your role in bringing justice to our community.”
“Litigants and counsel alike trust his decisions because they are grounded in the law and reflect hard work and his humanity.”
“Judge Levanas is interested in people and has a good sense of humor. He is serious about his work but doesn’t take himself too seriously. He has an exceptional judicial temperament and demeanor.”
“It is an enormous tribute to his judicial talents that Judge Levanas was the first Commissioner ever asked to serve as an Assistant Site Judge of a courthouse. In the high-volume, emotion filled and intensely stressful judicial assignment, Judge Levanas has consistently displayed unfailing courtesy to counsel and litigants.”
“I would describe Judge Levanas as knowledgeable, well-prepared, skillful, and one who demonstrated the highest degree of legal ethics.”
“Judge Levanas has established such an outstanding reputation in our family law court. He was assigned a portion of another bench officer’s caseload, who felt overloaded. Judge Levanas has earned the trust and respect of the family law bar.”
“Judge Levanas is fair, effective at calendar management and open to feedback on ways to make things run more smoothly.”
“Judge Levanas handles his courtroom with patience, graciousness, and judicious use of levity, which can help ease tensions. He runs a comfortable courtroom. He’s probably about as even tempered as any judge I’ve dealt with.”
“Judge Levanas goes out of his way to let the parties and witnesses know that he’s listening to them and what they say matters.”