By Design

Law is what happened after Adam Levine was busy making other plans

Published in 2019 San Diego Super Lawyers Magazine — April 2019

In 2013, when Adam Levine was a clerk with Casey Gerry, he pictured himself going into construction defects, land entitlements or real estate law—something that would benefit from his 11 years in the architectural field. Then he took on a personal injury matter.

“I had this case,” he says, “where my experience allowed me to come up with the ideas for things to ask for in discovery, in depositions. … I started to see that there might be quite a bit of overlap between my experience in architecture and personal injury.”

When Levine became a draftsman in 2000, architecture appealed to his dual passion for art and science. He eventually became a project manager, which required a lot of client interaction, as well as handling legal issues such as permitting and negotiations. He calls it “the less sexy side of architecture,” and most colleagues were happy to let him handle it. “They didn’t enjoy it, but I did,” Levine says. “And it started making me think that maybe I wanted to look into a career in the law.”

Intimidated to return to university life, Levine quickly realized his decade in the working world was a boon. “In school, you’re free to make mistakes,” he says. “If you mess up 10 percent, you still get an A. If you mess up 10 percent of your job in architecture, you’re fired.”

He continues to be surprised by how his architectural knowledge intersects with personal injury law. “Many times these cases end up involving different building codes or roadway designs,” he says. “I’m certainly the go-to guy in the office when the other side produces a survey or a floor plan.”

He adds: “I worked on one a couple years ago that was a defective parachute case. Even though we typically don’t build buildings out of fabric, the engineering principles were similar—talking about tensile strength and compressive strength and how much force is required to activate the parachute and how much force the wind would generate. These are all things we talked about when designing a building.”

One challenge going into personal injury law: his father, the late Harvey Levine, was a San Diego trial titan. “He’s certainly an immense figure to follow, but I don’t try to be the same lawyer that my father was,” he says. “I’m working to figure out my own style and my own way of practicing law. I’m proud to be carrying on what I see as his legacy of helping people in the San Diego community.”

Levine keeps his architect’s license active—if only for one last project. 

“I like to sit down and continually work on a never-ending dream house that maybe someday we’d build. That’s how I get my architecture urges out these days—sitting around sketching. Sometimes my kids like to join in and add their designs. They have some great ones. They recently added a slide from the second floor down to the garage.”

Madam, They’re Adams

“In more than half of the depositions I’ve taken, I introduce myself and usually the first line out of the deponent is, ‘Wait a minute. Your name is really Adam Levine?’” the attorney says. “It’s a nice icebreaker. I also get great restaurant reservations.” What else do the Adam Levines have in common?

 Adam LevineAdam Levine
Star statusRising Stars honoreeStar on Hollywood Walk of Fame
Moves likeA lawyerJagger
Moonlights asArchitectActor
NFL connectionFirm at center of concussion litigationPlayed Super Bowl Halftime Show
Finds it harder and harder to breatheWhen he's chasing his kidsWhen it's cold and you got nobody to love
Won't sayYes to karaokeGoodbye anymore, whoah oh oh


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