Rick Levy (1973) Trumpet
As I recall, I started improving (and practicing a lot more) when I played in the orchestra for the New Trier West High School Fiddler on the Roof production junior year – probably because I had a crush on whoever played the youngest sister (cannot even remember her name, so could not have been that great a crush). In any event, with my modest, late blooming improvement, Roger Mills, the Director, stretched to admit me to the Recording Jazz Ensemble. I remember how excited, and humbled, I was at the time. This was something all of us aspired to.
I had intended to spend the summer preceding my senior year practicing the trumpet and playing golf (and otherwise screwing off), but my parents would have none of that. And I ended up enrolling in Northwestern University’s “Cherub” debate program. That turned out to be an incredibly intensive experience, especially for someone like me who had never debated before. Like everyone else in the program, I toiled away until the wee hours of the morning, virtually every day, and had no time to practice the trumpet. But by the end of the summer, I had forged a lot of new friendships and with the huge investment I had made in learning how to debate, I decided to join the NTW debate team for my senior year. I quickly realized I could not manage both being on the debate team and part of the Jazz Ensemble (plus my trumpeting skills had greatly atrophied over the summer), so I reluctantly decided to withdraw from the latter. To this day, I wonder whether I made the right decision, but I will say the friendships I forged among the NTW debaters endure to this day.
As for what I have been up to since I graduated from NTW, dare I say it, 48 years ago, I pretty much followed the conventional path for a North Shore overachiever. I attended Amherst College and, after working in DC for two years, I went on to Yale Law School. Following a judicial clerkship, I joined Latham & Watkins in 1983 – then a large national law firm with 160 or so attorneys and now an international behemoth with over three thousand lawyers worldwide – and I have been there ever since. My area of practice is financial restructuring – i.e., large corporate bankruptcies, out of court recapitalizations and distressed M&A. I have had a very satisfying career, but it is time to explore other areas of interest, and so I intend to retire next year. My adult kids are both pursuing AI computer science careers, and I have threatened to spend some of my retirement time (when I am not floundering on the golf course) brushing up on my math and computer programming skills to gain some semblance of an understanding of what the heck they are doing. And who knows, I still have my trumpet stored away in the basement
Richard A. Levy