Myra K. Levenson, Attorney at Law, Retired – Founder
Myra Levenson's entire career has focused on providing assistance to people who must navigate often confusing and complex obstacles in order to obtain essential services. She brings both professional competence and a lifetime of advocacy activities to her work in Social Security disability law.
Entering law school in her 50's, Levenson received her JD degree in 1994 from Hastings College of the Law (University of California) where she also received a Certificate of Concentration in Public Interest Law. Her goal in attending law school was to enter the field of Social Security disability law and to this end, she enrolled in Hastings' Civil Justice Clinic, winning her first Social Security hearing while still a student. Her course work at Hastings also included a seminar in Law and Psychiatry, a continuation of her previous work in the mental health field. She was a managing associate of COM/MENT, Hastings' communication and entertainment law journal and was active in other student organizations, even though most of her classmates were the same age – or younger - than her children.
She was a summer law clerk at Legal Assistance for Seniors in Oakland, providing services to low-income elderly clients in the areas of SSI, Social Security, Medi-Cal and domestic violence. During her second summer, she authored a proposal and convened a task force that included the San Francisco Department of Social Services, Department of Public Health and community activists to develop a “one stop” clinic at San Francisco General Hospital for SSI and General Assistance applicants.
Myra Levenson earned her undergraduate degree at Wellesley College, where she majored in psychology and received a Master's Degree in Guidance and Counseling at Harvard University. She had additional coursework at the University of Michigan, Harvard University and the University of Arizona, and remains a loyal basketball fan of the Arizona Wildcats even though she moved from Arizona to the Bay Area in 1991.
Prior to entering law school, Levenson had a long career in the mental health field. She was a marriage and family therapist for more than 20 years, working in both private practice and community agency settings. She was a clinical supervisor for graduate counseling students from the University of Arizona who interned at Tucson's Family Service Agency where she worked for many years. She set up the social service program for the Tucson Association for Child Care, which served preschoolers in Model Cities' funded day care centers. She is still a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Arizona and is a Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
Levenson has extensive experience in working with persons with mental illness and has additional expertise in the areas of domestic violence, rape, sexual trauma and substance abuse. Her mental health experience and sensitivity to client needs enhances her legal work, particularly since she understands that many of our disabled clients have endured physical or emotional trauma.
Prior to moving to Tucson in 1969, Levenson worked in Massachusetts as a school counselor in high school and junior high school settings. While in Washington DC, she was a staff member of the Peace Corps where she helped to evaluate the medical and psychiatric histories of people applying to become Peace Corps volunteers.
Levenson believes strongly that one must give back to and participate in one's community. While in Tucson, she served on the board of Planned Parenthood of Southern Arizona, was a cofounder of the Womens' Studies Advisory Council at the University of Arizona, served on the Pima Council on Children's Services and advocated for change in the foster care system.
Since moving to Marin County in 1995, Levenson has been very involved with issues confronting and limiting the public funding of mental health services. She was a member of the Marin County Mental Health Board for 9 years, serving as both Vice-Chair and Chairperson of that group until term limits required her resignation. She continues to work as an advocate for mental health services, serving on the committee that allocated the funding for Marin under Proposition 63 and on the oversight review group for the programs developed as a result of that funding. She is a member of NAMI-Marin, the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and is involved in a speakers' bureau that will provide community education on the impact of the stigma suffered by persons with mental illness and their families.
As an attorney, Levenson is a member of the State Bar of California and the Marin County Bar Association and is a sustaining member of NOSSCR, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives.
On a personal level, Levenson will be retiring soon in order to spend more time with her grandchildren, none of whom live anywhere near California. She and Richard Zieman have worked closely with each other for a number of years, and she will continue her partnership with him in an advisory capacity.