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Critical Thinking Skills an Important Lesson Learned for Colonel Levator Norsworthy, Jr. ‘73


Distinguished Alumni Recipient Colonel Levator Norsworthy, Jr. ’73 has had a connection to the military throughout his life. Born in New Orleans to a military family, he lived in several cities around the world—including in the Federal Republic of Germany—based on where his father was stationed. After his father retired, the family settled in Louisville, Kentucky. When it came time for college, Colonel Norsworthy attended the University of Dayton and graduated with a degree in business administration with a concentration in economics.

After finishing UD, Norsworthy went right to law school at the College of Law. “I reviewed the material from numerous law schools,” he said, “and I thought that UC was best suited for me in terms of the school's size. Also, quite frankly, as a minority student, UC seemed the most interested in me both as a person and in terms of my individual goals.” Colonel Norsworthy stated that he enjoyed his experience at the College of Law and is particularly appreciative of several professors, including “Wilbur Lester, Victor Schwartz, Kenneth Aplin, John Murphy, Irving Rutter and many others who shaped my thinking.” He also recalled that the most important things he learned in law school were “not only the law, but critical thinking and the legal method.”

Becoming a JAG

After graduation, Colonel Norsworthy received his commission in the Army Judge Advocate Generals’ Corps, where he served in various assignments until his retirement in December 1997. “I began my career as a trial defense attorney representing numerous military defendants in proceedings (Special and General Court's Martial) conducted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” he explained. “After four years of criminal trial work, I was assigned to the Litigation Division. There, I represented the Department of the Army as agency counsel in military personnel matters with the U.S. Department of Justice.” He was also permitted to serve as a trial attorney in the Army's Contract Appeals Division, where he represented the Department before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals in appeals cases involving claims brought by defense contractors. “I was privileged to serve in several significant managerial assignments, such as the staff judge advocate for the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), command counsel for the European Contracting Command, chief counsel for the U.S. Army Information Systems Source Selection and Acquisition Agency.” He also served as the Gilbert A. Cuneo Chair and Professor of Government Contract Law at the Judge Advocate General’s School in Charlottesville, Virginia.

What’s Ahead

Upon retirement in 1997, Col. Norsworthy assumed his present position as the deputy general counsel for Acquisition in the Office of the Army General Counsel. Since January 2009, he has served as the senior official performing the duties of the general counsel in the absence of an individual appointed by the President and confirmed Senate to do so.

Colonel Norsworthy has had several significant assignments throughout his career. “My career has been varied and, in retrospect, I believe that my service at Fort Drum, NY, was particularly significant,” he said. “There, I served as the senior legal advisor during the construction of the last installation to be constructed to date. I worked with many others to ensure that the soldiers and their families would have world class facilities now and into the future.” He also pointed to another significant experience: “In the latter part of my career, I served as the senior legal advisor for the Army's source selection of the Stryker Combat Vehicle, which is now with U.S. units in Iraq and Afghanistan.”