Richard Levy, Class of 1997
Managing partner and founder of Victory Park Capital
Richard Levy founded Victory Park Capital, an investment firm focusing on small cap and middle market companies, in 2007 and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer. Previously, he was a Portfolio Manager and Co-Head of the Solutions Group and Head of the Small Cap Structured Products Group at Magnetar Capital, a multi-billion dollar investment manager based in Evanston. Prior to joining Magnetar, Levy founded Crestview Capital Partners, a multi-hundred million dollar small cap structured products investment manager, and served as its Managing Partner. While at Crestview, he also co-founded the Crestview Collateralized Debt Fund LLC, now called White Cap Advisors, a $500 million specialty lending fund.
In addition to earning his law degree at Chicago-Kent, Levy received an MBA from the Stuart School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Unigene Laboratories, Inc., Giordano’s, LLC and Energy Maintenance Services and is board member of the nonprofit College Bound Opportunities, Global Employment Solutions, Silver Airways and Ascent Aviation Services.
Who were your favorite professors?
Probably the ones you hear about the most- Conviser and Spak. I was interested in business, and they brought a lot of the real world into the lectures. They also had business experience outside of being professors, and you felt there was legitimacy to the way they went about their teachings.
Who is your favorite Supreme Court Justice?
I would have to say Thurgood Marshall. First of all, I think he was, at the time, a groundbreaking man of color on the court. His policies liberalized the court, and in effect, bringing the true Constitution to bear on the court. I think he changed the way the law treated all races and sexes. It was pretty powerful.
How did you choose your career path?
I think I followed my gut and my passion. I always had a vision of what I wanted to do, and it wasn’t a straight path, but I stuck to my vision. I got lucky- if you don’t hear about luck, it’s 75% luck, 20% timing, and 5% skill. There are a few people along the way who point you in the right direction. At the end of the day, it was listening to myself and what I wanted to do.
What has been your greatest challenge?
My pedigree. I didn’t realize coming from South Africa how important the school you went to is and the connections you make along the way. You’re always competing with other people and it can become a handicap. You have to do other things. It makes you be more entrepreneurial and imaginative as to why you should be selected for a job.
What has been your greatest professional achievement?
Victory Park. The name comes from a grade school I went to in South Africa. I’m proud of what we built, which is not just a good business that’s profitable, but we employ a lot of people and have created a culture where people enjoy coming to work and are treated as well. We’re very philanthropic as an organization, and I hope that this will be a legacy where my children can come work one day if they have the education and have earned it.
What does your future hold?
I would like to make sure that Victory Park is in a place where I can know that it’ll be around for the next few decades if I’m not physically here. Hopefully, one day, grandchildren and traveling the world. Whatever money I have, is because I won the lottery of life and got lucky. If I can spend my time giving back while traveling and seeing the world, that’s how I’d like to spend the second half of my life.
What advice would you give to attorneys just starting out today?
Be sure and passionate that you want to practice law if that’s why you’re going to be a lawyer. If you’re not passionate, the practice can be frustrating. I always encourage it for an education. Absorb the education and know that that’s what you’re there for.