Robert Levinson is one of the most accomplished and intellectually gifted trial attorneys in Central New Jersey - what's more, he's been perhaps the top civil litigator in Middlesex County in the last two decades. His remarkable record - in jury trials on behalf of injured victims and other clients -- contrasts somewhat with a soft-spoken, understated style. But he has a well-organized, well-prepared approach to the law that has served him well. Hardly brash, with a wry wit, the 64-year-old Perth Amboy native describes himself as "something of a rabble rouser" in his youth ("I spent a lot of time in the principal's office in 8th grade") and credits an early interest in the American Revolution as spurring him into the law. His father, a physician, and his grandfather, the proprietor of the Union Hardware Store in Perth Amboy, "taught me to give back" and the young Levinson saw trial law as a way to do so. And he always admired the principled rectitude of the courtroom lawyer, "like Atticus Finch," he says. He joined a Wilmington, Del., firm out of law school, and was promptly lured back to Middlesex County, joining an uncle and cousin who also practiced law. But for most of his career, Levinson has been an independent practitioner of trial law based in Edison. Levinson has crafted hundreds of cases - many of them negligence and accident cases that are the stock and trade of a capable sole practitioner. His practice today too includes complex commercial litigation for some large investment and venture-capital firms active in the region. Levinson pulled himself out of his work enough over the years to lead state and regional organizations - and came to understand and appreciate the challenges of his profession. Indeed, Levinson has as good an intellectual grasp of the policy and legal issues of trial law as any attorney practicing in the state today. The father of three grown children, and a grandfather of one, he lives in Edison, N.J.