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Dan Ivy (1952–2017)

Dan Ivy was a high-profile attorney and political gadfly in Arkansas in the latter part of the twentieth and the early part of the twenty-first century known for his creative print and television advertisements for his law practice. In his all-black outfit—black shirt, black pants, and signature misshapen black felt cowboy hat—Ivy was a larger-than-life personality, skilled at self-promotion.

Danny Chris Ivy was born on November 15, 1952, in Newport (Jackson County) to Daniel Ivy and Minnie Bell Hickman Ivy, who were devout members of the Assembly of God. He had to end his formal education while still in elementary school in order to help feed his family. When he was a child, he had a speech impediment that he said caused people to think he had intellectual disabilities. After going to a speech pathologist who discovered that he had an audio perception problem, Ivy received treatment to overcome it. He returned to school later in his life, and he earned a GED in 1978. He then worked at North American Industries Inc. as a sales and purchasing director before founding the Ivy Corporation in 1981. Ivy, who served as president of the company, claimed it was the first rent-to-own portable and modular building company in the United States.

In 1985, he earned an associate’s degree in general studies from Arkansas State University (ASU). In 1986, he received a bachelor’s degree in political science from ASU. He earned his law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1989. He opened the Dan Ivy Law Center in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he offered legal services in personal injury, criminal, automobile accident, and social security cases.

Never a member of the state’s legal or political establishments, he became known through his ads on the back of area phone books in which he billed himself as “The Rebel Lawyer.” He took a similar approach in a set of TV ads that proclaimed “no win, no fee.” Although Ivy had reportedly been at the bottom of his law school class, he nevertheless was reported to have boasted that he would one day be known all over the state, a boast his creative advertising efforts may well have made true. Fellow attorneys attested to the success of his approach, observing that the outspoken Ivy got many more calls for his services than the average lawyer, although most were baseless claims. At the same time, a fellow attorney noted that for all his bluster, when a good case came along, Ivy usually passed it to another lawyer to handle it so that the complainant was heard and justice served.

As his law practice got started, Ivy also became involved in politics. While he was originally a Democrat, by the end of his career, he had become a Republican. In 1990, he was the Democratic nominee to run for Congress against incumbent John Paul Hammerschmidt, garnering 29.5 percent of the vote in an unsuccessful bid. He followed that with an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor. In 1994, he was the GOP nominee for state attorney general but was beaten handily by Winston Bryant. In 1996, he was an announced write-in candidate for Congress but garnered fewer than eighty votes.

After a very public trial, Ivy was convicted of battery against his wife in 1997.

Leaving politics, Ivy became what he called the Founder, Pastor and Healing Prophet at the Church of the Great Worldwide Revival, an organization he characterized as a “healing ministry” through which he hoped to share the gospel of the restored 1611 edition of the King James Bible with the world.

Ivy was living in Fayetteville when he died on February 17, 2017.

For additional information:
Drake, Richard. “The Passing of Dan Ivy—and What Most People Never Knew about Him.” Street Jazz blog, Arkansas Times, February 22, 2017. https://www.arktimes.com/StreetJazz/archives/2017/02/22/the-passing-of-dan-ivy-and-what-most-people-never-knew-about-him (accessed July 3, 2018).

Rice, Maylon. “Remembering the Late Dan Ivy.” Washington County Enterprise Leader, May 10, 2017. Online at https://www.pressreader.com/usa/washington-county-enterprise-leader/20170510/281646780054802 (accessed July 3, 2018).

William H. Pruden III
Ravenscroft School

Last Updated 7/3/2018

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