Ellen Leesfield is a managing partner of Ellen Leesfield Alternative Dispute Resolution a full service dispute resolution firm. She frequently serves as a mediator, arbitrator, umpire and special master. She is a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator, panel member of the American Arbitration Association, certified in Employment and International Law, and has served as a special master in numerous disputes, including the widely publicized dispute between the Miccosukee Indian Tribe and a prominent South Florida law firm.
Judge Leesfield spent 19 years on the circuit bench. During that time, she served as the administrative chief of the criminal division, a judge in the civil extended trial division and a judge in the general jurisdiction division. She presided over thousands of cases and hundreds of trials, including a trial against the government of Cuba for the execution of an American businessman, the trial of the Brickell condominium cat burglar known as “Spiderman,” and countless commercial, professional malpractice, products liability, construction, employment, civil RICO, real estate and other actions. She also won numerous prestigious awards including the Judge Steve Levine Award for Integrity, Fairness and Professionalism; the Justice Gerald Kogan Judicial Distinction Award; and the Judge Mattie Belle Davis Award for Community Service. Throughout her tenure on the bench, Judge Leesfield taught at the Advanced Judicial College and the Florida Judicial College--the training program for all incoming judges in the State.
In addition to her work in the alternative dispute resolution arena, Judge Leesfield also accepts selected cases and consults with lawyers preparing matters for trial. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Leesfield was the founding partner of a prominent trial law firm and tried over 60 criminal and civil cases to verdict as lead counsel. She has spent her career in the courtroom and teaches trial skills as an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law.
Judge Leesfield writes and lectures extensively on the presentation of expert testimony. She has also written and spoken on numerous other areas including evidence, business valuation, DNA evidence, jurisdiction in child custody issues, professional ethics, closing argument, and the Torture Victim Protection Act--a federal law that permits victims of terrorist regimes to bring claims in state and federal court. She was an innovative jurist, dubbed “revolutionary” by the Daily Business Review for being the first judge to author a model order appointing receivers for the collection of maintenance fees in cases involving condominium owners and investors.
Judge Leesfield is a member of several bars including the Florida Bar, the Southern District of Florida, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. She was a founding President of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Miami Chapter and a member of the Board of Directors of Legal Services of Greater Miami, the Dade County Bar Association and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Miami Chapter. She is presently a member of the Cuban American Bar, and the American Bar Association.
When Judge Leesfield is not resolving or trying cases, you can find her hiking in the mountains of Montana, watching every play she can book on or off Broadway, or playing tennis with her USTA team. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Hollywood, Florida, she is an avid cook who admires a great sauce.