TEL: NY: 646-563-8930 / MOBILE: 201-314-7995 / FAX: NY: 646-563-7930 /
ALT FAX: NJ: 201-678-6294 /
Legal Practice Assistant: Ruth Chave TEL: 201-489-3000, ext. 5027 

Leo Leyva is co-chair of the Litigation and Real Estate Departments, as well as the Real Estate Special Opportunities Group. Described by sources as a “trusted adviser and advocate” and “focused and loyal purveyor of sage legal advice” by Chambers USA (2014 and 2012 editions), Leo has an expansive litigation practice with a concentration on high-profile real estate litigation, complex commercial litigation and corporate reorganization. He also focuses on real estate and construction-related services.  No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.  See Award Methodology.

Leo regularly represents a wide array of clients in all aspects of real estate litigation; corporate dissolution and shareholder disputes/oppression actions; contract claims; distressed portfolio and asset sales; distressed commercial loan workouts and restructurings; construction performance and payment disputes; director and officer liability matters; and creditors’ rights and insolvency. According to Benchmark Litigation, clients regard him as a “unique attorney, who possesses a keen business sense along with best-in-class legal advice.”

Recognized as a “Local Litigation Star” in New York and New Jersey by Benchmark Litigation, Leo also represents private equity, hedge and real estate opportunity funds; national lending institutions; bridge and convenience lenders; property owners and developers in connection with the acquisition and sale of distressed properties and debt, joint ventures, commercial real estate litigation, project development, asset disposition, foreclosures, and bankruptcy-related workouts and restructuring.  No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.  See Award Methodology.

Since joining the firm in 1989, Leo has played a leading role in the following recent notable matters:

  • Represented domestic and international hedge funds in ongoing litigation alleging lender liability against an international banking firm, with claims of $380 million and counterclaims of $1.2 billion.
  • Represented a prominent Wall Street executive and former hedge fund founder in litigation brought by four former partners in various courts and in arbitration seeking millions in damages for a variety of claims, including breach of contract and violation of New York labor laws.
  • Represented the owners/operators of 22 recreational vehicle resorts located throughout the country in a dispute arising out of two loan portfolios, totaling in excess of $100 million in securitized commercial loans, secured by first mortgage liens on various RV resorts, which are the subject of multistate foreclosure and receivership proceedings.
  • Represented the general contractor in connection with construction and contract related claims and causes of action arising from the development of an international airport terminal in New York, NY as well as a casino project in the Northeast.
  • Represented the owner in connection with various construction related claims and causes of action arising from the conversion of a large commercial building to high-end residential condominiums in Brooklyn, NY.

Leo is regularly lauded for high quality work in media outlets and has been recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for his “outstanding legal strategy and implementation.”  Leo has also been featured in New York Metro Super Lawyers, New Jersey Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers in America. He was named “Lawyer of the Year” in 2022, 2015 & 2013 by Best Lawyers Hackensack in the category of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law. He was also selected as a 2017 AV Preeminent® Top Rated Lawyer, a 2014 AV Preeminent® Top Rated Lawyer in Appellate Law and Commercial Litigation, and a 2013 AV Preeminent® Top Rated Lawyer in Real Estate Law through Martindale-Hubble. Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business cited Leo for "outstanding legal strategy and implementation."  No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.  See Award Methodology.

In addition to his appointment to the New Jersey Council of Economic Advisors by Senate Minority Leader Thomas H. Kean, Jr., Leo is actively involved in a host of professional organizations, including the New York and New Jersey Federal Bar Association, the New York and New Jersey State Bar Association (Debtor/Creditor Section), the Bergen County Bar Association (Debtor/Creditor Section) and the Construction Lawyers Society of America.

Leo received his B.A. from Seton Hall University and his J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law, where he served as the business editor of the Rutgers Law Review.  After law school, he served as law secretary to the Hon. Arthur J. Lesemann, Chancery Division, Superior Court of New Jersey.



Rutgers Law School- Newark, J.D., 1988; Rutgers Law Review, Editor

Seton Hall University, B.A., 1985

Bar & Court Admissions

New Jersey, 1988New York, 1989U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 1988U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1993U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 1994U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1997U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2010
Forte Real Estate Secures $39M Construction Loan for Middlesex Multifamily Project

GlobeSt December 9, 2019

Leo V. Leyva, Rab N. Nalavala and Jennifer Y. Chung
Analyzing the Power to Tax Internet Sales

New York Law Journal February 24, 2014

Leo V. Leyva
Forecast for 2013

Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal January 25, 2013

Leo V. Leyva and Tara D. Ryan

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