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Ellen L. Leesfield was a distinguished trial Judge for 19 years, following a successful career as a trial lawyer in both State and Federal Courts. As a Circuit Court Judge, her intellect, firm but fair-minded manner, and dedication to always being prepared combined to consistently rank her among the highest rated judges. Her many years in the courtroom give her a unique perspective on the legal system and the many advantages of resolving disputes by alternative means.

As manager of the Alternative Dispute Resolution practice, Judge Leesfield now brings her vast wealth of expertise and experience to her role as a special master, arbitrator, mediator, expert witness and consultant on all litigation related matters, including expert testimony, evidentiary issues and trial strategy. She is frequently appointed by the Courts to serve as Special Magistrate in complex litigation matters, including high profile cases, where her pragmatic approach to problem solving has earned her the respect of even the most contentious parties.

Judge Leesfield has extensive knowledge and experience in a wide range of issues. As a Circuit Court Judge, she presided over hundreds of trials involving admiralty, insurance, real estate, products liability, commercial real estate, employment, personal injury, civil RICO, eminent domain and a variety of other claims.

Professional Activities


For over 15 years, Judge Leesfield has taught other judges in the areas of trial skills, expert testimony, evidence, ethics and mental health at the Florida Judicial College and the Florida College of Advanced Judicial Studies. She has also taught lawyers at the National Business Institute Judicial Forum and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA). As she has done for many years, Judge Leesfield continues to teach litigation skills to law students at the University of Miami School of Law as an Adjunct Professor.



Judge Leesfield has written and lectured on numerous legal issues, including closing argument, valuation, DNA evidence, jurisdiction in child custody issues and the Torture Victim Protection Act − a federal law that permits victims of terrorist regimes to bring claims in state and federal courts.

She is a much sought after lecturer and panelist, frequently serving on programs designed for trial lawyers and litigators sponsored by The Daily Business Review, The University of Miami Law School, National Business Institute, The National Association of Women Judges, and numerous South Florida bar associations.

Professional Activities

Judge Leesfield has been a well-known and highly respected member of the South Florida legal community for over thirty years. She is a founder and former President of the Miami-Dade County Chapter of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers. She is most proud of having created the first annual FAWL Scholarship—a fund she helped to ensure would continue in perpetuity and provide financial assistance to worthy law students.

Ellen Leesfield has a strong commitment to the South Florida legal community. She served on the Board of Directors of Legal Services of Greater Miami, the Florida Bar Committee on Judicial Professionalism, and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She is a member of the American Bar Association, ADR Division, the Dade County Bar Association, the Coral Gables Bar Association, the Cuban American Bar Association, the Hoeveler-Spellman Inns of Court, and the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Miami-Dade County.


Among Judge Leesfield’s many legal and public service awards are the Florida Justice Association’s Award for Integrity, Fairness and Professionalism; the Mattie Belle Davis Award from the Florida Association of Women Lawyers; the Gerald Kogan Judicial Distinction Award from the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; and the Community Service Award from the Dade County Psychological Association for her service to the mental health community.



When Ellen is not working, you can find her hiking in the mountains of Montana, playing tennis with her USTA team, or taking in a Broadway show. Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Hollywood, Florida, she now resides in South Miami, Florida. She is an avid cook who admires a great sauce.