Leo Leyva
Co-Chair of Litigation Dept. & Real Estate Special Op. Group
Cole Schotz, PC

Leo Leyva is Co-chair of both the Litigation Department and the Real Estate Special Opportunities Group in the New Jersey and New York offices. He focuses on complex commercial litigation and corporate reorganization, as well as real estate and construction-related services.

Since joining the firm in 1989, Leo has represented clients in real estate litigation, corporate dissolution and shareholder oppression actions, contract claims, construction performance and payment disputes, and director and officer liability matters. Leo also represents private equity and real estate opportunity funds in connection with the acquisition of distressed properties and debt, foreclosures, and bankruptcy-related workouts and restructuring.

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.
Named as "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers' 2013 Hackensack in the category of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Leo is regularly lauded for high quality work in media outlets and has been featured in New Jersey Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, and 201 Magazine's list of Top Lawyers in Bergen County. Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers For Business cited Leo for "outstanding legal strategy and implementation."

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 Jersey Federal Bar Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association (Debtor/Creditor Section) and the Bergen County Bar Association (Debtor/Creditor Section). He is also active in the Seton Hall University Alumni Advisory Council and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bergen Community College Foundation.

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