Ellen Leonida

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Biography

Ellen Leonida is an experienced trial lawyer specializing in white collar criminal defense and investigations and complex commercial litigation. With over 20 years of litigation experience, she has first chaired more than 80 jury trials in state and federal courts. She has also conducted internal investigations and counseled clients regarding government investigations and subpoena compliance. Ms. Leonida is a nationally recognized forensics expert, who has lectured on topics including DNA, digital forensics, and trial skills.

Ms. Leonida represents individual and corporate clients in a broad range of criminal matters, including trade secret theft, bribery, money laundering, and fraud. She represents clients in state and federal courts, in grand jury investigations, and in administrative proceedings.

Ms. Leonida also handles a wide range of civil litigation matters, including disputes involving breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, and unfair business practices.

Prior to joining Sideman & Bancroft, Ms. Leonida was the head of the impact litigation and white collar groups at a boutique litigation firm in San Francisco. She has also served as a Federal Public Defender in the Northern District of California.

 

Experience

Representative civil matters

  • Secured a jury verdict and $21 million judgment, plus attorneys’ fees, for a Consumer Packaged Goods start-up client against the manufacturer of a food production line in a breach of contract matter
  • Represented a class of incarcerated people wrongfully punished after the Department of Corrections knowingly administered faulty drug tests, obtained an injunction preventing the DOC from using the test to punish people
  • Represented a class of immigrants challenging a police department’s illegal practice of transferring people to ICE custody, settled case settled with permanent injunction, cy pres award to local nonprofit, and attorneys’ fees
  • Represented library patrons fighting censorship in a Texas public library, obtained an injunction forcing the county to replace the censored books

Representative criminal matters

  • Represented defendant charged with trafficking counterfeit merchandise, obtained acquittal on all counts after jury trial
  • Represented defendant charged with murder, obtained acquittal on all counts after jury trial
  • Represented company in false claims investigation, obtained declination of prosecution
  • Represented defendant charged with extortion, obtained deferred prosecution

Professional Involvement

Ms. Leonida, a 2023 California Super Lawyer, has been recognized for her civil litigation skills, including receiving the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, Fr. Cuchulain Moriarty Award (2024), and twice being named in The American Lawyer Litigator of the Week – Shout Outs (2023)

She has been appointed by the judges of the Northern District of California as the Criminal Justice Act Panel Attorney Representative for the Northern District of California. Additionally, Ms. Leonida is a member of the Bar Association of San Francisco, Criminal Justice Task Force.

Ms. Leonida currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco Law School and formerly taught at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

Ms. Leonida served as a Lawyer Representative for Northern District of California Judicial Conference from 2016 to 2018.

Education

  • University of California, Santa Cruz B.A. 1993
  • University of California, Berkeley J.D. 1996

Admissions

  • California

Biography

Ellen Leonida is an experienced trial lawyer specializing in white collar criminal defense and investigations and complex commercial litigation. With over 20 years of litigation experience, she has first chaired more than 80 jury trials in state and federal courts. She has also conducted internal investigations and counseled clients regarding government investigations and subpoena compliance. Ms. Leonida is a nationally recognized forensics expert, who has lectured on topics including DNA, digital forensics, and trial skills.

Ms. Leonida represents individual and corporate clients in a broad range of criminal matters, including trade secret theft, bribery, money laundering, and fraud. She represents clients in state and federal courts, in grand jury investigations, and in administrative proceedings.

Ms. Leonida also handles a wide range of civil litigation matters, including disputes involving breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, and unfair business practices.

Prior to joining Sideman & Bancroft, Ms. Leonida was the head of the impact litigation and white collar groups at a boutique litigation firm in San Francisco. She has also served as a Federal Public Defender in the Northern District of California.