Dave Leonard Arbitration, LLC

Handling All Levels of Commercial and Business Disputes, Technical Disputes, Discovery Disputes, and More

Experienced Arbitrator and Court Appointed Neutral

Dave Leonard is an experienced Arbitrator, handling all levels of commercial and business disputes, technical disputes, discovery disputes, and assistance to parties and courts as a Court Appointed Neutral (sometimes referred to as a Special Master).

As outlined in his summary of prior experience, as a litigation and trial lawyer, Dave’s law practice included a wide variety of commercial disputes, ranging from complex technical and engineering cases to sophisticated insurance and reinsurance disputes to commercial business tort and securities disputes, director and officer liability, and transactional liability—the latter typically over alleged breaches in representations and warranties in merger and acquisition agreements. He has appeared in state and federal courts and as an advocate in arbitrations in over a dozen states, and has tried cases to verdict and judgment in Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana.

Dave’s interest in arbitration as an alternative to lengthy court proceedings has its roots decades ago, as his practice became more complex and he saw how procedural and discovery battles in a large commercial dispute could overshadow the merits. He witnessed firsthand how disputes among counsel dramatically increased the cost of litigation, typically providing limited benefit to the resolution of the core issues. Often the result was a case proceeding with ever-increasing expense, until the trial date was imminent or the court required a mediation. That was a pattern Dave wanted to change.

Dave has always believed that with most commercial disputes, good lawyers on both sides should be able to value a case—within a similar range—if they could depend on the court system to be consistent in following the applicable law and being fair to the parties on issues of discovery and pre-trial. His experience in courts across multiple states convinced him that a good judge was the most important element of case resolution on a fair and equitable basis, whether by settlement or judgment after trial.

A significant percentage of Dave’s arbitration cases result in settlements before the final hearing. Dave believes that is not an accident. By investing the time to study the elements of the case early in the process—focusing the parties on the issues and on an organized and fair approach to preparing the case for the final hearing— good lawyers find opportunities to discuss resolution of the case short of the expense of a full evidentiary hearing. If the case is resolved voluntarily, all the better. But whenever an impasse occurs, whether related to discovery issues or the ultimate merits, Dave stands ready to resolve the issues as the arbitrator.

As an arbitrator, Dave strives to bring to his work the best that he saw among the many judges he faced over four decades. The most important qualities in Dave’s view are fairness and integrity. Consistency also plays a large role in the satisfaction experienced by the parties. Thorough preparation is key to giving parties the confidence that the arbitrator understands their positions and that their case is being handled in a manner that follows the law. Mutual respect among counsel and the arbitration panel is important to the process and the result.

Dave’s philosophy is to allow the parties to inform how their dispute will be handled while recognizing that the goal of the AAA, and Dave’s personal goal, is to move a case forward to resolution more quickly and more efficiently than would be typical in a lengthy court proceeding. At the same time, Dave has not forgotten what it is like to practice law and prepare a case for trial. He works with the parties to reach a reasonable schedule and discovery protocol, and a narrowing of the legal issues where appropriate, striving to make any final hearing an efficient vehicle for the parties to present their case and reach the truth. Dave works to emulate those qualities that he most admired in the judges before whom he appeared, to instill a level of confidence in the parties that—regardless of the ultimate outcome—their dispute was considered fully and fairly to the best of his ability.