Jeffrey D. Leonard


Jeff focuses his practice on construction law and litigation. Drawing on his diverse personal experience in the construction industry, he is regularly retained to assist clients in complex construction matters, including the negotiation and drafting of construction agreements, as well as litigated disputes in State and Federal Court, mediation and arbitration proceedings. In addition to advising clients in their day-to-day operations, Jeff has participated in the resolution of disputes involving allegations of construction and design defects, delay and liquidated damages, unforeseen site conditions, environmental concerns (including toxic mold), safety related claims and professional negligence. The involved projects include residential, commercial and industrial buildings, military installations, educational facilities, prisons, airports, parking garages, highways and bridges, wastewater facilities and process plant facilities. Jeff is active in a number of industry and professional organizations and is a frequent seminar presenter on construction law and litigation topics.

Over the course of his legal career, Jeff has developed significant experience assisting clients in all manner of business and commercial disputes. He frequently serves as a mediator, and is known for his preparation, diplomacy, and creative solutions. He also assists clients in addressing safety and environmental compliance concerns, including defending administrative proceedings before OSHA. Jeff holds the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory’s highest “AV Preeminent” rating for lawyers, reflecting exemplary legal ability and ethical standards. He has been recognized for many years by “Best Lawyers in America”, including Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” three times in the field of “Construction Law” and “Litigation – Construction”. Jeff has also been named by his peers as one of Wichita’s “Top Lawyers.”

Education

  • Washburn University School of Law (J.D., with honors, 1990)
  • Wichita State University (B.S. 1987)

Court Admissions

  • State of Kansas
  • United States District Court for the District of Kansas
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri (inactive)
  • United States District Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
    • Forum on Construction Industry 1991 to present
    • Section of Litigation 1991 to present
    • Section of Dispute Resolution 1991 to present
  • Kansas Bar Association
    • Construction Law Section 1991 to present, current President
    • Litigation Section 1991 to present
    • Commission on Professionalism 2011-2012
      • Invited to participate in drafting “Pillars of Professionalism” guidelines designed to promote respect, civility and courtesy in the practice of law, which were subsequently adopted by the Kansas Supreme Court, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Kansas, Wichita Bar Association, Kansas Association of Defense Counsel, and Kansas Association for Justice.
  • Wichita Bar Association
    • Board of Governors - 2001-2003, 2005-2007
    • Civil Practice Committee - 1991 to present
      • As Chair (1999-2001) formed subcommittee to address discovery abuses and develop deposition practice guidelines which were subsequently adopted by the Eighteenth Judicial District Court of Kansas and U.S. District Court, District of Kansas.
    • Ethics Committee - 2005 to present
      • Investigator on behalf of the Kansas Disciplinary Administrator’s Office of complaints against attorneys.
  • Associated General Contractors of Kansas

Recognitions

  • Martindale-Hubbell “AV Preeminent” rating
  • Best Lawyers in America - 2007 to present
  • Best Lawyers, Lawyer of the Year in “Construction Law” (2014, 2018), and “Litigation – Construction” (2019)

Representative Publications and Presentations

  • Avoiding Construction Disputes Through Professionalism, Preparation and Performance. Presented at Kan-Struct, a joint conference of the AGC, ACEC, CSI, DBIA-MAR, NAWIC and KPHCC, March 2018, Wichita, Kansas.
  • Construction Law for Dummies. Wichita Bar Association, May 2007.
  • How to be Happy, Prosperous, and Well-Loved by Your Clients and Peers in Three Easy Steps. Orientation to Kansas Practice for New Lawyers, Wichita Bar Association, October 2005.
  • Nuts and Bolts. Introduction to the practice of law in Kansas for law clerks, Wichita Bar Association, June 2005.
  • Construction Disputes – The Miller Act and Kansas Law Counterpart. Wichita Bar Association, May 2002.
  • Deposition Strategies. Wichita Bar Association, October 2001.
  • Deposition Practice and Procedure. Wichita Bar Association, March 2001.
  • Recent Changes in Federal Court Practices and Procedures. Wichita Bar Association, October 2000.
  • Removal: What Every Litigator Should Know. Wichita Bar Association, May 1999.

Community Service

  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Wichita (8 year tenure, current Chair)
    • Leading current effort to create and fund new facility to expand capacity and improve amenities for day care program serving seniors and adults with disabilities.
  • Center of Hope (10 year tenure on board, past Chair)
    • Assisted non-profit homelessness prevention organization in acquiring United Way funding to expand its services.