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Debbie Leonard
Debbie Leonard

Senior Mediator

Senior MediatorThis mediator has at least 100 hours of mediation training, 500 hours of mediation experience, agrees to take part in at least 12 hours per year of continuing mediation education, and subscribes to's required standards of mediation practice.Premium Member

Debbie Leonard

Debbie Leonard is an accomplished lawyer and mediator with over 20 years of experience resolving complex water and natural resources disputes. Her areas of experience include:  trans-boundary water conflicts; adjudications; water rights permitting and compliance; water purchases, sales and leasing; interference actions; reclaimed water; federal reserved rights; the public trust doctrine; conjunctive management; and groundwater management plans. She also works on trespass and property disputes, easements and ditch rights. Since 2013, Ms. Leonard has been appointed a Nevada Supreme Court Settlement Judge, where she mediates bilateral and multi-party water and real property cases.

Having served in the roles of both an advocate and mediator, Ms. Leonard provides parties with an objective perspective on their legal positions while facilitating productive discussions of pragmatic solutions. She encourages disputants to recognize each other’s needs and interests with the goal of creating a process that allows parties to shape their own outcomes. Her background as a scientist, educator and lawyer makes her uniquely qualified to understand technical information and address the particular complexities that water and natural resources disputes pose.

ADR Experience

Private Mediator and Nevada Supreme Court Settlement Judge (2013-present)

Cases relate primarily to water and real property disputes

Conduct in-person and virtual mediations

Representative matters:

Declaratory relief actions regarding water rights conveyance documents and interpretation of right-of-way reservation

Actions to establish or recognize easements and ditch rights

Quiet title actions

Interpretation and enforcement of restrictive covenants and common interest community documents

Enforcement of and exercise of rights under security interests in land and water

Interpretation of power purchase agreement

Condemnation and trespass actions

Breach of lease, purchase and sale, and other agreements

Alleged violations of government Open Meeting Law

Volunteer Mediator and Arbitrator, State Bar of Nevada Fee Dispute Committee

Instructor, Mediating Conservation Disputes, California Council of Land Trusts and Land Trust Alliance


I incorporate empathic listening, objective legal analysis, and solid technical expertise with a no-nonsense problem solving approach.


BERKELEY LAW, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY – Juris Doctor with Certificate in Environmental Law (2002)

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ – M.A. Education and California Secondary Teaching Credential in Science (1997)


Areas Of Practice

  • Agriculture & Ranching
  • Appellate
  • Boundary Disputes
  • Environmental
  • Natural Resources
  • Real Estate

Additional Services

  • Arbitrator
  • Facilitator



Fees and Provisos

Rate is established on a case-by-case basis.

Liability Insurance

  • Yes

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association - Environment, Energy, and Resources Section
  • State Bar of Nevada - Environment and Natural Resources Section; Appellate Litigation Section; ADR Section
  • State Bar of California - Environmental Law Section
  • Washoe County Bar Association