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DLA Piper LLP (US)

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Ryan Leaderman

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DLA Piper LLP (US)

Work Department

Real Estate: Land Use




Ryan Leaderman focuses on obtaining and negotiating land use entitlements for complex land use planning and mixed-use developments and securing project approvals for all types of major developments in Southern California.

He also represents clients in all aspects of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), including CEQA litigation. Ryan possesses extensive experience in guiding high-profile residential, commercial and mixed-use development projects through the approval process. Ryan's experience encompasses all types of land use permits, such as variances and conditional use permits, general plan and zoning amendments and interacts regularly with governmental agencies at all levels.  He assists developers in complying with CEQA and planning and zoning regulations throughout California − in particular, for mixed-used projects in the Downtown Los Angeles area.

Ryan and his land use team have successfully navigated projects to completion by balancing community concerns with the rights and needs of the client.  Ryan's involvement in a project typically begins with the more traditional aspects of development law. Projects are checked to ensure compliance with local general plans and zoning codes as well as any other relevant regulations such as hillside ordinances.  He assists with any variances, general plan amendments, zone changes, conditional use permits, subdivision maps or other entitlements or permits necessary to move a project forward. He advises with regard to any exaction or dedication requirements governments may impose.

Ryan also provides counsel to help protect the viability of projects that may face potential defeat via initiatives and referenda – so-called ballot-box zoning. He has years of experience in negotiating with community groups and local government entities to achieve constructive outcomes.

The CEQA process is usually the most daunting step of the California development process, often requiring the preparation of an environmental impact report (EIR) or mitigated negative declaration (MND) detailing the expected impacts of a project on the environment, and project opponents often litigate under CEQA to halt development. Ryan has extensive experience with the CEQA process. He has reviewed and supervised the preparation of many EIRs and possesses extensive experience in CEQA compliance and he provides counsel with regard to the air quality, noise and traffic issues that may confront clients and their projects. Additionally, Ryan has experience in dealing with water rights and supply issues, analyzing water rights issues and water supply sufficiency in order to aid the client in the development of the project. This often includes authoring supplementary water supply analyses for inclusion in EIRs.

Moreover, Ryan has deployed his wealth of land use knowledge to conduct numerous complicated land use due diligence analyses, some of which involve almost all of the subjects raised above.


JD, University of California at Los Angeles School of Law; BA, University of California, Los Angeles

United States: Real estate

Land use/zoning

Within: Land use/zoning

The team at DLA Piper LLP (US) serves a broad client base that includes real estate developers, investors, institutions, technology companies and sporting teams. Its impressive client list includes Related Companies, Sterling Bay and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Recent engagements saw Theodore Novak, who jointly heads the practice alongside Richard Klawiter, assist Crescent Heights Group with zoning and land use matters concerning a redevelopment project in Chicago’s Central Station. Paul Shadle advised Motorola Solutions on the relocation of its corporate headquarters from a suburb to downtown Chicago. On the contentious side, Mariah DiGrino represented PADS Lake County in a zoning approval dispute related to a housing facility for the chronically homeless; the objections of nearby property owners were rejected in an appellate court proceeding in October 2017. The team has been augmented by the hires of Jerold Neuman, Ryan Leaderman and Kyndra Joy Casper from Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstreif LLP, and in May 2018, Antonio Calabrese joined the Northern Virginia office from Cooley LLP.

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DLA Piper LLP (US)

  • Sentencing guidelines for corporate manslaughter

    In February 2010 the Sentencing Guidelines Council (the SGC) issued definitive guidelines to courts on imposing appropriate sentences for corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences causing death. The SGC states that fines imposed on companies found guilty of corporate manslaughter should not fall below £500,000, while fines in respect of health and safety offences that are a significant cause of death should be at least £100,000. Crucially, the SGC declined to provide for a fixed link between the imposed fine and the turnover or profitability of the offending company.

    - DLA Piper UK LLP

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