Leigh Burnside is Fennemore Dowling Aaron’s President and a member of the firm’s Management Committee. As the chair of our trust and estate litigation practice group, Leigh regularly counsels fiduciaries in their administration of trusts and estates. She defends them in court actions brought by beneficiaries, assists them in the preparation and defense of accountings, and represents them in actions against third parties to recover assets belonging to the disputed trust, estate or conservatorship. Leigh also represents beneficiaries and heirs in disputes with personal representatives and trustees. Such matters include will and trust contests, disputes over the distribution of assets, and disputes over whether the fiduciary acted properly in performing his or her duties.
Leigh became an attorney because she wanted to advocate for clients in the courtroom, and be challenged every day. Her clients turn to her because of her focus on practical solutions to complex problems – and she has no fear of taking cases to trial. Leigh appreciates and thoroughly enjoys courtroom advocacy, and she takes great pride in presenting her client’s case in a way that is compelling and resonates with the judge, jury or decision-maker.
Leigh’s practice also includes conservatorships and guardianships, both contested and uncontested. She assists clients in determining whether a conservatorship or guardianship is warranted, represents them in court proceedings to appoint a conservator or guardian, and also advises court-appointed guardians and conservators in their role as fiduciaries. As an extension of these services, Leigh has handled numerous trust and estate appeals, several of which resulted in published opinions finding in favor of her client.
Outside of the office, Leigh loves spending time with her family, traveling, cycling and reading. She was selected as one of only six Super Lawyers® Rising Stars in Northern California for her work in Estate and Trust Litigation in 2012. She has also been named as one of Northern California’s Super Lawyers® representing the top 5 percent of practicing attorneys in Northern California, every year since 2013. Super Lawyers® named Leigh one of the “Top 50 Women Attorneys” of Northern California in 2016, 2018-2020. And most recently, Super Lawyers® named her to the list of the Top 100 Attorneys in Northern California in 2018 and 2019.