Benjamin M. Leoni, Attorney

Ben Leoni focuses his civil litigation and appellate practice on land use, zoning, municipal and administrative appeals, and general litigation.  Ben has argued on behalf of clients ranging from private landowners and small businesses to large energy corporations before municipal boards, state trial courts, and the Maine Supreme Court.  Ben has a particular interest in land use, zoning, environmental, easement and boundary disputes and has presented before public audiences and at the Maine School of Law on the topics of prescriptive easements, property law, and land use negotiation.

In 2011, Ben was selected by the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement as a winner of the Distinguished Legal Writing Awards, which is the highest honor in legal writing in the United States.  He received the award from Justice Sotomayor at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

Ben graduated in 2011 from Vermont Law School, magna cum laude, where he served as Head Notes Editor of the Vermont Law Review.  While at Vermont Law, Ben received American Jurisprudence Awards for achieving the highest grade in his class in Torts, Appellate Advocacy, and Trial Practice.  Ben also served as a research assistant to current Dean Marc Mihaly and former Dean Kinvin Wroth.

Ben was named a 2015 Super Lawyers® “Rising Star” in the area of General Litigation.

Practice Areas

  • Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications
  • Litigation and Administrative Law
  • Real Estate

Education

  • J.D., magna cum laude—Vermont Law School—2011
  • Head Note Editor—Vermont Law Review
  • B.A., Political Science—Bates College—2005

Bar Admissions and Memberships

  • Maine
  • United States District Court for the District of Maine
  • Maine State Bar Association

Civic Involvement

  • Maine Chapter of The Nature Conservancy – ICL Trustee 2013-2014, Corporate Conservation Council Committee 2013-present;
  • Sail Maine – Corporate Challenge Committee, 2012-present
  • The Northern Forest Center – Programs Committee, 2011-present
  • Volunteer judge, Vermont Law School and Maine School of Law appellate advocacy classes
  • Volunteer – Maine Homeless Legal Project, Volunteer Lawyers Project

Representative Matters

  • Successfully represented property owners in Kennebunkport in defeating a multi-million dollar lawsuit instigated by the Town, State, and over 150 other local landowners that sought to take client’s property for public use without compensation through a prescriptive easement.  Almeder v. Town of Kennebunkport, 2014 ME 12.
  • Represented Maine’s second-largest public utility company as amicus curiae before the Maine Supreme Court in vacating an adverse trial court decision regarding utility line-owner liability for personal injuries resulting from contact with utility line.  Central Maine Power Co. v. Devereux Marine, Inc., 2013 ME 37.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of rental car company opposing liability arising from personal injury of passenger in a rental car.  White v. McCann et al., BANSC-CV-14-47 (Order 9/15/14).
  • Represented shoreland property owners in overturning municipal decision permitting neighbor’s activities that infringed on client’s riparian rights.  White v. Town of Naples, AP-12-63 (Order 12/19/13).
  • Obtained a favorable settlement for client in case involving a dispute between partners of a small business.

Publications

  • Resolving Disputes in the Northern Forest: Lessons from the Connecticut and Moosehead Lakes, 35 Vt. L. Rev. 295 (2010)
  • Kennebunkport Missed Collaborative Opportunity in Goose Rocks Beach Dispute, Portland Press Herald, May 27, 2014.
  • Why the Goose Rocks Beach Ruling is Actually Good for Public Access, Seacoast Online, February 27, 2014.

Personal Interests

Ben is an avid backcountry skier who has appeared in five ski movies and numerous ski publications.  Ben’s online webseries Working for the Weekend, which follows Ben’s backcountry skiing excursions throughout the Northeast, received over a hundred thousand views in its first season.  Prior to law school, Ben worked in Alta, Utah in winters, taught sailing in summers, and spent his falls and springs caretaking at backcountry huts in the White Mountains for the Appalachian Mountain Club. Ben lives in Portland which he uses as a base camp for his skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and year-round surfing adventures.