Emily specialises in construction and engineering and has been listed as 'Rising Star' for contentious construction in London for the last consecutive years (The Legal 500). She has experience in a wide range of dispute resolution, including arbitration, litigation and adjudication. Emily acts for a variety of clients, such as developers, funders/purchasers, contractors, engineers, architects, and insurers, on international as well as UK projects. Emily also provides contract / risk management advice during the course of a project.

Alongside being published in key industry publications, Emily is the author of the chapter on Litigation (in common law jurisdictions) for the practitioner's guide on "International Construction Disputes" (editors Roquette/Proestler, 2002, Verlag C.H.Beck oHG). Emily delivers tailored training sessions to domestic and international clients on key aspects of construction and engineering law and developments. She also presents at international construction forums and is part of the firm's Germany team, working closely with our alliance partner, Redeker Sellner Dahs. 

Early on in Emily's legal career, she undertook a secondment for the insurance broker Willis Towers Watson working on construction and solicitor professional indemnity matters internationally and within the UK.

Prior to commencing her legal training, Emily worked for the multi-national power and automation technologies leader, ABB Ltd, on major oil and gas projects.

Emily is part of WBD's Family group, supporting a progressive, inclusive, and sustainable working culture at WBD.


Examples of experience include advising:

  • In an international arbitration (under ICC Rules) on behalf of a major civil contractor on a multi-million dollar dispute concerning the design and construction of a sewage treatment plant and pumping station in the Middle East. This concerned changes to the scope of work and defective design and / or workmanship
  • An international contractor in relation to multi-million pound disputes with subcontractors under bespoke forms of contract for a gas processing plant in Europe. Issues included changes to scope of work, completion and the final accounts
  • In litigation in the TCC for one of the world's largest petrochemicals companies in relation to a key European processing plant, acting in proceedings against its contractor 
  • A local authority, defending a multi-million pound final account claim by a contractor under an amended NEC3 Option C target form of contract concerning a major infrastructure project in the UK
  • A leading international engineering practice, defending litigation proceedings in relation to a claim alleging negligent advice on a residential development
  • In an international arbitration (under ICC Rules) in relation to multi-million dollar reinstatement works under bespoke forms of contract for a major European plant
  • The owner of a mixed office/residential development, in relation to a complex multi-million pound design liability claim, concerning cladding, M&E and micro-climate issues under JCT form
  • In an international arbitration (under UNCITRAL Rules) defending a major contractor in relation to an oil and gas project in Africa
  • A contractor against a purchaser in relation to anaerobic digestion plants under IChemE Red Book and IChemE Yellow Book. Issues concerned performance, delay and completion of the respective plants
  • A developer under a JCT contract in relation fire compartmentation, roof, cladding defects and a potential class action from tenants
  • Insurers and their insureds defending various professional negligence claims against project managers, such as the project management practice for a new shopping centre and a project manager for a high specification residential development
  • Insurers in relation to various coverage matters, for example surveyor negligence concerning a series of valuations
  • In relation to numerous adjudications, including acting for a contractor against a developer in the TCC (Trident Maintain Limited v Falcon Investment Limited HT-2016-00023) successfully enforcing an adjudicator’s decision.

"Astute and clever, with a good, practical approach to meeting client needs and obtaining the best result possible"

The Legal 500, 2022

Ranked as a 'rising star' for contentious construction in London

The Legal 500, 2021 and 2022

"Emily Leonard is a very able lawyer, who is keen to get the ball rolling so that the real issues in the case can be quickly identified"

The Legal 500, 2021

"Emily Leonard is knowledgeable and always has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the case we’re working on. She – like the rest of the team – is extremely easy to work with, which in my experience always brings out the best in the team and often translates into a better result for the client"

The Legal 500, 2021