Todd R. Leishman

Of Counsel

Tel: (949) 263-6576


At a Glance

Todd represents both public agency and private clients as general and special counsel on a range of planning, development and housing issues.
He handles transactional and litigation issues in land use, environmental and municipal government law.
Todd brings a litigator’s experience to transactions, adding value and achieving successful outcomes for clients.

Todd Leishman helps public agencies and private developers create successful projects by applying his experience in environmental law and real estate, as well as creative approaches to negotiation. With a background in public policy and local government law, Todd is also a sought-after adviser on issues surrounding short-term rentals, sober-living facilities and other housing matters.
Todd, who is of counsel in Best Best & Krieger LLP’s Ontario and Irvine offices, handles complex real estate and regulatory matters for both private and public clients, which allows him to understand both private and municipal perspectives. This unique viewpoint affords Todd the ability to find common ground and hidden value, allowing him to help bring projects to fruition and deescalate contention — but he also knows when and how to take a hard line to defend client’s rights. Working collaboratively and constructively, Todd coordinates BB&K service teams to acquire and develop real estate, review environmental impacts, obtain state and federal permits and licenses, assure water availability, and meet affordable housing goals.
Todd helps negotiate and implement development agreements, other entitlements and related improvement and funding agreements. He ensures compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, the Planning and Zoning Law, the Subdivision Map Act, the Mitigation Fee Act and other laws and regulations affecting development and municipalities. In every arena, he brings a litigator’s experience to transactions to help minimize disputes and achieve successful outcomes for his clients.
Todd serves as general counsel to planning commissions and departments in Big Bear Lake and the City of Azusa, and as assistant general counsel to the Santa Margarita Water District. In those roles, he advises on the Brown Act, Political Reform Act, Public Records Act, public contracting, elections and regulation of speech.
He has served as special counsel to the cities of San Clemente, Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, San Juan Capistrano, Lake Forest, Fontana, Hillsborough, Redlands, Colton, Stanton and Fullerton and to the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission. He is the editor of the League of California Cities’ “Municipal Law Handbook” Elections chapter and co-editor of the Natural Resources chapter.
As special counsel to public agencies, Todd advises on strategies for regulating short-term rentals and other transitory lodgings, with an emphasis on how regulations may be applied to sober-living homes and other types of group homes. He also focuses on affordable housing issues, including inclusionary housing, density bonuses and accessory dwelling units. He ensures compliance under the federal Fair Housing Act Amendments, Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and similar California laws. He has testified before Congress on sober-living home issues, spoken on short-term rentals and other transitory-lodging uses at the International Municipal Lawyers Association’s conference and was invited to publish an article on the issues in the California Bar Association’s Real Estate Section’s Real Property Journal.
In 2016, he received an Amicus Service Award from IMLA for his amicus brief to the California Appellate Court in Lamar Central Outdoor v. City of Los Angeles. On behalf of IMLA and the American Planning Association, Leishman’s brief supported the City’s position that its ban on offsite billboards, including alterations of existing signs or any with digital displays, was lawful. The Second District Court of Appeal reversed a lower court ruling and sided with the City.
Todd is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and all the California districts of the U.S. District Court. 
Todd volunteers his time to help victims of violent crime secure U Visas and as a leader with the Boy Scouts of America.
He lives in Claremont with his wife and three children where they enjoy hiking and pickleball as a family. He also enjoys literature, architecture and trail running.


  • Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School, J.D. 
  • Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, MRED 
  • Brigham Young University, B.A., English 


  • California
  • Colorado


  • Municipal Law Handbook (2020 Edition) for the City Attorneys’ Department of the League of California Cities, 2019-2020
California Clears the Path for Rentals in Residential Common Interest Developments
Legal Alerts Nov 10, 2020

California Clears the Path for Rentals in Residential Common Interest Developments

However, AB 3182 Creates Ambiguity for Rental Restrictions in CIDs

Calif. Housing Laws Amended by 2020 Bills
Legal Alerts Oct 27, 2020

Calif. Housing Laws Amended by 2020 Bills

Limited Local Control, Affordable Housing Incentives and More

Senate Bill 50 Dies in the Senate: Now What?
Legal Alerts Feb 03, 2020

Senate Bill 50 Dies in the Senate: Now What?

The “4-Plex Bill” Meant to Address the Housing Crisis Couldn’t Muster Enough Support

New Housing & Land Use, Local Government and Public Contracting Laws
Legal Alerts Jan 08, 2020

New Housing & Land Use, Local Government and Public Contracting Laws

Part 2: California Laws Impacting Public Agencies for 2020

California Paves Way for More ADUs
Legal Alerts Oct 16, 2019

California Paves Way for More ADUs

Part 5: New California Housing Laws

Omnibus Housing Bill Adds Teeth to Housing Element Law Enforcement
Legal Alerts Oct 14, 2019

Omnibus Housing Bill Adds Teeth to Housing Element Law Enforcement

Part 1: New California Housing Laws

Laws Regulating Campaign Contributions Must Be Narrowly Tailored to Combat Corruption
Legal Alerts Dec 05, 2018

Laws Regulating Campaign Contributions Must Be Narrowly Tailored to Combat Corruption

Ninth Circuit Holds That States Have an Important Interest in Preserving the Integrity of Their Political Institutions

Public Agencies and GDPR Compliance
Legal Alerts Aug 13, 2018

Public Agencies and GDPR Compliance

Government Entities Should Evaluate Data Collection and Use Practices

Authored Articles & Publications May 31, 2017

What Tools Do Cities Need to Regulate Short-term Rentals?

By Joshua Nelson and Todd Leishman

Authored Articles & Publications Mar 28, 2017

Solving the Problem of the Unchecked Rise of Short-Term Rentals

By Mark A. Easter, Joshua Nelson and Todd R. Leishman

"AB 881 et al: ADU Laws," Daily Journal New Laws Supplement, Jan. 8, 2020

Contact Todd R. Leishman

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