Leto has been successfully litigating cases for plaintiffs in the North Carolina state and federal courts for more than 25 years. She handles cases of workplace injury and mistreatment, personal injury and wrongful death, and sexual harassment and sex abuse. For the past eleven years, Leto has had the highest rating (AV) for legal ability and ethical standards given by Martindale Hubbell. She has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America in the area of workers’ compensation since 2005. Since 2006, Leto has been included in the list of North Carolina Super Lawyers published by Law and Politics Magazine. In the same magazine, she was listed as one of the top fifty women lawyers in North Carolina from 2006-2009.
Leto regularly lectures and and gives practical advice to her colleagues in the law. She has taught in continuing legal education programs sponsored by, among other groups, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, the North Carolina Bar Association, the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys and the Labor and Employment Section of the American Bar Association.
Leto has served various leadership roles in the North Carolina legal community. She currently serves as co-chair of the CLE Committee of the Litigation Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and on the NCBA Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section Council. Leto previously served on the NCBA Labor and Employment and Law Practice Management Section Councils. For five years she was a board member of Legal Aid of North Carolina, an agency delivering free legal services to low-income people statewide. She has served as President of the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, and in various leadership positions with the North Carolina Advocates for Justice.
Leto believes in public service. Her first job after being admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 1984 was as staff attorney with Legal Services of Southern Piedmont. She is actively involved in her church, St. Philips Episcopal of Durham, where she served for four years as a youth group leader and on the church vestry (governing board). For 4 years she served as the American Sign Language interpreter for the church, and in 2010, she was profiled in Law and Politics Magazine in an article entitled “The Interpreter”, which told of her participation as a team interpreter on a medical mission trip to Honduras. Leto is also an enthusiastic member of Rotary International and is a member of the Hillsborough, NC chapter.
Leto moved to North Carolina in 1983, right after graduating from Harvard Law School, to work as a law clerk to the Honorable James E. McMillan (a native of McDonald, NC) of the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. She immediately felt a harmony with the state and its people, and has never left. Leto is an avid observer and supporter of North Carolina wildlife, and loves to spend time outdoors. In her practice, she has always represented individuals, since she has never forgotten the years when she had to fully support herself as an auto parts worker, house cleaner and waitress.
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Areas of Practice:
- Workers’ Compensation
- Personal Injury
- Wrongful Death
- Sex Abuse/Sexual Harassment
- 95% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
- Workers’ Compensation Law, since 2000
- North Carolina, 1984
- U.S. District Court Western District of North Carolina, 1984
- U.S. District Court Middle District of North Carolina, 1988
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1988
- Harvard University Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1983
- Hunter College of the City University of New York, 1980
- Honors: summa cum laude
Recognition and Awards:
- The Best Lawyers in America, 2005 – present
- North Carolina Super Lawyers published by Law and Politics Magazine, 2006 – present
- One of the Top Fifty Women Lawyers in North Carolina, Law and Politics Magazine, 2006 – 2009
- Rated AV, the highest for legal ability and ethical standards, by Martindale Hubbell, 2001 – present
- Women of Wisdom Silver Service Award, North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, 2009
Professional Associations and Memberships:
- American Association for Justice, Member 2000 – present
- American Bar Association, Member 1994 – present (Individual Rights and Responsibilities, Labor and Employment, and Law Practice Management Sections)
- The National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 Lawyers, 2011
- National Employment Lawyers Association, Member 1993 – present
- Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group, Member 1999 – present
- North Carolina Advocates for Justice, Member 1993 – present (Chair, Workers’ Compensation Section 2004-5; Co-Chair, Women’s Caucus, 2000-02; Executive Committee, Employment Law Section, 1999-2000; member, Education Committee, 2008-09)
- North Carolina Bar Association, Member 1984 – present (Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section Council, 2011; Co-chair, CLE Committee, Litigation Section, 2011; Law Practice Management Section Council, 2008 – 2011; Law School Liaison Committee, 1999-2000; Labor and Employment Law Section Council, 1994-96)
- North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, Member 1984- present (President, 1998-99; Judicial Endorsements Committee, 1998 – 2005; Board of Directors, 1995 – 2000, 1990-91)
- North Carolina Judicial District 15B Bar, Member 2004 – present
- Church, St. Philips Episcopal of Durham: Church Vestry, 2009 – present; Hispanic Ministry, 2008; Lay Reader 2008-09; American Sign Language Interpreter, 2009 – present; Journey to Adulthood Youth Program Leader, 2001-05
- Episcopal Diocese – Sponsored Honduras Health Mission, participant 2007, fundraiser and speaker, 2007-09
- Rotary International, member, Hillsborough, NC chapter, 2010 – present
- English (Primary)
- Spanish – proficient
- American Sign Language – proficient