Ryan M.

Land Use & Development



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Ryan M. Leaderman

Land Use & Development


Ryan Leaderman is a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use and Development Practice Group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.  His practice focuses on obtaining and negotiating land use entitlements for complex land use planning and mixed-use developments and securing project approvals for all types of major developments in Southern California. He also represents various clients in all aspects of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), including CEQA litigation.  Ryan Leaderman possesses extensive experience in guiding high-profile residential, commercial, and mixed-use development projects through the approval process. 

Ryan Leaderman specializes in all types of land use permits, including variances and conditional use permits, general plan and zoning amendments and interacts regularly with governmental agencies at all levels.  Ryan Leaderman assists developers in complying with CEQA and planning and zoning regulations throughout California, and, in particular, for mixed-used projects in the Downtown Los Angeles area.

Ryan Leaderman’s involvement in a project typically begins with the more traditional aspects of development law. Projects are checked to ensure compliance with local general plans and zoning codes as well as any other relevant regulations such as hillside ordinances.  He assists with any variances, general plan amendments, zone changes, conditional use permits, subdivision maps or other entitlements or permits necessary to move a project forward. Ryan Leaderman advises clients with regard to any exaction or dedication requirements governments may impose.

Development regulation today extends beyond zoning and subdivision law. His clients face increasingly complex laws and regulations. Ryan Leaderman and his land use team have successfully navigated projects to completion by balancing the community's concerns with the rights and needs of the client.

Property development is also increasingly confronted with political and no-growth issues. For instance, local groups opposed to development have attempted in the recent past to use initiatives and referenda to defeat projects via “ballot box zoning.”  Ryan Leaderman provides legal counsel in this area in order to successfully protect the progress and viability of projects and to secure vested rights to develop. In addition, Ryan Leaderman has success in achieving a conciliatory and constructive tone with anti-growth groups opposed to a project, and has accumulated years of experience in negotiating with community groups and local government entities.

The CEQA process is usually the most daunting step of the California development process, often requiring the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) detailing the expected impacts of a project on the environment, and project opponents often litigate under CEQA to halt development. Ryan Leaderman has reviewed and supervised the preparation of many EIRs and possesses extensive experience in CEQA compliance. EIRs are complex documents, containing analyses that cover a wide range of topics. As a result, CEQA compliance involves not only knowledge of CEQA law, but knowledge of the law and science regarding the many different topics that are analyzed in an EIR. For instance, Ryan Leaderman provides counsel with regard to the air quality, noise, and traffic issues that may confront clients and their projects. His knowledge and skills in these legal fields are what makes the difference for his clients.

Additionally, Ryan Leaderman has experience in dealing with water rights and supply issues. Water is a limited commodity in California and certain development projects may rise or fall based upon the ability to establish or obtain an adequate water supply. In addition, the enactment of the Costa Bill (SB 610) and the Kuehl Bill (SB 221) requires most large development projects to establish that there are sufficient quantities of water available to supply the project for the next twenty years. Ryan Leaderman knows how to effectively analyze water rights issues and water supply sufficiency in order to aid the client in the development of the project. This often includes authoring supplementary water supply analyses for inclusion in EIRs in order to correct the errors and omissions that local water agencies and local government routinely commit.

This wealth of land use knowledge is also essential when a transaction requires that an analysis of entitlements and land use issues be performed as part of a deal's due diligence. The ability to develop a property or use it for its intended purpose in many respects is the prime source of its value. It is critical that all the pitfalls and limitations of a property are revealed before a deal is completed, in order to avoid costly false impressions regarding the regulatory limitations of the land. In this vein, Ryan Leaderman has conducted many complicated land use due diligence analyses, some of which involve almost all of the subjects raised above.


University of California at Los Angeles, School of Law (J.D.)

University of California Los Angeles (B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)


Speaking Engagements & Publications

Speaking Engagements

  • Guest Lecturer – CEQA presentation for Real Estate Law and Business II (Land Development Law), USC Gould School of Law, Los Angeles, CA, January 26, 2017
  • Presenter – “Land Use Impacts,” Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee, Hollywood, CA, January 17, 2017
  • Panelist – “Association of Environmental Planners (AEP) Advanced CEQA Workshop,” Los Angeles, CA, February 12, 2014
  • Presenter – “Land Use Law: Entitlements and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA),” 2nd Annual Best of CLE Conference hosted by The Seminar Group, Santa Monica, CA, January 18, 2013
  • Presenter – “Recent Developments in Land Use Law,” Best of CLE Conference hosted by The Seminar Group, Marina del Rey, CA, January 14, 2011
  • Presenter – “Development Slowed, CEQA Didn’t: Don’t Be Blind Sided - Learn about the Important CEQA Cases Decided in 2009,” February 4, 2010
  • Speaker – “Young Real Estate Professionals CEQA Presentation,” IDS Real Estate Group, Los Angeles, CA, July 29, 2008
  • Speaker – “Permitting Your Project – Navigating the Approval Process, American Resort Development Association (ARDA),” Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV, April 8, 2008


  • Author – “Does Proposition 26 Limit New California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Mitigation?" Daily Journal, December 2, 2010
  • Co-Author – “Mitigation Fees May Stall Development Resurgence,” Daily Journal, March 23, 2010
  • Co-Author – “Big Solutions are Needed to Head Off a Serious Water Crisis,” E/The Environmental Magazine, February 3, 2009


  • “Some Wilshire Grand Neighbors Say the Tower’s Glass Surface Creates Too Much Glare,” Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2016
  • “4 Transportation Issues Amid LA’s Residential Boom,” Law360, January 19, 2016
  • “4 Takeaways From California High Court’s Greenhouse Gas Ruling,” Law360, December 1, 2015
  • “4 Obstacles in Push to Revitalize the Los Angeles River, Law360, October 20, 2015
  • Southern California Super Lawyer  (2014-2017)
  • Southern California Super Lawyer – Rising Star (2007-2013)
  • Board Member – West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation
  • Executive Committee Member – Central City Association (CCA)
  • Representing Maple Multi-Family Land CA, L.P. in the acquisition of entitlements and environmental review for The Alexan, a 27-story mixed-use project consisting of 305 dwelling units and 6,171 square feet of commercial space adjacent to the historic Eastern Columbia in the South Park/Historic Core area of Downtown Los Angeles.
  • Representing Jia Yuan USA Co. Inc. in the acquisition of entitlements and environmental review for 1020 S. Figueroa Street, a mixed-use project consisting of 650 residential condominiums, 300 hotel rooms and 80,000 square feet of commercial uses in 1,129,284 square feet of floor area in the South Park area of Downtown Los Angeles.
  • Representing Los Angeles Streetcar, Inc. in the Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment for the reintroduction of streetcars in Downtown Los Angeles.
  • Represented Metropolis for Greenland LA Metropolis Acquisition, LLC’s (Greenland) mixed-use project which totals nearly 2.0 million square feet of floor area that includes 1,560 dwelling units, 310 hotel rooms, and almost 75,000 square feet of retail uses in four high rise buildings on 6.3 acres in Downtown Los Angeles.
  • Represented Olive Investment Group, LLC in the acquisition of entitlements and environmental review for the Emerald, a seven story mixed-use project consisting of 154 dwelling units and 10,700 square feet of commercial space in Downtown Los Angeles. (Prior Firm)
  • Represented Amacon in the acquisition of entitlements and environmental review for the 28-story mixed-use project consisting of 208 residential condominium units and 6,700 square feet of commercial uses in the South Park area of Downtown Los Angeles. (Prior Firm)
  • Represented Onni in the acquisition of entitlements for (1) a 50-story mixed-use project consisting of 583 dwelling units and 4,500 square feet of commercial uses, and (2) a mixed-use project consisting of a 40-story tower and 31-story 310 dwelling unit tower atop 8,000 square feet of commercial uses in the South Park area of Downtown Los Angeles. (Prior Firm)
  • Represented The Onyx for a mixed-use transit-oriented urban infill project located in the South Park neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles. The project includes 410 apartments and 42,000 square feet of retail/commercial spaces on 1.86 acres. (Prior Firm)
  • Represented Gerding Edlen in the proposed space that includes 464 dwelling units, approximately 27,000 square feet of retail, and up to 14,000 square feet of restaurants in the Wilshire Center area of the City of Los Angeles. (Prior Firm)
  • Represented Caruso Affiliated Holdings for the mixed-use shopping center at the Santa Anita Racetrack, consisting of 804,000 square feet of retail and 300 residential dwelling units, as well as a 98,000 square feet racetrack simulcast center. (Prior Firm)
  • Represented Hines on behalf of the owner of the 49-story Citigroup Center to review and comment on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) proposed Regional Connector mass transit project. (Prior Firm)
  • Represented Gateway Crescent for review and comment on Caltrans’ Environmental Impact Report for an expansion of I-10. File CEQA litigation on behalf of a property owner adversely impacted and settle lawsuit with Caltrans. (Prior Firm)
  • Represented The Ratkovich Company to conduct land use due diligence for the acquisition of various properties, including the historic Spruce Goose hangar at Playa Vista, as well as The Bloc, formerly known as Macy’s Plaza, in Downtown Los Angeles. (Prior Firm)
  • Represented Blackstone Real Estate Advisors to renovate and reposition The London Hotel (formerly Bel Age), a 200-room by adding up to 23 new hotel rooms, new bars and a restaurant. Entitlements include modification of an existing CUP, Development Permit and environmental review of the proposed project. (Prior Firm)
  • Represent IDS proposed development of a 1,686,760 square foot warehousing and distribution facility. Provided legal counsel regarding the preparation and approval of an EIR and a Site Plan. (Prior Firm)