In her twenty-five year career, Lesley has focused primarily on cases that protect the public interest, consumers, and public entities. She continues to do so as the Head of BFA’s Antitrust and Consumer Litigation Teams, and as the Partner in Charge of BFA’s California Office. In 2015, Lesley was appointed by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in In re Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litig., MDL No. 2672 CRB (JSC). The PSC in the Volkswagen litigation recovered $14.7 billion for class members and nearly $5 billion for the environment, the largest automotive class action recovery ever.
In July 2018, Judge Chhabria of the Northern District of California appointed Lesley as co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in In re: Facebook, Inc. Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation. The litigation consolidates more than 30 cases filed around the country alleging that Facebook violated consumer fraud and privacy laws in allowing hundreds of third party apps, including Cambridge Analytica, to bundle and sell Facebook users’ personally identifiable information without their knowledge or consent.
In April 2018, Lesley was appointed as interim Co-Lead Counsel in In re Inductors Antitrust Litig., Case No. 18-cv-198, representing a class of purchasers of inductors, a passive electronic component that is a key element of electronic circuits found in smart phones, laptops, computers, and other consumer electronic devices.
In June 2017, Lesley was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee leading claims against Fiat Chrysler and Bosch in In re Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep EcoDiesel Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability, MDL No. 17-MD-02777-EMC (“Fiat Chrysler”). Like Volkswagen, the Fiat Chrysler lawsuit seeks to redress harm to consumers arising out of the illegal and deliberate use of devices to sense when vehicles are being tested, so that those vehicles regularly emit significant amounts of pollution on the road.
In pro bono matters, including negotiating reforms in the merger between SunTrust and BBC banks, Lesley represents the National Black Farmers Association, an organization dedicated to securing better economic conditions for farmers with deep historical roots in our country’s economic success.
In addition, Lesley has extensive experience representing sophisticated institutional investors in landmark securities actions. Some of those cases include In re Cavanaugh Securities Litig. (including appeal to the Ninth Circuit concerning the method of selecting lead plaintiff and lead counsel after the enactment of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act.); In re Marsh & McLennan Cos. Sec. Litig. ($400 million settlement); In re Cardinal Health Inc. Sec. Litig. ($600 million settlement); and In re Cisco Systems, Inc. Sec. Litig. ($99 million settlement); In re Northpoint Communications Group, Inc. (notable decision finding that certain allegations of scienter and falsity in securities suit were pled with particularity required by PSLRA and statements made about potential merger with Verizon were deliberately reckless); and CommTouch Software, Ltd. Sec. Litig. (notable decision finding complaint pled with sufficient particularity to support an inference of deliberate misconduct), among other significant cases.
In addition, Lesley counsels clients seeking to opt out of class action litigation, assisting them in negotiating confidential, private settlements, with outstanding results.
In October 2014, Lesley tried an internet privacy case against a Chinese-owned, California-based internet site, recovering 100 percent of economic damages and a $15 million punitive damages jury verdict, as well as significant injunctive relief. Her first trial was in 1998 before the Hon. Vaughn Walker on behalf of Amanda Buritica, a U.S. citizen born in Colombia who was unlawfully detained by U.S. Customs at San Francisco International Airport. The case resulted in the largest verdict at the time under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Lesley is committed to public service through volunteer efforts, and currently serves on the Advisory Council of the East Bay Community Law Center, as well as the Executive Committee of the Securities Section for the Bar Association of San Francisco. She is a past Co-Chair of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, a past Co-Chair of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, past National Chair of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and past Vice-President and Director of the Board of the Frameline Film Festival. She has previously served on the boards of Women Lawyers of Alameda County, Equality California, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club. She also is a member of Public Justice and of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (NAPPA).
Lesley is regularly featured at prominent speaking events. She will be speaking on a panel at the upcoming California Lawyers Association’s (CLA) Fifth Annual “Celebrating Women in Competition Law in California” event, to be held on September 9, 2021. The panel will be discussing the role of gender in their leadership styles, and provide advice for navigating gender-based obstacles. The conversation will be moderated by the Honorable Beth Labson Freeman of the Northern District of California.
Lesley holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Harvard College. She studied political science at the University of Bonn (Germany), and attended high school at Haderslev Katedraleskole in Denmark. She speaks German and Danish.