Leslie Ahari focuses her practice on directors' and officers' (D&O) and other professional liability claims. She represents insurers in coverage disputes in federal and state courts nationwide, at both the trial and appellate levels.
For over 25 years, Leslie has represented and provided counseling to insurers in complex coverage claims arising from shareholder litigation, fiduciary liability, antitrust, private equity and investment management disputes, legal malpractice, bankers professional liability, and other professional liability matters. Leslie has served as coverage counsel for insurers in some of the most serious D&O exposures that have occurred in the United States, including Enron, Adelphia, Refco and MF Global.
Leslie has been recognized as a leading lawyer for insurers by Chambers USA, which describes her as a go-to litigator and a provider of first rate work in the D&O and professional liability space. Chambers USA 2019 stated that "Leslie Ahari is held in high regard for her significant experience advising insurance market clients on sophisticated coverage disputes. She is highlighted for particular expertise in D&O matters."
Leslie is the managing partner of Clyde & Co's Washington, DC office and a member of the firm's North American Management Board.
- District of Columbia
- US District Court for the District of Columbia
- US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
- US Court of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Ninth Circuits
- US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- US Supreme Court
- J.D., cum laude, Harvard University, 1988
- A.B., magna cum laude, Duke University, 1985. Phi Beta Kappa
- American College of Coverage Counsel (ACCC)
- District of Columbia Bar
- Virginia State Bar Association
- Obtained summary judgment ruling from federal court in Ohio, affirmed by the 6th Circuit in 2014, holding that insurance policy does not provide coverage for an insured’s contractual obligations.
- Represented excess insurer in litigation which resulted in a 2013 ruling by the Washington Court of Appeals that excess policies are not triggered unless the underlying policies were exhausted by payments by the underlying insurers.
- Prevailed on behalf of D&O insurer in breach of contract and bad faith litigation in Florida state court filed by former CEO of a failed bank in 2011 who sought coverage for criminal proceedings.
- Prevailed on summary judgment in coverage litigation in Maine, affirmed by the 1st Circuit in 2009, that the coverage provided by a directors’ and officers’ policy could not be expanded to pay for the defense and settlement of a lawsuit against the company where no director or officer was a party and the company was uninsured for the loss.
- Successfully defended insurer in Oklahoma lawsuit alleging bad faith and obtained summary judgment ruling in 2008 on related claim coverage issues under a directors’ and officers’ policy.
- After more than 10 years of litigation on behalf of insurer clients, secured favorable rulings from the 3rd Circuit in 2006 on jurisdictional issues under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and held that general liability policies do not provide coverage for antitrust liability.
- Represented D&O insurers in connection with high profile claims, including matters involving Enron, Adelphia, Refco, MF Global, AOL Time Warner, Freddie Mac and Bear Stearns.
- Co-author with Sean M. Hanifin, “Ethical Issues and Conflicts of Interest,” Ch. 33 of West’s Law and Practice of Insurance Coverage Litigation, 2000