Biography Photo of Leslee M Lewis

Leslee M. Lewis

Leslee M. Lewis is managing partner of Dickinson Wright PLLC’s Grand Rapids office, firm Nonprofit Task Force Chair, and past governing board member and Practice Department Manager of Real Estate, Environmental, Energy & Sustainability for the firm.  She is a member of Counselors of Real Estate, ALI, and ACREL, where she is on the opinions, acquisitions, and meetings committees.  Leslee serves as counsel in strategic real estate acquisition, disposition, leasing, development, mortgage, loan origination, opinion, M&A, complex diligence, corporate, and contracts work, with specialties in wind, solar, digesters, sustainability, health systems, senior living communities, nonprofits, hospitality, REITs, banks, and commercial REO work. She is on the editorial board for The Practical Real Estate Lawyer, the State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section Council, a founding member of CREW West Michigan, and board member for several nonprofits. Leslee earned her J.D. from Notre Dame Law School.

Education & Credentials


Alma College

B.A., 1992
  • summa cum laude, in 3 years with 2 majors
  • Outstanding Young Alumni Award
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Honors Thesis in History
  • Jean Fox Abruzzino Scholar

Notre Dame Law School

J.D., 1995
  • cum laude
  • American Jurisprudence Award, Property Law

Bar Admission

  • Michigan1995


  • 8th Annual MiBiz M&A Deals & Dealmakers
    • Real Estate and Development Deal of the Year, Advisor, 2021
  • The Legal 500 United States
    • "Recommended Lawyer,"
  • Grand Rapids Magazine
    • "Top Lawyers," Banking & Financial Services, Real Estate, 2019-2020 
    • "Top Lawyers," Real Estate Law, 2023
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
    • America's Leading Lawyers
    • Real Estate Law, 2024
  • Michigan Super Lawyers®
    • Real Estate, 2011-2023
  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Real Estate Law and Banking & Finance Law, 2013-2024
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Real Estate Law, 2022
    • Top Lawyers, 2019
  • Diversity Journal
    • Woman Worth Watching Award, 2019
    • Women in Law Award, 2013
  • State Bar of Michigan
    • Courage Award - Real Property Law Section, 2016
  • YWCA 
    • Tribute Award - Business, Management, Industry & Labor, 2013

Representative Clients

  • AEG Live
  • AMCS Group
  • Apex Clean Energy
  • Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership
  • Frey Foundation
  • Goodwill
  • Grand Hotel
  • Great American Publishing
  • HCP, Inc.
  • Indeck
  • Invenergy
  • Johnson Controls
  • JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
  • Lake Michigan Academy
  • Metro Health - University of Michigan Health
  • PNC Bank
  • Porter Hills
  • Ranger Power
  • RBS Securities
  • Sara Lee Corporation
  • Switch
  • Whirlpool Foundation

Prominent Assignments

General corporate and real estate counsel to national, regional and emergent businesses and nonprofits in daily contracts and affairs, organization, financing, transactions and governance.

Counsel to wind, solar, anaerobic digester, and natural gas developers and lenders groups in all real estate, development, acquisition, financing, power purchase, opinion, contract, diligence and regulatory aspects of clean energy development, acquisition and financing including projects involving the largest public and largest independent wind developers in North America. Counsel to developers of the largest solar farm and wind farm in Michigan. Counsel to either developers or lenders in connection with approximately 3/4 of the largest wind farms in Michigan, including financings ranging up to $1 billion.

Counsel to private equity purchasers in acquisition of clean energy generation facilities.

Counsel to banks or borrowers in multi-million dollar large corporate and middle market syndicated loan originations, including international facilities. Counsel to banks in post-foreclosure REO property dispositions.

Counsel to healthcare, elder care, biotechnology, healthcare, manufacturing, industrial, nonprofit, school, professional, hospitality, distribution, retail and development clients in multi-million dollar strategic leasing, development, construction, and real estate acquisition and disposition projects, specifically including green building and leasing projects.

Counsel to affiliate of largest North American pipeline operator in contract development, real estate, land acquisition and construction matters.

Merger and acquisition counsel to non-profit, healthcare, manufacturing, service, professional, construction, automotive, real estate, agricultural, energy, restaurant, and distribution clients.

Counsel to a cross-border Canadian REIT in all US real estate aspects of its initial public offering.

Counsel to foundations, donors, and charities in grants, lending and other program related investments including dunes and land preservation.

Counsel to City of Grand Rapids DDA on Maya Lin Park, Skywalks, Monroe Mall, Convention Center, Police Center Condominium, and Parking Condominium developments.

Counsel to Autocam Corporation in registered public offerings, SEC reporting and going- private transaction.

Counsel to technology and manufacturing clients in angel round financing, and counsel to real estate, manufacturing, finance and restaurant clients in private placements and registered public offerings.

Counsel to multiple non-profit economic development, healthcare, missionary, and other charitable organizations in nonprofit organization, qualification, recognition of tax-exempt status, and governance.

Counsel to hospitality, entertainment, restaurant and banking clients in liquor license transfers.

Counsel to families on intergenerational wealth transfers.

Professional Involvement

  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Leaders in the Law, 2023
  • Elected Fellow, American College of Real Estate Lawyers (Member Opinions & Acquisitions Committees)
  • Elected Fellow, Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) (Member, Disaster Response Task Force) 
  • Elected Member, American Law Institute
  • Dickinson Wright Grand Rapids Office Managing Partner, 2013-Present 
  • Dickinson Wright Governing Board, 2013-2019
  • Dickinson Wright Practice Department Manager, Real Estate, Environmental, Energy & Sustainability, 2010-2013
  • Chairperson, Dickinson Wright Nonprofit Task Force
  • Dickinson Wright Diversity and Inclusion Committee & Parental Leave Policy Subcommittee, Parental Task Force, Diversity Retention Subcommittee
  • National Editorial Board, ALI-ABA's The Practical Real Estate Lawyer
  • Consulting Member, Principles of the Law of Nonprofit Organizations, American Law Institute 
  • State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section Council Member, 2014-Present, Membership Committee Chair, Energy and Commercial Real Estate Development & Ownership Committees' Liaison
  • Co-Chairperson, State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section, 2013-2014 Summer Conferences
  • Continuing Legal Education Committee, State Bar of Michigan, Real Property Law Section, 2013-present
  • Past Chairperson, Residential Transactions Committee, State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section
  • Michigan Community Resources/Community Legal Resources Outreach Committee
  • Past Editor, Dickinson Wright Real Estate Newsletter
  • Past Chairperson, Dickinson Wright Education Task Force
  • Member, Women Lawyers Alliance 
  • Member, State Bar of Michigan (Business, Real Estate and Estate Planning Sections)
  • Member, Grand Rapids Bar Association

Community Involvement

  • Chair Emeritus, Past Board President, and 10 year Board Member, Board of Directors, Lake Michigan Academy (West Michigan Learning Disabilities Foundation)
  • Board Member, Zeeland Education Foundation
  • Facilities & Marketing Committee Member, Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids
  • Honorary Committee, Porter Hills Foundation
  • Founding Member, CREW West Michigan
  • Member, Energy Innovation Business Council
  • Board Member, Transitional Housing Council (Liz's House/My Sister's House), Dwelling Place
  • Past Member, Endowment Committee, Grand Rapids Children's Museum
  • Past Member, Fundraiser Committee, Michigan Women’s Foundation
  • Sponsor & Participant, GVSU Johnson Center Nonprofit CEO Group, 2015-2017
  • Grand Rapids Managing Partner Diversity Coalition Member
  • Past General Counsel, Haven Builders
  • Organizer, Green Rocks! Sustainable Schools Contest
  • Pro bono counsel and incorporator, multiple nonprofits
  • Board Member and Past President, Eagleview Homeowners Association


  • Panel Presenter, "CRE Top Ten List," ACREL, 2020 
  • Panel Presenter, "Michigan State of the Law Update," ICSC, 2019, 2020 
  • Keynote Panel Presenter, "I Wrote What? Exploring the True Meaning of Common Contract Terms," State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section Summer Conference, 2017
  • Presenter, "Spotting & Solving Nonprofit Legal Issues (Before They Happen)," MICPA, 2017 
  • Presenter, "Running a Nonprofit, Legally & Sustainably," GVSU Johnson Center, 2015
  • Presenter, ICLE Commercial Real Property Update, 2014
  • Author, Lexis Practice Advisor Sustainability Content for Leasing and Purchase Agreements, 2013 -2015
  • Presenter and Organizer, Green Leases: Tools, Tips and Best Practices for Drafting, ALI-CLE, November 2012
  • Author, "A Little Inspiration For Your Work Week," National Law Review, October 25, 2012
  • Presenter and Organizer, "Residential Transactions Boot Camp," State Bar of Michigan 2012
  • Panelist, Nonprofit Legal Issues, Seeds for Success Conference-Building the 21st Century Nonprofit, May 2012
  • Panelist, Real Estate Documents: Drafting for Success, ALI-CLE videocast, March, 2012
  • Keynote Presenter, “Current Asset Dispositions: Note and REO Sales & Purchases,” State Bar of Michigan 2011
  • Presenter, “Residential Real Estate Round Table,” State Bar of Michigan, 2010
  • Presenter, “Evolving Green Construction Standards and Related Losses and Liabilities,” American Bar Association 2010
  • Presenter, “Green Liability: How to Recognize and Manage Risks in a Changing Regulatory Environment,” ALI-ABA, 2010
  • Panelist, “Understanding Current Underwriting and the Availability of Credit,” International Council of Shopping Centers, 2010
  • Presenter, “Leasing Green: Key Elements & Risks of Green Office Leases,” ALI-ABA, 2009
  • Author, “Understanding Green Office Leases,” ALI-ABA’s The Practical Real Estate Lawyer, 2009
  • Contributor, Commercial Leasing in Troubled Times, ALI-ABA, 2009
  • Presenter, “Drafting Greener Contracts,” US Green Building Council, Greening the Heartland Conference, 2009
  • Presenter, “Drafting Effective Contracts for Green Building,” ALI-ABA, 2009
  • Presenter, “Opportunity, Brilliantly Disguised as an Impossible Situation: Status & Strategies for Real Estate Financing in the Current Economy,” State Bar of Michigan, 2009
  • Author, “Green Building Basics,” ALI-ABA’s The Practical Real Estate Lawyer & The Voice of Experience, 2008
  • Contributor, “Construction Lending,” A Practitioner’s Guide to Construction Law by John Cameron
  • Presenter, “Green Building Basics” State Bar of Michigan ICLE 2008
  • Presenter, ALI-ABA “Green Building Basics from a Green Building Consultant & A Real Property Lawyer” September, 2008
  • Author, “Michigan Bolsters Residential Builder Licensing Law,” February 2008, “Legislative Update” Fall 2006, “Development Incentives 101,” Summer 2006, “January 2006 Deadline for Social Security Number Privacy Policy,” Fall 2005, “Get Your Feet Wet: Court Rules on Ownership of Beachfront Property,” May 2004, Dickinson Wright Real Estate Newsletter
    Dickinson Wright Real Estate Newsletter
  • Presenter, Business Boot Camp, State Bar of Michigan ICLE 2006
  • Presenter, Real Estate Legislative Update, Grand Rapids Bar Association 1997
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