Meet Manuel Leiva, an experienced and successful Virginia trial lawyer

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Mr. Leiva was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Northern Virginia. He attended American University where he received a dual degree in International Relations and Political Science. Mr. Leiva then attended American University’s Washington College of Law where he graduated in 1998. While at the Washington College of Law, Mr. Leiva represented his law school at several national competitions. Mr. Leiva also served as President of the Hispanic Law Student Association. Mr. Leiva clerked for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section where he assisted federal prosecutors in the prosecution of hate crimes.

Upon graduating from the Washington College of Law, Mr. Leiva served as an Assistant Public Defender in Fairfax County where he gained valuable trial experience. As an Assistant Public Defender, Mr. Leiva represented clients charged with various criminal offenses ranging from larcenies to murder. Thereafter, Mr. Leiva left the Public Defender’s office and worked as an associate at Leffler & Hyland where he was mentored by one of Virginia’s preeminent trial attorneys.

Mr. Leiva is a member of the Fairfax Bar Association, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, and the Hispanic Bar Association of Virginia. Mr. Leiva was the Past President of the Hispanic Bar Association of Virginia, served on the Virginia Bar Association’s committee on Professionalism, served as a board member on the Virginia State Bar’s Criminal Law Section, board member on the Virginia State Bar’s Diversity Conference, and served on the Indigent Commission’s Criminal Discovery Task Force.

Why hire the Leiva Law Firm

Potential clients often ask why they should hire Mr. Leiva. The easy answer is his trial experience. Most attorneys often advertise their years in practice. Years in practice does not equate to trial experience. Hiring an attorney with significant trial experience is important because if your attorney is unable to reach a favorable resolution with a prosecutor or opposing counsel, you’ll have no other option but to go to trial. If your attorney has little to no trial experience, then you are at a great disadvantage.

Think of it this way. If you or a loved one needed surgery, would you go to a surgeon who has limited experience in the operating room? Hiring an attorney is no different. Do not trust your criminal matter or personal injury matter to an attorney that has no significant trial experience. It does not matter how long an attorney has been in practice. There is only one way to gain trial experience, and that is by going to trial. When interviewing an attorney, ask how many jury trials they’ve conducted and the type of matters they took to a jury.

Mr. Leiva has significant jury trial experience involving serious matters such as murder, rape, malicious wounding, and other serious felony offenses. He has also handled wrongful death matters and brain injury cases. In 2016, Mr. Leiva conducted a 7-week jury trial for a client charged with several counts of murder in federal court. These types of cases require a specific level of expertise and zealous representation that is unwavering in the face of a long and strenuous trial process. The trial received significant media coverage and the federal trial judge referred to the trial as “an epic and complex case for this court.” Also in 2016, Mr. Leiva favorably resolved a case for a client who suffered a significant traumatic brain injury. The amount of the settlement was one of the top 10 settlements in Virginia for 2016.

We welcome any questions you have regarding Mr. Leiva’s trial experience, and encourage you to contact us for more information.


American University, BS in Political Science and International Relations

American University, Juris Doctor


Licensed to practice before all Virginia courts

Admitted to federal practice in the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Professional Memberships

Hispanic Bar Association of Virginia

Fairfax Bar Association

Virginia State Bar, Criminal Law Section

Virginia Coalition for Racial Diversity in the Justice System

Justice Forward Virginia

Awards and Publications


Board Member, Virginia State Bar, Criminal Law Section

Board Member, Virginia State Bar, Diversity Conference

Past President, Hispanic Bar Association of Virginia

Member, Virginia Indigent Task Force Discovery Committee

3955 Chain Bridge Road, 2nd Floor, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
P: 703.352.6400 // F: 703.352.5226 // E: