Emile Leiba, Attorney-at-Law, and Managing Partner at DunnCox, one of Jamaica’s leading full-service law firms, is a force to be reckoned with in litigation, offering clients solutions to the most challenging legal issues.

In a multifaceted and competitive environment, Leiba, has risen to the challenges, establishing a reputation that is among the best and brightest at the 80-year-old institution, one of the longest-established and largest firms in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Initially, Leiba, wanted to pursue a career in Accounting. A quiet and reserved individual, he loved numbers and applied to both the University of Technology (UTECH) and the University of the West Indies (UWI) to pursue his tertiary studies.

“Law was an unexpected path for me. It was my mother who encouraged me to become a lawyer. I started studying law at 17, and I was the youngest student in the class. It took some adjustment, but I did well for most of my educational journey,” Leiba said.

As an intern, during the summer holidays, Leiba worked at law firms and as a Clerk of the Court at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. He was assigned to different judges during this time, and learned a wealth of knowledge from the legal luminaries.

Leiba was called to the bar in 2002 and gleaned further knowledge and expertise while working at two other law firms, before joining DunnCox. “At the start of my career I was thrown into the deep end, and I had to learn quickly. I was arguing matters in court within my first week. The experience then was invaluable,” he said. 

Many people he said are in love with the concept of law, which is a noble profession, but it is still a business in the service industry, that in fact requires a lot of focus, and hard work to succeed.

Leiba joined DunnCox as an Associate, and has grown and developed over the years, that led to his appointment as the firm’s Managing Partner in January 2022. “There were no limitations on my growth and development. I benefitted from the advice of senior legal advisors. They are very valuable, and represent a storehouse of knowledge in the firm,” he said.

Prior to his appointment as Managing Partner, Leiba was the former head of the firm’s Litigation Department. He serves as the lead counsel for international and local clients in complex litigation matters, with special focus paid to providing general labour law advice.

He also established a reputation for successfully litigating contested property disputes involving rights claimed under restrictive covenants, mortgages and debentures, including securing the first demolition order on behalf of a private citizen in contested litigation in Jamaica.

“Although I have been practicing law for 20 years, it doesn’t feel like so much time has passed. During that time, I have had to adjust to the constantly changing legal scene, and make sure that I am aware of what is happening at all times,” Leiba said.

As the former President of the Jamaican Bar Association, and an Associate Tutor in Civil Procedure and Practice at the Norman Manley Law School, Leiba invests in the legal fraternity and inspires young Attorneys and students to pursue their dreams.

“I like knowledge and I am always learning. I am a teacher, but I am also a student. I love to read, but more legally related things nowadays. I don’t believe that you should ever stagnate. You should never simply accept yourself as you are, but you should always seek to improve the product,” Leiba said.

As DunnCox celebrates its 80th anniversary year, Leiba said they are ready to move with the times to meet the changing need of their clients. “The legal fraternity is pivoting in a technological direction and we are now collaborating with attorneys globally, at the click of a button” he said.