Leo Manuel | Large Headshot | Balch & Bingham

Leo E. Manuel

  • (228) 214-0427
Download Resume lmanuel@balch.com
  • University of Richmond School of Law
    J.D., 2005, cum laude; University of Richmond Law Review, Articles Editor
  • University of Richmond
    M.B.A., 2005
  • Louisiana State University
    B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2001
Bar Admissions
  • Mississippi, 2005
About Leo
  • What types of clients do you represent?

    My primary practice area is energy-related regulatory and litigation matters before Federal and State courts and administrative bodies. I have advised in the past and currently represent a wide range of corporate entities including electric, telecommunications, water, and sewer public utilities across the Southeast. I also advise companies in the development, approval, construction and operation of emerging utility-scale energy projects such as solar, wind, battery storage, and clean coal in addition to traditional electric generating technologies. Beyond my energy practice, I also advise small and mid-sized companies in industries such as seafood processing, gaming, construction, and maritime. I have helped clients react to significant events such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill, and assisted in the development and execution of long-term goals such as merger and acquisitions, large capital investments and corporate succession planning.

  • What previous experiences, prior to your work at Balch, influence your practice?

    My educational background in both engineering and business has been invaluable in delivering quality legal services to my clients. I am confident my diverse background has helped me to address complex issues such as long-term service agreements for major equipment or detailed accounting problems presented in corporate disputes or public utility regulatory proceedings.

  • What do you see on the horizon in your area of practice?

Select Matters

  • Renewable Energy: I have advised in the past or currently represent multiple national and international renewable energy developers in the development, sale, purchase permitting, construction and/or operation of over 2 GW of solar and wind capacity in the United States. My services have included in the past, regulatory counsel, legal due diligence, economic development and tax incentives, EPC contracting, real estate and tax-equity financing.  
  • Mississippi Power Kemper County IGCC Project: Since the Project's inception in 2006, I was involved in all legal aspects of the Project's development, approval, and construction. Major areas include: applying for and obtaining various financial incentives; applying for and obtaining all necessary approvals from federal and state regulatory bodies; litigating the validity of various approvals and permits in state and federal courts; regulatory prudence review and rate proceedings; and commercial litigation concerning the Project.
  • Utility Rate Cases: Represented electric, water, and sewer public utilities in dozens of rate cases before state and federal utility regulatory bodies. Most recently, in 2023, I successfully obtained the first formula rate plan ever approved in Mississippi for a water and sewer public utility.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: Most recently, I represented a national water & sewer utility in its acquisition of over 100 water and sewer systems throughout the state of Mississippi, wherein we obtained an acquisition adjustment award from the Mississippi Public Service Commission for the first time in state history for a water and sewer public utility. In 2022, I represented a renewable developer in the sale of its entire development portfolio of over a dozen projects to an international investment company.
  • Commercial Arbitration: Obtained a zero-dollar award in a $140 million private arbitration alleging fraud and breach of contract by a 3-0 vote of the arbitration panel following a two-week trial on the merits. (2020)
  • Commercial Litigation:  Obtained a complete dismissal of a multi-million federal court class action suit alleging breach of contract and other related causes of actions. (2019)
  • Commercial Litigation: Obtained a dismissal of a state-court fraud case alleging damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars related to the construction of a large industrial facility. (2017)
  • Commercial Litigation: Successfully represented the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in litigation against its thirteen different property and casualty insurance providers to ultimately recover over $180 million in property and business interruption damages caused by Hurricane Katrina. (2007) 
  • Corporate governance: Represent third-generation family corporation to advise on corporate governance, corporate re-structuring, and leadership succession issues.



      Speaking Engagements


        • University of Richmond School of Law, J.D., 2005, cum laude; University of Richmond Law Review, Articles Editor
        • University of Richmond, M.B.A., 2005
        • Louisiana State University, B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2001
        • Supreme Court of Mississippi, 2005
        • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, 2005
        Bar Admissions
        • Mississippi, 2005
        Professional Affiliations
        • American Bar Association
        • Mississippi Bar Association
        • Energy Bar Association
        • Harrison County Bar Association
        • Harrison County Young Lawyers Association
        • Firm Pro Bono Committee, Chair
        Awards & Accolades
        • The Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year 2023, Gulfport, Energy Law
        • Chambers USA, Energy & Natural Resources, Mississippi 
        • The Best Lawyers in America®, Energy
        • Mid-South Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2012 - present
        • Mississippi Economic Council – Leadership Mississippi Class of 2019
        • Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce - Leadership Gulf Coast Class of 2011
        Community Involvement
        • American Heart Association, Executive Leadership Team for Heart Walk & Heart Ball, 2022
        • Biloxi Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors, 2019-2022
        • Gulf Coast Business Council, Emerging Executive Committee
        • Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum, Board of Directors
        • Gulf Coast Carnival Association, Floor Committee
        • Mithras Carnival Association, Past President & Presiding Secretary