Partner Ruth Leistensnider, a founding member of Nixon Peabody’s Albany office, passed away on December 23, 2019.
Ruth was a valued member of Nixon Peabody’s energy and environment practice for many years, starting as a summer associate in our Rochester office. She later became a first-year associate and, eventually, a firm partner. Her areas of focus included permitting and regulation of complex infrastructure facilities, such as fossil fuel and renewable power plants, landfills, and electric and gas transmission lines. She was also the “go to” lawyer for State Environmental Quality Review Act issues. For more than a decade, she played a key management role as steward of the energy and environment practice’s budget (a.k.a. the “budget czarina”).
She was also one of the firm’s most knowledgeable practitioners on administrative and court challenges to governmental and agency decision-making. Ruth demonstrated an insatiable appetite for information relevant to her practice and had a unique ability to put that knowledge to work for her clients and the firm. Ruth’s colleagues always regarded her as a critical resource—able to cite any fact from the record when needed to support a legal argument. Her notable appellate victories include the successful defense of a state power plant siting certification for a large generating facility, and a recent decision requiring the issuance of a major air quality permit for a power plant.
Ruth had a collegial, generous personality to match her exceptional legal skills. She was a key part of the Albany team, always contributing to office celebrations and sharing her delicious baked goods with her colleagues. She will be sorely missed.