Leslie V. Batchelor '84
Alumni Achievement 2016
President and Co-Founder, Center for Economic Development Law
Oklahoma City, OK
Leslie V. Batchelor is president and co-founder of the Center for Economic Development Law, a law firm that focuses primarily on public-private development projects. Leslie represents cities, towns, and other public entities around the state to help them grow their economies, tackle financing challenges, and achieve their development goals. Ms. Batchelor is nationally recognized for her expertise in public-private partnerships, tax increment financing techniques, and other redevelopment and financing strategies.
Ms. Batchelor's civic accomplishments include her work on the restoration and reopening of the Skirvin Hotel. As part of Oklahoma City’s project team (a group The Oklahoman
later nicknamed “the Dream Team”), Ms. Batchelor helped create the legal and financial structure to bring the Skirvin Hotel back to life. By combining numerous funding sources and taking an innovative approach to the legal agreements, Ms. Batchelor helped make the project financially successful for both the private developer and the City.
Her work is also on display in the renovation of Myriad Gardens, which was funded primarily by the tax increment financing (TIF) district her firm structured for the Devon Tower, which generated over $100 million in new revenues to fund public improvements through the City’s “Project 180.” Ms. Batchelor also represented the Myriad Gardens Foundation in its negotiation of the public-private partnership agreement with OklahPreoma City, under which the Foundation now leases and manages the Gardens, giving it the flexibility to increase the programs and activities that have made Myriad Gardens a hub of activity. The success of Myriad Gardens’ renovation and management arrangement was honored in 2015 with a global award of excellence from the Urban Land Institute as the outstanding public open space, ahead of Chicago’s Millennium Park and many others.
Ms. Batchelor’s current major efforts in Oklahoma City are devoted to assisting with MAPS 3, including the new downtown park and the convention center, as well as to the implementation of the Urban Renewal Plans for Midtown and Core to Shore. Other noteworthy projects include the G.E. Global Research Center under construction at N.E. 10th and I-235, the Dell Computer campus on the Oklahoma River, and John Rex Elementary School downtown.
Her current work for smaller communities includes serving as city attorney for The Village and overseeing its economic development activities, including the Uptown Grocery on N. May Ave., Crossing Community Center on N. Pennsylvania Ave., and the Hawthorn residential development near Love’s Corporate Headquarters. She is also working with the City of Edmond to develop a conference center and hotel, with Yukon on its Frisco Road Project, and with the Town of Carlton Landing on its overall build-out. Additionally, Ms. Batchelor serves as development counsel to the City of Tulsa on its downtown strategy and economic development surrounding its airport.
Prior to founding the Center for Economic Development Law with her father, Dan Batchelor, she served in the U.S. Department of Justice as Counselor to the Assistant Attorney Counsel for the Civil Division, then as Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, and finally as Deputy Associate Attorney General. Her responsibilities there included overseeing major civil litigation, Native American land claims and tribal trust cases, environmental litigation, and some national security issues. She personally represented the United States in its acquisition of the Zapruder film, the 8 mm amateur color movie of President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade through Dealy Plaza and his assassination.
Before joining the Justice Department, Ms. Batchelor was an associate at McAfee & Taft in Oklahoma City, where she concentrated on civil litigation. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable William J. Holloway, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. She received her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Brown University and her Master’s and law degrees from the University of Virginia, where she was an instructor in philosophy and a teaching assistant in legal research and writing.
An active civic leader and volunteer, Ms. Batchelor has served in leadership roles in a number of professional and community organizations, including Chair of the Urban Land Institute - Oklahoma, president of Historical Preservation, Inc., president of the Oklahoma County Bar Foundation, and president of the Oklahoma City Housing Services Redevelopment Corp. She also serves on the Board of i2E and the Board of Visitors for the Honors College at the University of Oklahoma.
Ms. Batchelor married her high school sweetheart, Scott E. Williams '83, in 1988 in the Chapel of St. Edward the Confessor on the Casady campus. Mr. Williams is a federal prosecutor and is the acting chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma. They have two children, Katherine and Abigail, who are Upper Division students at Casady School.