Leslie graduated from Barnard College in New York City. She has an M.S. in Technical Communications from Metropolitan University in Minnesota and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in New York. After law school, she was a staff attorney for the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society in New York. She represented juveniles under the age of 18 charged with criminal offenses and children who were the subject of child neglect and abuse proceedings. In 1989, she moved to Minnesota and represented juveniles charged with criminal offenses and parents who were the target in child neglect and abuse proceedings. In addition, she handled criminal appeals for the Office of the Minnesota State Appellate Public Defender. Since 2000, she has been a full-time assistant appellate public defender representing indigent defendants, both adults and juveniles, in appeals and postconviction proceedings in state and federal court and has served on the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Juvenile Delinquency Advisory Committee. She has taught legal writing and appellate advocacy and frequently presents continuing legal education trainings on issues of criminal defense. Each fall, she teaches an undergraduate college class on criminal justice system. In 2009 - 2010, she trained criminal lawyers in China and was the founder and director of the Southeast Defender Resource Center in Wuhan. In the summer of 2011 she taught legal writing in Istanbul to Palestinian lawyers, in 2012 she completed a volunteer project with the Victim Services Unit in Kingston, Jamaica, and most recently she was a volunteer legal specialist in Skopje, Macedonia, for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, training Macedonian criminal defense lawyers in trial advocacy skills and she participated in the founding conference for the Balkans Region Rule of Law Network.