HomeOur TeamLeah West

Leah West

Professor Leah West is counsel to Friedman Mansour LLP, where her practice focuses on national security law, terrorism and cyber security. Leah is also a Professor at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs of Carleton University where she regularly lectures and writes on National Security Law, Counterterrorism and Cyber Operations.

Leah regularly lectures and engages with the media on her areas of research interest, and has testified before the Senate Committee on Security and Defence. She is the National Administrator of the Canadian National Rounds of the Phillip C Jessup International Law Moot. She is also a founding editor of the Intrepid Blog (intrepidpodcast.com).

Leah previously served as Counsel with the Department of Justice in the National Security Litigation and Advisory Group where she appeared before the Federal Court in designated proceedings and the Security Intelligence Review Committee.  Before being called to the Ontario Bar in 2016, Leah clerked for the Honourable Justice Mosley of the Federal Court of Canada.

Prior to attending law school, Leah served in the Canadian Armed Forces for ten years as an Armoured Officer. She deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 as a Junior Operations Officer where she developed the Female Engagement Strategy.

Leah West Counsel Profile Page

Areas of Expertise


University of Toronto, SJD (2020)

University of Ottawa, LLM- International Humanitarian and Security Law (2018)

University of Toronto, JD (2015)

American Military University, MA – Intelligence Studies (2012)

Royal Military College of Canada, BA (Hons)- Politics

Call to The Bar

  • Called to the Ontario Bar, 2016


  • Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Criminal Lawyers’ Association


  • Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) Initiative Doctoral Award + Supplement (2020-21)
  • Canadian Graduate Scholarship to Honour Nelson Mandela (2019-2022)
  • McCain Institute National Security and Counterterrorism Fellow (2019-2020)
  • Aspen Security Forum Scholar (2019)
  • PEO Scholar Award (2019)
  • University of Toronto Faculty of Law Doctoral Fellowship (2018-2019)
  • CDAI Nichola Goddard “Game Changer” Award (2017)
  • University of Ottawa Anti-Terrorism Law Fellowship (2016-2018)
  • University of Ottawa Admission Scholarship (2016)
  • Women in Defence and Security Memorial Scholarship (2014)
  • Royal Military College “Sword of Honour” (2007)
  • Canadian Defence Association Profession of Arms Award (2007)
  • CIS Academic All Canadian (2005, 2006, 2007)


Papers in refereed Publications

with Craig Forcese,  “Building New Haystacks: Information Retention and Data Exploitation by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service” (2019) 57 Alberta Law Review 175.

“Canada’s Civilian Cyber Warriors and the International Legal Implications of a “Strong Secure and Engaged Cyber Policy,” Feb 2019, CDA Institute Vimy Paper Vol 41.

“Cyber Force: The International Legal Implications of the Communication Security Establishment’s Expanded Mandate under Bill C-59” 16 Can. J. L. & Tech. 381- 416.

“The Problem of Relevance: Intelligence to Evidence Lessons from UK Terrorism Prosecutions” (2018) 41:4 Manitoba Law
Journal 57-112.

with Craig Forcese, “Killing Citizens: Core Legal Dilemmas in the Targeted Killing of Canadian Terrorist Fighters Abroad”
(2017) 54 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 134-187

Forthcoming Publications

with Craig Forcese, National Security Law, 2nd Ed (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2020)

“Watchful Eyes: Review and Oversight in Canada” in Stephanie Carvin, Thomas Juneau and Craig Forcese, eds, The Canadian Security and Intelligence Community (forthcoming).

with Craig Forcese, “Judicial supervision of counter-terrorism laws in comparative democracies” in Ben Saul ed, Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism, 2nd Ed (forthcoming Edward Elgar: North Hampton).

Law Society of Ontario
Criminal Lawyers Association
County of Carleton Law Association

Our 3-Step Process

You come first at every move — and are kept informed of progress from our first meeting until the conclusion of your case. This is our three-step process:

Step 1

People at table with hands

We Listen to You

What have you been charged with? Why? What are the exact circumstances of your arrest and what has happened since? From here we can decide how we can assist in your case.

Step 2

People writing on paper

We Strategize with You

Once we understand the details of your case, we will discuss the best strategy for your defence — whether this is to push for case dismissal, acquittal at a trial, or plea bargaining.

Step 3

People shaking hands

We Defend You

This is where you leave it to us. We handle court appearances, pre-trial meetings, negotiations with judges and prosecution lawyers, as we work towards the most favorable solution for you.

We are committed to justice for all. Let us make the difference.

Call, text, email, or chat. We answer 24/7 for emergencies.