Chelsea Leyden, Esq.
CHELSEA J. LEYDEN is an associate in Whittel & Melton’s criminal defense group. Ms. Leyden comes from a family of law enforcement members and this, coupled with her role as a former Assistant State Attorney for the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office, allows Ms. Leyden to provide our clients with a well-rounded approach to their defense.
While at the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s office in Tampa, Ms. Leyden was designated a Senior Line Attorney in the Misdemeanor division where she was tasked with training the new attorneys in the office while trying many cases, focusing on DUIs and Domestic Violence cases. Within a week of being promoted to the Felony division, she was entrusted with a vehicular homicide case. Her supervisors recommended Ms. Leyden for the prestigious Gerald T. Bennett Prosecutor/ Public Defender Trial Training Program hosted at the University of Florida Levin College of Law in Gainesville where she was mentored by the best judges and attorneys in the state of Florida.
During law school, Ms. Leyden completed advanced criminal trial advocacy courses and was presented the Victor O. Wehle Award for Outstanding Trial Advocacy. She was Vice President of the Innocence Initiative and nominated for Student Organization Leader of the Year. Ms. Leyden earned a concentration in Social Justice Advocacy with a focus in criminal justice and honed her passion for criminal defense during an internship with the Public Defender’s office in Hillsborough County in the Forensic Behavioral Intervention Unit.
Before law school, Ms. Leyden was a case manager in the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services of New Jersey. There, she served clients with a wide range of severe and persistent mental illnesses and/or developmental disabilities as well as substance abuse and addiction issues.
Additionally, during her undergraduate studies, Ms. Leyden was the recipient of the Presidential Scholarship and graduated from the University of Maryland’s Honors Program. She was recognized on the Dean’s List and was a member of both the Golden Key Honor Society and well as the Primannum Honor Society.
J.D., Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport, Florida
B.A., University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
- Assistant State Attorney, State of Florida, 13th Judicial Circuit