Misty M. Sanford is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson. Her sophisticated and broad-based real estate and land use transactional practice involves all aspects of real estate, with an emphasis on purchase and sale, finance (representing borrowers in development, construction and permanent loans for all asset types), portfolio investments, leasing and environmental issues.
The depth and breadth of her work is evidenced by international, national and local representation of a wide range of clients, including institutional investors, developers, multi-national corporations, REITs, nonprofits, public entities and individual entrepreneurs. She is experienced in the formation of various business entities necessary to acquire and develop real property on behalf of her clients, and frequently assists Munger Tolles corporate lawyers on all real estate aspects of corporate transactions. She has extensive knowledge of the legal principles concerning mortgage-backed securities, and has closed billions of dollars of CMBS and collateralized debt transactions.
Ms. Sanford’s practice also focuses on real estate development and land use planning, including California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance and obtaining entitlements from local planning agencies. This work includes brownfield redevelopment and frequent interaction with consultants and environmental regulators on soil and groundwater remediation issues. She negotiates environmental indemnities and insurance for remediation costs and pollution liability. She regularly advises clients on the risk allocation and due diligence areas of all types of real property developments and transactions.
Actively engaged in community affairs, Ms. Sanford is a mayoral appointee to the City of Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners, which directly oversees operations, programming and maintenance of over 400 parks and 175 recreation centers within the city. This public service has helped Ms. Sanford develop a keen understanding of local government and the planning process.
Ms. Sanford is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the premier organization of distinguished U.S. real estate lawyers. In 2014, she was recognized by the Daily Journal as one of “California’s Top 50 Development Lawyers.” Ms. Sanford also received the Los Angeles County Bar Association Real Property Section’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award and was named a “Rising Star” by Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine.
Ms. Sanford is deeply committed to her pro bono real estate and land use transactional practice, where she assists nonprofits in acquiring, leasing, developing and preserving land. Her clients include park development, community development and affordable housing organizations such as the Downtown Women’s Center, T.R.U.S.T. South LA and the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation. In 2010, she represented the Charles Drew University of Science and Medicine in its bond financing workout and the restructuring of its board of directors. She also represents high profile non-profit organizations such as the Liberty Hill Foundation, Heal the Bay and Homeboy Industries in lease negotiations.
In addition to her role on the City of Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Parks Commission, Ms. Sanford serves on the board of trustees of her alma mater Whittier College, one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the country. In that capacity, she reviews all major institutional policies including academic programs and financial assets for the college.
She is a founder and former chair of the board of directors of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a nonprofit that converts blighted parcels of land into neighborhood parks, gardens and community centers. Its mission is that “every child should be able to walk to a park.” Ms. Sanford also serves on the executive committee of the Central City Association and the executive committee of the Real Estate Section of the Los Angeles County Bar, and previously served as president of the City of Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Commission.
Ms. Sanford is a strong believer in diversifying the legal profession. She is founder and treasurer of For People of Color, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to empowering students of color to attend law school and become attorneys. In addition, Ms. Sanford co-chairs the Munger Tolles Law Fellows Program, a unique program which assists students of diverse backgrounds who have recently graduated from college and plan to attend law school.
Ms. Sanford graduated from UCLA School of Law, where she completed the program in Public Interest Law and Policy, chaired the Public Interest Law Foundation and was a Hagman Land Use and Planning Scholar. Ms. Sanford joined Munger Tolles in 2005 after completing a term as a judicial extern for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Before attending law school, Ms. Sanford worked for three years on urban environmental policy matters at the Environmental Defense Fund.