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, redevelopment, joint ventures, leasing, environmental issues, public/private partnerships and workouts, which allows her to assist with the full life cycle of a real estate asset.
The depth and breadth of Ms. Sanford's work includes international, national and local representation of a wide range of institutional investors, private equity firms, developers, multi-national corporations, REITs, foundations, nonprofits 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. Her clients turn to her for their most complicated and sensitive deals.
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. 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 served as a mayoral appointee to the City of Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Commission and the 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. She has numerous recognitions, including as an “Up and Coming” real estate attorney by Chambers USA, among the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 in California and California’s Top 50 Development Lawyers by the Daily Journal, and a “Rising Star Attorney of the Year” and among the “Most Influential Women Attorneys” by the Los Angeles Business Journal. Ms. Sanford also earned Ms. JD’s “Woman of Inspiration Award” and was a recipient of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Real Property Section’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.
Ms. Sanford is deeply committed to pro bono work, where she assists nonprofits in acquiring, leasing, developing and preserving land. Her clients include park development, homelessness and affordable housing organizations such as Skid Row Housing Trust, 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 nonprofit organizations such as the Liberty Hill Foundation, Earthjustice, Heal the Bay and Homeboy Industries in lease negotiations.
Ms. Sanford served 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 reviewed 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 Association.
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 become attorneys. In addition, Ms. Sanford co-chairs the Munger Tolles Fellows Program, a unique and comprehensive 10-month program that assists 30 to 40 students of color each year in breaking through traditional barriers to 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 on urban environmental policy matters at Environmental Defense Fund.