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.
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.
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 been recognized as an “Up and Coming” real estate attorney by Chambers USA and a “Rising Star Attorney of the Year” by the Los Angeles Business Journal. She has been recognized by the Daily Journal among the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 in California and as one of California’s Top 50 Development Lawyers. Ms. Sanford is also a recipient of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Real Property Section’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.
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. She also represents high profile non-profit organizations such as the Liberty Hill Foundation, Heal the Bay and Homeboy Industries in lease negotiations.
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. Ms. Sanford also serves on the board of trustees of her alma mater Whittier College, where she reviews all major institutional policies including academic programs and financial assets for the college.
Ms. Sanford 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. She also serves as the treasurer of the Real Property Section Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, 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. Her work with FPOC earned her the Justice Cruz Reynoso Community Service Award from the Mexican American Bar Association in 2015.
In addition, Ms. Sanford co-chairs the firm’s MTO Fellows Program, an innovative program that assists college graduates of diverse backgrounds who 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 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 the Environmental Defense Fund.