Willkie Farr & Gallagher hires trio of real estate partners from Munger Tolles in LA

Team includes Misty Sanford, who will chair the firm’s West Coast real estate practice
A photo of Hollywood Boulevard at dusk

Willkie Farr & Gallagher further expands its footprint in Los Angeles Shutterstock

Willkie Farr & Gallagher has hired a trio of senior real estate lawyers from Munger Tolles & Olson to add further experience to its recently launched Los Angeles office.

The team includes Misty Sanford, Karen Lorang and Aimee Contreras-Camua, all joining as partners in the firm’s real estate department, with Sanford becoming chair of its West Coast real estate practice. The trio bring with them more than four decades of experience in the real estate market, advising on a range of residential and commercial property-related matters, including buying and selling, finance, redevelopment, leasing and environmental issues.

Thomas Henry, co-chair of the firm’s real estate department, said:  “We have more than doubled the size of our real estate team in the last five years, with a coast-to-coast presence in the US, coupled with global capabilities in Europe. Misty, Karen and Aimee have built a sophisticated national practice with an emphasis on the West Coast market.”

Sanford joins after more than 17 years at Munger Tolles, while Lorang had been with the firm for almost nine years, joining in 2013 having spent a year as a law clerk at the US Courts for the Ninth Circuit in Fairbanks, Alaska. Contreras-Camua joined Munger Tolles in 2021 after a three-year stint at Pircher Nichols & Meeks, having previously worked at Sidley Austin for two decades. She is also president of the Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance.

Alex Weingarten, managing partner of Willkie’s Los Angeles office, said: “Misty, Karen and Aimee each have strong ties to the Los Angeles community through their client work as well as pro bono commitments and other civic engagement, and they will further broaden Willkie’s presence in the market.” 

Willkie opened in Los Angeles in September last year – its third office on the US West Coast. The launch was led by the arrival of three partners from Venable, including Weingarten and colleagues Alan Epstein and Michele Mulrooney. The office has now grown to more than 70 lawyers.

Other firms have also been expanding their West Coast presence. Earlier this month, Morrison Foerster absorbed Californian litigation boutique Durie Tangri and its team of 36 lawyers, including 12 partners. The boutique firm had offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

And in September, Morgan Lewis & Bockius hired a five-strong intellectual property team from Duane Morris in Silicon Valley.

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