News / Press Release

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce to Present Barry Sanders with Prestigious Civic Medal of Honor

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce announced today that the prestigious Los Angeles Civic Medal of Honor will be presented to Barry A. Sanders, a retired partner with Latham & Watkins LLP.

The selection was announced by George Kieffer, past Chamber chair and chair of the Civic Medal Selection Committee.  The selection committee comprises various prominent community and civic leaders, previous honorees and Board officers.
“Sanders is a marvelous choice,” said Warren Christopher, who received the recognition in 2003.  “His kind of superb citizenship and active civic involvement are required today to make our democracy work.” 

While sponsored by the Chamber, the award is not a business award, but rather a community award signifying extraordinary civic leadership and public service over an extended period of time as recognized by those in the broader civic community.

Sanders follows in the footsteps of previous Civic Medal awardees Warren Christopher, Sherry Lansing, Eli Broad, Father Greg Boyle, John Mack, Richard Riordan and Nancy Daly Riordan, Tom McKernan and Stewart Kwoh.

Sanders practiced law with Latham & Watkins for more than 35 years as a partner from 1978-2002, and as executive counsel from 2003-2005.  He led the Latham & Watkins International Practice Group for many years. 

Kieffer is quick to point out that it is not just Sanders’ formal involvement in various civic roles, but “his informal civic leadership … the respect in which he is held by a broad civic community and the character he reflects in doing his work.”

Sanders is president of the Board of Commissioners of the Recreation and Parks Department of the City of Los Angeles, Chairman of the Los Angeles Parks Foundation and an adjunct professor in the Communications Studies Department at UCLA. 

He is also Chairman of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games.  This organization is independent from the United States Olympic Committee and has been engaged in promoting the Olympic Movement since 1939.  As Chairman, he led the recent effort to bid for the 2016 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.  From 1979-1984 he served as primary outside counsel to the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee.

After the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, Sanders co-chaired Rebuild LA, the public-private organization established to address the revitalization of L.A.’s inner city neighborhoods.  He served in that capacity until returning to Latham & Watkins on Jan. 1, 1994.  While co-chair of RLA, he also chaired the Board of the RLA Community Lending Corporation.

In 1999, Sanders received the Thornton School of Music Medal of Honor from the University of Southern California.  He has been chairman of the Board and President of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and chairman of the Los Angeles Public Library Foundation.

Sherry Lansing said “Receiving the Civic Medal of Honor was one of the great highlights of my life and Sanders’ selection this year makes the award all the more significant.”

“Sanders’ leadership with Rebuild LA … His contributions to the arts …. His efforts to promote the 2016 Olympic Games in Los Angeles are all examples of his undying love for this city,” said L.A. Area Chamber President & CEO Gary Toebben.

Sanders was born in Philadelphia and earned degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Yale Law School.

The Civic Medal will be presented to Sanders at the Chamber’s 122nd Annual Inaugural Dinner on Feb. 10, 2011, at the JW Marriott Hotel.  Also being presented is the Distinguished Business Leader award to Majestic Realty Co. President Ed Roski; and the Corporate Leadership Award to San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino.


The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region.  For more information, visit

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Mandy Denaux, 213.580.7532
Alejandro Guzmán, 213.580.7544