John M. Sanger was the founding senior shareholder of the San Francisco law firm of Sanger & Olson, A Law Corporation, which he closed at the end of 2013 after 18 years in order to retire from law practice and devote himself to managing family real estate holdings and investments and philanthropic activities. His law firm specialized in real estate law, including land use, environmental clearances and development entitlements, representing many private for-profit and affordable housing developers as well as the University of California, Episcopal Community Services, Pier 39 and numerous smaller institutions and non-profit organizations. Mr. Sanger was listed in the Northern California edition of Super Lawyers.
Prior to founding Sanger & Olson, he was a partner in the firm of Pettit and Martin which he joined in 1984 after closing John M Sanger Associates, an urban planning, economic and environmental firm founded in 1971, providing consulting services to private and governmental clients.
Mr. Sanger graduated from Harvard College magna cum laude in 1965, Harvard Law School magna cum laude in 1969, and from the Harvard Graduate School of Design with distinction in 1970, with a Masters in City and Regional Planning. He taught as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Miami Law School Graduate Program in Real Property, and as a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University. He also served as senior legal advisor to the Republic of Kazakhstan on privatization of real estate, working through the U.S. Agency for International Development after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Mr. Sanger has chaired the boards of the Institute for International Urban Development in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Children’s Creativity Museum at Yerba Buena Gardens, and the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. He has been a member of the Accessions Subcommittees of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in Architecture & Design and in Media Arts and of the President’s Council of the Gladstone Institutes. He formerly served as President of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and a member the Executive Board of the Association of Bay Area Governments and founded the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association in San Francisco.
He has a married daughter, Catherine Shea Sanger, who obtained a doctorate in International Relations from the University of Virginia where her husband Brandon K. Yoder obtained a doctorate in the same field. Ms. Sanger served as the founding vice rector (residential dean) of Cendana College at the newly founded liberal arts college Yale-NUS in Singapore. Both she and her husband continue to reside there where she is now the Deputy Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Yale-NUS and he is a Senior Research Associate at the Lee Kuan Yew Institute of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.