Cynthia Morgan-Reed

San Diego: 619.301.0456
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Practice Areas

  • Land Use
  • Real Estate
  • Lobbying

Cynthia Morgan-Reed went to law school to be a different kind of lawyer. Initially she wanted to practice public interest law and save the world. Instead, after many law firm experiences where she earned her right to call herself a survivor, she decided to change the culture; one attorney at a time. She launched Vanst because she knows that every attorney has the right to live a meaningful life and practice law. And every attorney deserves to be paid what they are worth.

Cynthia found her legal passion practicing land use, real estate and lobbying transactional work. She loves how land use intersects law, policy and politics. She drafts, negotiates, and processes development agreements; conditions of approval; amendments to ordinances; general plans, specific plans and community plans; zone changes; conditional use permits; variances; development entitlements; leases; purchase and sale agreements; easements; licenses, letters of intent, and memorandum of understanding.

She delights in helping clients be comfortable with the government approval process and satisfied with the time and costs invested in obtaining those approvals.

Ms. Morgan-Reed also analyzes and advises clients on environmental impact reports and statements under the California Environmental Quality Act; negotiates with public agencies on federal, state and regional development requirements; and assists individuals and community members challenging governmental and third-party land use decisions.

Ms. Morgan-Reed’s background has allowed her to represent a diverse clientele that includes developers, community groups, public agencies, and non-profits. Prior to running her own firm for three years, Morgan Reed Law, Ms. Morgan-Reed was a partner in two large local law firms. She was also a Deputy City Attorney in the Oceanside City Attorney Office and in the Criminal and Civil Trial Unit in the San Diego City Attorney Office.

Ms. Morgan-Reed was a Municipal Legal Fellow for the League of California Cities and a Georgetown Law Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow where she was placed with the National Association of Women Judges and taught a law course as an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University.

Ms. Morgan Reed graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School and the James Madison College at Michigan State University with a BA in International Relations. She decided the climate in the Midwest was too cold and moved to California after graduating from law school where the weather is perfect.

Representative Matters

  • Represented hotel developers in obtaining entitlements for LEED Certified and urban in-fill hotels;
  • Negotiated the purchase of property and entitlements for a 100-unit, mixed-use condominium project with affordable housing and historic designation;
  • Opposed an addiction and treatment center from relocating to a commercial area;
  • Negotiated favorable traffic, parking and environmental conditions of approval for a commercial property.
  • Assisted cannabis companies in obtaining Conditional Use Permits for their Marijuana Retail Dispensary
  • Obtained Clean Hands Waiver in County of Los Angeles Code Enforcement case
  • Negotiated agreements between two public agencies to reimburse Development Impact Fees for public improvements constructed by developer


Voice of San Diego, Board of Directors, Treasurer and Member
Public Policy Committee of the San Diego Downtown Partnership, Member
San Diego Chamber of Commerce, Public Policy Committee Member and Advance Mentor
Lawyers Club, Member, Women’s Resource Fair Co-Chair, Mentoring Committee Co-chair
East Village Association, Member and Past Vice President
Prior: Civic San Diego, Board of Directors, Chair
Prior: San Diego County Taxpayers Association, Executive Committee and Board of Director
Prior: Run Women Run, former Executive Committee and Advisory Board
Prior: Equinox Center, Board Member


2009 San Diego Metropolitan Magazine 40 Under 40
2011 San Diego Business Journal Women Who Mean Business
2012 San Diego Metropolitan Magazine Women Who Impact San Diego
2015, 2016, 2017 San Diego Daily Transcript Best of the Bar
2015 Civic San Diego’s Director Award
2017 San Diego County Bar Association Community Service Award
2018 San Diego Super Lawyer