Cindy Pánuco is a civil rights and employment attorney at Hadsell Stormer & Renick, LLP. Ms. Pánuco is the Immediate Past-President of the Mexican American Bar Association-one of the most prominent and largest Latina/o bar associations in the nation. She was one of the youngest Presidents to lead the organization whose members include attorneys, judges, elected officials, law school students and business people of many ethnic backgrounds.
At Hadsell Stormer, Ms. Pánuco represents clients in individual and class action cases at all stages of litigation. She litigates in both state and federal, trial and appellate courts. Since joining the firm, her successful litigation in major cases has protected the rights of employees, workers and the underrepresented.
In 2013, Ms. Pánuco second-chaired a trial in which she and her co-counsel obtained an over $4.6 million jury verdict in the wrongful termination case of Denise Steffens v. Regus-a case involving a manager who was fired for reporting the company's wage and hour law violations.
In Rodriguez v. City of Los Angeles et al., Ms. Pánuco represents a class of thousands of people affected by the city's gang injunctions that contain unconstitutional curfew provisions. She also serves as class counsel in Pierce v. County of Orange et al. - a class action that successfully challenged the conditions for disabled inmates at the Orange County jails. In 2011, Hadsell Stormer's lawsuit led a federal court to issue an injunction ordering the jails to remedy severe violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act by June 2013. In February 2014, after two and one half years under federal oversight, the County was found to have remedied the ADA violations. Ms. Pánuco is also on the team litigating Puente v. Arpaio et al.-- a case that challenges the constitutionality of Arizona laws which make it a felony to use false documents to obtain work, and worksite raid operations ordered by Sheriff Arpaio to enforce these invalid laws against undocumented immigrants.
Ms. Pánuco also represents Mr. Obaidullah-a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba-in his petition for a writ of habeas corpus (Obaidullah v. Obama et al) and his upcoming Periodic Review Board hearing. In just her first year of practice, she traveled to Guantánamo and joined the trial team that challenged his continued detention during a merits hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She and her team appealed Obaidullah's case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied cert in 2013. In addition to her expert legal help, she actively works to spread awareness about indefinite detention at the camp.
After just two years in practice, Ms. Pánuco was named to the Southern California Super Lawyers® - Rising Stars list in 2012, and again every year since then through 2016. She is active in numerous professional organizations, serving on the Diversity Committee of the California Employment Lawyers, the Young Lawyers Committee of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association and Loyola's Junior Alumni Advisory Group. She has also appeared in panels before bar associations and conferences and is frequently asked to speak at law schools and citizens' organizations. As a native Spanish speaker, Ms. Pánuco has also appeared as a guest commentator on Univision's know-your-rights segment, "Conozca Sus Derechos."
Ms. Pánuco's legal career began as one of ten post-graduate fellows through the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) Fellowship Program in 2009. As a fellow, Ms. Pánuco was placed in the chambers of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Stern and at the firms of Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP and Reback, McAndrews, Kjar, Warford, & Stockalper LLP.
Prior to law school, Ms. Pánuco worked for three years in the Washington, DC Office of Congressman Xavier Becerra as a Legislative Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary. She received her J.D. from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and her B.S. from the University of Southern California. While at Loyola, Ms. Pánuco was on the 2009 Regional Championship winning trial advocacy team, was Co-President of La Raza de Loyola, co-founded the La Raza Moot Court Team, coordinated Loyola's Young Lawyers Program, and published an article on the rights of undocumented workers in the inaugural edition of the Los Angeles Public Interest Law Journal. She also externed with the Immigration Center for Women and Children, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, in the Chambers of then-United States Magistrate Judge Jeffrey W. Johnson, and in the Office of the Federal Public Defender.
Areas of Practice
- Civil Rights
- Human Rights
- Social Justice
- 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
- California, 2009
- U.S. District Court Central District of California
- U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia
- U.S. District Court Southern District of California
- U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, 2011
- U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 2011
- Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California
- J.D. - 2009
- University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
- B.S. - 2003
- Honors: With High Honors
- Major: Public Policy and Management
- Assessing the Rights of Undocumented Workers: Rejecting Federal Preemption of State Labor Protections , Los Angeles Public Interest Law Journal
Honors and Awards
- Southern California Super Lawyers® - Rising Stars list 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
- Los Angeles Magazine’s Top Attorneys in Southern California – Rising Stars list July 2012 - 2015
- Karl M. Seuthe Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy - 2009
- American Board of Trial Advocates Award - 2009
- Los Angeles Magazine's Top Women Attorneys - Rising Stars List 2013
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Mexican American Bar Association, Immediate Past-President, 2015
- Loyola Law Young Alumni Advisory Board, Member, 2010 - Present
- Latina Lawyers Bar Association, Member, 2010 - Present
- LACBA, Member, 2010 - Present
- National Lawyers Guild, Member, 2010 - Present
- California Employment Lawyers Association, Diversity Committee Member , 2013 - Present
- National Police Accountability Project, Member, 2013 - Present
Past Employment Positions
- Office of Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA 31), Legislative Assistant/Deputy Press Secretary, 2003 - 2006
Pro Bono Activities
- Founding Member of Loyola Latino Alumni, 2015 - Present