Barry A. Sanders practiced corporate law at Latham & Watkins from 1970 to 2007, where he founded the firm’s International Practice Group. In 2019 the California Lawyers Association awarded him its Warren Christopher Award as International Lawyer of the Year. Currently, he is Chairman of the Board of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Pacific Council on International Policy, and the RAND Center for Global Risk and Security Advisory Board.
Sanders is now an adjunct professor of Communications at UCLA teaching courses entitled “The Images of America around the World,” “Public Diplomacy,” and “Architecture as Non-Verbal Communication.” He is the author of three books: American Avatar: The United States in the Global Imagination, The Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, and (with Ann Owens) Bringing the Olympics Back to Los Angeles.
Sanders is Chairman Emeritus of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games and served as a director of LA2028, engaged in bidding to return the Games to Los Angeles. In September 2007 he received the Olympic Spirit Award from the United States Olympic Committee and the William May Garland Award from the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games. He served on the board of Special Olympics of California and the board of the Special Olympics World Games 2015. He is a director of the Los Angeles Sports Council and of the Los Angeles Sports Council Foundation. He serves as an arbitrator at the International Court of Arbitration for Sport in its Anti-Doping Division.
For eight years he served as president of the Board of Commissioners of the Recreation and Parks Department of the City of Los Angeles and as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He is the Founder and chairman emeritus of the Los Angeles Parks Foundation.
From 1979 to 1984, he acted as primary outside counsel to the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. After the riots in Los Angeles in 1992, he was co-chair of Rebuild LA, the public-private organization established to deal with the problems of LA’s inner city. In 2011 the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce awarded him its Civic Medal of Honor. He received the 1999 Medal of Honor for contributions to the arts from the Thornton School of Music of 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. He is presently on the executive committee of the Los Angeles Opera. He also serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of the Ojai Music Festival. Sanders has served on the boards of directors of many other civic and cultural organizations in Los Angeles and nationally.
Sanders graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Yale Law School.