Cindy Pánuco joined Public Counsel as Directing Attorney of the Consumer Rights and Economic Project in 2019, spearheading its litigation efforts in the areas of predatory “PACE” home loans, bail reform, civil rights, and criminal justice debt in LA County. She has served as a litigation resource for attorneys across the organization, and was named a 2019 Rising Star in civil rights. In May 2020, she was named as the organization’s Vice President and Chief Program Officer.
Before joining Public Counsel, Pánuco was a partner at Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP – a renowned civil rights firm based in Pasadena, California. She specialized in complex civil rights and employment cases involving law enforcement misconduct, unjustified deadly police force, unconstitutional conditions of confinement in jails, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblowers, and other constitutional and international human rights.
Pánuco’s work as a civil rights practitioner includes impact cases involving constitutional challenges to gang injunctions in the City of Los Angeles (Rodriguez v. City of Los Angeles et al.,), prisoner rights class actions (Pierce v. County of Orange), immigrant rights (Puente v. Arpaio), First Amendment rights of anti-Trump protestors (Puente v. City of Phoenix), predatory lending (Nemore v. County of Los Angeles, Renovate et al.,), students (VideoSymphony v. Wilson) and anticompetitive conspiracy to keep bail bond premiums high (In re California Bail Bond Antitrust Litigation).
Pánuco has also represented individual plaintiffs in noteworthy civil rights and employment cases including a detainee held indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay Cuba (Obaydullah v. Obama), police killings of persons with mental health disabilities that resulted in multi-million dollar settlements (Saycon v. City of Long Beach) and (Zion v. County of Orange et al.,) and the individual wrongful termination suit of Denise Steffens v. Regus wherein Pánuco and her co-counsel obtained an over $4.6 million federal jury verdict.
Pánuco has been recognized numerous times for her early career achievements. For her work as cocounsel in Rodriguez v. City of Los Angeles, which challenged unconstitutional curfew provisions in gang injunctions, she and her team were California Lawyer Attorney of Year Award recipients in 2017. From 2016-2018, Pánuco was named one of the Top 100 Rising Star Lawyers in Southern California and Top 50 Women Rising Stars. Since coming to Public Counsel, she has been named a 2019 Rising Star in civil rights.
Long active in civil and human rights issues, she served President of the Mexican American Bar Association in 2015, and is presently the Secretary of the Board of California Rural Legal Assistance – a non-profit legal services organization that combats poverty issues in rural California. She was also a Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, is an active member of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association, the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, the California Employment Lawyers Association, National Lawyers Guild, and the National Police Accountability Project. She has also presented at numerous legal conferences for other employment and civil rights practitioners.
Prior to law school, Ms. Pánuco worked for three years in the Washington, DC Office of then-Congressman Xavier Becerra as a Legislative Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary. She received her B.S. from the University of Southern California, and her J.D. from Loyola Law School Los Angeles. As the daughter of immigrants from Mexico, she is a native Spanish speaker.