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Dawn Saunders is a dynamic collaborator whose proactive, service-oriented approach to the leasing process supports both landlords and tenants – laying the groundwork for mutually-beneficial, long-term relationships.  She builds strong relationships with her clients and collaborates with them to achieve their strategic objectives in both specific transactions and their overall real estate portfolio.  Having represented large institutional landlords as well as a full range of real estate end users – particularly in the life sciences, technology and laboratory industries – Dawn understands both the big picture and the technical ins and outs of completing deals efficiently and effectively.

As a partner in the transactional real estate practice, Dawn's practice focuses primarily on commercial leasing where she represents both landlords and tenants.  Her client base includes institutional owners, REITs and value add investors, as well as numerous life science and technology tenants ranging from pre-revenue to publicly traded companies.  Dawn has extensive experience in all aspects of commercial leasing across all product types, including office, industrial, retail and life sciences.  Her wide array of work has included data centers, complicated build-to-suit laboratory and cGMP manufacturing facilities. 

After beginning her career as an attorney at Allen Matkins, Dawn worked at Cooley and Mintz Levin before joining CGS3 in 2016, bringing her extensive experience and knowledge to her current clients. 

Notable Cases/Deals

  • Represents numerous life sciences companies in connection with leasing of lab and office space, including manufacturing facilities and corporate headquarters, often encompassing entire buildings being purpose built or significantly redeveloped to accommodate the users’ specific needs.
  • Represented owner/developer in leasing of master planned, multi-phased development consisting of approximately two million square feet of lab and office space in South San Francisco, California.
  • Represented a value-add and core plus office investment and operating company in connection with its portfolio of assets throughout the southwestern United States.
  • Represented a publicly traded REIT in connection with leasing of its portfolio of office and retail properties throughout the West Coast, from Seattle to San Diego.
  • Represented landlord in connection with two build-to-suit lease transactions, one in Northern California and one in Southern California, totaling over 800,000 square feet to a publicly traded life sciences company.


  • San Diego Super Lawyers, Real Estate (2015-2021)
  • “Top Influential Women,” The Daily Transcript (2018)
  • “Business Women of the Year Awards,” San Diego Business Journal (2017)
  • “Top 25: 2017 Women San Diego Super Lawyers,” San Diego Super Lawyers (2017)
  • Southern California Super Lawyers, Real Estate (2014)
  • “Women Who Mean Business,” San Diego Business Journal (2010)


  • J.D., University of San Diego, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif
  • B.S., Pepperdine University, cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • California


  • NAIOP, San Diego Chapter 
Dawn Saunders