M.C. Sungaila in Law.com: A Lost Summer for Law Students? Not For Aspiring Appellate Lawyers in NC and the OC


Law.com quoted Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner M.C. Sungaila in an article about her role as the dean of the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) Law Student Summer Appellate Academy, a series of webinars focused on appellate practice. The program is designed to help law students, who are struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, expand their legal knowledge and skills.

The OCBA academy was inspired by another program organized by Judge Philip Berger Jr. and Judge Richard Dietz of the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Here is an excerpt from Law.com:

Dietz and Berger put together their curriculum and reached out to North Carolina law schools in May, rolled it out in June, and finished earlier this month. The program, which has lectures and materials available now online, drew about 200 new and aspiring North Carolina lawyers, about 150 of whom viewed all seven 50-minute lectures and participated in three break-out small group Webex sessions that were limited to up to 15 participants. Those that finished the seminar are set to get a certificate for the court, but Dietz told participants in his final lecture that they should be prepared to explain exactly what they picked up in the program since potential employers are unlikely to have heard of it.

Across the country in California, the North Carolina program caught the attention of Haynes and Boone appellate co-chair Mary-Christine “M.C.” Sungaila, a member of the Orange County Bar Association Board of Directors and a member of its COVID-19 task force, which has been organizing two free webinars per week for members since mid- March.

“When I saw this, I thought, ‘We haven’t done something for law students and our law student members,’” Sungaila said.

Sungaila helped pull together a team of faculty including legal writing expert Ross Guberman, Loyola Law School Professor Paula Mitchell who directs the school’s Ninth Circuit appellate clinic, former Court of Appeal Justice and founder of the Grignon Law Firm Margaret Grignon, Orange County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Knill to teach a free four-part summer academy on appellate law via webinar for the bar association’s law student members. The academy, set to begin on Friday, July 17, is set to cover topics such as brief writing, oral argument, and jobs in appellate law.

“I’m interested in getting the next generation of lawyers who might be interested in appellate exposure to it,” Sungaila said. She said she’s also hoping to give students and new lawyers something of use in a moment when things such as job prospects and even their ability to take the bar exam are in flux.

To read the full article, click here. (Subscription required)

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