M.C. Sungaila



Education and Clerkships

J.D., University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, 1991

B.A., Political Science, Stanford University, 1988, with distinction, Honors in Humanities

  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Ferdinand F. Fernandez, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1993-1994
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Alicemarie H. Stotler, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, 1991-1992
  • Extern to the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1990



Court Admissions

Supreme Court of California

United States Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois


M.C. Sungaila has briefed and argued appeals raising cutting-edge and core business issues, and helped secure important rights for women and girls nationally and internationally. Clients call on her to craft approaches to emerging legal issues across multiple cases and jurisdictions and to provide pretrial and trial consultations in cases where an appeal by either side appears inevitable or a “key case” outcome might impact a whole series of cases for a client.

At the core of her broad appellate practice is M.C.’s passion for the rule of law and for helping shape undeveloped areas within it. Her work has helped to:

  • Preserve the attorney-client privilege
  • Develop the standards for the admission of expert testimony
  • Determine limits to the reach of class actions and securities laws
  • Extend the assumption of the risk doctrine
  • Develop rules for preventing compelled speech under the First Amendment
  • Define the scope of the duty to warn sophisticated users of product hazards
  • Limit the reach of medical monitoring claims
  • Clarify the standards for interstate enforcement of non-compete agreements
  • Secure important rights for women worldwide
  • Reverse significant judgments for clients
  • Limit franchisor liability for the acts of franchisee employees
  • Define the scope of the Establishment Clause under the California Constitution and preserve a public school yoga physical education program

M.C. has repeatedly been named a “Notable Appellate Practitioner” by Chambers USA, Chambers and Partners (2013-2019). Clients describe her in one Chambers listing as a “gifted appellate lawyer who consistently delivers bottom line results” and praise her for her “great practical sense,” “laser” focus on key issues, “excellence in creative thinking,”and ability to “advise on the business side just as well as she does on the legal side.” She has been repeatedly recognized by the Daily Journal, Daily Journal Corporation as one of California’s 100 Leading Women Lawyers (2005, 2010-2017) and in 2015 as one of the state’s Top Labor & Employment Lawyers. She was a recipient of two back-to-back California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) awards, including one in 2015 from California Lawyer magazine, Daily Journal Corporation, for the precedent-setting franchisor vicarious liability case she argued before the California Supreme Court, Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza.

M.C. has also been honored for her sustained commitment to community service and pro bono work, receiving recognition from groups as diverse as California Women Lawyers, Alpha Phi International Fraternity, the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association, the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, and Coastline Community College Foundation. In 2017, she was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, whose recipients include seven U.S. Presidents, Nobel Prize winners, athletes, leaders of industry, artists and others whose work has made a lasting impact on humanity, for her combined professional achievements and humanitarian and pro bono work.

In addition, M.C.’s various articles on effective amicus briefing, appellate brief writing, and gender issues have been cited in more than 45 law review articles, treatises and blogs, and appear as required reading on law school course syllabi throughout North America. Her commentary has appeared in a variety of publications ranging from the ABA Journal and National Law Journal to the Los Angeles Times and USA Today.

Selected Representative Matters

*Some of these representations were handled by M.C. Sungaila prior to her joining Haynes and Boone, LLP. M.C. acted as lead counsel or co-lead counsel in all matters listed.


  • Visiting Nurses Association v. Jupiter Medical Center (2015) __ U.S.__,135 S.Ct. 2052

Assumption of the Risk

  • Nalwa v. Cedar Fair (2012) 55 Cal.4th 1148

Attorney-Client Privilege

  • Center Partners, Ltd. v. Growth Head GP, LLC 2012 IL 113107, 981 N.E.2d 345 (2012)


  • Epic Systems v. Lewis (2018) __ U.S. __, 138 S.Ct. 1612
  • Patterson v. Domino's (2014) 60 Cal.4th 474
  • Brunner v. Liautaud (N.D. Ill., Apr. 8, 2015) 2015 WL 1598106
  • Advanced Bionics Corp v. Medtronic, Inc. (2012) 29 Cal.4th 697
  • Lewellen v. Molina Healthcare, Inc. (Cal.App.2d Dist., Jan. 28, 2015, B250557) 2015 WL 357149

First Amendment and Anti-SLAPP

  • Sedlock v. Baird (2015) 235 Cal.App.4th 874
  • Hurvitz v. Hoefflin (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 1232
  • CTIA – The Wireless Association v. City and County of San Francisco (Ninth Circuit Case Nos. 11-17707, 11-17773) (September 10, 2012) (mem. dispo.)
  • Sander v. State Bar (2013) 58 Cal. 4th 300

Pleading Standards

  • Thrifty Payless, Inc. v. Americana at Brand, LLC (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 1230


  • In re Estate of Duke (2015) 61 Cal.4th 871

Professional Liability

  • Southwest Nonprofit Housing Corp. v. Nowak (2014) 234 Ariz. 387, 322 P.3d 204

Toxic Tort, Product Liability and Expert Testimony

  • Kim v. Toyota (2018) 6 Cal.5th 21
  • Bixby v. KBR, Inc. (May 14, 2015) 603 Fed.Appx. 605, 2015 WL 2242170, mem. dispo.
  • Stengel v. Medtronic (9th Cir. 2012) 686 F.3d 1121
  • Johnson v. Honeywell International, Inc. (2009) 179 Cal.App.4th 549
  • Johnson v. American Standard (2008) 43 Cal.4th 56
  • Lockheed Martin v. Superior Court (2003) 29 Cal.4th 1096
  • Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway v. United States (2009) 129 S.Ct. 1870, 556 U.S. 599
  • Dee v. PCS Property Management (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 390
  • Geffcken v. D’Andrea (2006) 137 Cal.App.4th 1298
  • In re Lockheed Litigation Cases (2005) 23 Cal.Rptr.3d 762
  • Jennings v. Palomar Pomerado Health Systems (2003) 114 Cal.App.4th 1108
  • Stewart v. Union Carbide (2010) 190 Cal.App.4th 23

Venue and Jurisdiction

  • Porter v. Nabors Drilling USA, L.P., 854 F.3d 1057 (9th Cir. 2017)
  • Viking Global Equities, L.P. v. Porsche Automobil Holding SE (1st Dep’t, 2012) 101 A.D.3d 640, 958 N.Y.S.2d 35
  • Toyota Motor Corp. v. Superior Court (Stewart) (2011) 197 Cal.App.4th 1107


  • Donlen v. Ford Motor Co. (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 138
  • Revious v. Ford Motor Co. (Cal.App.5th Dist., Sept. 4, 2012, F062211) 2012 WL 3801558

Pro Bono

  • Jameson v. Desta (2018) __Cal.5th __
  • Cassier v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation 862 F.3d 951 (9th Cir. 2017)
  • Bringas-Rodriguez v. Sessions, 850 F.3d 1051 (9th Cir. 2017) (en banc)
  • Moloney v. U.S. (2013) 133 S.Ct. 1796
  • Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Case No. 12.626 (Merits Report No. 80/11 dated July 21, 2011, made public August 17, 2011)
  • Campo Algodonero (case of Gonzales et al. “Cotton Field cases”) v. Mexico, Case Nos. 12.496, 12.497 and 12.498 (Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 6, 2009)
  • U.S. v. Morrison (2000) 529 U.S. 598
  • Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education (1999) 526 U.S. 629
  • U.S. v. Lanier (1999) 520 U.S. 259

To read more about these cases, click here.


Chambers USA Recognizes 55 Haynes and Boone Lawyers

More than 50 Haynes and Boone lawyers spanning 18 practice areas are featured in the 2019 edition of the Chambers USA legal directory published by Chambers & Partners.


Best Lawyers

Haynes and Boone Recognized in Best Lawyers in America 2020

Best Lawyers in America 2020 has featured more than 100 Haynes and Boone lawyers in its annual referral guide of outstanding lawyers throughout the U.S.

Published by Woodward/White, Inc. in August 2019


Daily Journal

Daily Journal Names M.C. Sungaila Among Top Women Lawyers

For a 10th consecutive year, the Daily Journal has named Haynes and Boone Partner M.C. Sungaila as one of the Top Women Lawyers in California.


Haynes and Boone Team Secures Appeals Court Win for Textile Client

Haynes and Boone recently secured a win in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which issued a 2-1 decision in favor of Phoenix Fibers, a textile recycling business.

Selected Publications

Practice Guides

  • “Circuit Variations: Ninth Circuit” and “Amicus Briefs,” Chapter Co-Author and Author, The Practitioner’s Guide to Appellate Advocacy, ABA (forthcoming updated 2016 edition)
  • “Living to Fight Another Day: Preserving the Record for Appeal,” Author, From the Trenches: Strategies and Tips From 21 of the Nation’s Top Trial Lawyers, Chapter 9, ABA (2015)
  • “Motions, Applications, and Informal Requests,” Author, California Civil Appellate Practice, Chapter 11 (3d ed. 2015).
  • “Punitive Damages,” Co-Author, Employment Damages and Remedies, Chapter 6, CEB, (1st ed. 2012).
  • “Preliminary Opposition Authorized by Rules of Court, Opposition and Reply,” Author, Mitchell E. Abbott et al., 2 California Civil Writ Practice, Chapters 21, 23 (4th ed. 2008).
  • “Writs and Appeals,” Consultant, Mitchell E. Abbott et al., 2 California Civil Discovery Practice, Chapter 16, at 1409-42 (4th ed. 2006).

Law Reviews and Academic Journals

  • “On the Cutting-Edge: As Pending Supreme Court Cases Concerning Contraceptive Coverage and Second-Parent Adoption Show, California Continues to be at the Forefront of the Law,” Author, 11 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women’s Stud. 399 (2002).
  • Nguyen v. INS and Sex Stereotyping in Citizenship Laws: Building on the Equal Protection Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” Author, 10 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women’s Stud. 293 (2001).
  • United States v. Morrison: The United States Supreme Court, the Violence Against Women Act and the ‘New Federalism,’” Author, 9 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women’s Stud. 301 (2000).
  • “Effective Amicus Practice Before the United States Supreme Court: A Case Study,” Author, 8 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women’s Stud. 187 (1999).
  • “Litigating Women’s Rights as Human Rights: The Case of United States v. Lanier,” Author, 7 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women’s Stud. 329 (1998).

Legal Practitioner Publications

  • “2017 Year in Review: Notable Published Civil Cases From the Fourth Appellate District, Division Three,” Coauthor, Orange County Lawyer, Vol. 60, No. 3, March 2017.
  • “2016-2017 Term in Review: Notable Civil Cases From the California Supreme Court,” co-author, Orange County Lawyer, Vol. 59, No. 11, p. 46, November 2017.
  • “New Era in the Golden State: No More Automatic Depublication,” Author, Law 360, June 23, 2016.
  • “How to Convince the California and Texas High Courts to Hear a Case,” Co-author (with Lynne Liberato), Law 360, May 25, 2016.
  • “Don’t Get Thrown Out on your Derriere: Common Mistakes in Establishing Federal Subject-Matter Jurisdiction,” Co-author, Def. C. J., Vol. 83, No. 2, p. 143, April 2016.
  • “Joint Employer Liability in the Franchise Context: One Year After Patterson v. Domino’s,” Coauthor, 35 Franchise L. J. 339, Winter 2016.
  • “2015 Year in Review: Notable Published Civil Cases From the Fourth Appellate District, Division Three,” Coauthor, Orange County Lawyer, Vol. 58, No. 2, p. 24, February 2016.
  • “A New Resource For Self-Represented Litigants - A Civil Appellate Self-Help Clinic At The Orange County Court Of Appeal,” Orange County Lawyer, Vol. 58, No. 1, p. 30, January 2016.
  • "Making Democracy Work," Women Lawyers Journal, December 30, 2015.
  • "Completing the Trial Court Team: The Role of Appellate Counsel," Orange County Business Journal, November 23, 2014.
  • "Amicus Briefs in the California Supreme Court: Indicia of their Importance and Impact," California Litigation, Vol. 28, No. 3, 2015.
  • “Amicus Briefs: How to Write Them, When to Ask for Them,” American Bar Association GPSolo magazine, Vol. 32, No. 5, p. 28, Sept./Oct. 2015.
  • “The ins and outs of amicus briefing: Fitting the puzzle of amicus briefs together in a case,” Inside Counsel, March 5, 2015.
  • “The ins and outs of amicus briefing: What do organizations look for in deciding to lend amicus support?” Inside Counsel, February 5, 2015.
  • “How to be an Effective Appellate Advocate: Top Tips from Justices and Research Attorneys,” Orange County Lawyer, Vol. 57, No. 2, February 2015.
  • “The ins and outs of amicus briefing: The increasing influence of amicus briefs,” Inside Counsel, January 5, 2015.
  • “Supreme Court Observations: ‘Dart Cherokee’ Eliminates the Presumption against Removal of Class Actions,” Guest Commentator, Washington Legal Foundation, December 19, 2014; also available at Forbes.com, December 19, 2014.
  • “Justices Jump the Gun on Certiorari: DIGs and the Rise of the Amicus Brief,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, Vol. 127, No. 223, November 17, 2014.
  • “The Value Proposition of Including Appellate Counsel on the Trial Team,” Orange County Business Journal, November 17, 2014.
  • “Civics education leads to a fair bench,” Daily Journal, September 22, 2014. Available online at the Informed Voters Project website.
  • “Great Lawyering: Lessons from Judge Alicemarie H. Stotler,” Orange County Lawyer, Vol. 56, No. 8, August 2014.
  • “Keeping Current: Medtronic, Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures, LLC, 134 S. Ct. 843 (2014),” Co-Author, Business Law Today, May 2014.
  • “The Path to the Bench: Interviews with Women Appellate Judges,” Editor/Interviewer, ABA Woman Advocate Newsletter, Vol. 19, No. 2, Winter 2014.
  • “Women Justices Speak Out: On Mentoring, Leadership, and Effective Advocacy,” Editor/Interviewer, ABA Woman Advocate Newsletter, Vol. 19, No. 2, Winter 2014.
  • “The IADC Amicus Brief Program: Its Increasing Success and Influence,” Defense Counsel Journal, Vol. 81, No. 1, January 2014.
  • “The Art of Dissent,” Appellate Issues Newsletter of the ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers, at 34, January 2014.
  • “Finding Your Calling: Pro Bono as the Path to New Practice Areas,” ABA Woman Advocate Newsletter, Vol. 19, No. 1, Fall 2013.
  • “Oral Advocacy and Record Preservation: A Judge’s Perspective,” International Association of Defense Counsel Appellate Committee Newsletter, February 2013.
  • “Smoldering embers in Belfast may soon reach US justices,” Co-Author, Los Angeles Daily Journal, Vol. 126, No. 017, January 25, 2013.
  • “And After All That Work! The Dreaded U.S. Supreme Court ‘DIG,’” The Legal Pulse, Washington Legal Foundation, January 31, 2013.
  • “On The Merits: American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurants,” Co-Author, Washington Legal Foundation, January 2013.
  • “California Supreme Court Sets New Standards for Expert Testimony,” Contributing Author, The Legal Pulse, Washington Legal Foundation, December 5, 2012.
  • “The Perils of Oversharing: Can the Attorney-Client Privilege be Broadly Waived by Partially Disclosing Attorney Communications During Negotiations?” Co-Author, Defense Counsel Journal, Vol. 79, No. 3, July 2012.
  • “A year post-‘Dukes,’” Co-Author, The Recorder, July 23, 2012.
  • “The Limited Power of California Courts to Compel Witness Attendance at In-State Depositions,” Daily Journal, August 15, 2011.
  • “Class action on the ropes: The Supreme Court’s decision in ‘Wal-Mart’ could result in more cases being filed in state courts,” Co-Author, The Recorder, July 18, 2011.
  • “U.S. Supreme Court Issues Landmark Decision Rejecting Class Certification in Wal-Mart v. Dukes,” Co-Author, Snell & Wilmer Legal Alert (June 24, 2011).
  • “Appellate Oral Argument: A Primer in Two Parts,” Daily Journal, Jan. 4 and 5, 2011. Reprinted in IADC Appellate Practice Committee Newsletter, July 2011.
  • “Effective Advocacy Through Amicus Briefs,” Daily Journal, June 28, 2010.
  • “The Science Behind Judicial Decisionmaking,” Daily Journal, April 23, 2010.
  • “A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed: The Increased Prevalence and Influence of Amicus Briefs,” IADC Appellate Practice Committee Newsletter, March 2010.
  • “Make Your Briefs Tell A Winning Story: Ten Techniques From Creative Writing,” California Civil Litigation Reporter, Vol. 31, No. 2, at 46, April 2009.
  • “Limiting Manufacturers’ Duty to Warn: The Sophisticated User and Purchaser Doctrines,” Co-Author, 76 IADC Defense Counsel Journal, at 196, April 2009.


Orange County Women Lawyers Association

OC Women Lawyers Name Sungaila Attorney of the Year

Haynes and Boone Orange County Partner M.C. Sungaila was named Attorney of the Year by the Orange County Women Lawyers Association. She received the award Sept. 14 at the 42nd Annual OCWLA Gala.

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • “California Supreme Court Roundup,” panelist, OCBA Appellate Law Section, Santa Ana, CA, March 7, 2019.
  • “Pro Bono Appeals: Why It’s Good for Business,” panelist, International Association of Defense Counsel Midyear Meeting, Santa Barbara, CA, February 24, 2019.
  • “How to Create, Grow and Manage a Successful Civil Appellate Practice: Tips from BigLaw Leaders,” panelist, Orange County Bar Association Appellate Law Section, Newport Beach, CA, November 16, 2018.
  • “Litigation Unbound: Challenges Facing Multi-Jurisdictional Lawyers,” panelist, NBTA All Star Conference, New Orleans, LA, November 9, 2018.
  • “Preview of the 2018-2019 U.S. Supreme Court Term,” co-presenter, Product Liability Advisory Council Fall Meeting, Dana Point, CA, November 1, 2018.
  • "Is Your Civil Client in Danger of Criminal Charges?" moderator, IADC Midyear Meeting 2018, La Quinta, CA, February 13, 2018.
  • “Superstars in the Courtroom Share Their Secrets of Success," panelist, American Bar Association's Women in Litigation Joint Conference, November 15-17, 2017.
  • “Strategic Use of Amicus Briefs in Appellate Advocacy,” panelist, Strafford Webinar, October 12, 2017.
  • “How to Get Involved in Appellate Practice,” panelist (with Fifth Circuit’s Judge Costa and appellate lawyers from across the country), American Bar Association (ABA) roundtable, July 12, 2017.
  • “Walking the Tightrope in Waiving Conflicts of Interest,” Moderator, APABA Silicon Valley CLE Event, Palo Alto, CA, May 24, 2017.
  • “Oral Argument Before the Highest Court of the State or the Land: Unique Considerations in Argument Preparation and Presentation,” panelist, IADC Webinar, April 19, 2017 (with former NY Solicitor General Caitlin Halligan and former Assistant in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office John Elwood).
  • "The Supreme Court in 2017," Moderator, International Association of Defense Counsel Midyear Meeting, Scottsdale, AZ, February 2017 (with panelists Tom Goldstein of Scotusblog, Kannon Shanmugam of Williams & Connolly, and David Savage of the LA Times).
  • "An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: How to Prepare Your Commercial Litigation Lawsuit from Answer Through Discovery and to Verdict for a Winning Appellate Record," Moderator, International Association of Defense Counsel Midyear Meeting, Scottsdale, AZ, February 2017.
  • “Oral Argument: the Judicial Perspective,” moderator, IADC Webinar, November 9, 2016 (moderator of panel composed of Ninth Circuit and U.S. magistrate judges).
  • “Oral Argument: the Advocate and Client Perspective,” moderator, IADC Webinar, September 19, 2016.
  • “Strategic Use of Amicus Briefs in Appellate Advocacy,” co-presenter, Strafford webinar, April 19, 2016.
  • “Appellate Law Review- Focus on California,” co-presenter, Product Liability Advisory Council Spring Meeting, Aventura, FL, March 31, 2016.
  • “What's Next for the U.S. Supreme Court?,” moderator, RAND Institute for Civil Justice Board of Overseers Spring Meeting, Santa Monica, CA, March 17, 2016.
  • "Don’t Get Thrown Out of Court: Common Mistakes in Establishing Federal Subject Matter Jurisdiction," co-panelist, International Association of Defense Counsel Midyear Meeting, Pebble Beach, CA, February 21, 2016.
  • Live Mock U.S. Supreme Court Argument in Bouaphakeo v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 765 F.3d 791 (8th Cir. 2014) cert. granted, 135 S. Ct. 2806 (2015) (presented mock oral argument on behalf of defendant and petitioner Tyson Foods in class action case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court before Judge Catarina Haynes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Chief Justice Scott Bales of the Arizona Supreme Court, and Judge Francis Connolly of the Minnesota Court of Appeals), DRI Appellate Advocacy Seminar, Scottsdale, Arizona, February 12, 2016.
  • "Growing Your Appellate Practice, Both Within and Without," co-panelist, DRI Appellate Advocacy Seminar, Scottsdale, AZ, February 12, 2016.
  • “Secrets of the Great Briefwriters,” co-presenter with Ross Guberman, author of Point Made, International Association of Defense Counsel Webinar, January 27, 2016.
  • "Advocacy for Women's Rights in the Legal Arena," speaker, Third Annual Cypress Women's Conference, Cypress, CA, September 17, 2015
  • "Estate of Duke: The Wild West of Will Contests?," co-presenter, Orange County Bar Association Trusts & Estates Section, Orange, CA, September 9, 2015
  • "Through the Back Door: Ways to Obtain Judicial Review of an Arbitration Award," panelist, International Association of Defense Counsel Annual Meeting, Colorado Springs, CO, July 6, 2015.
  • “Media Coverage of the High Profile Case: Winning in the Court of Public Opinion and the Court of Law,” panelist, International Association of Defense Counsel Midyear Meeting, Marco Island, FL, February 18, 2015.
  • “Discount Justice: State Court Budgeting in an Era of Fiscal Austerity,” moderated Discussion with Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye, UCLA-RAND Center for Law & Public Policy, Santa Monica, CA, January 12, 2015.
  • “What You Need to Know About Appellate Practice: Tips and Traps,” co-presenter, American Bar Association Section of Litigation Webinar, November 19, 2014.
  • “Breakfast Meeting with California Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin Liu,” moderator, Orange County Bar Association, Newport Beach, CA, November 13. 2014.
  • “Two justices from two different Court of Appeal districts discuss writs, brief writing, and oral argument,” moderator, Orange County Bar Association Appellate Law Section, Newport Beach, CA, November 6, 2014.
  • “Amicus Questions and Answers,” panelist, Product Liability Advisory Council Annual Fall Conference, Chicago, IL, October 17, 2014.
  • “What to Watch for in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Fall 2014 Term,” panelist with Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Professor Vikram Amar, Daily Journal live webcast, September 29, 2014.
  • “A Salon Style Discussion With Associate Justice Ming Chin,” moderator, Orange County Bar Association Appellate Law Section, Newport Beach, CA, September 22, 2014.
  • “A Conversation with the Chief Justice of California, Tani Cantil-Sakauye,” moderator, Orange County Bar Association Appellate Law Section, Newport Beach, CA, June 2, 2014.
  • “Statements of Decision,” panelist, Orange County Superior Court Judicial Education Conference, Irvine, CA, May 10, 2014.
  • “Oral Argument: The Judges’ Perspective,” moderator, International Association of Defense Counsel Webinar, April 23, 2014.
  • “Lunch at the Ninth Circuit: Tips from Judges on Getting Your Just Desserts,” moderator, Los Angeles County Bar Association Appellate Courts Section, Pasadena, CA, April 10, 2014.
  • “What Every In-House Counsel Should Know About Preserving Error for Appeal,” speaker, Orange County Bar Association Corporate Counsel Section, Newport Beach, CA, March 11, 2014.
  • “Headed to Trial? What You Need to Know to Preserve the Record in Your Construction Case,” speaker, Orange County Bar Association Construction Law Section, Newport Beach, CA, March 5, 2014.
  • “On the Cutting Edge: Trends Revealed by the IADC Amicus Program,” panelist (with Nicholas Pace from RAND Institute for Civil Justice, Georgene Vairo of Loyola Law School, David Carrillo of the California Constitution Center at Berkeley Law School), International Association of Defense Counsel Midyear Meeting, San Diego, CA, February 12, 2014.
  • “Men and Women as Allies – Moving from ‘Women’s Initiatives’ to Firm Initiatives,” panelist, Ark Group West Coast Women Legal Conference, San Francisco, CA, February 5, 2014.
  • “Amicus Curiae Briefs,” panelist, ABA Section of Litigation Winter Leadership Meeting, San Diego, CA, January 17, 2014 (in coordination with U.S. Supreme Court presentation by Dean Erwin Chemerinsky).
  • “The First Year: Insights from the Appellate Bench,” interlocutor (interview with Justice David Thompson), Orange County Bar Association Appellate Law Section, Newport Beach, CA, November 7, 2013.
  • “When Error Occurs – Preserving the Record: Tales from Bench and Bar,” panelist, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Orange County (ABTL-OC), Costa Mesa, CA, November 6, 2013.
  • “The Resilient Rainmaker,” panelist, American Bar Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, August 2013.
  • “Guess Who’s Coming to Trial?: Strategic Advantages to Having Appellate Lawyers at Trial,” moderator, International Association of Defense Counsel Annual Meeting, Maui, HI, July 2013.
  • “Rainmaker Panel: Making Rain in the Desert,” panelist, Legal Marketing Association SoCal Chapter, Costa Mesa, CA, July 2013.
  • “Policy Change Through the Courts: How Appeals Have Changed Business, Human Rights, and the Law,” speaker, RAND Institute for Civil Justice Policy Symposium, Santa Monica, CA, April 24, 2013.
  • “Lead Like a Woman,” moderator, Opening Session, OC Global Women’s Conference, Anaheim, CA, March 1, 2013.
  • “Negotiations,” speaker, ABA Women in Law Leadership Academy, San Francisco, CA, December 2012.
  • “What Every Trial Lawyer Needs to Know About Preserving the Record,” lecturer, IADC Trial Academy, Stanford Law School, July 2012; July 2013.
  • “Recent Supreme Court Decisions Affecting Food, Drug and Medical Device Claims,” panelist, HB Litigation Conferences Food, Drug & Medical Device Forum, Minneapolis, MN, April 2012.
  • “Judicial and In-House Roundtable,” moderator, HB Litigation Conference Food, Drug & Medical Device Forum, Minneapolis, MN, April 2012.
  • “Preserving the Record for Appeal,” panelist, Robert Banyard Inn of Court, Costa Mesa, CA, March 2012.
  • “Oral Argument on Appeal,” panelist, Orange County Bar Association Appellate Law Section, January 2012.
  • “Appeals: Winning Strategies and Skills from Start to Finish,” panelist and Seminar Organizer, Pincus Professional Education, November 2011.
  • “Storytelling for Appellate Lawyers,” panelist and Seminar Co-Creator, Pincus Professional Education, November 2011.
  • “Motions During and After Trial,” panelist and Moderator, Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), June 2011.
  • “Inspiring Boldness,” Speaker, Leading Speaker Series, Marymount High School, Los Angeles, CA, March 2011.
  • “2011 Women Litigators Forum,” moderator, Master Women Litigators Panel, Women Lawyers’ Association of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, March 2011.
  • “Storytelling in Appellate Briefs,” panelist, Los Angeles County Bar Association Appellate Courts Committee, November 2010.
  • UC Irvine Law School Guest Speaker Series, Speaker, August 2010.
  • “The Next Justice? The Kagan Hearings and Where She Might Take the Court,” panelist, American Constitution Society (Los Angeles), Federalist Society (Los Angeles), and Women Lawyers’ Association of Los Angeles, July 2010.
  • “Civil Appellate Practice: From the Standpoint of the Practitioner,” panelist, Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), May 2010.
  • “Living to Fight Another Day: What Every Savvy Trial Lawyer Should Know About Appeals,” speaker, BVR Legal/Mealey’s Conference: Benzene Litigation, Marina del Rey, CA, July 2008.

Professional and Community Activities

  • Orange County Bar Association - Director at Large, 2017; Member, Board of Directors, 2016-present; Appellate Law Section, 2010-present; Chair, 2014; Program Chair, 2013; Member, 1992-present
  • Judicial Council Appellate Advisory Committee, Member, 2015-present (appointed by the Chief Justice of California)
  • California State Bar Appellate Courts Committee, Appointed Member, 2015-present
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow, 2015-present
  • Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, Appellate Lawyer Representative, 2013-2017
  • National Foundation for Judicial Excellence, Annual Judicial Symposium Program Committee, 2013-2016
  • Robert Banyard Inn of Court, 2012-present
  • Product Liability Advisory Council, Sustaining Member, 2011-present
  • International Association of Defense Counsel, 2008-present; Appellate Practice Committee, Chair, 2013-2016, Vice-Chair, 2009-2013; Amicus Curiae Committee, 2008-2017, Chair, 2010-2017; Nominating Committee, 2011; Defense Counsel Journal Board of Editors, 2008-present, Editor in Chief, 2014-2016; CLE Committee, 2014-2016, 2017-present; Adjunct Faculty, Trial Academy, 2012, 2013; Annual Meeting CLE Committee, 2012-2013; Midyear Meeting CLE Committee, 2018; Corporate Counsel College Advisory Committee, 2018
  • American Law Institute, Elected Member, 2010-present; Regional Advisory Group 10, Appointed Member, 2014-present
  • American Bar Association; Standing Committee on the American Judicial System, Subcommittee on Federal Courts, 2017-present; Standing Committee on Amicus Curiae Briefs, 2013‐2016; Commissioner, Center for Ethnic and Racial Diversity, 2016-2017; Judicial Division Amicus Committee, Co-Chair, 2014-present; Section of Litigation Amicus Curiae Briefs Committee, Co-Chair, 2013-present; Section of Litigation Appellate Practice Committee, Chair, 2018-present, Amicus Curiae Subcommittee, Chair, 2013-2016, Pro Bono Opportunities Subcommittee, 2016-present; Women Rainmakers Board and Steering Committee, 2011-2016; West Coast Regional Summit for Women General Counsel and Senior Women In-House Counsel, Planning Committee, 2011; The Woman Advocate, Contributing Editor, 2011-2014, Founding Editor, 1996-1997; Commission on Women in the Profession, Gender Equity Task Force, Compensation Committee, 2012-2013
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow, 2013-present
  • National Association of Women Lawyers, Board of Directors, 2018-present; Amicus Briefs Committee, 2011-present
  • California State Bar Litigation Section Jury Instructions Committee, 2011-2014
  • Women Lawyers’ Association of Los Angeles, 2000-present; Board of Governors, 2000-2009; Amicus Briefs Committee, Chair and Co-Chair, 2000-2009
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Appellate Courts Committee and Section, 2010-present
  • Judicial Council of California Advisory Committee on Civil Jury Instructions, 2014-present (appointed by Chief Justice of California)
  • UCI School of Law, Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic, Lecturer, 2014-January 2016
  • Aspen Institute Justice Circle, 2014-2016
  • National Association of Women Judges “Informed Voters. Fair Judges Project,” California Coordinating Committee, 2013-present
  • Foundation of the International Association of Defense Counsel, Board Member, 2013-present
  • California Task Force on K-12 Learning, Advisory Member, appointed by Chief Justice of California and State Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2013-2014
  • Whittier Law School, Adjunct Professor of Law, Appellate Advocacy, 2012-2013
  • Red Hen Press, Board of Directors, Member, Interim Board Chair, and Board Chair, 2012-2014
  • Coastline Community College Foundation, Board of Directors, 2012-present
  • RAND Institute for Civil Justice, Board of Overseers, 2011-present; Vice-Chair, 2017-2018; Chair, 2018-present
  • National Chamber Litigation Center, California Litigation Advisory Committee, 2011-2013
  • Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s online iCivics education program, State Coordinator, 2010-2014, Ambassador, 2014-present
  • Claremont Graduate University; School of Arts and Humanities, Board of Advisors, 2006-2015; Executive Committee, Board of Advisors, 2010-2015


  • “Botched wills can be fixed after death, state high court says,” San Francisco Chronicle, July 28, 2015, quoted about California Supreme Court decision.
  • “Justices Leave Intent Subjective in Facebook Threat Case,” Law 360, June 1, 2015, quoted about U.S. Supreme Court decision.
  • “In possibly significant case, state high court to mull charities' challenge to man's will,” Daily Journal, p.1, May 26, 2015, describing probate case Ms. Sungaila argued before the California Supreme Court.
  • “5 Ways to Sway Calif.’s High Court To Snap Up Your Case,” Quoted, Law360, March 10, 2015.
  • “Top 10 legal cases in franchising, and who should worry,” Quoted, and naming Patterson v. Domino’s, which Ms. Sungaila argued before the California Supreme Court, as the top franchise case of 2014 nationwide, Franchise Times, November-December 2014.
  • “Franchisor isn’t liable as employer,” Quoted, Daily Journal, August 29, 2014.
  • “Rainmaker Q&A: Snell & Wilmer’s MC Sungaila,” Law360, September 11, 2013.
  • “First Monday: Appellate Lawyers’ Roundtable,” leading appellate lawyers in California discuss the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court Term, Daily Journal, October 3, 2011.
  • “Meet the Women Rainmakers!” Law Practice Today, July 2011.
  • “20 Women to Watch,” OC Metro Business Magazine, March 2011.
  • “Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Mary-Christine Sungaila,” The National Law Journal, February 2, 2011.
  • “Why I Love Being a Lawyer,” ABA Journal, February 1, 2011.
  • “Historic Milestone: Women Form Majority on State Supreme Court,” Daily Journal, December 29, 2010.
  • “Acting as an Advocate,” Daily Pilot, December 8, 2010. 

Professional Recognition

  • Chambers USA, Chambers and Partners, Litigation: Appellate, California, 2013-2019
  • Recognized in Who’s Who Legal: California, Product Liability Defence, Law Business Research Ltd., 2019
  • Ellis Island Medal of Honor Recipient, 2017
  • Richard L. Neumeier Excellence in Service award, International Association of Defense Counsel, 2016
  • California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award, 2015, California Lawyer Magazine, Daily Journal Corporation (for groundbreaking California Supreme Court decision in the area of franchise law); 2016, Los Angeles Daily Journal, Daily Journal Corporation (for Ninth Circuit asylum appeal for a transgender woman) 
  • Top Labor & Employment Lawyer in California, Daily Journal, Daily Journal Corporation, 2015 (annual list of top 40 employment lawyers in the state; recognized for groundbreaking and significant 2014 work on behalf of franchisors in joint employer cases in California and Illinois)
  • Attorney of the Year, Orange County Hispanic Bar Association, 2015 (for decades-long, sustained pro bono appellate work, much of it benefiting the Hispanic community)
  • Judith Soley Lawyer as Citizen Award, California Women Lawyers, 2013 (inaugural award)
  • Top Women Lawyers, The Daily Journal, Daily Journal Corporation, 2011-2019 (annual list of 100 top women lawyers in the state – 75 litigators and 25 Dealmakers)
  • Women Leaders in the Law, The Recorder, ALM Media Properties, LLC, 2012
  • Distinguished Service Award, Women Lawyers’ Association of Los Angeles, 2012
  • Visionary of The Year Award, Coastline Community College Foundation, 2011
  • “20 Women to Watch” in Orange County, OC Metro Business Magazine, Churm Media, 2011
  • Alpha Phi International Fraternity Frances E. Willard Award, 2010
  • Top Woman Litigator, Los Angeles Daily Journal, Daily Journal Corporation, 2010, 2005 (annual list of 100 top women litigators in California)
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Woodward/White, Inc., Appellate Practice, 2010-2020; Lawyer of the Year, Appellate Practice, 2015
  • Southern California Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, Appellate, 2004-2019

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