Highly Regarded Appellate Litigator M.C. Sungaila Joins Haynes and Boone, Growing Orange County Office


Haynes and Boone, LLP is proud to announce the arrival of esteemed appellate lawyer Mary-Christine “M.C.” Sungaila as a new partner in its rapidly-growing Orange County office.

At the core of her broad appellate practice is Sungaila’s passion for the rule of law and for helping shape undeveloped areas within it. She has consistently briefed and argued appeals raising cutting-edge core business issues, and helped secure important rights for women and girls, nationally and internationally.

“M.C. continues a proud tradition of excellence in our Appellate Practice Group, which enjoys a sterling reputation,” said Haynes and Boone Managing Partner Tim Powers. “Our goal is to provide the California business community with a robust set of corporate legal services and M.C.’s track record as a first-class appellate lawyer helps us round out our already strong presence in this key market.”

Sungaila has consistently received widespread recognition for her work. From 2010 to 2015, The Daily Journal has named her one of California’s 100 Leading Women Lawyers, and also in 2015 the publication named her one of the state's Top Labor & Employment Lawyers. Also recognized from 2013 to 2015 as a "Notable Appellate Practitioner" by Chambers USA, published by Chambers and Partners, Sungaila is described in one listing as a "gifted appellate lawyer who consistently delivers bottom line results," and praised for her "great practical sense," "laser" focus on key issues, and ability to "advise on the business side just as well as she does on the legal side." 

Additionally, she is the recipient of the 2015 California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) award from California Lawyer magazine for the precedent-setting Patterson v. Domino's Pizza, a franchisor vicarious liability case she argued before the California Supreme Court last year. Liz Kolar, trial counsel in the Domino's case, describes Sungaila as a "first rate, fully committed co-counsel" who is "highly collaborative" and "focused on achieving the best result for the client."

"Our Appellate Practice Group is thrilled to add our first appellate lawyer in California, and we could ask for no finer partner than M.C.,” said Anne Johnson, chair of Haynes and Boone’s vaunted Litigation Department. “M.C. is a truly exceptional appellate advocate and we are delighted to have her join the team.”

Said Sungaila: “From the minute I started talking with Anne and others from the Haynes and Boone appellate team, I knew I was with a group of like-minded professionals. The firm’s client-first emphasis and the proven quality of the appellate practitioners is exactly the environment in which I want my practice to become rooted.”

In addition to her legal prowess, Sungaila is thought of highly by colleagues. "She is the whole package: a passionate, skilled appellate lawyer who is also fun to work with,” says John O'Meara of Bremer, Whyte Brown & O'Meara, who has worked with Sungaila on a wide variety of trial and appellate matters over the last decade.

Sungaila is also lauded for her sustained commitment to community service and pro bono work, which notably includes the first case brought by a domestic violence survivor against the United States before an international human rights body. The Inter-American Commission found the U.S. government responsible for human rights violations and set forth comprehensive recommendations for changes to U.S. policy pertaining to domestic violence. Meanwhile, Sungaila’s 2010 win in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights against Mexico for the unsolved killings and disappearances of young women in Ciudad Juarez was called by Theresa Harris, then-director of the World Organization for Human Rights USA, “one of the most important victories for international women’s rights in decades.” The decision has since influenced other human rights courts and the highest courts of other countries to extend similar protections to women and girls.

Outside of the office, Sungaila has held numerous leadership roles including chairing both the appellate practice and amicus curiae committees for the International Association of Defense Counsel as well as the amicus briefs committee for the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.

Sungaila is a graduate of UCLA School of Law and Stanford University. Prior to joining Haynes and Boone, she was a partner at Snell & Wilmer and Horvitz & Levy LLP. Sungaila was also a law clerk to Hon. Ferdinand F. Fernandez, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, and Hon. Alicemarie H. Stotler (deceased), former chief judge, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, and was an extern to Hon. Dorothy W. Nelson, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

The Haynes and Boone Appellate Practice Group is one of the largest full-time appellate teams of any national law firm, with the depth, skill and experience to provide clients with more than general appellate proficiency. Instead, the firm offers clients specialized appellate knowledge that matches the needs of their unique case. Haynes and Boone lawyers are also able to provide advice through the use of emerging technology and cutting-edge empirical studies that have been used to predict chances of success on appeal.

The Appellate Practice Group has argued appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal circuit courts of appeals, and all levels of state appellate courts and has set precedents for clients in numerous jurisdictions. Whether the result is a dismissal, summary judgment, jury verdict or simply an appealable order, the team works closely with clients to formulate the best strategy for reversing adverse decisions and defending those in clients’ favor.

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