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Mary-Christine ("M.C.")  Sungaila

Mary-Christine ("M.C.") Sungaila

Partner| Orange County|Los Angeles


M.C. Sungaila has successfully briefed and argued appeals raising cutting-edge and core business issues statewide as well as nationally and internationally. Clients appreciate her “clear, concise, and persuasive” manner, laud her as a “great strategic thinker who plays five or six moves ahead,” and call on her to craft winning approaches to emerging legal issues across multiple cases and jurisdictions. Clients also value M.C.’s strategic approach during 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.

Over the past decade, M.C. has been the primary architect of winning arguments to screen and exclude unfounded expert testimony in California courts—a standard which previously remained undeveloped in the state.  Using her signature proactive, “big picture” approach, M.C. helped secure victories in nearly every significant expert testimony case decided by California appellate courts in recent years.

Fortune 500 companies, leading trade associations, and international human rights organizations also have relied on M.C. to help preserve the attorney-client privilege, limit the reach of class actions and securities laws, extend the assumption of the risk doctrine, prevent compelled speech under the First Amendment, define the scope of the duty to warn sophisticated users of product hazards, overturn multimillion dollar judgments, limit the reach of medical monitoring claims, clarify the standards for interstate enforcement of noncompete agreements, and secure important rights for women worldwide.

M.C. has received multiple awards and recognition for her work. Named as a "Notable Appellate Practitioner" by Chambers U.S.A., she is described by clients in the Chambers listing as a "gifted appellate lawyer who consistently delivers bottom line results for clients." Named by the Recorder as one of the 40 "Women Leaders in the Law," and repeatedly named one of California's Top Women Litigators by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals, she is also one of a select group of women to receive the Frances E. Willard Award, Alpha Phi International Fraternity’s highest alumnae honor for professional achievement on a national and international level.  In 2011, M.C. was the only lawyer named in OC Metro business magazine's annual list of the "Top 20 Women to Watch in Orange County."

Also in 2011, her innovative amicus brief in the closely-watched U.S. Supreme Court class action Wal-Mart v Dukes — one among fifteen different briefs filed in support of Wal-Mart by a number of veteran Supreme Court litigators — earned her the title “Appellate Lawyer of the Week” from the National Law Journal. M.C. is also listed in the Best Lawyers in America, the Top 50 Southern California Female Super Lawyers and the Top 50 Super Lawyers in Orange County.

In addition, M.C.’s various articles on effective amicus briefing, appellate brief writing, and gender issues have been cited in over 35 law review articles, treatises and blogs, and appear as required reading on law school course syllabi throughout North America. Her expert 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.

M.C. Sungaila has successfully briefed and argued appeals raising cutting-edge and core business issues statewide as well as nationally and internationally.  Clients appreciate her "clear, concise, and persuasive" manner, laud her as a "great strategic thinker who plays five or six moves ahead," and call on her to craft winning approaches to emerging legal issues across multiple cases and jurisdictions. Clients also value M.C.'s strategic approach during 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.

  • Patterson v. Domino's (2014) -- Cal.4th --- (obtained Supreme Court review on behalf of Domino's; Supreme Court affirmed summary judgment for Domino's and clarified the standard for franchisor vicarious liability for sexual harassment by a franchisee employee). Click here to read petition for review; click here to read opening brief on the merits; click here to read reply brief on the merits; click here to read published opinion; listen to oral argument above.
  • Southwestern Nonprofit Housing Corp. v. Nowak (2014) -- Az. Ct. App. -- (no viable negligence cause of action against appraiser by seller who had entered into sales contract before any appraisal was made, making reliance impossible). Click here to read appellee's brief; click here to listen to oral argument; click here to read published opinion.
  • Revious v Ford Motor Company (determining that trial court abused its discretion by excluding evidence under Evidence Code 352, but nonetheless affirming warranty judgment in defendant's favor because there was no prejudice from the evidentiary error). Click here to read Respondent's brief; click here to read (unpublished) opinion.
  • Moloney v. U.S., U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 12-627 (click here to read amicus brief in support of petition for certiorari raising arguments concerning Belfast Project researchers’ ability to challenge a foreign law enforcement subpoena under the First Amendment and applicable Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty)
  • Nalwa v. Cedar Fair, California Supreme Court Case No. S195031 (December 31, 2012) (extending assumption of the risk outside the sports context to an amusement park ride). Click here to read amicus brief.
  • Stengel v. Medtronic, Ninth Circuit Case No. 10-17755 (en banc rehearing on preemption of state law claims). Click here to read the amicus brief.
  • Viking Global Equities, L.P. v. Porsche Automobil Holding SE (New York Supreme Court, First Appellate Division) (rejecting effort to file securities law claims in New York State Court on forum non conveniens grounds). Click here to read amicus brief.
  • Center Partners, Ltd. V. Growth Head GP, LLC (Illinois Supreme Court Case Nos. 113107 and 113128) (November 2012) (in a case of first impression, Illinois Supreme Court rejected applying the subject matter waiver doctrine to attorney-client communications partially disclosed during a real estate deal). Click here to read amicus brief; click here to read the opinion.
  • CTIA – The Wireless Association v. City and County of San Francisco (Ninth Circuit Case Nos. 11-17707, 11-17773) (September 2012) (overturning, on First Amendment grounds, San Francisco ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to warn customers about the purported risks of cell phone use – a controversial message with which the retailers disagreed). Click here to read amicus brief.
  • Toyota Motor Corp. v. Superior Court (Stewart),  197 Cal.App.4th 1107 (2011) (recognizing California courts' lack of power to compel nonresident employees and witnesses to testify at deposition in California). Click here to read amicus brief.
  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2541 (2011) (decertifying Title VII class of over 1 million past and current Wal-Mart employees; clarifying federal class certification standards). Click here to read the amicus brief.
  • Molina v. Shell Oil Co., unpublished California Court of Appeal opinion (2010) (affirming refusal to extend lowered "increased risk" causation standard to certain kinds of toxic tort claims). Listen to oral argument above.

Over the past decade, M.C. Sungaila has been the primary architect of winning arguments to screen and exclude unfounded expert testimony in California courts—a standard which previously remained undeveloped in the state.  Using her signature proactive, “big picture” approach, M.C. helped secure victories in nearly every significant expert testimony case decided by California appellate courts in recent years.

Molina v. Shell Oil Co., unpublished California Court of Appeal opinion (2010) (affirming refusal to extend lowered “increased risk” causation standard to certain kinds of toxic tort claims)

  • Molina v. Shell Oil Co., unpublished California Court of Appeal opinion (2010) (affirming refusal to extend lowered “increased risk” causation standard to certain kinds of toxic tort claims)
  • Johnson v. Honeywell International, Inc., 179 Cal.App.4th 549 (2009) (expanding application of the sophisticated user defense to negligence per se claims)
  • Johnson v. American Standard, 43 Cal.4th 56 (2008) (adopting the sophisticated user standard to negate a manufacturer's duty to warn of a potential danger posed by a product where the plaintiff has, or should have had, advance knowledge of a product's inherent hazards)
  • Lockheed Martin v. Superior Court, 29 Cal.4th 1096 (2003) (curbing medical monitoring claims)
  • Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway v. United States, 129 S.Ct. 1870, 556 U.S. (2009) (in a resounding victory for the chemical industry, rejecting a broad view of “arranger” liability under CERCLA)
  • Dee v. PCS Property Management, 174 Cal.App.4th 390 (2009)
  • Geffcken v. D’Andrea, 137 Cal.App.4th 1298 (2006)
  • In re Lockheed Litigation Cases, 23 Cal.Rptr.3d 762 (2005) (rev. granted, then dismissed, previously published at 126 Cal.App.4th 271)
  • In re Lockheed Litigation Cases, 115 Cal.App.4th 558 (2004)
  • Jennings v. Palomar Pomerado Health Systems, 114 Cal.App.4th 1108 (2003)

Fortune 500 companies, leading trade associations, and international human rights organizations also have relied on M.C. to help preserve the attorney-client privilege, limit the reach of class actions and securities laws, extend the assumption of the risk doctrine, prevent compelled speech under the First Amendment, define the scope of the duty to warn sophisticated users of product hazards, overturn multimillion dollar judgments, limit the reach of medical monitoring claims, clarify the standards for interstate enforcement of noncompete agreements, and secure important rights for women worldwide.

  • Patterson v. Domino's (2014) -- Cal.4th --- (obtained Supreme Court review on behalf of Domino's; Supreme Court affirmed summary judgment for Domino's and clarified the standard for franchisor vicarious liability for sexual harassment by a franchisee employee). Click here to read petition for review; click here to read opening brief on the merits; click here to read reply brief on the merits; click here to read published opinion; listen to oral argument above.
  • Southwestern Nonprofit Housing Corp. v. Nowak (2014) -- Az. Ct. App. -- (no viable negligence cause of action against appraiser by seller who had entered into sales contract before any appraisal was made, making reliance impossible). Click here to read appellee's brief; click here to listen to oral argument; click here to read published opinion.
  • Nalwa v. Cedar Fair, California Supreme Court Case No. S195031 (December 31, 2012) (extending assumption of the risk outside the sports context to an amusement park ride). Click here to read amicus brief.
  • Viking Global Equities, L.P. v. Porsche Automobil Holding SE (New York Supreme Court, First Appellate Division) (rejecting effort to file securities law claims in New York State Court on forum non conveniens grounds). Click here to read amicus brief.
  • Center Partners, Ltd. v. Growth Head GP, LLC (Illinois Supreme Court Case Nos. 113107 and 113128) (November 2012) (in a case of first impression, Illinois Supreme Court rejected applying the subject matter waiver doctrine to attorney-client communications partially disclosed during a real estate deal). Click here to read amicus brief; click here to read the opinion.
  • CTIA – The Wireless Association v. City and County of San Francisco (Ninth Circuit Case Nos. 11-17707, 11-17773) (September 2012) (overturning, on First Amendment grounds, San Francisco ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to warn customers about the purported risks of cell phone use – a controversial message with which the retailers disagreed). Click here to read amicus brief.
  • Toyota Motor Corp. v. Superior Court (Stewart), 197 Cal.App.4th 1107 (2011) (recognizing California courts' lack of power to compel nonresident employees and witnesses to testify at deposition in California). Click here to read amicus brief.
  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2541 (2011) (decertifying Title VII class of over 1 million past and current Wal-Mart employees; clarifying federal class certification standards). Click here to read the amicus brief.
  • Aguilar v. Ashland Chemical Co., unpublished California Court of Appeal opinion (2000) (overturning $760 million punitive damages award)
  • Arnold v. Ashland Chemical Co., unpublished California Court of Appeal opinion (2000) (overturning $21 million compensatory and punitive damages award)
  • State Farm v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408 (2003) (clarifying standards for determining the excessiveness of punitive damage awards)

Fortune 500 companies, leading trade associations, and international human rights organizations also have relied on M.C. to help preserve the attorney-client privilege, limit the reach of class actions and securities laws, extend the assumption of the risk doctrine, prevent compelled speech under the First Amendment, define the scope of the duty to warn sophisticated users of product hazards, overturn multimillion dollar judgments, limit the reach of medical monitoring claims, clarify the standards for interstate enforcement of noncompete agreements, and secure important rights for women worldwide.

  • Moloney v. U.S., U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 12-627 (click here to read amicus brief in support of petition for certiorari raising arguments concerning Belfast Project researchers’ ability to challenge a foreign law enforcement subpoena under the First Amendment and applicable Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty)
  • 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) (landmark decision in first case brought by a domestic violence survivor against the U.S. before an international human rights body, finding the United States government responsible for human rights violations and setting forth comprehensive recommendations for changes to U.S. law and policy pertaining to domestic violence)
  • Caso Campo Algodonero (The Cotton Field Cases), Inter-American Court of Human Rights Case Nos. 12.496, 12.497 and 12.498 (decision made public December 10, 2009) (a groundbreaking decision called “one of the most important legal victories for international women’s rights in decades” held Mexico liable for the unsolved killings and disappearances of young women in Ciudad Juarez)
  • Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, 526 U.S. 629 (1999) (establishing the grounds for school district liability for student-on-student sexual harassment)
  • United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000) (overturning, 5 to 4, the civil rights remedy of the Violence Against Women Act)
  • United States v. Lanier, 117 S.Ct. 1219 (1997) (reinstating criminal civil rights conviction of state court judge who raped and sexually assaulted female court employees and litigants in his chambers)
  • University of California Los Angeles School of Law (J.D., 1991)
  • Stanford University (B.A., Political Science, with distinction, 1988)
    • Honors in Humanities
  • Supreme Court of California
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, Appellate Lawyer Representative (2013-2016)
  • National Foundation for Judicial Excellence, Annual Judicial Symposium Program Committee (2013-present)
  • 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-present), Vice-Chair (2009-2013)
    • Amicus Curiae Committee (2008-present), Chair (2010-present)
    • Nominating Committee (2011)
    • Defense Counsel Journal Board of Editors (2008-present), Editor in Chief (2014-present)
    • CLE Committee (2014-present)
    • Adjunct Faculty, Trial Academy (2012, 2013)
    • Annual Meeting CLE Committee (2012-2013)
  • American Law Institute, Elected Member (2010-present)
    • Regional Advisory Group 10, Appointed Member (2014-present)
  • American Bar Association
    • Judicial Division Amicus Committee, Co-Chair (2014-present)
    • Standing Committee on Amicus Curiae Briefs (2013-present)
    • Section of Litigation Amicus Curiae Briefs Committee, Co-Chair (2013-present)
    • Section of Litigation Appellate Practice Committee, Amicus Curiae Subcommittee, Chair (2013-present)
    • Women Rainmakers Board and Steering Committee (2011-present)
    • 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, Amicus Briefs Committee (2011-present)
  • California State Bar Litigation Section Jury Instructions Committee (2011-present)
  • 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)
  • Orange County Bar Association (1992-present)
    • Appellate Law Section (2010-present), Chair (2014), Program Chair (2013)

MEDIA

REPRESENTATIVE PUBLICATIONS
Practice Guides

  • "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

REPRESENTATIVE SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

  • “Amicus Questions and Answers,” Panelist, Product Liability Advisory Council Annual Fall Conference, Chicago, Illinois (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)
  • "Reinventing Your Career and What the Millenial Generation Has to Teach Us," Moderator, Orange County Global Women's Conference, Anaheim, CA (June 5, 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)
  • "Negotiate Your Way to Success: Best Practices for Women Rainmakers," Moderator, ABA Women Rainmakers Spring Workshop, Costa Mesa, CA (May 9, 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)
  • "U.S. and California Supreme Court Game-Changing Cases of 2013 and Beyond: How Will They Impact Your Business?," Speaker, Roundtable Presentation, Snell & Wilmer, Costa Mesa, CA (February 25, 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)
  • "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 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)
  • "Strategic Networking: A Guide for Women Rainmakers," Moderator, ABA Women Rainmakers Fall Workshop, Costa Mesa, CA (November 5, 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)
  • "Niche Marketing: Why, How to, and Now What?," Moderator, ABA Women Rainmakers Spring Workshop, Costa Mesa, CA (April 22, 2013)
  • "Lead Like a Woman," Moderator, Opening Session, OC Global Women's Conference, Anaheim, CA (March 1, 2013)
  • "U.S. and California Supreme Court Game-Changing Cases of 2012 and Beyond: How Will They Impact Your Business?," Speaker, Roundtable Presentation, Snell & Wilmer, Costa Mesa, CA (February 26, 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)
  • "U.S. and California Supreme Court Game-Changing Cases of 2011 and Beyond: How Will They Impact Your Business?," Speaker, Roundtable Presentation, Snell & Wilmer, Costa Mesa, CA (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, California (March 2011)
  • "2011 Women Litigators Forum," Moderator, Master Women Litigators Panel, Women Lawyers' Association of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (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, California (July 2008)
  • Judith Soley Lawyer as Citizen Award, California Women Lawyers (2013) (inaugural award)
  • Top Women Lawyers, The Daily Journal (2013, 2014)
  • Women Leaders in the Law, The Recorder (2012)
  • Distinguished Service Award, Women Lawyers' Association of Los Angeles (2012)
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business®, Litigation: Appellate (2012-2013, 2013-2014)
  • Top Women Lawyers of 2012, The Daily Journal (2012)
  • Top Women Lawyers of 2011, The Daily Journal (2011)
  • Visionary of The Year Award, Coastline Community College Foundation (2011)
  • "20 Women to Watch" in Orange County, OC Metro Business Magazine (2011)
  • Alpha Phi International Fraternity Frances E. Willard Award (2010)
  • Top Woman Litigator, Los Angeles Daily Journal (2010, 2005)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Appellate Practice (2010-2015)
    • Lawyer of the Year, Appellate Practice (2015)
  • Southern California Super Lawyers®, Appellate (2004-2014)
  • Judicial Council of California Advisory Committee on Civil Jury Instructions (2014-2017) (appointed by Chief Justice of California)
  • UCI School of Law, Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic, Lecturer (2014-present)
  • Aspen Institute Justice Circle (2014-present)
  • 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-present)
  • Coastline Community College Foundation, Board of Directors (2012-present)
  • RAND Institute for Civil Justice, Board of Overseers (2011-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-present)
    • Executive Committee, Board of Advisors (2010-present)
  • Horvitz & Levy LLP, Partner (2003-2010), Associate (1997-2002)
  • Irell & Manella LLP, Associate (1992-1997)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Law Clerk to Hon. Ferdinand F. Fernandez (1993-1994)
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Law Clerk to Hon. Alicemarie H. Stotler (1991-1992)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Extern to Hon. Dorothy W. Nelson (1990)