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Mary-Christine (  Sungaila, Esq.

M.C. Sungaila, who anchors Haynes & Boone's California Appellate practice, 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
  • Preserve a public school yoga physical education program

M.C. has repeatedly been named a “Notable Appellate Practitioner” by Chambers USA, Chambers and Partners (2013-2020). Clients describe her in Chambers listings as a “terrific appellate advocate,” “phenomenal writer,” “outstanding oral advocate,” as well as “an excellent strategist, with deep local knowledge of the California Supreme Court” and appellate courts throughout California, and a “gifted appellate lawyer who consistently delivers bottom line results.” They also 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 for over a decade by the Daily Journal, Daily Journal Corporation as one of California’s 100 Leading Women Lawyers (2005, 2010-2019) 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.

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.

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