M.C. Sungaila has advocated at some of the highest levels of appellate law, and last year took her experience and her heart for mentoring and public interest work to the Portia Project podcast, where she distills the wisdom and experience of women judges, justices, and top attorneys in the nation.
M.C. sits down with Tim Kowal and Jeff Lewis on the California Appellate Law Podcast to discuss some of the insights and recurring themes and advice she’s gleaned from having interviewed now over 100 of the most successful women in the legal profession today:
• The “watershed moment” in the 1980s when Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman on the Supreme Court, opening the floodgates for women in law.
• The varied paths to the bench, taken by lawyers who never thought it possible.
• A law degree doesn’t just mean one thing, and success sometimes mean failing at your first try, second try, etc., until you find the right fit.
• The disconnect between lawyers and judges: Advocates are looking for an outcome, but appellate judges are looking for an opinion.
• Appellate judges look at oral argument as another part of their process in preparing to make their decision. Don’t look at oral argument as just an isolated 30-60 minutes—that’s not how the panel sees it.