Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner M.C. Sungaila is one of the 27 U.S. lawyers included in the National Law Journal’s 2019 Equality Trailblazers List. The list recognizes lawyers who have advanced the cause of equality, whether in the workplace or through initiatives outside the firm.
The publication said the following about Sungaila:
Sungaila has worked on more than 50 pro bono appeals [throughout her career]. That included the Cotton Field matters. “The Inter-American Court of Human Rights declared Mexico responsible for a string of disappearances and murders of young girls in Ciudad Juarez. It was the first decision to interpret women’s rights treaties anywhere in the world.” That led to the second case. “The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights used that reasoning and application and issued an advisory opinion that the U.S. needs to strengthen our domestic violence laws....” She has also done a number of appointed appeals around immigration matters before the Ninth Circuit. That included representing a gay man with HIV from Mexico. “The court heard the case en banc and altered the standard necessary for gay individuals from Mexico to show the need for asylum.” She also worked on [a transgender asylum matter].
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.
She has repeatedly been named a “Notable Appellate Practitioner” by Chambers USA, Chambers and Partners (2013-2019). 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.
Sungaila 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.
From the very beginning of her career in the early 1990s, she engaged in gender bias education- even drafting pioneering gender bias handbooks distributed by the California state bar to all attorneys and judges. She drafted the LA County Bar and Women Lawyers' Association of Los Angeles' Joint Task Force on Retention and Promotion of Women in law firms Call to Action - which was signed by over 40 law firms and is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. She has since served as a Commissioner on the ABA's Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, a member of the NAWL board of directors, and has been invited to participate multiple times in the Center for Women in the Law's biannual Power Summit.