In this episode of The Geek in Review, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert interview M.C. Sungaila, an appellate attorney and the host of The Portia Project podcast. The podcast is geared towards highlighting women in traditional and non-traditional legal careers and is set to celebrate its 100th episode during Women’s History Month in March. M.C. Sungaila initially intended to highlight women appellate judges and justices in a book, but quickly realized that a podcast would be the best medium to capture the stories of these women. The podcast now includes women leaders across the industry and beyond, providing a career touchstone for law students and showcasing where women are leading inside and outside the legal profession.
The Portia Project podcast explores a range of courts, including state, federal, and magistrate courts, as well as the process of becoming a judge, and was a finalist for the California Legal Award for Innovation in Diversity and Inclusion. M.C. talks about partnerships with organizations like Girls Inc. to amplify their work. The podcast eventually expanded beyond the judiciary to include legal tech founders, legal design innovators, and others who are making an impact in the legal world. M.C. Sungaila encourages law students to explore these new career paths.
There is a common thread among the guests in that there is no straight path to success, and everyone has unique experiences and skills that lead to their success. M.C. emphasizes the importance of recognizing that success can be different for everyone, and there are many paths to success. She plans to continue focusing on women judges, especially appellate judges, and to include more unique journeys and different approaches to legal practice in the podcast. Additionally, she hopes to branch out beyond the legal industry to bring in guests from other disciplines to provide new thoughts and ideas for women in the law.
M.C. Sungaila discusses the disproportionate share (in a good way) of women on the Supreme Court benches in Michigan and Washington and the desire to diversify the courts in those states. She also talks about the lightning round questions she asks her guests and how it helps her get to know them as people. M.C. shares her optimism for the future of women in the legal industry and the importance of being people centered. We ask MC about her motto, which she attributes to her mother’s notes to her throughout her career, such as “make this the best day ever” and “paint your canvas with your own brush.”
M.C. Sungaila’s Portia Project podcast is an excellent resource for law students and individuals interested in learning about the diverse career paths and approaches to legal practice for women in the legal industry.

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Jerry David DeCicca

Marlene Gebauer 0:07
Welcome to The Geek in Review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.

Greg Lambert 0:14
And I’m Greg Lambert.

Marlene Gebauer 0:15
So this week, we’re talking with MC Sungaila of the Portia Project. And this was actually recorded, you know, a few weeks ago, because emcee reached out to us and said, Hey, I’m gonna have my 100th episode coming up. And can we can we do a pod? And we said, Sure. So we were really excited to have her on and we’re really excited about her her 100th episode. So congratulations to her.

Greg Lambert 0:38
Yeah, so in she does great work and reaching out to a lot of women that are on there that are members of the bar, members of the bench, and just members of the legal community. So we were really happy to be there when she launched the project. And now that she’s hit her 100th episode.

Marlene Gebauer 0:59
We’d like to welcome back MC Sungaila, appellate attorney and host of the podcast the Portia project, which is scheduled to celebrate its 100th episode during women’s history month in March. The Portia Project focuses on women in traditional and non traditional legal careers. MC Welcome back to The Geek in Review. And congratulations on the 100th episode.

M.C. Sungaila 1:18
Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoying being back because yours was the very first podcast I did about the podcast. So it makes sense, in my mind to come full circle and be here.

Greg Lambert 1:31
That’s awesome. Glad we stayed on your radar as you had been working your tail off to get out. So you make us look bad MC. So

Marlene Gebauer 1:43
keep doing that, though.

Greg Lambert 1:45
Well, for listeners who may not have heard the podcast or our prior interview with you, would you just mind giving us a little bit of the background and reasoning on why you wanted to start this podcast?

M.C. Sungaila 1:58
Yeah, I initially had focused on a book project with regard to women, appellate judges and justices. In the US. I had noticed as an appellate lawyer that there weren’t as many women on the appellate bench as I’d expected to see by this point in history, about 120. That’s state and federal appellate levels. And so I thought I would highlight them talk about their career trajectories in a book format. And so I started interviewing them for that. But along the way, I realized that they really enjoyed talking, they just love to go on the phone and talk about their stories. And a lot of that was lost in translation once you put it down in a formal setting of a book. And so I wasn’t really sure, I thought the project was still good, but I wasn’t sure it was the right format for the project. So I set it aside for a bit. And then COVID happened. Everybody got online, everybody listened to podcasts, judges became familiar with Zoom, and how to do remote, everything. And so that is where it started. I went okay, maybe we could do a podcast with judges. So if they’re willing to talk to me, that’s what I’ll do. That’s how it started in the podcast format.

Greg Lambert 3:18
Now remind me some of the judges that you had interviewed for the book? Did you go back to some of the same ones and re interview them for the podcast?

M.C. Sungaila 3:27
Yes, some of them I did. Some of them. I did not some of some had retired, some weren’t available. So for the ABA, there are some published essays that I did that were going to be originally for the book that are out there. And then some did participate again, by podcast. But the idea was to celebrate them, but also inspire other women to consider applying since I thought you need to apply to have more women. So maybe we’ll get more women interested in doing this. And one of the ideas behind that was that we often has women tend to apply when we have checked off every box of what we think is required for the criteria. And sometimes people have a sense particularly about the bench that there is one path and if you haven’t followed that path, like if you weren’t a prosecutor if you didn’t clerked for federal judges, if you didn’t do various things, you just shouldn’t bother applying. And the truth of the matter is that there’s a lot of different paths, some very circuitous paths to the bench, and they’re not uniform. Also that a lot of women early on the first women judges and first women appellate judges really had a lot of barriers that we no longer face. So I also thought it was interesting way of kind of a microcosm of women’s progress in the profession. And there’s a certain level of you know, you can do it if there are women who ended up being Chief Justices of their state supreme courts. And they started out like Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Sandra Day O’Connor in a Situ ation where women, you know, could not they just couldn’t be hired in the legal role or they were rejected from those roles, then you say, hey, things are a lot better. Now, I certainly don’t have that situation. And I can definitely accomplish at least as much as they did starting out, you know, with a running start compared to them.

Marlene Gebauer 5:18
So you’ve interviewed people with a bunch of different types of experiences, but also, there’s a huge range of different courts that that, you know, these folks work at so coming. Can you tell us a little bit about like, the types of courts that you’re looking at for the podcast?

M.C. Sungaila 5:33
Yeah. So I started with the colonel with the idea of the appellate judges and focusing on them. But then, as the beauty

Marlene Gebauer 5:42
of the whole got interested, though, right? Yeah, well,

M.C. Sungaila 5:45
no. And the beauty of the podcast for men is you can cheat, you can evolve as you’re going. So it’s not like a book, like I agreed to publish a book on x. And I can’t change it, you know, because that’s what the publisher agreed to. So when I started doing it, people would refer me the guests, the initial guests would refer me to other people, sometimes they weren’t judges, I thought, Well, those are valuable stories to tell also. And then I thought, if I were a law student, now, when I remember my time as a law student, that I didn’t really know all the career options that were available from a law degree. This would also be a way of showcasing the way that women are leading across the industry, outside the industry, and also sort of a career touchstone for those in law school to explore different things they could do with their law degree. So we have people who are in legal nonprofits, people who lead museums, writers, just like just a whole array General Counsel, managing partners of law firms, solo practitioners who started their own firms, people who are now executive coaches who were in house counsel or lawyers before, there’s just academics, Dean’s of law schools, just a whole range of people. And it really is kind of a snapshot of where women are leading inside and outside the professional writing.

Marlene Gebauer 7:11
And I think it’s an important important stories to be told there. So

M.C. Sungaila 7:17
you mentioned to Marlon, I didn’t mean to ignore your question you asked about the courts too. And so there’s a range of courts, I started with appellate courts, I started with state, state courts, federal courts. And then I started thinking also about how you become a judge, are you elected or appointed? I’m not varies state by state. So I thought, well, you think you might want to be a judge in your area, you better know how to do that. And then I started thinking about other kinds of judges, magistrate judges in the federal system, trial court judges of all different stripes in the state and federal courts. So so we expand expanded a little bit, because I thought, if you wanted to be a judge at some other level, you might want to hear about that.

Marlene Gebauer 8:01
Exactly. So, in September of last year, the podcast was a recorder finalist for the California legal Award for Innovation in Diversity and Inclusion. Congratulations on that. You know, I know you had some very stiff competition. And can you share with us what that experience was like?

M.C. Sungaila 8:21
Yeah, I was, I was really, I was really glad I was encouraged to apply by various people. And I’m glad that I did since we were finalist. And we’re the only really individual generated project or a podcast project that was on there. So I kind of feel like not only it represents, to me a shift in the ability to make a difference that that you can create your own platform to to make a difference. The other finalists were more traditional partnerships between public interest organizations and law firms is something where they partnered on projects together that were more institutional based. But here we have, you know, an impact with a bunch of individuals a collective coming together, their collective stories have impact. And then the platform, you know, was created by one person on a podcast. And also, we’ve done a lot of partnerships with other people. So we had a partnership with Girls Inc. And we did a program with their high school girls, 11th graders who were in a workforce training program. And we had local women judges, law professors, lawyers come and present to them. And so the girls who were there had this one on one relationship building, some of them later went to watch the judges in action in their court room. It was just a really great relationship building opportunity. But then the effort that all of those women, you know, made to come there and do that one day was amplified by the podcasts. So now any high school girl goes in or not, can listen to that program on the on the podcast recording. So that sense of creating community from the podcast and then bridging towards traditional groups. I think that’s one of the powers of the new medium as well. There’s a lot of different ways to work with it.

Greg Lambert 10:21
Yeah, does give you kind of an outreach when you when you have a topic that that you’re really inspired by motivated by, it’s good to have this this platform out there that, you know, was wasn’t around, you know, a couple of decades ago. So,

Marlene Gebauer 10:37
yeah, you can get other people excited about it, too.

M.C. Sungaila 10:39
Yeah. And that’s a win win for the organization like Girls Inc, it doesn’t cost Girls Inc, anything to do that. And then you’re amplifying the work of the organization too. So, so I think there’s a win win. For both.

Greg Lambert 10:51
Yep. You know, when when we talk to you, I think it was last March. So almost a year ago. Again, and you kind of mentioned this, that you were pretty focused on the judiciary, you’ve gone into the process of how to get into the judiciary. But you’ve also kind of expanded even beyond that in I see, you’ve had people like Erin Levine, on for legal tech guru out there. You’ve had others on that weren’t necessarily in the judiciary, what have been some of your favorites that were not judges that you’ve had on the show?

M.C. Sungaila 11:32
Oh, gosh, okay. So yes, I’m glad you mentioned that, because I also want to be moving forward and into the future about what what kind of things are on the horizon, I feel like we have the very traditional setting the judicial setting, but then there’s innovations in law itself that I’m not sure people would otherwise know about or be familiar with. I also think there’s a huge story in the legal tech founders. There are not that many women, but the women who are in it are young, they are recent, you know, law school graduates, they’ve been maybe 10 years out many of them, and they decide to drop the firm and, you know, start with their, with their product and their company. I think there’s something to learn from them. And having that kind of confidence in doing that. At the same time. There’s a little bit of a sad aspect to it, because they part of that is because they they felt that there were limitations within law firms, and they’d rather just start their own deal from the beginning. It’s hard, but you know, I’d rather do that there’s more space for me to gain influence by starting my own company, my own product. So there’s sort of a double edged sword to those stories. But their their work is amazing. I think their leadership is amazing. And it’s something that people should know about. So yeah, you mentioned Erin Levine from Hello, divorce. Also Camilla Lopez from people clerk will be coming up. And Noella Sudbury from rasa out of Utah, which works on expunging criminal records. Yeah, there’s there’s a range of them. I also have, I also have a show about legal design. So with some legal design innovators from really all around the world, largely, largely from Europe.

Greg Lambert 13:24
Yeah, that seems to be where it’s focused right now.

M.C. Sungaila 13:28
With Paul Meyer, and test, Manuel, and in sir wese. So that’s another one. And then of course, I had Jack Shafer from clear brief and Nicole Clark from trellis and during the morning from documate, who, who now are like, you know, the senior leaders in the space, I don’t know, like, you know, 32 or something like that. So, so that’s pretty cool. Yeah. So it’s been neat to do that to think ahead. And where, because I think about that, in terms of if you’re in law school now that that’s, that’s actually a career path to think about. Yeah. Yeah.

Marlene Gebauer 14:03
Which you wouldn’t have thought what you wouldn’t have thought about that years ago, likely.

Greg Lambert 14:06
And one of my favorites, and we were talking about this, prior to the recording starting as is Deborah Henzler. At Stanford, in just the fact that she’s a PhD and not a JD, but how she has made just a large impact and legal and analysis and all the things that she did at the RAND. I like the fact that it’s, you know, you’ve you’ve kind of spread out the spectrum of who you’re bringing in a little bit because there’s some really interesting women out there that aren’t necessarily directly, you know, are not not the result of of a traditional lawyer type transition. Yeah. So it’s really interesting if anyone, if anyone hasn’t heard that one with the with Deborah Henzler. I highly suggest that that was a Really fun interview?

M.C. Sungaila 15:01
Yeah, she’s really interesting. I mean, she’s to be a woman leader at RAND when when there weren’t many, and then to really shape the Institute for civil justice. That’s, that’s at RAND. And then her work. Yeah, as you see mentioned, Greg, I think there’s a lot of, I think there’s a common thread amongst the stories, which is, you know, there’s not a straight path to things. And it’s kind of circuitous, and that’s okay. That’s kind of how life goes. And then also that each person, you can see all of the different experiences and like, there’s their particular skills, and they’re the building blocks that make them then leads to where they are like, I don’t think anybody else except Deborah Henssler, could have put together, you know, her training her PhD training, her training and policy work and asking questions, and interviewing people about empirically what’s going on, together with legal analysis in a way that she is now shaping and ahead of the curve, in terms of legal trends, globally. That’s something only Deborah could do. It’s the same way with a lot of people on this that you see, it’s magic, when you learn their stories, and you can see all the threads coming together, you know, like in a quilt, and you’re like, wow, that it all makes sense. And it’s perfect when somebody is in their sweet spot of doing what they do best, and where they can contribute the most and have the most meaning. That’s really nice to see. And I hope that in itself is inspiring, not just the particular ways that people are making a difference, but how you can architect a career that is perfect for you, and that those can be different. I think that law school kind of puts you on the hook is this one path. And if you don’t follow that path, you’re screwed, you’re never going to succeed, you got to have this, this and this. And once you’ve passed it, there’s no hope for you, you know, and that’s not at all the stories of of these people. And in fact, maybe you have to take a little detour to find out what makes you special and what you contribute compared to somebody else.

Marlene Gebauer 17:18
Yeah, we just did one of my book reading groups, we just finished the book range, and basically how experimentation in different areas and being a generalist is generally a better way to go than sort of just having a laser focus in terms of the type of career you have. So I think that reflects on that, that people seem to be more willing, women seem to be more willing to sort of try different things and sort of have alternative paths, rather than sort of what the traditional expectation is.

M.C. Sungaila 17:47
Yeah, I was gonna say that I’m thinking about Ashley Heard, you know, Ashley heard he’s quite popular and Tiktok really built her business, coming from in house counsel up some major companies to her own company called manager method, which really focuses on training managers Filling in the gap in in HR, and legal compliance training. And, you know, there’s so much about her that I’m like, only Ashley could do this, like her particular empathy for people and understanding, wanting to understand where each person comes from and trying to find a middle, at least some understanding, so people don’t treat each other with no sense of a lot. Why would you be doing that? There’s some kind of motivation for that. Just so many things you see. And it’s just, I just think it’s beautiful and magical to see when people maximize their potential. And that’s kind of what I see in some of the guests. And it’s, it’s nice to see, like ultimate humanity, like the best they could be, and applying it in the most meaningful way.

Marlene Gebauer 18:51
I do. I do want to flip the question a little bit, too, because you also I liked what you mentioned, is that you recognized a lot of what’s happening is people are trying new things. But they’re, they’re walking away from the practice of law, because they’re not feeling that that’s going to be a successful path for them that women are doing this. And that is a theme that we have brought up here on the podcast, and we’ve had guests that talked about that. And so I was wondering if you have thoughts about that if your guests have shared thoughts about that, because really, the legal profession is really losing so some talented people, because they’re not offering a path for success.

M.C. Sungaila 19:29
Yeah, I mean, I think that the interviews show that in the podcast episodes show that there’s a range there still, I mean, there are women who are leaving, you know, major law firms who, like Barb Dawson, who’s the incoming chairperson of Snell, and Wilmer Kalpana Sreenivasan, who is the CO Managing Partner Susman, Godfrey, there are a lot of women who are succeeding in traditional venues, and that works for them. I think the story is that To open your eyes to other things that you could potentially consider and to assess six, what is success for you? And what is success for you could be different in different points in your career. I think that there’s this one size fits all kind of model and expectation, and that, that needs to be busted a little bit, because there are a lot of other ways to succeed and to contribute the most. You can contribute.

Greg Lambert 20:26
Before we get to the next question, I want to ask, what’s your puppy’s name?

M.C. Sungaila 20:31
Yeah, sorry about that. There are three puppies. Oh. There are so we love puppies, puppy. And then there are little puppies. Podcast. Puppies, the podcast Mondays. Yes. The podcast puppies. That’s right.

Marlene Gebauer 20:44
You can join pod dog on the call. Yeah. She’s being very quiet right now.

M.C. Sungaila 20:50
Oh, good for her. Yeah,

Marlene Gebauer 20:51
she’s chill off.

M.C. Sungaila 20:52
Like, they know, you know, you’re on and they go, Oh, this is the time they can feel it.

Marlene Gebauer 20:56
I know my nose I’m on. And that’s when she barks. So like,

M.C. Sungaila 21:00
I want to heard. I want to be heard. Yeah.

Greg Lambert 21:03
Well, MC I know. 100 episodes is quite the milestone and you’ve hit hit it pretty fast. I know when we hit 100. In fact, we’re slowly approaching 200 for this podcast. Congratulations. That’s amazing. Yeah. But when you when you hit those milestones, you kind of assess where you where you are, where you’re been and where you’re going. So what do you think that you’ve accomplished in those first 100 episodes? And, you know, is there anything kind of on the horizon on on? I think you’ve touched a little bit on that, but in anything specific that you want to kind of do going forward?

M.C. Sungaila 21:45
Yeah, well, I definitely want to be as comprehensive as I can be, in terms of women judges, especially appellate judges. So I’ll continue to, you know, move towards my goal at the state level to have you know, every woman on every state Supreme Court represented, I’m up to 32 states so far. So I’m very close to that particular goal. And some courts have many, many women like the Michigan Supreme Court, or the Washington State Supreme Court, both of them are disproportionately female at this point, which is, which is exciting. And to have many members of the court, you know, a beach court interviewed is really fun. So that’s definitely the goal. And then, as many more federal appellate judges and potentially US Supreme Court justices as I can entice to be on the program would be great. So I definitely want to fill that out. But I’m also really interested in this idea of, you know, other unique journeys and different different approaches to practice, which is why I reached out to people like Ashley heard, like Laura Frederick, who’s also really big online in a can from in house. I just think those are interesting stories. They’re interesting stories about where you can, how you can grow your business as a lawyer also that there’s still an online component that’s quite strong. That’s changed, I think, in the last few years, and made their careers their business as possible at this point. And yeah, just keep continuing to think outside the box in terms of who who might be interesting. I’ve also started to talk to those who are not in the legal field women executives, either women who have law degrees, but are now CEOs or, you know, in other capacities in business, or even those like piney Zuckerman, who’s the, the new leader of the Orange County Museum of Art at a time when they have a brand new building, it’s a whole new change for the level at which the museum is operating. If there’s something to learn from someone like that. So I’m branching out beyond law to say, what can we bring from other disciplines that would be of interest, or like a new thought for women in the law to

Greg Lambert 24:09
Now you mentioned something about Michigan and Washington having a disproportionate share of women that are on their Supreme Court bench? I mean, is there a reason and can whatever’s happening there be replicated in other states?

M.C. Sungaila 24:26
Well, I think there’s an intention. Yeah. I mean, I think there’s an intention and desire to diversify the courts in those states. I mean, there’s a really interesting story in Washington. While there are a couple of really great stories, Justice whitener and justice Montoya Lewis from that court both have amazing personal stories. But but I’m thinking of Montoya Lewis, who was a tribal court judge previously have served for several different tribes. And I think Well, that’s not your typical, you know, feeder path. Right State Supreme Court usually. Yeah. But but because of that it’s diversifying, not just gender and but but experiences. And it’s, it was really remarkable to talk to her because she’s extremely sensitive to culture extremely sensitive to the community in decision making. And I think that is something that she’s clearly brought with her from the tribal court experience. And that’s a different approach to how you think about the impact of your decisions and what you’re doing on the court. So it just adds another layer to things. And she’s got a beautiful, amazing story. Super touching.

Marlene Gebauer 25:43
MC, you asked your guests a series of lightning round questions. Can you share those with us? And can you share some of the best answers you’ve gotten?

M.C. Sungaila 25:52
Oh, my gosh, yes, I do the lightning round questions. In fact, I had somebody, I was on some of these podcasts, and they turned the lightning round questions around to me. And I thought I should be more compassionate to my guests.

Greg Lambert 26:08
You’re like, no, that’s not how this go. You don’t have like?

M.C. Sungaila 26:13
That is not. That’s not easy. Yeah. So I asked things like, what, you know, what talent or what skill? Do you not have that you wish you did have? asked them about their favorite authors? Um, that’s really illuminating, you know, whether they continue to read what, whether they’re really traditional, you know, Jane Austen, or, or something like that, or whether they’re, they like escapism, and legal thrillers and things like that, John Grisham. And, and from that, there’s actually a really good book list now from from them. And then my, my favorites that published up, no, I’m gonna put it together to do that. Because there’s, there’s some common ones, but then there’s some unusual ones poetry. So it’s just interesting to see what what people’s interests are to historical fiction biographies. I think it’s that question in particular, is really telling about someone, their their personal aspects. And that’s really one of the, at least what the judges in particular was focused on, or I noticed happening was that you really got to know them as people to some degree. And that is, I think, something that is beneficial because people don’t think about judges as people they are. They’re fully rounded people. And it’s, it’s neat to to get that insight into them. And then the last two questions that I usually ask which I, which I also really, like, they’re kind of telling is, you know, who would you invite to a dinner party, like any, you know, alive, not alive, whoever you want, whatever collection of people. That’s really interesting. You know, some people just say, oh, you know, my family, or my, my grandmother, you know, who’s not with us and all this stuff, which is, which is kind of very sweet. And then others is like, an interesting combination of a bunch of historical figures. And that’s interesting in itself. And then you know, who’s your hero in real life? And what is your motto if you have one? So that’s a pretty the motto one’s a good way to close it out. Sometimes people don’t have mottos, but sometimes they do. And it’s a really interesting, you know, nice little bow on next.

Greg Lambert 28:33
Cuz that’s a good way to do it. So Marlene, who would you invite to a dinner party?

Marlene Gebauer 28:39
Alright, so I was thinking about this while she was saying it, and it’s like, okay, so you have I have to have two dinner parties, because I can’t follow the rules. Okay, so, you know, I would have my my grandparents, you know, at at, you know, at a party and probably my great grandparents at a party, but then I have a separate party. And I was thinking about it, and I haven’t actually come up with the names yet. That’s Oh, I was busy on the on the grandparents. But what about you, Greg?

Greg Lambert 29:06
Oh, that was a quick way to not answer and then.

Marlene Gebauer 29:08
Yeah, I like that. That’s right. Yeah. Since you put me on the spot, you know, go home.

Greg Lambert 29:13
Yeah, actually, I was thinking about it while listening to MCs podcasts because

Marlene Gebauer 29:18
do they have to be real?

Greg Lambert 29:20
Yeah, I would say,

Marlene Gebauer 29:21
okay, they have to be real people. Okay.

M.C. Sungaila 29:23
Not like characters or anything. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Not characters. But But, but they don’t need to be currently on this point. Yeah,

Greg Lambert 29:29
I would say I would, I would love to talk with Thurgood Marshall. Having gone to ODU and having he worked to not just desegregate ODU, but also to burn to allow women to come in as well. So it was in and I understand, you know, especially as he got older, he was never super friendly. So I can imagine it would be an uncomfortable dinner, but it would be one I think that it would be quite an experience to, to listen to someone like that. And here’s their their take on how they face the world. So that that would be my choice.

Marlene Gebauer 30:15
All right, I came up with sorry. So I’ve had enough time. So I was like I thought about Chrissy Hein and Deborah Harry and you know, various women sort of in the music and art scene from the late 70s. Early 80s.

Greg Lambert 30:29
Yeah, that’s, that sounds right up your alley. So music and fun.

Marlene Gebauer 30:33
That’d be fun. Yeah, it

M.C. Sungaila 30:35
was like, Oh, that would be really cool. Tim dad,

Marlene Gebauer 30:38
yeah, Joan Jett.

Greg Lambert 30:39
All right, well, we don’t have anything as cool as your your speed round of lightning round of questions. But we do ask our crystal ball question here. So that that’s our little corner. That’s our closer. So MC, we’re going to ask you, what do you think are some challenges or some changes, especially for women in the legal industry over the next two to five years or so?

M.C. Sungaila 31:06
Um, I think two things. What’s really interesting is that, starting the podcast, I wanted to celebrate people and what they’d accomplished, but I was also aware of the challenges, you know, having been in law practice for over 30 years, I’m actually a little bit more optimistic. Having done the podcast than I was before I started because of the range of ways that women are impacting the law and really outside the law with their legal degrees, and really kind of excited about where things can go where their innovation can go, where the creativity can go. And so many, especially newer lawyers, or they don’t feel constrained by a particular setting to do it. And I think that the pandemic has impacted that as well. The platform of, you know, a big law firm is still important, but it’s not. It’s not a prerequisite to accomplishing certain things, and when you’re innovating, may actually be, you know, slow things down. So, so that’s a, that’s a sense of optimism. I think I’ve a bit more optimism about the range of impact of women. Also, I think of I know, there’s a lot of this sense about now debating work from home or not, and, you know, different ways of are we going back to being all all in, in one office and and how does that impact women in particular? And I think really the the, it isn’t really humbling, the question is remote, or virtual versus in person, I think it’s really more about like, people centered, if you’re focused on your people, and what they want or need at any particular time. And because there are people, those can change those. We change over time, and we grow and we have different needs. If you’re people centric, then you’re going to accomplish a lot more, because you’re going to be bringing things out in your people that are going to maximize their their potential and their skills. And people want to stay when they’re, they’re treated that way. So think not really is kind of the debate and it may evolve that way, instead of just this key now strict, are we in person or not? I think there’s something bigger going on there.

Marlene Gebauer 33:32
I wanted to ask, when we can do this as a cold open or whatever. But it’s like, oh, I want to ask about mottos. I do want to ask about mottos. Like, do you have a motto MC

M.C. Sungaila 33:47
she can ask me this? Yeah. You know, I think about, um, I think about my, my mom’s you know, notes to me that she’s done throughout throughout my career. And I kind of think of those in the motto category, in a way.

Marlene Gebauer 34:10
Words To Live By.

M.C. Sungaila 34:11
Yeah, I mean, they’re really simple, but there’s like a lot in them. So I think together like you know, make, make this the best day ever, which is kind of like each day is a new day and you start over and you have that opportunity if yesterday sucked. It’s okay, we can start over and have a brand new day that’s way better. And then like painting your canvas with paint your canvas like with your own brush, like the way you want to do it. Don’t make somebody else don’t just go growing into somebody else’s dictates or, or do what their priorities are, you know, also pay attention to what, what you want to do and what kind of impact you can have. Specifically on the world. That’s how you maximize your potential and your purpose in being here. It’s like simple things. But those those are kind

Marlene Gebauer 35:03
of, yeah, I relate that that this, your mom brought this to you because like the one that I think about often is something that my sister brought to me. And it’s basically no mud, no lotus, and basically meaning that basically meaning that you have to apply yourself if you want, you know, the good results in the end. So,

Greg Lambert 35:23
yeah, my nose deep. Everyone knows mine, which is all problems are communication problems.

Marlene Gebauer 35:32
And that’s not that’s true. So, yeah, that’s

M.C. Sungaila 35:35
a good one. That’s a good one. Yeah, I should put the models together to actually now that you asked, I should put that from, from all the different interviews, that would be pretty interesting.

Marlene Gebauer 35:44
Yeah. Well, MC Sungaila, thank you so much for visiting with us again, today. And again, congratulations on the 100th episode.

M.C. Sungaila 35:53
Thank you so much, both of you.

Greg Lambert 35:58
Well, it was great having MC Sungaila. Back on the show. Again, she’s done a lot with giving exposure to a lot of women in the legal industry. And I think she’s she’s right, that there’s just a lot of different paths that people can can be taking. And she’s really kind of shining a light on the way that so many women in the industry have succeeded in in just so many different paths that they’ve taken to get to that success.

Marlene Gebauer 36:27
Yeah, I mean, I remember back in the beginning, I mean, there was a sole focus on judges. And this is really expanded into a lot of other areas, a lot of other stories that women have to share. And, you know, again, it’s one of these types of podcasts where it’s very inspirational. It’s really great to hear about everybody’s personal stories, and it’s such a good connector. She has said that to us multiple times that, you know, people have reached out to guests on the podcast, you know, guests have have reached out to one another on the podcast. So you know, I love to see that. That sort of, you know, sort of women, women reaching out and collaborating and helping other women.

Greg Lambert 37:07
Absolutely. So thanks again to MC Sungaila, from the Porsche project for coming back on and celebrating her 100th episode with us.

Marlene Gebauer 37:16
And thanks, of course, to all of you, our audience for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoy the show, share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you. So reach out to us on social media. I can be found at @gebauerm on

Greg Lambert 37:29
Twitter, And I can be reached @glambert on Twitter. Or you can leave

Marlene Gebauer 37:33
us a voicemail on The Geek in Review Hotline at 713-487-7821.

Greg Lambert 37:39
And well now for all the millennials out there. You can also text that number.

Marlene Gebauer 37:45
Yeah, we just don’t even have to

Greg Lambert 37:47
talk to us.

Marlene Gebauer 37:50
It is always the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca Thank you so much, Jerry.

Greg Lambert 37:55
Thanks, Jerry. All right, Marlene, I will talk to you later.

Marlene Gebauer 37:57
Okay, bye bye