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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Twitter: @gebauerm, or @glambert
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Jerry David DeCicca

Continue Reading Breaking Barriers: The Portia Project’s MC Sungaila on the Unique Paths to Success for Women Lawyers and Judges (TGIR Ep. 192)

We bring on a fellow legal industry podcaster this week to talk about the launching of her brand new podcast, The Portia Project. M.C. Sungaila is a shareholder at Buchalter in California and she noticed that while there were a number of female judges making it onto the trial court bench, there were still a small number at the appellate level. This motivated her to seek out a platform for those judges who were at the appellate level to share their stories and perhaps encourage others to seek out similar roles. M.C. discusses how her original idea of creating a book on the topic morphed into the podcast platform as a result of not just the length of time it takes to compile a book, but also because she quickly discovered that being able to actually hear these stories told in first-person had more of an emotional effect than the printed page could convey.

M.C. shares how the experiences of women joining the judiciary changed over the past few decades. How the challenges shifted from the 70s and 80s into the past couple of decades. That the barriers shifted from obvious issues to more subtle obstacles. She also notes how there is a theme among these stories of women trailblazers in particular areas of legal practice, only to be supplanted by their male counterparts once those areas of practice become more prestigious. It is this type of shared storytelling experience that makes podcasting such a popular platform and M.C.’s Portia Project brings these important stories to life. We hope you enjoy this discussion as much as we did.

Crystal Ball Question

While we may be back to a more “regular” style of podcast episode this week, we still have some recordings from LegalWeek that we are going to share for a few more episodes. We asked a number of attendees our Crystal Ball question of “what significant changes do you see in the legal industry over the next five years?” This week, David Bartolone from Wolters Kluwer sat down at the microphone in New York and gave us his projection on the role APIs will play in the near future.

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Contact Us

Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert

Voicemail: 713-487-7270


Music: Jerry David DeCicca


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 151 – M.C. Sungaila and The Portia Project Podcast

Image [cc] David Ortez

The consumerization of technology is a hot topic in the legal market. But one overlooked corner of the market also experiencing this trend is the courts. Today’s guest post comes from inside the courts to examine the same phenomenon there. Judge David Nuffer, of the Federal District Court in Utah,