The Portia Project

The Portia Project

The Portia Project™ Podcast seeks to inspire the next generation of women lawyers and law students by sharing the stories of high achieving women in the law – their paths to the bench, the bar, and beyond. Their personal histories, spanning the 1960’s to today, chronicle women’s progress in the legal profession and business world, and serve as powerful reminders that there are many individual paths to success. As master storyteller Bobette Buster puts it: “Stories, told well and acted upon by one generation, ignite the next generation to greatness; because they have heard with their own ears, and seen with their own eyes, what courage can achieve.” Guests stepping into the spotlight to share their career stories include federal judges, state supreme court justices, and state trial judges from across the country, as well as leading trial lawyers, general counsel, law professors, business and nonprofit executives, and founders. They provide tips on effective lawyering and reveal the array of meaningful careers possible with a law degree, in a format that is a far cry from formal judicial or lawyer profiles in traditional legal publications – one that brings out the interviewees’ human side and lets their personality shine through. By listening to the lives of these lawyers and judges, you will gain a clearer idea of how they built their careers and may be inspired to follow in their footsteps. Who knows, maybe the next woman to revolutionize law, business, or the judiciary will be you! Hosting the podcast is M.C. Sungaila, a practicing lawyer for more than 30 years, who has consistently been named one of the Top 100 Women Lawyers in California by the legal newspaper The Daily Journal. She focuses on civil appeals, writs, and related trial strategy and consulting. M.C. received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for her combined professional achievements in humanitarian and pro bono work. She shares this recognition with seven U.S. Presidents, Nobel Prize winners, athletes, artists, and industry leaders who made a significant contribution to humanity. M.C. invites amazing judges and lawyers to the podcast to share their valuable, inspiring legal advice. With each guest, you receive the best of both worlds: tips to improve your law practice and insights to enhance your career trajectory. Join M.C. Sungaila in this meaningful journey to elevate your legal career and forge the path to becoming the lawyer of your dreams. Listen to The Portia Project™ Podcast today at


May 20, 2024 45 mins

The Portia Project presented a live program at the Center for Women in the Law's Biannual Power Summit in Austin, Texas, featuring an interview with Greenberg Traurig Vice-Chair, leading trial lawyer, and AI innovator Lori Cohen. We were thrilled to be invited to the Summit—described as one of the most significant gatherings of women lawyers in the country and "a veritable who’s who of influential women in the profession”—and are p...

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As part of our Space series, we recorded short interviews with a few select speakers at the inaugural Space Beach Law Lab conference in Long Beach, California. This one with Aaron Brynildson gets substantive, dips into hot topics in space policy and regulation, and demonstrates the range of venues in which a space law career can play out (military anyone?). Oh, and we a...

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As part of our Space series, we recorded a short interview with Michelle Hanlon and Caryn Schenewerk, two former Portia Project guests who are leaders in Space Law, conducted right after they stepped off the stage at the inaugural Space Beach Law Lab conference in Long Beach, California. This one gets substantive, and dips into hot top...

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April 29, 2024 55 mins

Legendary former California Court of Appeal Justice Patricia Benke, now in private practice at the Complex Appellate Litigation Group, shares her journey to the bench, tips for effective advocacy, and how when one door closes in your career another one opens. Don't miss this reservoir of wisdom that will undoubtedly inspire you to persevere, regardless of the obstacles ...

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April 22, 2024 59 mins

Bonni Pomush, the CEO of Working Wardrobes, a leading nonprofit in Orange County, California, shares her path to nonprofit leadership and tips for leading and collaborating with others both inside and outside your organization. Named the Most Influential Person in Orange County by the Orange County Register in 2023, Bonni is an upbeat force for good, and a leader to learn from. Join this conversation and learn why nonprofit leaders...

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April 15, 2024 51 mins

As part of our series featuring leading women in space law, Kelsie Rutherford, Regulatory Counsel at SES, a global satellite operator, shares her journey to an in-house role and her leadership in space policy through her industry representation at the ITU's World Radiocommunication Conference in Dubai. Kelsie shares what it takes to break into the space industry and what makes an effective in-house counsel. Join in as she takes us ...

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April 8, 2024 61 mins

Our Space series featuring the leading ladies of Space Law and Space Exploration continues, with Bailey Reichelt, Co-Founder of startup law firm Aegis Space Law and former in-house counsel. Bailey and Aegis focus on trade law and regulatory counseling for NewSpace companies and startups. In this conversation, Bailey shares her journey ...

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April 1, 2024 48 mins

Today's guest is one of LA Business Journal's Most Influential Women Lawyers for her pro bono work. Stacy Horth-Neubert, former journalist and BigLaw attorney, shares her pro bono journey and her new role as Executive Director of the Harriett Buhai Center (only the second leader in th...

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March 25, 2024 61 mins

Alabama federal district judge Anna Manasco shares her journey from debate champion to appellate litigator and federal judge, and offers tips for young lawyers to grow their skills and gain opportunities to be mentored. Judge Manasco was nominated to the federal bench in February of 2020 and confirmed in May of 2020. Her journey to the bench was characterized by her willingness to learn from everyone and everything that comes ...

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March 18, 2024 54 mins

Rachel Barchie shares her journey from BigLaw attorney to nonprofit and family foundation leader. She offers tips for those interested in transitioning from the practice of law to other arenas, and how legal skills add value to other leadership roles.

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March 11, 2024 61 mins

 Monica Palko, Chief Legal and Administrative Officer of "NewSpace" company York Systems, shares her journey to the top of the space industry. She offers useful advice for corporate lawyers on how to thrive in their positions and contribute meaningfully to the company. Monica discusses the major changes happening in the traditional and new space industries. She emphasizes the importance of being flexible, cost-effective, and t...

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March 4, 2024 60 mins

Former California Court of Appeal Justice Judith Haller shares some of her impactful work on statewide commissions on access to justice and judicial ethics. She also talks about her career journey from prosecutor to law firm litigation partner, trial, and court of appeal judge. Justice Haller explains how being a good writer is important in her profession. Her presence radiates so much inspiration in today’s episode. Join Justice H...

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February 26, 2024 50 mins

Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Cindy Thyer shares her path to the law and the bench (through two different trial court appointments by Republican and Democratic governors alike, followed by uncontested election to the trial and appellate bench) and provides tips for those considering a judicial career as well as for advocates. Judge Thyer also shares how she earned a Masters in Judicial Studies while serving on the bench.

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February 19, 2024 47 mins

Today's guest is Maria Moskver, the CEO of Cloudvirga. Her experience as a tech GC and CEO demonstrates the many places a law degree and business savvy can take you. In this conversation, she explains her leadership philosophy, her move from the legal side to the business side, and the increasing seamlessness between the two. She also ...

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February 12, 2024 51 mins

Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Rita Gruber describes her career on both the trial court and appellate bench and her unexpected path to judicial service. Along the way, she shares some life wisdom and tips for effective advocacy. Be inspired by Judge Gruber in this insightful episode and start building your path beyond law school today.

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February 5, 2024 58 mins

Nicole Stott, a NASA engineer and astronaut who journeyed into space twice and was a crewmember of the International Space Station, shares her career journey. As a former crew member of the International Space Station (ISS), Nicole brings a unique perspective to today’s episode, shedding light on her extraordinary career journey and the profound human experiences that come with exploring the cosmos. Nicole discusses the essence of ...

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January 29, 2024 86 mins

Timiebi Aganaba is a space lawyer and assistant professor at ASU's School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Her career has taken her around the world, including a stint at Nigeria's brand-new space agency right out of law school that launched her career in an unforeseen direction and later took her to France, Canada, and now the United States. In this episode, Timi shares the human elements along her journey and how they hel...

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January 22, 2024 63 mins

As part of our series on space law and the space ecosystem, this episode features Shelli Brunswick, a former U.S. Air Force officer and former COO of the nonprofit Space Foundation, now CEO and Founder of SB Global LLC. Shelli shares her views on leadership, the space economy, mentoring and sponsorship, and succeeding in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

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January 15, 2024 52 mins

Anne Marie Seibel, Chair of the ABA Section of Litigation and litigation partner at Bradley, shares her path to leadership within the legal sphere. Hosted by MC Sungaila, this episode dives into the fascinating intersection of Anne Marie’s career trajectory and her prowess in bar leadership. If you're curious about the transformative power of bar leadership on your legal career and keen to unlock valuable strategies for skill enhan...

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January 8, 2024 57 mins

Judith Clark is the Presiding Judge of the Riverside Superior Court, one of California's busy and growing trial courts. With host M.C. Sungaila, she shares her path to the bench, offers advice for those considering serving on the bench themselves, and underscores how being open-minded about opportunities and the guidance of mentors led her to become a prosecutor and, later, a judge. Listen in for ...

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