McGeorge School of Law

Adrienne Brungess

Professor of Lawyering Skills
Adrienne Brungess
Phone: 916.739.7170

BA, San Diego State University
JD, University of the Pacific, McGeorge


I love teaching at McGeorge because it affords me the opportunity to work with aspiring attorneys who may one day become legislators and policy-makers, community leaders, and judges. I feel it is a great responsibility, and also a privilege, to guide and mentor our students as they navigate a path into the profession and develop their lawyering skills and professional identity. I know how critical the written and spoken word is to all aspects of lawyering and advocacy, and enjoy my role in helping students develop these skills, along with helping them develop key strategies to engage in meaningful dispute resolution. Watching students become skilled professionals ready to practice with confidence, competence, and credibility is probably the main highlight of working as an educator at McGeorge.

Professor Adrienne Brungess is a proud McGeorge alumna ('96) who joined the McGeorge School of Law faculty in 2002. She teaches in the law school's distinctive legal writing program, Global Lawyering Skills (GLS), and teaches popular alternative dispute resolution and negotiation courses. Because of her extensive background in ADR and negotiation, Professor Brungess' students gain comprehensive skills in processes and techniques in a simulation- focused curriculum. As a valued member of the legal writing faculty, Professor Brungess has helped earn the law school's GLS program a top 20 spot in U.S. News ranking of Best Legal Writing Program and a national reputation as being the "most significant integration of international and comparative law in a legal writing program to date.”

Professor Brungess is a contributing author to the Global Lawyering Skills text, a comprehensive lawyering skills text written by McGeorge Global Lawyering Skills faculty and is a frequent conference presenter on a variety of topics. Recently, she presented on the topic “Dispelling the Myth that Lawyers Don’t Do Math” at the 2018 Western Regional Legal Writing Conference. She was also a panelist presenting on “Teaching Students (and Ourselves) to Think Globally: The Why, What, and How of Infusing Transnational Law into the JD Legal Skills Curriculum at the 18th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute.

As a student at McGeorge, Professor Brungess was inspired to practice in the area of family law. Upon graduation, she opened a family law litigation firm, where she represented parties in all stages of divorce litigation, and assisted clients in resolving custody, support, and property division matters. She also handled guardianship and parentage cases as well as stepparent adoptions and acted as court-appointed minor's counsel. During her time in private practice, Professor Brungess volunteered for the Sacramento Mediation Center (1996-2001) and was a staff attorney for Voluntary Legal Services of Northern California (VLSP) (1999-2000), where she assisted in the establishment and management of the Self-Help Center at the William Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse in Sacramento. While at VLSP, she trained new attorneys on family law forms completion and procedures. In 2001, VLSP recognized Professor Brungess' contributions with the "Award for Outstanding Dedication to Development of Pro Bono Legal Services." Professor Brungess has also served as a Sacramento County pro tem settlement conference judge at the Family Relations Courthouse (2000-2003), and as a pro tem small claims court judge at the Carol Miller Justice Center (2003-2013).

Professor Brungess credits her time in practice for giving her significant experience in client interviewing and counseling, dispute resolution, discovery, litigation, complex project management, and development of professional identity. This professional experience also contributes to the skills and techniques she is able to impart to her students, and to the success of the students she coaches in the law school's top-ranking moot court program. Additionally, she frequently supervises student law review articles and directed research projects.

In addition to teaching and coaching, Professor Brungess participated the law school's US Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law (USRF) exchange, which provides grants to Russian and U.S. organizations in support of entrepreneurial, business, intellectual property and innovation exchanges. To date, the law school's legal education exchange program has hosted eight Russian law professors to learn best practice techniques for interactive and experiential teaching. As part of this program, Professor Brungess traveled to Moscow to share her expertise in coaching moot court competition teams, as well experiential teaching methods with our Russian professor partners.

Professor Brungess is interested in the development of modern teaching and learning methods, including engaging different student learning styles, integrating technology into teaching and learning, and creating curriculums that integrate distance learning.



Global Lawyering Skills, Negotiation & Settlements, Negotiating Disputes into Deals

Representative Scholarship and Activities

Math is Hard - Dispelling the Myth that Lawyers Don’t Do Math (Western Regional Legal Writing Conference 2018, September 2018)

Teaching Students (and Ourselves) to Think Globally: The Why, What, and How of Infusing Transnational Law into the JD Legal Skills Curriculum, Panelist (18th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, July 2018)

Integrating Technology & Maximizing Student Engagement – A Case For Laptops in the LRW Classroom, Poster Presentation (18th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, July 2018)

Global Lawyering Skills, Contributing Author (2d ed. West Academic Publishing 2018)
Chapter 3: Intercultural Competence (co-author); Chapter 5: Rules: An Overview of Statutory Interpretation & Synthesis; Chapter 12: Receiving & Implementing Feedback (co-author); Chapter 16: Persuasive Legal Writing (co-author); Chapter 23: Negotiation & Settlement

Creating Opportunities for Contemplation: The Value in Encouraging Regular Student Reflection (Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, March 2018)

Research and Writing in the Real World: LRW Skills For Successful Negotiation (Legal Writing Institute One-Day Workshop, Golden Gate University, December 2017)

Improving the Lyrical Nature of Your Language, Podcast (CapImpact Blog,, November 2017)

Using Imagery, Simile, and Metaphor to Tell a Compelling Story, Podcast (CapImpact Blog,, October 2017)

Credibility and Ethos in Persuasion, Podcast (CapImpact Blog,, October 2017)

Advanced Persuasive Techniques (Alumni Day, McGeorge School of Law, September 2017)

Persuasive Techniques in Appellate Oral and Written Argument and Nuts and Bolts of Persuasive Court Briefs and Oral Presentations (Training of Law Students for International Moot-Court Competitions, Russian Federal Trade Academy, Moscow, Russia, April 2017)

Bridging Experiential and Theoretical Coursework – A Step in the Right Direction (6th Annual Western Regional Legal Writing Conference, August 2016)

Interactive Teaching in the Context of International Transactions - Bridging Experiential and Theoretical Coursework (Inciting Innovations in Legal Education Conference, Georgetown Law, July 2016)

Public Interest Attorney Loan Repayment Program, testimony before State Senate Judiciary Committee (representing McGeorge at request of Sen. Robert M. Hertzberg, May 2015)

Inward and Outward - Internationalizing Legal Writing, Panelist (Southeastern Regional Legal Writing Conference, April 2015)

More Than Just Comments – Using E-Comments to Give Students Instant Access to Resources and Tools for Improvement (Fourth Annual Western Regional Legal Writing Conference, September 2014)

Evaluation to Advocacy – Transitioning from Objective to Persuasive Writing, Poster Presentation (16th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, June 2014)

Encouraging Students to Work Digitally to Ensure Practice-Readiness (Legal Writing Institute One-Day Workshop, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, December 2013)

Ask the Expert, Guest (News10 KXTV, October, November, December 2013)

Global Lawyering Skills, Contributing Author (West Academic Publishing 2013)
Chapter 4: Rules: An Overview of Statutory Interpretation & Synthesis; Chapter 14: Persuasive Legal Writing (co-author); Chapter 20: Negotiation & Settlement

Supervising a JD Certificate Program (2nd Annual Western Regional Legal Writing Conference, August 2012)

Teaching & Assessing Legal Research, Writing, and Negotiations Skills with Upper-Division Students (7th Biennial Central States Legal Writing Conference, September 2011)

Teaching Legal Research, Writing & Negotiations Skills to Upper-Division Students (Western Regional Legal Writing Conference, August 2011)

Legal Writing Essentials: Structure, Organization & Editing (McGeorge Essential Lawyering Skills Program, May 2010, May 2011)

From the Building Blocks of Lawyering Skills to the Courtroom: Advocacy in the Classroom (Sacramento Women Lawyers Association, November 2009)

Writing Persuasive Forensic Accounting Reports, Contracted Seminar (Ueltzen & Co., November, December 2009)

The Many Faces of Online Courses: Using Online Courses to Facilitate Faculty Interaction, Co-Author (The Second Draft, Spring 2009)