We Don't Win, You Don't Pay

Maria Pappas-Rajotte


From the heart of California to the halls of academia, Maria has built an impressive career spanning over 30 years in the legal field. With a combination of litigation prowess, academic contributions, and management expertise, her journey reflects the spirit of diligence, integrity, and excellence.

After being admitted to the California Bar in December 2010, she has spent over a decade specializing in plaintiff personal injury matters. Her expertise ranges from motor vehicle accidents and premise liability to complex cases involving 3rd party criminal liability, product liability, and medical malpractice.

In addition to her litigation career, her professional journey took a turn toward academia. Maria served as an Adjunct Legal Writing Professor at John F. Kennedy University, where she honed the writing skills of first-year law students, instilling in them the principles of sharp legal analysis and clear articulation.

But the legal path began much before her teaching stint or her formal admission to the Bar. From 2007 to 2010, Maria worked across various firms in East Bay as a Contract Paralegal, Law Clerk, and Attorney. These roles saw her deeply involved in drafting litigation documents, conducting client interviews, and assisting in crucial stages of settlement negotiations, deposition, and trial preparations.

The attorney’s managerial talents came to the fore during her tenure at Thelen Reid & Priest LLP in San Francisco. As a Legal Assistant Manager, Maria handled the significant responsibility of managing up to 50 legal assistants. From hiring to training and from resource allocation to budgeting, their role was pivotal in streamlining processes and enhancing the efficiency of the department.

Before this managerial role, Maria gained considerable experience working with complex litigation cases at Becherer, Kannett & Schweitzer and Bergstrom & Feldman, where her responsibilities ranged from managing caseloads, attending depositions, handling discovery matters, and conducting interviews with potential witnesses.

Maria’s academic credentials are equally commendable. She earned her Juris Doctor from John F. Kennedy University, School of Law in Pleasant Hill, CA, in 2010. Maria’s commitment to excellence was recognized when she was awarded the Witkin Award for Torts and Community Property. Additionally, her scholarly contributions were evident when she served on the John F. Kennedy University Law Review in 2009. Her legal foundation was further solidified with a Paralegal Certificate from St. Mary’s College, Moraga, CA, in 1994.

This biography encapsulates a journey of dedication, perseverance, and contributions to the legal field. Her vast experience, from litigation and academia to management, showcases Maria’s versatility and commitment to the world of law.