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About me

I have worked in the legal profession throughout my entire adult life - since graduating from high school at age 17 in Colorado.  I worked as a legal secretary for 8 years, followed by 8 years as a paralegal.  During law school, I was a Judicial Extern to the Hon. Norman L. Epstein of the California Court of Appeal (L.A.) and then a Judicial Extern to the Hon. Alex Kozinski, now Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Pasadena).  In my first job out of law school, I was hired as a Research Attorney for the L.A. Superior Court, assigned to 6 of the 11 bench officers in the Family Law Department.  From there, I went to work for Trope and Trope, a larger family law firm in Brentwood, for a time before returning to San Diego and starting my own solo practice in mid-1999.  I have been in private practice ever since, distinguishing myself with numerous awards, published appellate decisions and one of the largest verdicts in U.S. history for CPS' violation of my client's civil (parental) rights in 2007 - which would take until 2011 to resolve due to various appeals all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  That case earned me the CLAY Award in 2012 - the California State Bar "California Lawyer" Magazine's "Attorney of the Year" Award.  My practice focuses on family law, appeals and civil litigation such as personal injury, employment litigation, sexual harassment or anything that piques my interest and seems to be a worthy and economically viable cause.


Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Family: 80%
  2. Appeals: 15%
  3. Litigation: 5%



Hourly ($295/hour), contingent (20-50%), Retainer (always), Free consultation (30 minutes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

3 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • James Nelson Dicks

    This attorney works very hard for the clients and keeps up with the law by attending legal seminars to assist them in this regard. I endorse this attorney.


    James Dicks Criminal defense Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Michael Shemtoub

    Your resume speaks for itself and I consider you a valuable member of the attorney community. I would recommend you to anyone and everyone who needs your services. I whole heartedly endorse this lawyer!


    Michael Shemtoub Car accident Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Law Offices of Sondra S. Sutherland

11440 West Bernardo Court
Suite 300
San Diego, CA, 92127


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
2013 Top Lawyers in CaliforniaAmerican Lawyer Media2013
Lead Counsel RatingLead Counsel2013
CLAY Award (Attorney of the Year, Family Law)California Lawyer Magazine2012
The Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal ServicesThe State Bar of California2009
Excellence for the Future Award - ArbitrationThe Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI)1996
Excellence for the Future Award - Securities RegulationThe Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI)1995
American Jurisprudence Award - Professional ResponsibilityBancroft-Witney AmJur1994
American Jurisprudence Award - Advanced Legal WritingBancroft-Witney AmJur1994
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Attorney/OwnerLaw Offices of Sondra S. Sutherland1999 - Present
AttorneySacks & Zweig1998 - 1999
Research AttorneyL.A. County Superior Court1997 - 1997
AttorneyTrope and Trope1997 - 1998
Judicial Extern to Hon. Alex KozinskiU.S. Court Of Appeals, 9th Circuit1996 - 1996
Judicial Extern to Hon. Norman L. EpsteinCalifornia Court Of Appeal1995 - 1995
Association namePosition nameDuration
United States Supreme Court BarAdmitted to Practice2006 - Present
San Diego County Bar AssociationMember1999 - Present
San Diego North County Bar AssociationMember1999 - Present
United States District Court for the Southern District of CaliforniaAdmitted to Practice1999 - Present
American Bar AssociationMember1997 - Present
United States District Court for the Central District of CaliforniaAdmitted to Practice1997 - Present
United States Court of Appeals For the Ninth CircuitAdmitted to Practice1997 - Present
Phi Delta Phi legal fraternityMember1996 - Present
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Sutherland v. Barclays (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 299Summary judgment reversed-Judge Weil settled case
Marriage of Lammers (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 1309Changed the culture to make reading & ruling on the evidence & law the standard; statewide rules now replace local practices of this type
In re Bankr. of Bush (Kipperman v. Sutherland), 356 B.R. 28 (Bankr. S.D. Cal. 2006)Court validated my liens
See all legal cases 
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Whittier College School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1996