Hon. Mary Fingal Schulte retired from the Orange County Superior Court in 2017 after 20 years on the bench. She enjoyed a distinguished judicial career as a respected trial judge, having herself been an experienced trial lawyer and civil litigator for nearly 20 years before her appointment to the bench. In 2016, Judge Schulte received the Trial Judge of the Year Award from the Orange County Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).
For the last 14 years of her judicial career, Judge Schulte held various civil assignments and has presided over general jurisdiction civil trials, probate and mental health hearings and trials, appellate panel hearings, and long cause family law trials. She was Supervising Judge of the Probate/Mental Health Panel from 2009-2014, and Assistant Presiding Judge of the Appellate Panel from 2008-2009. In addition, she was actively involved in several court committees, including the executive committee; the temporary judge committee, where she developed and supervised the first courtwide training program for the court’s temporary judges and a settlement training program for the Probate Panel’s temporary judges; and the arbitration and mediation committee.
Prior to her judicial appointment, Judge Schulte began her legal career as a Deputy District Attorney for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. She was then in private practice in Orange County for 13 years as a business and tort trial attorney, including nine years as a partner at Martin Wilson Fingal & MacDowell, with an emphasis in construction, premises and products liability litigation, insurance coverage, and medical malpractice cases.
Judge Schulte is very proficient in French.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Orange 1998-2017
Civil Court Assignments:
Judge of the Municipal Court of California, County of Orange 1997-1998
Partner and Vice-President, Martin Wilson Fingal & MacDowell 1988-1997
Associate, Martin & Wilson 1987-1988
Associate, Gardner & Martin 1984-1987
Deputy District Attorney, Orange County District Attorney’s Office 1978-1981
Admitted to practice before all California State Courts, all Federal District Courts (trial level) in California, and the United States Supreme Court
American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
ABOTA Foundation, Senior Life Fellow
ABOTA Foundation, Legacy Fellow – Patriot of the Foundation
State Bar of California
Robert Banyard Inn of Court, Member, Board of Directors, 2000-Present; President, 2010-2012
California Judges Association
International Academy of Trial Judges
Orange County Bar Association
Italian American Lawyers of Orange County
Orange County Trial Lawyers Association
Chairperson, Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Commission for the Diocese of Orange, 1999-2005
Oblate, Order of St. Benedict, affiliated with St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, California
Member, Advisory Board, St. Andrews Abbey, Valyermo, California
Constitutional Rights Foundation, Mock trial coach and volunteer judge, 1997-Present
Available for mediations, arbitrations, discovery reference, and private trial