Maria is a product liability litigator, with a particular proficiency in legal writing and analysis. She has experience in all stages of litigation, including fact investigation, expert witness discovery, motion practice, oral argument and trial. She has represented companies in smoking and health, toxic tort, and pharmaceutical and medical device cases.

Maria has served on dozens of trial teams that have consistently achieved positive results for clients. In March 2023, Maria’s team obtained a defense verdict for Philip Morris in a wrongful death case with challenging facts and opposing counsel: Marsh v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2012-026323-CA-01 (Fla. 11th Cir. Ct.). Maria was key in developing and executing the successful discovery and trial strategy. Additionally, she led part of the motion practice and oral argument, which involved novel legal issues following a Florida Supreme Court decision that changed the evidence required to prove reliance in fraud-based claims.

In October 2023 and January 2024, Maria’s teams obtained defense verdicts for Philip Morris in two separate wrongful death cases in New Mexico. Maria assisted both trial teams with pretrial and trial motion practice, jury instructions, and preservation of issues for appeal. 

Indeed, Maria currently leads motion practice for Philip Morris in several Florida jurisdictions. She is particularly known for her analytical writing and oral advocacy skills. As a partner in Shook’s Legal Issues Group—an interdivisional practice group of selected litigators focusing on complex legal writing and analysis—she has written hundreds of briefs, which often result in the disposition of claims or the exclusion of expert opinions before trial. 

Maria also leads cases during discovery. She develops strategy and potential themes, positioning the case for trial if necessary and working to promptly resolve the case before trial, where appropriate. Maria’s discovery work also includes coordination with plaintiffs’ counsel, taking depositions, leading records collection and other fact investigation, and arguing discovery motions. She currently represents Bayer in Roundup litigation. Maria has also handled multinational product recalls for a major U.S. consumer goods manufacturer, including matters in Latin America, the Caribbean and Australia.

Maria’s excellence has been recognized in Kansas City and across the nation. In 2020, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) selected her as an MCCA Rising Star, one of only 20 attorneys nationwide to receive the award that year. The MCCA recognized Maria as an “attorney to watch” for her extraordinary legal accomplishments and dedication to community service and pro bono work. In 2016, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association awarded Maria with its President’s Award for her leadership as president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Greater Kansas City, which included helping bring the National Hispanic Bar Association’s annual conference to Kansas City in 2017. In 2020, the Kansas City mayor appointed Maria to serve on the board of directors of Visit KC, a non-profit organization whose mission is to generate economic impact through tourism by promoting Kansas City.

Before joining Shook, Maria served as a legal intern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Topeka, Kansas, and as a legal clerk for the University of Kansas Office of the General Counsel. In law school, Maria won first place oralist in her regional moot court competition.

In her free time, Maria enjoys playing tennis and pickleball.


Moderator, Jury Selection in Personal Injury Litigation: The Basics and Techniques to Select a Jury More Likely to Support Your Client’s Position, Hispanic National Bar Association Annual Convention, September 7, 2017 (with panelists Stephen Paterson, President and CEO of Vinson & Company; Marcus Barbosa, Kutak Rock; and the Hon. Marco A. Roldan, 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri).