Paula Casey, a dual alumna, went to law school in the days when women didn’t occupy many of the country’s law classrooms. Since then she has conducted a trailblazing career as a judge, retiring only recently from Washington’s Thurston County Superior Court after being elected to the bench in 1984.
Casey was a founder of the Thurston County Dispute Resolution Center and used the experience to combine hard lawyering skills with liberal-arts-style vision. She reimagined perennial challenges to come up with new solutions (such as by positioning Thurston County’s family- and juvenile-law processes together in a separate courthouse). This perceptiveness has made all the difference in a field that, while sometimes confounding, is of great consequence for both families and their attorneys.