Oregon State Bar’s Judicial Excellence Award
Submitted by: Oregon State Bar
Photo Credit: Lisa Lamping /Lamping Photography/ClatsopNews
The Oregon State Bar has awarded the 2019 Wallace P. Carson Jr. Award for Judicial Excellence to Clatsop Circuit Court Judge Paula Brownhill. This award recognizes an Oregon judge who has made significant contributions to the judicial system and who is a model of professionalism, integrity and judicial independence.
Judge Brownhill was appointed to the Clatsop Circuit Court on November 1, 1994, replacing Judge Thomas E. Edison. In 1998-99, Judge Brownhill introduced family law mediation and parent education classes to the circuit court. In 2000, she opened the Family Resource Center, an office in the courthouse that assists self-represented litigants with family law forms and procedures.
In 1998, then Chief Justice Wallace Carson appointed Judge Brownhill to the Statewide Family Law Advisory Committee (SFLAC). In 2003, she became chair of the SFLAC and served in that role through 2018. The SFLAC has been recognized nationally for family law innovations. In 2017, SFLAC awarded Judge Brownhill its Outstanding Achievement Award for her contributions to family law in Oregon.
In 2015, former Chief Justice Thomas Balmer awarded Judge Brownhill with a lifetime achievement award for her work with abused and neglected children. She has been an advocate for children throughout her career. She began Clatsop’s Family Treatment Court (FTC) in 2007, a program that helps parents with alcohol/drug issues become safe parents. She served as the FTC judge until April 2019.
Judge Brownhill is a founding member of the Judicial Engagement and Leadership Institute, an organization that helps Oregon judges improve juvenile dependency procedures. She served JELI as secretary, vice chair, and chair. She teaches juvenile dependency law to new judges at the Juvenile Court Improvement Program’s annual conference.
Judge Brownhill served on the Oregon Circuit Court Judges Association from 2011 to 2014. She was chair from 2013 to 2014. She is presiding judge of the Clatsop Circuit Court.
Judge Brownhill will retire from the bench on October 31, 2019. She will work part-time as a senior judge for the Oregon Judicial Department.