I was born in an army hospital in Fort Knox, Kentucky. My father was in the army, and before I was a year old and my older brother two years old, my father had died in Vietnam. A widow at 24 years of age with two babies in diapers, my mother felt that the best education she could give my brother and me was real world experience. So for a year, when I was a junior in high school, we backpacked around the world. I traveled through numerous countries and regions (China, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, India, Nepal, Europe), and often we would stay for several weeks in one spot, so we could really get to know the area.
With the help of VA benefits and working evening jobs, I put myself through school. In 1992, I graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a dual degree in Philosophy and Legal Studies. Upon graduation I began working for three attorneys, and within the year I knew I wanted to be an attorney. I attended Gonzaga School of Law in Spokane and graduated in 1996.
I love the law because it lets me solve problems. The law lets me meet and work with so many interesting people with fascinating stories and histories. The law allows me to discuss legal issues from a layman's perspective, a lawyer's perspective, a judge's perspective, and a philosopher's perspective. I get to ask, answer, and think about the tough questions.
I am the former President of the Whatcom County Bar Association. In this capacity I was involved in many aspects of planning and participating in the association’s professional, social, and educational events that serve to strengthen the local legal community.
Paula's Case Results
$136,000 for multiple rib fractures in a jet-ski accident
My client sustained multiple rib fractures as he was riding an inner-tube being pulled behind a jet-ski. The driver of the jet-ski drove too close to the shoreline, causing the inner-tube to ride up on the shore. My client smashed into a tree, causing many of the ribs on his left side to fracture, as well as lacerations and back strain. After a series of negotiations with the driver’s insurance company, I was able to obtain a $136,000 settlement for my client.
$110,000 for injured victim in accident caused by a lost load from a semi truck
My client was driving on a two-lane road when a semi truck pulling a flatbed trailer rolled over after its load shifted on a curve. The truck lost the load of huge pipes which landed on top of our client’s car, crushed the entire top and causing our client’s injuries that included a closed head injury and concussion. I negotiated with the out-of-country insurance company, securing a $110,000 settlement.
$100,000 for back injury from accident in the snow
My client was driving on a snowy day when another driver lost control and slammed into his car. The crash caused a herniated disc that required surgery and racked up almost $40,000 in medical bills. The injuries also meant that my client wasn’t able to run his company, which caused a significant loss of income. I was able to secure a $100,000 settlement.
$98,000 for rear-end accident leading to back injury and surgery
My client received a serious back injury caused when an inattentive driver rear-ended him. The injury was severe enough to require surgery and extensive medical care which drove the medical bills up to $33,000. I negotiated with the insurance adjuster to secure a $98,000 settlement for my client.
After working with 4 other attorneys who only added fuel to fire, racked up bills and spun their wheels; Paula accomplished more in the 4 months that I worked with her than did the previous three others over the course of 22 months! I was impressed by Ms. McCandlis' initiative to take a constructive lead and reach the finish line with efficiency and success. I wished I had found her 10 years ago! My stress level was greatly relieved by her calm, consistent, and confident navigation through the case. Paula worked extremely well, even under pressure, to get me positive resolve. Ms. McCandlis is professional and forthright in the courtroom. She encouraged me along the way, and was honest about realistic goals. Anyone finding themselves in a tenuous legal battle that want constructive closure without breaking the bank and losing their mind, ought to talk to Paula first!
I felt that Paula had exactly the right mix of fairness and firmness in settling my case. From the first meeting I felt she was able to understood my situation and offer advice . She continued to keep me updated as well as explain the process as it evolved. I was able to relax and feel confident that she was working for the best outcome.