I love the law because it lets me solve problems.

Paula McCandlisI think the one thing that really attracted me to become a lawyer was the satisfaction I get from tackling and solving problems. My experiences growing up and traveling really prepared me to navigate the complex aspects of the legal system, and taught me to enjoy the challenge.

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 is the one place where the individual can take on the corporation, and still get a fair fight.

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. And I get to take on the huge insurance corporations – and win.

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.


  • University of California, Santa Cruz (B.A., 1993)
  • Gonzaga University School of Law (J.D., 1996)

Admitted to Practice

  • Washington State Bar, 1997

Professional Associations

  • U.S. Magistrate Judge (Part-time), Western District of Washington (2016 to Present)
  • President, Whatcom County Bar Association (2014)
  • Vice President, Whatcom County Bar Association (2013)
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Commissioner Pro tem, Whatcom County Superior Court
  • Former President, Treasurer, and Board Member of Brigid Collins Family Support Center
  • Former Adjunct Professor, Whatcom Community College Paralegal Program

What Paula’s clients have to say

After working with 4 other attorneys who only added fuel to fire, racked up bills and spun their wheels; Paula McCandlis 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! – Former client

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. – Personal injury client

Reach out to Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner

Paula, Dave, Matt, and Dean are ready to help you if you are struggling with the aftermath of an accident and need some support and advice. They know what you are dealing with now, and they know what you will need to deal with in the future. You will know what to expect, you will know what your rights and options are, and you will not have to deal with insurance companies alone.  Contact us today at Brett McCandlish Brown & Conner.