The Family Law Section was first formed in 1997 when a small group of family law attorneys began meeting informally to discuss the formation of a family law section of the Lafayette Bar Association. The Section was officially formed when a set of by-laws was proposed by the group and adopted by the Lafayette Bar Association in September of 1997. The late Paula Kobetz Woodruff was instrumental in the formation of the Section and in promoting improvements to the judicial system, as well as increasing the competency of attorneys who practiced family law. Shortly after Paula's untimely death in October of 1998, the members unanimously voted to name the section in her honor.
The mission statement of the Paula K. Woodruff Family Law Section is as follows:
It shall be the mission of the Paula K. Woodruff Section of the Lafayette Bar Association to foster civility, professionalism and legal competency among its membership, to improve the legal system in general with a particular emphasis on increasing the system's sensitivity to the special needs of families and children, and to promote a system of specialized family courts in the Fifteenth Judicial District and in the State of Louisiana.
True to its mission, the Section has had a dramatic impact on the Fifteenth Judicial District Court and on the judicial system as a whole in the State of Louisiana. By entering into a working partnership with Judges Ronald D. Cox and Phyllis M. Keaty in 1999, the Section proposed sweeping amendments to the Fifteenth Judicial District's Local Court Rules. These amendments were presented to all of the sitting judges in the District, who after making some minor revisions, had the foresight and wisdom to unanimously adopt the new rules. With the approval of the Louisiana Supreme Court, the family court system was implemented in the Fifteenth Judicial District in September of 1999.
The Paula K. Woodruff Family Law Section is the largest and most active family law section in the State. Currently, the Section has approximately 100 members from Lafayette, Vermilion, Acadia, Iberia and St. Landry Parishes. The Section sponsors a number of activities throughout the year. The Section has established a scholarship fund in honor of Paula K. Woodruff.