Paula Kobetz Woodruff died on October 25, 1998, just three days prior to her forty-eighth birthday, after a three month battle with cancer.
Paula was raised in Baton Rouge. After receiving her undergraduate degree from LSU in English Education, Paula entered the LSU Law School. During law school, Paula met and married Calvin (Woody) Woodruff. Paula graduated from the LSU Law School in 1975, in a class of approximately 230, only five of whom were women.
Paula spent her first year after graduation from law school clerking for then-Magistrate Frank Polazola in the United States District Court, Middle District of Louisiana. Following her federal clerkship, Paula began a clerkship with the Fifteenth Judicial District Court. At that time, 1987, there were very few female attorneys practicing in the Fifteenth Judicial District.
During the time of her clerkship, then-District Attorney Nathan Stansbury recruited Paula to become a special assistant district attorney to set up the first criminal non-support program in the Fifteenth Judicial District. Paula was the program’s first director and retained that position for twenty-two years, until her death. While performing her duties as a special assistant district attorney, Paula entered into the practice of law with Diana Simon, under the firm name of Simon and Woodruff, and the two practiced law together until 1988. Paula continued in the private practice of law until her death, at which time she was engaged in a thriving law partnership with Susan Theall.
Paula was at the pinnacle of her professional career at the time of her death. She was a fellow to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, she was Board Certified as a Family Law Specialist by the Louisiana State Board of Legal Specialization in its first testing for that accolade, she was rated “A-V” by Martindale-Hubbell, and she was serving as a Master for the first Louisiana Inns of Court that was established in the Fifteenth Judicial District..
Paula was held in high esteem by her peers, and was frequently consulted by both attorneys and Judges in this and other districts for her opinion and guidance on complex family law issues.
Paula also served as a speaker for many family law seminars and other public forums. She served on the board of the Lafayette Battered Women’s Shelter, and the Lafayette Mayor’s Commission on the Needs of Women. Paula was known for maintaining an un-paralleled knowledge of family law. She was a zealous advocate, whose tenacity was well balanced by her graciousness.