WSBA Mourns the Passing of Former Executive Director Paula Littlewood


Legal communities around the globe are mourning the loss of Paula Littlewood, who died from pancreatic cancer earlier this week. Paula was a long-serving Executive Director of the Washington State Bar Association, heading the organization from 2007 to 2019. During her tenure, Paula helmed many future-focused national and international legal efforts such as the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System and the American Bar Association’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services. Colleagues near and far are remembering her as a champion for legal industry innovation.

paulalittlewoodWe at the Washington State Bar Association also honor Paula for her strong leadership—but, for many, that is secondary to the grief of losing a friend. Paula knew every employee not only by name and position but also by strengths and story. She held sacred her time spent walking the halls to check in with coworkers, taking each new hire to coffee, and celebrating professional and personal accomplishments and anniversaries. Paula would be first to praise work well done … and the first to pick up the microphone in a lip-sync battle to raise funds for Food Lifeline.

Paula's family invite you to an online celebration of her life 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23. Please RSVP and find more information here.

Service Center Representative Steve Carroll is one of many WSBA employees whose relationship with Paula goes back almost two decades. “She treated me and my work with the highest level of respect and care,” Steve recalls. “When I needed her support, she stood up for me, and I will never forget that. She was a good boss and a good person.”

With incredibly heavy hearts, we in the WSBA community send our condolences and well wishes to Paula’s family, including her two children, whom Paula unfailingly spoke of with pride and joy during her workdays. Her family asked us to share this statement:

The family of Paula C. Littlewood is very sad to share the news that Paula passed away on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, from pancreatic cancer. Paula lived a full life with energy and compassion, completely supported by the incredible communities she created. Her career spanned decades of service to the public, including posts at the University of Washington School of Law, the Washington State Bar Association, and most recently Seattle Humane. The impact of her creative thinking and positivity has been felt nationally and internationally. Paula’s legacy will be continued in the legal community and the many other areas where she shared her knowledge and passion. Paula was a force for good, and we mourn her death.

Please read Paula’s obituary here and share memories and be on the lookout for the February issue of Bar News for a special tribute to Paula.