Paula M. Lawhon is a Full-Time Private Mediator and Certified Specialist in Family Law, providing confidential mediation services to diverse and varied clients. She has served as a Bench Bar Settlement Panelist for the Marin Family Court, Settlement Conference Master for the San Francisco Unified Family Law Courts, and provides private mediation services outside of court.

Paula has practiced law for 24 years and has been mediating for 20 years. Prior to and during law school, Paula worked as a civil and criminal defense investigator. Paula started Lawhon Law & Mediation, P.C. in San Francisco in 2005.

Paula was admitted to the California bar in December 1999. She received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1999, graduating as a Public Interest Scholar and with a Public Interest Concentration. She received her Bachelor's degree in Criminology, Law and Society from the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine in 1996, graduating cum laude and phi beta kappa.

Paula’s most recent speaking engagements include the following:

  • 2016, Association of Family & Conciliation Courts (AFCC), California; Variations in Co-mediation
  • 2019 Association of Family & Conciliation Courts (AFCC), California; Co-Mediation with Interdisciplinary Neutrals


Paula has participated in over 200 hours of mediation skills training including as a trainer and presenter:

  • Northern California Mediation Center, 'Civil and Family Law Mediation'
  • University of California, Berkeley, 'Commercial Mediation & Conflict Resolution'
  • Navigating the Minefields of Family Law Mediation Community Boards/JAMS (Presenter)
  • Community Boards, San Francisco, 'Advanced Mediation Training' (Presenter)
  • Community Boards, San Francisco, 'The Basics of Mediation'
  • San Francisco Superior Court Family Law Self-Help, 'FLASH Mediation'
  • San Francisco Bar Association, Mediation Section ongoing seminars (Presenter)
  • San Francisco Bar Association, 2022, How & When to Utilize Neutrals in Custody Cases: Private Mediation & Mental Health Professionals


Retraining Family Lawyers to Support Mediating Clients, Family Law News, Publication of the California State Bar, Family Law Section (author), 2016

Inside the Minds: Strategies for Family Law in California 2013 ed. - (2013)

Authored chapter titled 'The Role of Mediation in Today's Family Law Cases' in book published by Thomson Reuters Westlaw. Chapters are comparable to white papers or thought-leadership essays, addressing the most important issues that lawyers face and offering strategies for managing those issues and effectively working with clients.

Mediating Same Sex Dissolutions,  Family Law News, Publication of the California State Bar, Family Law Section (author), 2012

Crafting an Enforceable Settlement Agreement
Plaintiff Magazine, Alternative Dispute Resolution Issue (author), 2007

Mediation blog: 
San Francisco Mediation: A Better Solution (author), since 2006


  • Association for Conflict Resolution
  • Association for Dispute Resolution of Northern California
  • Collaborative Attorneys & Mediators of Marin ('CAMM')
  • Marin Bar Association
  • San Francisco Bar Association 

         Family Law Section Member 
         Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
         Mediator, Mediation Services of BASF
Fee Arbitrator

  • State Bar of California

         Active Member
        *Certified Specialist, Family Law, Board of Legal Specialization 
         Fee Arbitrator

*Family Law Specialist, Certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Specialization


University of California, Irvine, B.A.,cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1996

Law School

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., Public Interest Scholar, 1999


  • 1999, California
  • 2001, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California


Marin County Bar Association; Bar Association of San Francisco (Member, Sections on: Mediation; Family Law). Certified Specialist, Family Law, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.


  • Full-time Family Law and Divorce Mediator since 2005; litigation attorney 1999-2005.
  • Mediation of Pre-Marital and Post-Marital Agreements, Divorce Mediation, including Separation, Domestic Partnerships, Co-Habitation, Property Division and Property Agreements, Child Custody and Parenting Plans, Child Support and Spousal Support.
  • Over 200 hours of mediation skills training and presenting.
  • Over 1,000 mediations.


  • SuperLawyers (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022)
  • Rising Star Super Lawyers (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
  • Top Women Attorneys in Northern California (2014, 2015)
  • Best of the Best Bay Area Parent (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022)

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