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Paula L McCandlis

Personal injury Attorney at Bellingham, WA

4.9   12 reviews
  • Licensed for 26 years
    State WA
    Acquired 1997
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Paula

Learn Paula’s areas of practice.

If you have been injured, through no fault of your own, then I am here to help you be made whole.  I know that no amount of money can undue a serious injury, a permanent disability or a wrongful death.  Nothing can correct the numerous ways your life changes once you have been in an accident.  So while , I can not change what has happened, I am able to request compensation from those who are responsible.  My goal therefore is to obtain the maximum monetary award for each every client.

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Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC
1310 10th Street
Suite #104
Bellingham, WA, 98225

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4.9 / 5.0
  12 customer reviews
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1 Star
Posted by Keith | August 10, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Bicyclist hit by car
In the summer of 2019, I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle. Fortunately, I do not remember the accident. The EMT’s put me into an induced coma at the scene of the accident and after a few days in the hospital I was brought out of the coma. After waking up, all I wanted to do was to get out of the hospital and back to work in a business I had just started. I felt that the aches and pains were just a distraction from the dedication I needed to make the business successful. My punctured lung, broken ribs, broken other bones, smashed in face, missing teeth, my body numb from the hips down, and a severe head injury with a hematoma could just be ignored. Maybe I was not thinking straight! My wife suggested that we should sit down with an attorney regarding the accident, and I reluctantly took a meeting with Paula McCandliss from Brett Law. I wasn’t keen on lawyers, and I did not put much effort into the meeting. My thoughts were that I’d quickly get over my bumps and bruises and Paula would be wasting her time with my case. Well, I was not thinking straight, and thank goodness for Paula putting up with my callousness. The physicians and hospital staff did a respectable job putting me back together, but it’s hard for them to determine the extent of the injuries, and of course the medical profession cannot get you back to 100%. After my discharge It took time for me and my primary physician et. al. to determine my ongoing care and what medical problems would be permanent. Let me say this- I was fortunate to have met Paula and her team at Brett Law. They were always personal, professional, and caring, and not to mention they worked tirelessly on my case. It was ‘my bad’ to assume that they were just a firm chasing an ambulance. To my ignorance, I didn’t perceive the onslaught of hospital and specialty physician invoices, the art of dealing with medical and auto insurance companies along with collection agencies on invoices that were never presented to me. Paula helped us get through all these unforeseen hurdles with kindness, legal insight, and experience. She is a great coach to lead you through the myriad of difficulties you may face after a painful accident, and I highly recommend her. You will appreciate both her legal skill and warm personality.
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Posted by anonymous | November 3, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Personable and Professional
I was a pedestrian in a crosswalk when I was hit by a car. My injuries were significant, but not life threatening. But another type of injury came a few days after the accident when the insurance company for the driver called me and said this was "a no-fault" situation. They would continue calling for several days creating an enormous amount of anxiety and worry; a real "insult to injury." I decided to hire an attorney to keep the other insurance company at bay. Paula McCandlis and her firm put a stop to the daily calls, handled the load of insurance claims from both Medicare and PIP insurance. They totally allowed me to heal physically and relieved all the built up worry and anxiety . In the final days Paula took a great deal of time to personally coach me on the intricacies the deposition process. Because of her attention to detail she was able to increase the final settlement offer by over 110%. Without hesitancy I give Paula McCandlis my highest possible recommendation. She and her team represent what is best in the legal business and demonstrate a personable quality to add to their already superb professionalism.
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Posted by Pippin | May 22, 2015
Best Lawyer Ever
Paula helped me settle an auto claim when I was injured while pregnant. The injury to my neck and back was not significant in that I did not have broken bones or require surgery, but I suffered for months while pregnant and caring for a toddler. After delivering my child I continued to experience pain that stemmed from the accident and found the routine of caring for an infant difficult. Sleeping, nursing, and carrying a baby aggravated my healing back, but eventually the insurance company decided I wouldn't get any better. Paula kept track of my case and took care of everything. She helped me prepare for my deposition by reminding me that this accident was not my fault and my pain and suffering was real. She listened to me and trusted me and defended my character and claim in the face of insensitive insurance bullies. In the end my result was fair and I felt very satisfied with the experience of using an attorney to negotiate with an insurance company and protect my right to compensation for damage and injury. Dealing with corporations as an individual is intimidating and I felt powerless without Paula. With my lawyer I felt safe and taken care of. There was someone who knew what she was doing, who knew the system, knew my situation, and my injury looking out for my best interest. I always recommend people get an attorney to help negotiate with insurance companies after an accident.
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Posted by anonymous | September 9, 2014
Clear and Kind
I called Paula to get a second opinion regarding a case I'm pursuing with another attorney. Her advice was clear, informative, and valuable. I greatly appreciate her kindness and generosity in taking the time to explain my options to me without compensation.
Posted by Jaret | October 2, 2012
Paula was Perfect!
I have the utmost respect for Paula. Her knowledge, courtroom experience, reputation, and professional service assisted me through a very difficult time. Paula always kept me informed on what my options were and helped me make the right decisions. Paula is esteemed by her collleagues and the courts. She does her job efficiently without running up costs and dragging out court hearings. Paula was a great choice for me and I highly recommend her services.
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Posted by anonymous | June 25, 2011
Divorce experience
Paula has always worked hard to help me be able to navigate the complexity of my divorce which has been no easy task given the complications presented by the situation. She is extremely personable and has a genuine concern for me and my children. I have been noithing but pleased by her work ethic and devotion to my case. I would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone having to go through a divorce proceeding.
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Posted by anonymous | June 21, 2011
Got the job done!
After working with 4 other attorney's who only added fuel to fire, racked up bills and spun their wheels; Paula 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, consistant, and confident navigation through the case. Her breadth and depth of the dissolution process is unmatched in the area. 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!
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Posted by anonymous | June 15, 2011
Dissolution of Marriage
Paula has extensive experience and knowledge about family law. Paula explained all the options and possible outcomes in my situation. Paula worked hard to make sure my interests were protected during mediation. Paula provided excellent advice and strategy to resolve the issues quickly and stay out of court. Through my work experiences I have come across numerous lawyers. I can say Paula is honest, knowlegable, and dedicated to her clients.
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Posted by Carl | June 14, 2011
Felt completely confident
I felt that Paula had exactly the right mix of fairness and firmness in settling my divorce 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.
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Posted by anonymous | June 13, 2011
Very professional and knowledgeable
Paula handled a rather contentious divorce for me. She always seemed to know what needed to happen in court and got it done. It was reassuring to have her representation. She also listens to the client which hasn’t been the case with other attorneys I have worked with. I was also impressed with her ability to lay out the next several steps in the case which helped me come in to her office more prepared and reduced my cost and time for the case
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Posted by anonymous | June 10, 2011
I don't think that anyone could have done a better job representing me in court.
Paula has done a very thorough job with representing me , and every time that we have gone to court , or that I have needed her legal advice she has came through with perfect direction. I have been in the courtroom wih Paula four times now , and each time we walked out with the victory. I believe Paula is as good as they get when it comes to attorneys , and I have personally heard a judge tell his courtroom that in his opinion she is the best around.
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Posted by anonymous | February 17, 2012
honest and competant
Ms. McCandlis is knowledgeable, forthright, and honest. I appreciated her frank assessment of my situation and her advice was sound.
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  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
  • Contingency 33%-33%


AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • U.S. Magistrate Judge
  • Western District of Washington
  • 2016 - Present
  • Managing Partner
  • Brett McCandlis & Brown PLLC
  • 2015 - Present
  • Pro Tem Commissioner
  • Whatcom County Superior Court
  • 2011 - Present
  • Partner
  • Brett Murphy Knapp McCandlis & Brown
  • 2011 - 2015
  • Supervising Attorney
  • Law Advocates, Bellingham, Wa
  • 2006 - 2010
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Whatcom Community College
  • 2006 - 2009
  • Attorney
  • Paula McCandlis Attorney at Law
  • 1997 - 2011
View all work experience


  • Gonzaga University School of Law
  • Juris Doctorate
  • 1996
  • University of California - Santa Cruz
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • 1993

Sample of Legal Cases

  • $136,000 for rib fractures in jet-ski accident
  • $136,000
  • $110,000 for injured victim in accident caused by a lost load from a semi truck
  • $110,000
  • $100,000 for back injury from accident in the snow
  • $100,000
View all legal cases


  • Whatcom County Bar Association
  • President
  • 2014 - Present
  • Whatcom County Bar Association
  • By-Law Committee Member
  • 2013 - Present
  • Washington State Trial Lawyers Association
  • Eagle Member
  • 2011 - Present
  • Whatcom County Bar Association
  • Member of Rules Committee
  • 2011 - Present
  • Whatcom County Bar Association
  • Vice President
  • 2013 - 2014
  • Brigid Collins Family Support Center
  • Past President, Board of Directors
  • 2009 - 2011
  • Brigid Collins Family Support Center
  • Board Member
  • 2009 - 2012
  • Whatcom County Bar Association Newsletter
  • Editorial Board
  • 2005 - 2010
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • 2008


Speaking Engagements

  • Judge Mura Retirement Dinner
  • Honoring Judge Mura
  • 2013
  • Whatcom, Skagit, & Island Counties Bi-Annual Golf Tournament
  • Master of Ceremonies/Event Organizer
  • 2012
  • Volunteer Appreciation Night
  • Master of Ceremonies
  • 2012
  • Express CLE
  • Ethics - Client Intake
  • 2011
  • Whatcom, Skagit, & Island Counties Bi-Annual Golf Tournament
  • Master of Ceremonies/Event Organizer
  • 2010
  • Whatcom, Skagit, & Island Counties Bi-Annual Golf Tournament
  • Master of Ceremonies/Event Organizer
  • 2008
  • Street Law 101 CLE
  • Family Law
  • 2004
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (16)
Given (11)
Endorse Paula
Personal injury Attorney | Feb 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Paula has helped several of my clients who needed help with personal injury cases. She has done great work for my clients and I endorse her with confidence."
Personal injury Attorney | May 23
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Paula is not only a wonderful person, but an amazing lawyer. She is an amazing litigator with the skills to win your case. HIRE HER!!"
Personal injury Attorney | May 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Paula is a highly skilled attorney and strong advocate for her clients. I would not hesitate to recommend her in any personal injury or wrongful death matter."
Personal injury Attorney | May 30
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Paula is one of the most hard-working attorneys I have known. I would not hesitate to recommend her to a friend or family member in need of a strong advocate."
Personal injury Attorney | Nov 24
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I have known Paula for many years and I am constantly impressed by her trial skills and her work ethic. Paula is highly talented lawyer who cares deeply about her clients. She has a great sense of humor and a gracious personality."
Personal injury Attorney | Aug 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Personal injury Attorney | Mar 21
Relationship: Co-worker
"I endorse this lawyer. My colleagues in the local bar association just elected her as President. She is a leader in the bar, in our community, and in the management at Brett Murphy."
Personal injury Attorney | Mar 13
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Paula is always meticulously prepared and knows how to handle a touch negotiation, and her clients benefit from that experience."
Personal injury Attorney | Mar 13
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Paula McCandlis has tried lots of cases and she is very comfortable in court. I have consulted with her on many legal issues and always find her guidance to be helpful. She is enthusiastic about her clients and she works hard on all her cases."
Personal injury Attorney | Mar 13
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Paula is the best. She has terrific judgment and her ability to navigate complex personal injury cases is second to none. I would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone needing help on a personal injury or wrongful death matter."
Litigation Attorney | Mar 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Ms. McCandlis is a force that you want representing you. I have seen her practice in the courtroom and serve as a pro-tem Judge making difficult calls to resolve matters between litigating parties. She not only is, but comes across as, dangerously competant, making presentations charismatically and with authority. In addition to her extensive litigation experience, she is an upstanding member fo the legal community with a pristine reputation."
Personal injury Attorney | Feb 09
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer and refer with confidence. Ms. McCandlis has the skill, experience, and compassion that clients need when they are injured and need help."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Dec 15
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. Neither of our clients came to the table with "clean hands." We managed to resolve the case without having to go to trial, and both of our clients came away happy with the results. Paula is extremely professional, ethical, and willing to entertain "out of the box" solutions. I enjoy working with her!"
Family Attorney | Sep 24
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I have opposed Paula on a number of cases over the past few years, and without fail she continues to bring nothing but the best advocacy, commitment and preparation for her client. Paula cares about her clients and this is reflected in all of her work. Paula sets a standard in Whatcom County for family law attorneys; she is well respected by judges and commissioners she appears in front of as well as fellow attorneys."
Family Attorney | Sep 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work. Ms. McCandlis is a very common sense competent family law/domestic law attorney. Paula is a very skilled and experienced. She is practical and tries to find out-of-court solutions to her clients' legal problems if possible. However, she fights hard for her clients when a court battle is necessary. When my law office cannot represent clients because of a conflict of interest or a scheduling problem, we never think twice about referring people to Ms. McCandlis. I highly recommend Paula McCanlis."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Aug 25
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have known Paula for over 13 years now. We studied law together at Gonzaga Law School and when I went into the legal business for myself, she motivated me to succeed and gave me the best advice possible. Paula is a real leader and she has inspired many other lawyers in our local bar as well. Paula is one of the most hardest working family law attorneys in the NW corner of Washington. Her clients love her and she has is highly successful. Paula has a solid reputation as an honest and smart practitioner. She is simply one of the BEST family law attorneys around. "
View more endorsements
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Bellingham Personal injury Lawyer Paula L McCandlis
Paula L McCandlis
Personal injury Attorney
Bellingham, WA
Licensed for 26 years
Free Consultation