Paula M. Mitchell



  • Loyola Law School, 2002, J.D.
  • London School of Economics and Political Science, 1989, M.A., History
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1987, B.A., French

Professional Admissions / Qualifications

  • California
  • New York
  • District of Columbia

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Paula is a member of the firm’s Appellate Group. Prior to joining the firm, she spent eight years clerking for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where she participated in the review of over 500 federal appeals. Her appellate experience and practice include administrative/regulatory law, admiralty/maritime, bankruptcy, business/commercial, civil rights, constitutional law, criminal (including securities law and tax evasion), employment (including Title VII), environmental, habeas corpus, immigration, insurance and reinsurance, product liability, and trademarks and patents. She also has extensive experience working on federal appeals filed in the Third, Fourth, Sixth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits, and litigation experience in state and federal courts in admiralty/maritime, anti-trust, environmental, False Claims Act/qui tam/ whistleblower suits, domestic and international insurance and reinsurance coverage disputes, and shareholder derivative actions.

Paula is a member of the Federal Bar Association’s Special Committee on Bench/Bar Relations, the ABA Judicial Division’s Council of Appellate Lawyers, the State Bar of California Committee on Appellate Courts, and the Los Angeles Bar Association’s Appellate Courts Section. She has published articles on appellate law and is a frequent lecturer at education programs for appellate practitioners. She teaches as an adjunct law professor at Loyola Law School and regularly serves as a judge for various law school moot court competitions.

Employment History

  • 2014 - Reed Smith
  • 2008 - U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • 2006 - McDermott, Will & Emery
  • 2004 - Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel
  • 2002 - Mound, Cotton, Wollan & Greengrass
  • 1995 - Cozen O'Connor
  • 1989 - Wise & Shepard

Honors & Awards

  • Reed Smith's Southern California Pro Bono Honor Roll (2014)
  • Abolition Award, Death Penalty Focus, for exemplary leadership and commitment to fostering human rights (2013)
  • Outstanding Commitment to Pro Bono Legal Services, McDermott, Will & Emery, Los Angeles Pro Bono Committee

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • Center for Restorative Justice Loyola-Marymount University
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles

Media Interviews

  • KCRW Which Way LA? Warren Olney, Should the Execution of Inmates Be Streamlined in California? 13 February 2014
  • Reason.TV Documentary, Producer Tracy Oppenheimer, Killing California's Costly Death Penalty, 11 July 2012
  • BBC News Maagazine, Alastair Leithead, California and the Emotive Death Penalty Debate, 6 July 2012
  • BBC World Service Radio, Alastair Leithead, Can California Still Afford the Death Penalty? 6 July 2012
  • CNN Radio, James Roope, 7 May 2012
  • KCRW Which Way LA? Warren Olney, The Death Penalty and the SAFE California Initiative, 16 April 2012
  • New York Times, Adam Nagourney, Seeking End to Execution Law They Championed, 7 April 2012
  • Los Angeles Times, Carol Williams, Annual Total of Death Sentences in California Falls to 10, 29 December 2010
  • Atlantic Magazine, Mary A. Fischer, The Appeal of Death Row: Why Would a California Convicet Opt for a Death Sentence? With Few Executions and Better Living Conditions, Why Not? November 2011
  • California Watch, Will Evans, Repeal of Death Peanlty Could Save Millions of Dollars, Analysis Finds, 10 October 2011
  • Los Angeles Times, "Capitol Journal," George Skelton, Repeal the Death Penalty.  Each Execution Costs Taxpayers $308 Million, a Colossal Waste, 14 July 2011
  • Sacramento Bee, Ali Meyer, Voters Might Get to Kill Death Penalty, 6 July 2011
  • San Francisco Chronicle, Kevin Fagan, Study: Death Penalty Costlier Than Life Sentences, 21 June 2011
  • CNN Money, Charles Riley, One California Budget Fix: Abolish Death Row, 20 June 2011
  • UK Guardian, Ed Pilkington, Death Penalty Costs California More Than $300m Per Execution, 20 June 2011
  • Los Angeles Times, Carol Williams, Death Penalty Costs California $184 Million a Year, Study Says, 20 June 2011