As a first-generation college student at the University of Northern Colorado, Judge Paula F. Sherlock balanced long work hours, heavy course loads, motherhood, and cheering for her husband at UNC wrestling matches. Her UNC experience was the first step toward a career that would transform family courts in her community.
Sherlock retired as the Chief Judge of Jefferson County Family Court in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the course of her career, Sherlock continued balancing personal and professional commitments. Because of her passion for advocacy, she developed programs for the court, won numerous awards, and made a clear impact.
Known as an advocate for children and families, Sherlock has volunteered with local and national nonprofits that provide foster care for incarcerated parents, substance abuse treatment and emergency shelters, residential and support services for disabled adults, safe housing and educational opportunities for single mothers and their children, and clothing and mentorship for women moving from welfare to the workplace.
In her official capacity, Sherlock has coordinated cooperative programs between the court and children's treatment centers. She also chaired judicial efforts to develop a family treatment court to care for children and families affected by opioid addiction. Sherlock led efforts to establish the Judicial Center as a "No Hit Zone," part of a national push for nonviolent conflict resolution, and is now consulting for three courthouses in other states as they adopt the philosophy.
Sherlock’s work has earned her several awards, including Judge of the Year three times. She earned the award in 2016 from the Women Lawyers Association, in 2015 from the Louisville Bar Association and in 2014 from the Kentucky Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys.
Sherlock has generously provided a wide range of support for UNC for many years and strives to connect her network to her alma mater. She and her husband have a strong relationship with the wrestling team, and she was the keynote speaker at the fall Undergraduate Commencement in 2017.