Judge Pauline Maxwell was born in Massachusetts, where she enjoyed a career as a Registered Nurse before moving to Santa Barbara in 1981. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree (summa cum laude) from the University of California at Santa Barbara and her law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. In 1994 she was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Montecito Union School District, and in 1997 served as the President of the Board.
Judge Maxwell was a civil litigator, first at Foley and Lardner, in Century City, and then with Grokenberger and Smith in Santa Barbara. In 2006 she became a research attorney for the Santa Barbara Superior Court. In 2010, she was appointed Superior Court Commissioner, and presided over minor offense arraignments and trials, as well as Drug Court, Mental Health Treatment Court, and the Clean and Sober calendar. In 2014, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., appointed her Judge of the Superior Court.
Judge Maxwell has taught Legal Writing as an Adjunct Professor at the Santa Barbara College of Law, and is a Master of the William L. Gordon Inns of Court. She has been an active member of the Santa Barbara Women Lawyers, having previously served on its Board of Directors, and in 2013 was selected as the Attorney of the Year. In 2015, she received the Founding Mothers Award.
Judge Maxwell is currently assigned to a criminal felony and misdemeanor calendar.
Judge Maxwell presides over
Dept. 11 in the Santa Barbara