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Paula Forbes

Paula has been a practicing attorney for 30 years.  She has held leadership positions in private, public and nonprofit organizations practicing in the areas of human resources, compliance, EEO, labor, government affairs and most notably education law.  Paula has an impeccable track record helping organizations defend against litigation, investigate employee complaints or find solutions to their concerns. Over the years, Paula learned that most conflict stems from poor interpersonal communication and the lack of understanding diversity, work style differences, your coworkers, your managers, your neighbor, community or even yourself.  Paula has focused her practice utilizing specific tools designed to address these dilemmas.  Whether it be facilitating a community engagement process, coaching organizations on restorative resolutions practices, or leading the way in creating systems change, Paula is dedicated to creating healthy work, education and community environments.  

Paula has become known as, a group leader, an out-of-the-box innovator, and a world-class facilitator.  Paula uses a participatory style that brings a fresh perspective to strategic planning and organizational capacity building. Paula is known for working closely with team leaders to develop more clarity and focus around high stake initiatives, managing different working styles and building upon the diversity and synergy of the team to get desired results.

Paula began her work in education law while working as an associate at Rider Bennett Law Firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From there, she became the first District General Counsel for Special School District No. 1, in Minneapolis. During her time at the District, Paula advised the superintendent and school board on all legal matters facing the district. She managed outside counsel and was the District’s representative in all contested cases including litigation, mediations, arbitrations and other forums. Since that time, Paula has continued to help clients weave their stories into creative solutions.  

Paula is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Minnesota, and the University of St. Thomas teaching Education & the Law to aspiring principals and superintendents.  

Paula earned her JD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is admitted to the Minnesota and Wisconsin Bar.  

Paula holds the following specialized training certifications: 

  • Qualified Natural Mediator pursuant to rule 114 of Minnesota Rules 
  • Qualified Neutral Arbitrator 
  • CTI trained Co-Active Coach 
  • Technology of Participation (ToP™) Facilitation and Strategic Planning Facilitator 
  • Insights Discovery® Licensed Practitioner and Distributer 
  • Art of Hosting Trainer and Facilitator - A Bush Foundation Community Project to Support Participatory Conversations