Read my story

Paula Haley ’81 imagined she would spend her life living somewhere like Washington, DC, but like many other Northeastern law school graduates, she couldn’t resist the opportunity to chart the legal landscape of the 49th state. “The place just stuck,” recalls Haley, who was drawn by the opportunities to work with both grassroots campaigns and government agencies that focused on ensuring the safety of children and women. 

“When I first arrived in Alaska, the opportunities were amazing. We were able to craft laws and policies regarding sexual assault and domestic violence from the ground up.”

Since 1988, she has headed the state agency dedicated to preventing and eliminating discrimination in employment, housing, credit and financing, places of public accommodation and practices by the state. “Alaska is very much like the rest of the country in terms of civil rights violations,” says Haley. “In many ways, we’ve been legal pioneeers, but there is still work to be done.”

Co-op 1

South Mississippi Legal Services, Biloxi

On her first co-op, Paula went right to work on a major civil rights case against Harrison County involving race discrimination against a student. 

Co-op 2

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC

For her second co-op, Paula decided to explore environmental law.

Co-op 3

Bingham, Dana & Gould, Boston

At a large firm in Boston, Paula researched a writ to arrest a vessel.

Co-op 4

Gaston, Snow & Ely Bartlett, Boston

For her final co-op, Paula chose an old-line firm that enabled her to explore the world of large firm practice.

After graduation

Staff Attorney, Standing Together Against Rape, Anchorage

After graduating from Northeastern, Paula headed to Alaska with a law school classmate looking for an “adventure.”


Executive Director, Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, Anchorage (retired)



A self-proclaimed “city girl” who found her niche ensuring justice on the Alaskan frontier.