Verna Adams

Verna Adams

JUDGE VERNA ADAMS (ret.) earned her A.B. degree (summa cum laude) at Wellesley College and her law degree at Stanford University. 

Before her appointment to the Marin County Superior Court in 1999, Judge Adams practiced Family Law in the Bay Area.  She was designated a Certified Specialist in Family Law by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization in 1982.  She was recognized in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America from 1993 until her appointment to the bench.  When an attorney, Judge Adams was counsel in a number of significant family law cases, including Marriage of Epstein (1979) 24 Cal.3d 76.  She served as President of the Marin County Bar Association, chair of its Family Law Section, President of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Family in Transition, and founder and board member of the Family and Children’s Law Center. 

In her 24 years on the bench, Judge Adams has been assigned to the criminal division, the civil division, probate, juvenile, and, for 14 years, to the Marin Unified Family Law Court.  She was elected Presiding Judge by her colleagues in 2008-2009 and served as Supervising Judge of the Marin Unified Family Law Court for 12 years. 

During her tenure on the court, Judge Adams was chair of the task force that created the Legal Self-Help Center of Marin.  She initiated and was the first judge presiding over Marin County’s Mental Health and Domestic Violence Courts.  She launched the first Interdisciplinary Settlement Conference program in California—a project which makes judges, Family Law experts and mental health professionals available to assist families involved in high-conflict child custody litigation.  She is a regular presenter at continuing education programs for other California Judges.  

While serving as a judge, Verna Adams has focused on the management, settlement, and (if necessary) trial of all aspects of Family Law disputes, including:

  • Complex issues relating to characterization and division of community property.
  • Spousal and child support.
  • Child custody and parenting plan issues.

Over the years, Judge Adams has received peer and community recognition and awards, including:

  • Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition in 1986 and 2016.
  • Inducted into Marin Women’s Hall of Fame, 2016.
  • Marin Trial Lawyers’ Judge of the Year, 2017.
  • Voted the best Judge in Marin by readers of the Pacific Sun in 2020 and 2021.
  • Recipient of the Marin County Bar Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2024.  She is the fourth person and first woman to be so honored in the Bar Association’s 90 year history.


Beverly Wood

Beverly Wood

JUDGE BEVERLY WOOD (ret.) has a B.A. degree from University of California Berkeley and a law degree from the University of San Francisco, School of Law. Judge Wood originally practiced general litigation in San Francisco, then created a firm specializing in international transactions and business entities until joining the Freitas Law firm in 1993.  At the Freitas firm Judge Wood’s work focused on representing public entities and general litigation, with limited representation for those involved in family law disputes.

In 2005 Judge Wood was invited to join the Marin Superior Court as a Commissioner, a position she held until 2013 when she was appointed to the bench by Gov. Jerry Brown.  During her tenure as a judge Beverly Wood has presided over family, juvenile and criminal matters as well as specialty courts. She was the founder of Marin’s Community Court in 2011 and presided over that court for 13 years until her retirement in 2024.  She has spearheaded other programs specifically aimed at improving the outcome for minors involved in the justice or dependency system.  Judge Wood was an adjunct professor at University of San Francisco, School of Law for many years teaching mediation to law students.  Judge Wood is a frequent presenter at programs for other judges in California, national conferences, and local education and civic programs with extensive work in the area of managing and settling high conflict Family Law disputes.

Judge Wood was inducted into Marin’s Women’s Hall of Fame in 2024 and has been recognized for her accomplishments over the years:

  • Marin County SACPA/Prop 36 Team recognition of dedication, passion, and leadership, 2006
  • Marin County Board of Supervisors Resolution Commending Commissioner Beverly Wood, 2009
  • Distinguished Service Certificate for Outstanding Service and Commitment in the field of Probation, 2013
  • Judicial Officer of the Year- Chief Probation Officers of California, 2016
  • R. Chamberlin Award Northern Chapter of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 2016
  • Marin Trial Lawyers Judge of the Year, 2018
  • Marin Foster Care Recognition of Services, 2019
  • Legal Aid Lifetime Achievement Award, 2022
  • Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, 2024

Judge Wood presided over a Family Law department for nine years and continued to conduct settlement conferences for Family Law matters even when assigned to other departments. Her ability to assist parties in resolving their disputes is well known in the community.