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.