Judge Paula Hepner was appointed to the Family Court of the State of New York in August 1990 by Mayor David N. Dinkins, was reappointed in December 2000 by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and reappointed in December 2009 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In February 2008, Judge Hepner was designated Supervising Judge for the Kings County Family Court.
Prior to her appointment to the Family Court, Judge Hepner was the supervising attorney in New York City's Human Resources Administration prosecuting cases of child abuse and neglect in the Manhattan Family Court. A 1977 graduate of Hofstra University Law School, Judge Hepner served as a Consulting Attorney to the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York, Inc. from 1984-1986; as Director of the Education Rights Project of the Public Education Association from 1983-1985; as Director of the Handicapped Children's Rights Project at Advocates for Children of New York, Inc. from 1979-1983; and as a staff attorney for the Protection and Advocacy System for Developmental Disabilities, Inc. from 1975-1979.
Judge Hepner is a member of the Associations of Family Court Judges of the State and City of New York, the National Association of Women Judges [“NAWJ”], the Association of the Bar of the City of New York [“ABCNY”] and the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York [“LeGaL”]. She is a founding member and Past President of the Association of Lesbian and Gay Judges, and a founding member and former Director of the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Judges [“IALGJ”]. Judge Hepner served on the Family Court Advisory Council as chair of its Juvenile Delinquency sub-committee from 2001-2003 and from 2004 -2009 chaired the sub-committee’s work group examining issues involving LGBT youth in the Juvenile Justice system. Beginning in the Fall of 2010, Judge Hepner was asked to chair a newly formed Advisory Council to the NYC Administrative Judge for Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Matters. Judge Hepner has also served on the Unified Court System’s Curriculum Committee (1998-2002) and Disability Access Committee (1998-2000). She was Co-Chair of NAWJ’s Committee on Racial, Cultural and Sexual Orientation Discrimination from 1997-1998 and Co-Chair of NAWJ’s Committee on Sexual Orientation Discrimination from 1994-1996. Judge Hepner has served on the Family Court Anti-Bias Panel from 1992-1997 and from 2000-2006. She is a former member of the Education and Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (1990-1993), the Board of Directors of the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York (1991-1993), the Professional Advisory Board and Co-Chair of the Legal & Legislative Committee of the Coalition on Sexuality and Disability, Inc. (1980-1990) and the Citizens Advisory Council of the New York State Assembly Task Force on the Disabled (1981-1985).