From the Bench: Fifth District Court of Appeal Judge Paige Kilbane

The former Palm Beach County judge and 15th Circuit Court judge was appointed in 2023.

  • By
  • | 1:00 a.m. May 2, 2024
  • | 5 Free Articles Remaining!
Fifth District Court of Appeal Judge Paige Kilbane
Fifth District Court of Appeal Judge Paige Kilbane
  • The Bar Bulletin
  • Share

What inspired you to become a lawyer?

As the first lawyer in my family, I’m not sure that I really knew what I was getting myself into. But I have always been interested in history, the structure of our government and why it works; so, I knew I wanted to work in government in some way.

I thought going to law school would be the most meaningful way I could contribute based on my skill set.

What inspired you to become an appellate judge? 

It was really my time as a trial judge that led to my desire to be an appellate judge.

As a former trial lawyer, I was comfortable in the courtroom and very much enjoyed the lawyers, litigants and cases I was able to hear during my time on the trial bench.

However, over time, I began to realize that my love for the law and desire to understand and think deeply about difficult issues was sometimes difficult for me to meld with the fast pace and large caseloads often associated with the trial bench. Though we are blessed with trial judges in this state that are able to do that every day, I couldn’t seem to always do it fast enough.

The appellate bench gives me the time necessary to review and reflect, and reflect again, before making decisions. Additionally, deciding cases as a panel adds another layer of analysis not available to the trial bench.

Hopefully, though despite my best efforts I’m sure not always, this helps me to make sound decisions.

Who or what inspires you now?

My family. They show me every day that what I choose to do, say and teach are so important and cannot always easily be undone.

Showing up matters. Purpose matters. Time and health are things that cost nothing but mean everything, and I value the time I have with them above all else.

How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice on the appellate bench?

I hold degrees in history and political science. While I found the subjects interesting and they certainly fed my desire to attend law school, I would not say I have ever particularly relied on them throughout my career.

If I had it to do over, I think I would major in economics and philosophy. Or maybe interior design.

How do you relate your prior professional experience to your practice on the appellate bench?

As a former trial lawyer and trial judge, I have a pretty good starting point for what may, or may not, have gone as it should have down below.

That understanding does not always lead me to my ultimate conclusion, but it does give some color to the record. I know that what may seem clear cut on a cold record probably did not feel that way in the moment in the courtroom.

While that rarely impacts what I write, I hope it influences the way in which I write it.

If you weren’t an appellate judge what do you think you would be?

A real estate agent. I love finding the perfect home.

If you could meet someone from history, who would it be and why?

Ronald Reagan. For many reasons, but I would love to talk to him about courage.

What is your favorite book?

The best book I’ve read lately is “The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III.”

What’s your favorite food?

Mexican. Anytime chips and any kind of dip are an acceptable part of the meal, I’m in.

What’s your favorite holiday and why?

Christmas. It’s a time to celebrate faith and to be with family. There’s nothing better.



Special Offer: $5 for 2 Months!

Your free article limit has been reached this month.
Subscribe now for unlimited digital access to our award-winning business news.