Published January 2007
by Terry Resk
Having been born in St. Mary’s Hospital to a father who was a Palm Beach County attorney, Judge Sandra Bosso-Pardo has not traveled far from either her geographical or professional family roots. The fourth of seven children, she and her siblings grew up playing “lawyer and judge” rather than “cops and robbers.” Although she had not consciously decided at a young age to be a judge, she quickly realized which role in their games she preferred.
She attended Cardinal Newman High School and then Springhill College in Alabama, where she majored in English. She also spent a year in Rome with Loyola University. After graduation, she initially intended to attend graduate school in order to become an English professor but then changed her mind and worked in the customer service department of Sears while waiting to take the law school entrance exams.
Judge Bosso-Pardo met her future husband, attorney Angelo Pardo, in law school. He graduated before she did and began working for her father in his local law practice.
Upon graduating from Stetson University College of Law in 1978, the judge entered private practice here in Palm Beach County, spending most of the next twenty years as an associate and later partner with the firm now known as Paxton & Smith, P.A., and approximately four years at what was then Brackett, Cook, Sned, Welch & Scott.
In 2002, she was invited to join the Palm Beach County School Board to help establish its in-house litigation department. Before accepting the position, she disclosed her intentions of seeking a judicial appointment, but agreed not to apply for two years. True to her word, she later submitted her application and was appointed to the county court bench by Governor Jeb Bush in December of 2004.
Although her father passed away approximately 20 years ago, her oldest brother Bill and her husband both still practice law in the offices used by her father. She lives within ten minutes of her mother and five of her siblings.
With the demands of her professional life, she and her husband were nonetheless able to raise two children – Cristina, age 20 and Alex, age 18. Although still undecided, Cristina has expressed interest in taking the law school entrance exams.
After 20 years of practice, it seemed a normal progression for Judge Bosso-Pardo to assume the bench. She had found that, even while advocating on behalf of her clients, she could look at cases objectively and treat all litigants fairly.
Her favorite aspect of her position is being able to help people obtain immediate resolutions of disputes in the small claims cases which she can expedite. Her least favorite part of the job is evicting people who are obviously trying to make their rental payments but have been unsuccessful.
Upon assuming the bench, the Judge was surprised at the “astounding” amount of paperwork in the County Civil Division, and found that the transition from zealous advocate to neutral judge was more difficult than she had imagined. She is used to thoroughly researching cases, but when she became a judge, realized that it was difficult to be as thorough as she would like and still move her docket along. She therefore appreciates the attorneys in her division who are prepared and bring copies of cases on which they rely.
Although her family and friends had good-naturedly questioned her suitability for the “customer service” department of a retail store, it is obvious that Judge Sandra Bosso-Pardo has continued serving the public in a way that would have made her father very proud!