Judge Paula Hinson Thomas was born in Sumter, South Carolina. Her parents are James Lee Hinson, retired Air Force Captain and businessman, and Betty G. Hinson, both of Manning, South Carolina.
She received her BIS from University of South Carolina in 1979, M.Ed. in 1981 and her JD in 1986.
Judge Thomas has been a member of the South Carolina Bar Association, Georgetown County Bar Association, the American Trial Lawyers Association and the American Bar Association; Chairwoman of Georgetown County Walk America; Treasurer of Georgetown County Bar Association, 1991; Administration Board Chair, St. Paul's Waccamaw, UMC, 1992; member of Pawleys Island Rotary Club 1991-1993; member of S.C. House of Representatives 1993-1996; 2nd Vice-Chair, House Judicial Committee; Chairman, General Laws Subcommittee, and on the House Rules Committee; served on the Joint Judicial Legislative Screening Committee; elected Judge-at-Large, Seat 1, May 22, 1996, to fill the unexpired term of Ralph King Anderson Jr. elected to Court of Appeals; re-elected to that same seat in 1997; elected to the 15th Circuit Court June 16, 1998, to fill the unexpired term of David H. Maring Sr., serving continuously until elected to Court of Appeals, Seat 4, on February 7, 2007 to succeed C. Tolbert Goolsby, retired.
Judge Thomas is married to Don S. Thomas. They have one son, Austin, and twin daughters, Kristen and Kelly. They reside in Pawleys Island.