1967-2018: Early life and discovering herself
While growing up Paula was in the same school year as Sally who, unbeknown to Paula, admired her - nicknaming her "Princess Paula". Both Paula and Sally were in different friendship circles, with Sally being stuck with the likes of Lois Fairhurst despite the fact that she really wanted to be associating with the more popular people, and as such, they didn't remain in contact after they left school.
In her twenties Paula decided to travel around Europe backpacking in order to discover herself, however, in reality she had only done this to impress her friends. While backpacking she eventually ended up in Africa where she camped in Morocco, rode horses in Ethiopia, and slept on beaches in Tanzania before making it as far as Cape Town. While travelling Paula realised that she was bisexual and had eventful relationships with both men and women. Although, upon her return to the UK Paula married a man called Tim and the pair had two children together; Isla and another child.
Sometime after, Tim discovered Paula in bed with her female squash partner, a judge. Though he was furious, he refrained from physically assaulting the other woman and subsequently terminated his relationship with Paula.
2018-2019: Representing Sally against Duncan
In August 2018, Sally's sister Gina Seddon - who also went to the same school as Paula, but was in a younger year - discovered that Paula was working as a solicitor and requested that she take on Sally's case after she had been charged with fraud and bribery when Duncan Radfield claimed that she forced him to hold onto £40,000 "stolen" from the council.
When Paula came round to discuss matters, Sally laid out fancy food, only to realise Paula had undergone a personality transplant and was very laid back. Paula got on well with both Sally and Gina and began spending time with them outside of work - reminiscing about their school days. While having lunch at Viaduct Bistro, Paula revealed that her daughter, Isla, was a lesbian. She was shocked when Sally revealed that her daughter, Sophie, was also gay. She agreed to Sally's proposal that the pair be set up on a date, in the hopes it would keep Isla home in the UK, instead of her worrying about her safety.
Having introduced Sophie and Isla, Sally was left gutted when the pair didn't hit it off. Paula was secretly happy, as she had developed an attraction to Sophie. Paula turned up at 4 Coronation Street and admitted her feelings to Sophie. The pair shared a kiss - only to be interrupted by Sally. Unaware of Paula's feelings towards her daughter, Sally decided to set her up with her ex-husband Kevin Webster, who was recently left single after Anna Windass moved away.
Paula attended her arranged date with Kevin at Speed Daal, the restaurant which Sophie managed. Despite getting along well, Paula made it clear to Kevin that she was not looking for a relationship. She reported back to Sophie, before leaving Speed Daal, that she had let him down gently. With Kevin out of the way, Paula and Sophie embarked on their relationship immediately meeting up on a regular basis for sex but were shortly discovered by Kevin and Sally on the day of Sally's pretrial. Sally was devastated and felt truly betrayed - she fired Paula as her solicitor, choosing to defend herself in court, and told Sophie that she was not welcome in the courtroom. Paula advised Sally against defending herself, however, Sally remained stubborn and ultimately paid the price when her choices backfired and left her imprisoned. She agreed multiple times to Sophie to take Sally's case back and was shortly reinstated.
Paula was upset to discover that Sophie lied to the police about the night Cormac died at Michelle's. She was frightened by her being mixed up with a criminal of Ronan's calibre. She valiantly and formidably chastised Ryan Connor for getting her girlfriend mixed up in it. She persuaded Sophie to go to the police.
Sally's family continued to complicate the case for Paula. She set up a meeting at Speed Daal with lawyer Julian Cooper, as well as circuit judge Leonard Rattigan to join later. Paula excused herself to chase Sophie, after she finally stormed out, after Julian fed Paula a bite of food. She reassured her passionate young girlfriend that she was not just a working-class waitress nor a dirty little secret to her. She explained that she didn't invite Sophie, because it was a sensitive off-the-record meeting pertaining to her mother's case. She told Tim not to share information he overheard about evidence she hadn't gained yet to Sally, and was at a bit at a loss with both for not stopping to think things through first. Paula was let down when Sophie insulted Judge Rattigan.
Paula tried to remain positive about Sally's case and romance for Gina, while Sophie was negative. Sally's case continued to complicate without a character witness in sight, Judge Rattigan presiding, Sally's family being disruptive in the gallery, Sally unable to remember where she was on her birthday and due process to collect CCTV footage showing where she was delayed by red tape. The first of the final knockout blows was Sophie's scheme for Sally to get hospitalised the case adjourned. Paula hit her limit with everything going wrong with the case and ghosted Sophie and told Sally she should stop representing her. She let Sally talk her into continuing with the trial on the condition she confessed about the hospital scheme. Paula did little to impede Gina's final damaging testimony as a character witness, under cross-examination. She suffered a rare defeat in court, as the jury found Sally guilty on all counts.
In June 2018 it was announced that Stirling Gallacher, known for her part in Doctors among other roles would be joining Coronation Street as an old friend of Sally Metcalfe and new love interest for her daughter Sophie. Gallacher made her first appearance as Paula in Episode 9537 on 17th August that year.