Judge Wells, a native of Louisiana, has lived in Florida virtually all her life. She and her husband, attorney Robert W. Wells, Jr. have two adult daughters.
Judge Wells graduated with high honors with a degree in medical technology from the University of Florida in 1969 and with honors from the Florida State University College of Law in 1977 where she was a Notes and Comments Editor on the Law Review. Following graduation from law school, Judge Wells joined the Fine, Jacobson law firm where she remained until 1994 when she joined Holland & Knight as an equity partner. In 1996, Judge Wells joined Russo, Wells & Associates where she remained until becoming the Chief District Legal Counsel, District 11, for the Florida Department of Children & Families. She was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal in 2003. In 2009, Judge Wells was selected as Chief Judge-Elect. On July 1, 2011, she became this court's first female Chief Judge. Judge Wells also served as President of the Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges in 2012-2013.
Judge Wells has been certified by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice since 1996 and while in private practice received an AV rating by Martindale-Hubbell.
Since appointment to the bench, Judge Wells has served on The Florida Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases (2003-2008); The Florida Supreme Court Select Committee on Justice Teaching (2006-2008); and the Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges, Education Committee (2007).
Judge Wells is currently a member of the Florida State University College of Law Alumni Board of Directors (2005-present), and was an Adjunct Professor of Law at St. Thomas University Law School from 1991 through 2003.
Admitted to the Bar in 1977, Judge Wells has served as the Chair of the Membership Committee of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar (1985-87); member of The Florida Bar Family Law Section Rules Committee (1987-88); and member of The Florida Bar Appellate Practice and Advocacy Section Rules Liaison Committee (1994-96). She has been a member of the American Bar Association since 1977 and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation since 1998. Judge Wells has also been a member of the Dade County Bar Association since 1977 and served on its board of directors (1995-1998) and on its executive committee (1996-1997). She also served on the Dade County Bar Associationís Judicial Campaign Practices Commission as both a member (1998-2002) and as vice-chair (1996-1997).
Judge Wellsí civic and community activities include service as a board member (1986-1995) and chair (1991-1993) of the Chairmanís Counsel, Miami Heart Research Institute; Head Start, Reading is Fun volunteer (1995-1998); and long-time Informed Families of Miami-Dade County volunteer.