Only July 1, the Mississippi Supreme Court will officially welcome its first African-American Supreme Court clerk, Muriel B. Ellis, after Supreme Court Clerk Kathy Gillis retires at the end of June.
It will mark a major historical milestone for Mississippi’s Supreme Court. After 33 years of service, Gillis will be stepping down and welcoming Ellis, a veteran of 23 years of work in the clerk’s office.
Ellis is no stranger to historical milestones and pushing boundaries as she was also the first African-American deputy clerk and chief deputy clerk of the Supreme Court.
The office of the Clerk of the Courts is responsible for keeping and organizing all records from both the Mississippi Supreme Court and the Mississippi Court of Appeals.
The group of 12 staff members are also responsible for case management, such as tracking each appeal to ensure they are being addressed in a timely fashion.
Together, Gillis and Ellis have monitored the transition of the clerk’s office into electronic filing.
As of July 1, 2013, the office kicked off voluntary e-filing.
By the beginning of 2014, e-filing of briefs and motions were mandatory.
Today, more than 4,400 documents have been electronically filed during the last year.
Ellis, 54, joined the Supreme Court Clerk’s staff as a legal clerk in 1991.
In less than a decade, she became a team leader and was named a deputy clerk by 2007.
She became chief deputy clerk in June 2009.
This also marked the same time that Gillis was named the clerk of the court.
Gillis also joined the office in May 1981 as legal clerk.
The now 63-year-old served a deputy clerk for nearly five years and as a chief deputy clerk for almost 2 decades.