Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Creel describes a childhood lacking in wealth but not spirit. “Our parents instilled in us two things – maintaining a strong faith and the necessity of college education. Mom’s question wasn’t if we were going, but where. Excelling was our way out.” And excel she did. Creel earned a National Merit Scholarship to Mississippi College and majored in History/Pre-Law. But developing her innate strengths didn’t lie solely in books. Serving as Vice-President of the student body and on the student disciplinary committee were outgrowths of her magnetic personality and desire to see people treated fairly, and an early manifestation of her future life’s mission.
“The first case I ever won came before even entering law school,” Creel proudly recalls. “At a student hearing, I argued for three boys facing expulsion for possessing their dorm’s skeleton key. They had done no harm, no theft or mischief – simply opened a room they used as a gym. Based on my argument, they were allowed to stay in school. I know standing up for them changed their lives for the better.” Creel swayed the vote against the disciplinary committee head who, she later learned from a mentor, was the Dean of Mississippi College Law School. “It was clear to others and to me that this is what I’m meant to do – assure people are afforded fair and responsible treatment under the law. As a high schooler, I watched my mother suffer illegal and unethical treatment in a legal matter. To see someone in power take advantage of an innocent teacher absolutely defined my life’s course. Every day I have her in my heart as I hold myself to the highest standards of professionalism and ethics when I represent clients who are someone’s mother, father or child.”
Creel pursued her dreams vigorously with accomplishments including attending LSU Law School on the Richard Westbrook and the John Gordon Scholarships; earning the highest grade in Constitutional Law; and passing the Louisiana and Mississippi Bar exams on the first try. Alongside her academic achievements, Creel continued to successfully balance education with all-important life experiences. “A third of law students don’t survive the first year and many marriages don’t survive law school either. I say ‘we’ graduated because my husband was so supportive and helped me succeed during that demanding time.” Ellen met Brandon Creel in college where he was a Division II National Champion football player, married after graduation and has lived and practiced in the 22nd Judicial District throughout her career having never been sanctioned or disciplined by any court or the Bar Association. She maintains a broad practice encompassing family law, property work, successions, and corporate law; has represented government bodies including serving as Franklinton City Prosecutor for 11 years; and has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in civil suits.
The Creels imparted their strong work ethic to three sons: Hampton, a college senior; Harrison, a college junior; and Hayes, a junior at St. Paul’s. “The boys learned from our example. I cleaned houses to put myself through college. Brandon had a dairy farm on the side where he instilled in the boys pleasure and pride in hard, physical work. We taught them all work is honorable when the job is well done. That earns self-respect and the trust of others.”
With her upbeat stories and humor amidst serious conversation, it‘s easy to see that Creel possesses empathy, tempering her firstborn traits with middle child characteristics like peace-keeping, negotiation, and ability to relate to people different than themselves. She embraces social responsibility by involvement in projects such as Safe Harbor, which assists victims of dangerous or violent domestic situations, and the Washington Parish Activity Center, which provides vocational and social resources to adults with developmental challenges. “Our family has worked with the Activity Center for decades. It’s near and dear to me. I’ve also served on our sons’ school board where I learned just how much it takes to run a school.”
Her colleague, Jessica Karr, speaks to Creel’s sense of fairness and compromise. “Although Ellen’s impeccable reputation preceded her, we were bitterly opposed over a case when we met. She initiated a sit-down with me and after hours of discussion, we found common ground bringing the case to a satisfactory conclusion for each client. She won me over earning my respect and friendship.”
Karr’s respect is so great that she, among others, encouraged Creel to run for the Division J Judge’s seat and even signed on as her campaign manager. Creel reflects, “I was humbled by those who thought I was worthy of the excellent standards set by previous 22nd JDC judges. My breadth of practice has prepared me for this general jurisdiction seat. I’ve seen enough cases to understand how important this job is. I know unquestionably I have the ability to listen and be fair no matter who is before me or how difficult the facts. It’s more than ethics, it’s about carefully and responsibly affecting people’s lives.”
Ellen Creel is a candidate for
. For more information, visit ellencreelforjudge.com. Placement of this advertorial is paid for by the Committee to Elect Ellen Creel. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the candidate and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Sophisticated Woman Magazine or the publisher.