About Us: Partners
Ellis Griffith (1925-1987)
L. Ellis Griffith practiced law in Cleveland, Mississippi until his
death in March l987 at the age of 60. A native of Prentiss, in Jeff Davis County,
Mississippi, he was an avid outdoorsman and sportsman. Valedictorian of his
graduating class at Prentiss High School in 1944, Ellis served in the United States Navy
during World War II. While at Mississippi College where he earned his undergraduate
degree, Ellis was elected Attorney for the Student Government Association and was cited in
Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges. After receiving an L.L.M./Juris Doctor
degree cum laude from Ole Miss Law School, he was admitted to the
practice of law in Mississippi in January 1951. He taught Business Law at Mississippi
College, and then earned a Masters of Laws in Taxation magna cum laude from New
York University in 1952. He married Gloria Judson Smith of Greenville and began his law
practice in Cleveland, where he received the Distinguished Service Award in 1955 from the
United States Junior Chamber of Commerce for outstanding community service. The father of
three sons and two daughters, he was devoted to his family. He made an indelible mark on
Cleveland and the Mississippi Delta through a record of service to his church, community
and the bar. Ellis was a lifetime Elder in the First Presbyterian Church of
Cleveland and frequently served as Commissioner to St. Andrew Presbytery. Throughout his
adult life, he was active in the Scouting program, serving as Cubmaster and Scoutmaster of
several scout troops as well as in executive level positions in the Central District and
Delta Area Council, BSA for over thirty years. He received the Silver Beaver Award in 1976
for distinguished service to youth. Many his former scouts have distinguished themselves
as leaders in the fields of Law, Medicine, Education and Business. He served as
President and Director of the Cleveland Noon Lions Club, chairing most of its
committees over the years, and after his death the club membership presented Gloria with
the Distinguished Service Award for Ellis' many years of dedication to Lions International
and his local club. He was elected District Governor of Lions International, representing
Mississippi Lions District 30-C as Chairman of the Board of Governors of Lions of
Mississippi, and was named International Counselor by the International Association of
Lions Clubs. He was instrumental in the formation of the Mississippi Lions Sight Foundation
in Jackson, Mississippi.
Spanning 35 years, his general law practice included
serving as Board Attorney for the Bolivar County Board of Education for over thirty years,
civil litigation involving representation of plaintiffs as well as defendants in state and
federal courts throughout the mid-south, estate planning and insurance defense. He served
as President of the local bar association, Commissioner with the Mississippi Bar
Association and member of the Complaints Tribunal for the Northern District of
Mississippi. He served as President of the Bolivar County Chapter of the Ole Miss Alumni
Club, and member of the University of Mississippi Law Alumni Board of Trustees,
University of Mississippi Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Lamar Order,
and the Ole Miss Loyalty Foundation. Ellis was an active member of the Mississippi and
American Bar Associations, Mississippi and American Trial Lawyers Associations,
Mississippi Defense Lawyers Associations, and American Judicature Society.
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Practice: Ben’s federal and state civil litigation practice traces back to his early civil trial work in the Mississippi Delta with his late father and law partner, Ellis Griffith. That work began to reach into other states during the late 1970's. Ben’s civil litigation practice now extends to representing state agencies, counties, cities, elected officials, nongovernmental entities and other private sector insured and their insurers in federal and state civil litigation throughout Mississippi, as well as in other jurisdictions, where he has been associated to represent defendants in federal and state civil litigation in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C. With Mississippi as a base for an expanded multi-state practice, Ben’s work focuses on defense of state and local governments in civil rights, voting rights, election law and reapportionment litigation, representation of commercial entities and other private sector insureds in premises security and construction defect litigation, public entity insurance coverage disputes, and environmental law. He served as Board Attorney for the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors for 21 years from 1983 through 2003, and continues to serve as Board Attorney for the 17-county Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Joint Water Management District, a position held since 1989.
Bar Association: Ben has taken an active role in the work of the American Bar Association’s Section of State and Local Government Law. He presently serves as the Section’s Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates and immediate-Past Chair of the Section. He has served as the Section’s Vice-Chair, Secretary, Communications Director, and continues to serve on the Executive Committee and Governing Council. He is also serving a second term on the ABA Standing Committee on Election Law, and is a member of the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s Government Liability Committee and Insurance Coverage Committee, the ABA Section of Litigation’s Governmental Liability Committee, the Water Resources Committee of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Law (SEER), and the ABA Section of International Law, serving on that Section’s Europe Committee and China Committee.
Mississippi Bar: Ben helped organize the Mississippi Bar’s Government Law Section, serving as its second Chairman in 1992-1993. He has been a member of the Mississippi Bar’s Technology Committee since 1996 and worked on the Mississippi Bar’s Professional Responsibility Study Committee, which was responsible for drafting and recommending adoption of the Code of Professional Conduct by the state bar. He served a term on the Professional Responsibility Committee from 1994 to 1996 and was appointed to the Special Advisory Committee for the Adoption of Uniform Local Rules for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi in 2000-2001.
of County Civil Attorneys (NACCA): In 1989-1990 Ben was elected President of the National Association of County Civil Attorneys and was a member of NAACA’s Board of Trustees from 1985 to 2000, and a member of the Intergovernmental Relations Steering Committee of the National Association of Counties (NACo) from 1992 to 2000. He has been invited to speak at numerous conferences on voting rights litigation and civil rights litigation involving local government throughout North America. In May 1994 he was invited by Chairman Henry Hyde to testify before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and the Constitution in Washington, D.C. as part of the Voting Rights Roundtable. He was recognized by NACo for his work as a member of the Special Task Force on Unfunded Mandates which led to Congress’ enactment of the Unfunded Mandates Act in 1995.
Lawyers Association (IMLA): Ben has served as IMLA’s State Chair for Mississippi since 2003, and serves as Chair of IMLA’s International Committee. In 1999-2001 he served as Chair of IMLA’s County and Special Municipal Districts Division. He was named an IMLA Local Government Fellow in 2001 for his work in local government, and was recognized by IMLA in 2003 for outstanding achievement in local government. He serves as the World Jurist Association’s National President for the USA, and has participated as a speaker in internal law conferences sponsored by IMLA and the WJA in Dublin, Ireland; Guadalajara, Mexico; Kiev, Ukraine; Beijing, Peoples Republic of China; and Edinburgh, Scotland; and by the Center for International Legal Studies in Salzburg, Austria.
and other memberships: In November 1994 Ben earned board certification in Civil Trial Advocacy through the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and was recertified in 2005. Since 1994 he has served on the Board of Advisors of The Federalist Society of Mississippi. He is a Fellow of the International Order of Barristers, Litigation Counsel of America, and the Mississippi Bar Foundation, and has served as a member of the Council on Litigation Management. He served as President of the Bolivar County Chapter of Ole Miss Alumni, member of the Lamar Order, the University of Mississippi Alumni Board of Directors, and the Ole Miss Law Alumni Board of Directors. Other memberships include the Federal Bar Association (Member, State and Local Government Relations Section), Defense Research Institute (Steering Committee Member, DRI Committee on Government Liability), Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association, and Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit. He has been elected by his peers to be included in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the specialty of Municipal Law, and the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 editions of Mid-South Super Lawyers in Government/Municipalities.
Seminars: As an integral part of his civil litigation practice, Ben has written extensively on the subject of voting rights litigation and current issues facing state and local government, with scores of articles published in national journals, law reviews, professional magazines and online legal publications. He has also been invited to speak at over 85 continuing legal education seminars, governmental conferences and bar association meetings throughout the nation, and in Canada, Mexico, China, Great Britain, Ukraine, Austria, and the Czech Republic. He is editor and author of two chapters in America Votes: A Guide to Modern Election Law and Voting Rights (ABA 2008), and its recently released Supplement (ABA 2009); Census 2000 – Considerations and Strategies for State and Local Governments (ABA 2000); Sexual Harassment in the Public Work Place (ABA 2001); Handbook for County Board Attorneys (2000 and 2005 eds.); and he contributed chapters to Access to Government in the Computer Age (ABA 2008, Martha H. Chumbler, Ed.); International Election Principles: Democratic Elections and the Rule of Law (ABA 2008, John Hardin Young, Ed.); and A Legal Guide to Homeland Security and Emergency Management for State and Local Governments (2nd Ed. ABA 2009, Ernest Abbott and Otto Hetzel, Eds.).
Personal: Ben Griffith was born in Cleveland, Mississippi, on November 19, 1952. He was second of five children born to Ellis and Gloria Griffith. Ben is married to the former Kathy Lee Orr of Batesville, and they have two children, Clark, who graduated magna cum laude with a B.S.E. in Geological Engineering, and magna cum laude with an M.S. in Geological Engineering at Ole Miss, and Julie, a cum laude graduate of George Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre, now working as Production Manager for Maieutic Theatre Works in New York City. A 1970 graduate of Cleveland High School, Ben earned a B.A. in English and German from Ole Miss in May 1973. While in undergraduate school, he was active in Delta Psi Fraternity and was a percussionist in the Ole Miss Marching Band and the University Symphonic Band. He entered the University of Mississippi School of Law in June 1973, served on the Editorial Board of the Mississippi Law Journal, and was manager of the Briefing Service. While in law school, he was inducted into Phi Delta Phi Scholastic Legal Fraternity and Omicron Delta Kappa Men’s Leadership Fraternity, and received the American Jurisprudence Award for the highest academic grade in Federal Jurisdiction. In December 1975 he earned his Juris Doctor and was admitted to the Mississippi Bar, and later to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits and the U.S. Supreme Court.
For a complete listing of the articles, presentations, and
court decisions, click
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Daniel J. Griffith
Daniel Griffith was born in Cleveland, Mississippi, December 5, 1964.
- Admitted to bar, 1989, Mississippi.
- Education: Delta State University (B.S. History, 1986; University of Mississippi Law Center (J.D., 1988); Phi Alpha Theta.
- Member: Bolivar County (President, 1997-1998; Vice-President, 1994-1995; Secretary-Treasurer, 1989-1993) and American (Member, Section son General Practice and Tort and Insurance Practice) Bar Associations; The Mississippi Bar, Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit; Mississippi School Board Association Council of School Board Attorneys; Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association; Defense Research Institute; American Agricultural Law Association; Board of Directors of Mississippi Public Defender’s Association.
• Attorney for City of Ruleville, Mississippi, and Benoit School District (dates).
- Reported Cases: Gray v. Tunica County, 279 F. Supp. 2d 798 (N.D. Miss. 2003), aff’d, 2004 W.L. 1240 (5th Cir. 2003; Gibbs v. Grimmett, 254 F.3d 545 (5th Cir. 2001); Towles v. Pittman, 34 ATLA L. Rptr. 328 (N.D. Ga. May 1991); Howard v. Howell (N.D. Miss. 2001); Malatesta v. Tunica County Sheriff’s Department (N.D. Miss. 1996); Jones v. Panola County, Mississippi, 725 So.2d 774 (Miss. 1998); Williams v. Toliver, 759 So.2d 1195 (Miss. 2000); Farmer v. Bolivar County, Mississippi, 910 So. 2d 671 (Miss. Ct. App. 2005); Fair v. Town of Friars Point, 930 So. 2d 467 (Miss. App. 2006); Brown v. Bolivar County Sheriff’s Department 927 So. 2d 733 (Miss. 2006), reh’g denied, 2006 Miss. LEXIS 254 (Miss. 2006); Scott v. City of Goodman, et al., 2008 Miss. App. LEXIS 783; Steen v. Calhoun County Solid Waste Company, et al., No. 3 (N.D. Miss. 2003); Coleman v. Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department, et al (N.D. Miss. 2003); Wesley v. Washington County Sheriff’s Department and Bolivar County Sheriff’s Department, et al. (N.D. Miss. 2003); Alexander v. Tippah County, Miss., 351 F.3d 626, 631 (5th Cir. 2003; Austin v. MS Department of Public Safety and Tate County, Mississippi, et al. (N.D. Miss. 2005).
- Practice Areas: Federal and State Civil Litigation, School Law, Corporate Law, Agricultural Law.
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