Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

Kathy Gillis to be named new Supreme Court Clerk

May 29, 2009

The Mississippi Supreme Court will appoint Kathy Gillis of Jackson as the new Clerk of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, effective June 1.

Gillis will replace Betty Sephton of Brandon, whose retirement is effective May 31.

Gillis has worked for the office of the Supreme Court Clerk for 28 years. She served as chief deputy clerk for nearly 17 years.

Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. said, “Kathy Gillis’ vast experience and extensive knowledge of the office of the clerk will continue to be an asset to the courts.”

The Clerk of the Courts is appointed by the Supreme Court and is responsible for managing the administrative activities of the clerk’s office and overseeing the performance of the office. Gillis supervises a staff of 13.

Gillis said, “I am excited. We have a really good staff. The importance and strength of a good staff should never be underestimated.”

Gillis said she will continue to strive to give courteous and efficient service. “We want to continue to give good service to the courts and to the citizens. We want to help people and serve the public....We work for the people of the state of Mississippi. We have an opportunity to serve and give information.”

The office of the Clerk of the Courts is the repository of records of the Mississippi Supreme Court and the Mississippi Court of Appeals. More than 1,000 appeals were filed and decided by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals last year, and the appellate courts addressed more than 7,000 motions. The clerk’s office is responsible for docket management of approximately 1,500 open cases at any given time. The clerks’ office tracks each case for timeliness and completeness of the record from the time the case is filed until its completion.

Gillis, 58, grew up in Jackson and graduated from Provine High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with a minor in English from Mississippi University for Women in 1972, and a Master of Arts in history from MUW in 1978. She taught ninth grade English in Columbus in 1974, then worked in the office of the registrar at MUW from 1976 to 1978.

Gillis had planned for a career teaching history. But an application with the state job bank led her to an opening in the office of the Supreme Court Clerk in 1981. Rather than teaching history, she has worked to manage the records of the courts, including some which have made history.

“History is all about written documents,” Gillis said.

Gillis and her husband, Walter Gillis, live in south Jackson. They have two adult daughters and a grandson.