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Emory Law News Center


Associate Dean Emeritus Jim Elliott 66C 66L (1941-2024)

Elliott headshot in library

A. James Elliott 66C 66L, who was both an alumnus and associate dean of Emory Law, passed away on January 14, 2024. 

Before joining Emory Law, Associate Dean Elliott was a leading attorney for 28 years with Alston & Bird.    

As a lawyer, Associate Dean Elliott led many important initiatives to improve access to justice and to promote ethics, integrity and public service within the legal profession.  In 1971, as a member of the Bar’s Young Lawyers Division, Elliott was instrumental in founding Georgia's Legal Services Program, which has provided legal services to almost one million poor Georgians. He also co-founded Georgia’s Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts program (IOLTA) which has raised $100,000,000 for legal charities, primarily to provide civil legal services for indigent persons. 

Elliott participated in a meeting of influential judges and lawyers convened by   Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas O. Marshall in 1988 to create what would become the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism. The Commission established a code of fairness, integrity, and civility for Georgia’s attorneys when dealing with clients, colleagues, the court, and opposing counsel. 

Elliott was elected to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia in 1989. According to the Commission on Professionalism’s history, “Elliott gave Georgia’s professionalism movement momentum when he placed the professionalism project at the top of his agenda. In conjunction with Chief Justice Marshall, President Elliott gathered 120 prominent judges and lawyers from around the state to attend the first Georgia Convocation on Professionalism.” 

As associate dean, Elliott’s long experience as a partner at a major firm lent gravitas when he talked with students about the importance of professionalism. “You really do feel like you have an opportunity of strengthening the moral compass they come to school with to begin with,” he said in 2009.  

Associate Dean Elliott received several important accolades in recognition of his service to the profession and Emory.   

In 2009, Emory Law established the A. James Elliott Community Service Award, which is given annually to the 3L demonstrating the greatest commitment to community service while at the law school. 

In 2017, Elliott received the Randolph Thrower Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Bar. The award recognizes lawyers who are committed to providing opportunities to build a more diverse profession. 

Elliott also received the 2020 Chief Justice Thomas O. Marshall Professionalism Award, given annually by the Georgia Bar to one lawyer and one judge who continually demonstrate the highest professional conduct. 

Elliott was a fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, and of the American and Georgia Bar Foundations. In addition to his degrees at Emory, he later earned his MBA at Kennesaw State University. He most recently taught Legal Profession, Banking, and Commercial Real Estate Finance. He also served as a faculty member of the Center for Transactional Law and Practice. In 2012, Elliott received the University’s Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award.