Monday, June 21, 2021
June 21, 2021

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Local lawyer Stefanie Ellis appointed superior court commissioner

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

Clark County Superior Court has appointed Stefanie Ellis as court commissioner, filling the position vacated by Jennifer Snider who was appointed in April as superior court judge.

Ellis has practiced law since 2007 and served as assistant city attorney for Vancouver, where she prosecuted criminal misdemeanor and domestic violence cases. She was judge pro tem for Clark County District Court and most recently has been owner and partner for Priest and Ellis, PLLC, according to a county news release and Ellis’ website.

Her practice focuses on family law, including divorce, child custody, modifications and child support.

“I am humbled and honored to have been selected, especially given the extremely strong candidate pool. I am excited to serve my profession and community in this role,” Ellis said in an email Friday.

Twenty people applied for the court commissioner position, said Jessica Gurley, superior court administrator.

“It was an open and competitive process,” Gurley said. “The judges commented it was the (most competitive) pool that they’ve had in the last 15 years.”

Candidates were screened and narrowed down to five for interviews with the entire superior court bench May 30.

Ellis said she applied for the position because she has a “strong desire to help people and make our community stronger. It’s why I became a lawyer.”

“But more importantly, I have a passion for family law,” she wrote. “I care about the litigants who are impacted by divorce and child custody disputes, and I care about the issues affecting attorneys who practice in this area. This position allows me to grow in my career while continuing to have a positive impact on family law.”

Ellis, who was born and raised in southeast Idaho, received her bachelor’s degree in 2004 from Boise State University and her law degree in 2007 from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane.

Ellis serves as treasurer for the Clark County Bar Association and previously served as president for the Family Law Section of the association, the news release says. She is an adjunct professor in Clark College’s paralegal program, and she is involved in the Young Lawyers Section and local Washington Women Lawyers chapter, according to her website.

In light of her appointment, Ellis said she will be stepping away from her practice. Her law partner, Erin Priest, will continue to run it and take over the majority of her case load.

Clark County’s Superior Court has 10 elected judges, three full-time judicially appointed court commissioners and one part-time court commissioner. It’s the trial court for felony cases and civil suits, and it also has jurisdiction in adoption, probate, competency, divorce and juvenile cases. Superior court also hears appeals of district court decisions.

Superior court commissioners preside over domestic relations, juvenile and mental health cases, the county news release states. They currently make $12,943 per month but will make $14,324 per month, effective July 1, according to the county’s website.

Ellis will be sworn in July 8.