James E. Chellis is the son of the late Converse A. Chellis, Jr., and Adurline Tompkins Chellis. He was born in Summerville, in 1951. He is married to the A'delle Hennet Chellis. Judge Chellis and his wife have two children, Adrian Chellis Wood and the Rev. E. Rossiter Chellis, and six grandsons.
Judge Chellis attended the public schools of Summerville. He graduated high school from Porter-Gaud School in 1970. He attended the University of South Carolina on a grant-in-aid for swimming and graduated 1973 (BA-Intensive Major English). He was a member of Kappa Alpha Order. In 1977, he received a Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina, School of Law. He returned to Summerville where he began his 35 years of general practice until his appointment as Master in Equity for Dorchester County.
Judge Chellis authored and taught, through the National Business Institute, the following continuing legal education courses: Legislative Update (South Carolina Real Estate Law 2010); Financing Commercial Property Acquisitions, Written Text & Lecture; Transfers of Title to Real Property in South Carolina (Deeds and Warranties, Confidential Relationships and Undue Influence; Suing on the General Warranty and Recovery of Attorneys Fees; The Quiet Title Suit and Other Actions; Monetary Settlements and Escrow Agreements; How to Administer Trusts & Estates to Anticipate and Avoid Litigation; Party Wall, Driveways/Roads, Agreements and Other Party Agreements; Access and Road Issues.
Judge Chellis has been an active member of the Summerville community, including re-activation of and service with the Summerville Jaycees (President, 1979). He was a member of the Lion Club, the Sertoma Club, served as a Director of the Summerville Dorchester Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Detmold Base Line Committee for the Town of Summerville, which led to the passage of a Town Ordinance establishing surveying standards for delineating the historic boundaries of Detmold’s Plan of New Summerville, 1832. He served on the Board of Trustees for Pinewood Preparatory School, and coached various youth sports teams while his children participated in those activities. He is a Member of the Gamecock Club, and The USC Association of Lettermen.
Judge Chellis participated in the organization of the Dorchester County Public Defender Corporation. He is a member of the Dorchester County Bar and the South Carolina Bar. In private practice, he was a member of the American Bar Association and the American Association for Justice.
Judge Chellis actively participates in the United Methodist Church. He is a member of Bethany United Methodist Church of Summerville. He is a lay delegate to the South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has served as a Trustee, member and chairman of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, long range planning, and three building committees. He served as a youth confirmation mentor many years, and has led a number of Bible studies.