Gillis E. Powell Sr.
In Remembrance of Gillis E. Powell, Sr. (1920-2011)
Our founding partner, Gillis E. Powell, Sr., was a lifelong resident of Northwest Florida. He grew up in Crestview and had strong ties to Walton County, where he often attended court as a young child with his grandfather, Judge A. R. Campbell. He proudly served his country in North Africa in World War II, achieving the rank of Major. After the War, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville and earned his law degree in 1951. He returned to the Florida Panhandle after law school and entered private practice as an attorney in Crestview.
Gillis E. Powell, Sr., also served as an Assistant State Attorney for several years early in his career, prosecuting criminal cases in Crestview. In 1971, he was appointed by Florida Governor Kirk to the position of Circuit Court Judge for the First Judicial Circuit of Florida, which is comprised of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties. He served as a Circuit Court Judge in Okaloosa County in the Shalimar Courthouse Annex until 1977, when he decided to return to private practice with his oldest son, Gillis E. Powell, Jr. Beginning 1977, Judge Powell concentrated his law practice in the areas of commercial litigation, municipal and government law, corporate law, banking and finance, and administrative law. He served as the City Attorney for the City of Crestview (1962-1967) as well as the attorney for the Town of Mary Esther (1977-1995) and the Okaloosa Gas District (1977-2007). He served as the City Attorney for the City of Niceville from 1977 until he passed away in 2011, and represented Niceville in a case that reached the United States Supreme Court (Warner Cable Communications, Inc. v. City of Niceville, Florida, 501 U.S. 1222, 111 S. Ct. 2839, 115 L.Ed.2d 1007, June 17, 1991).