Joana S. Ellis
Central Alabama Office

Ms. Ellis is Of Counsel with Holtsford Gilliland Higgins Hitson & Howard, P.C.  Joana received her J.D. degree from the University of Alabama Law School in 1983. She was an Associate Editor of the Alabama Law Review and a member of the Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society.

Joana’s principal areas of practice include insurance coverage issues, including filing and defending declaratory judgment actions, insurance defense litigation and appellate work.  She has testified as an expert witness on insurance coverage matters. She has maintained a Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating of AV for many years.

Joana served as Amicus Curiae Chairperson for the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association for ten years and has written numerous amicus curiae briefs. She also served on ADLA’s Editorial Board for its publication, the Journal. She is a charter member of the Appellate Practice section of the Alabama State Bar Association and has spoken at numerous seminars on appellate issues as well as insurance coverage and bad faith litigation issues.

In 2006 and 2007, Joana was employed as an Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Legal Division of the Alabama Department of Insurance. While at the Insurance Department, she dealt with insurance regulatory matters, including cease-and-desist orders and interpreting insurance regulations and bulletins. She also developed the State of Alabama’s hurricane mediation program and personally served as the mediator in resolving numerous coverage and claim disputes between policyholders and insurance companies relating to Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Katrina. Her mediation program consistently maintained a success rate of over 90%.

Joana served as Executive Director of ADLA from January 2010 through June 2017.  She is a member of the Montgomery County Bar Association, the Alabama Bar Association (charter member of the Appellate Practice Section), and the American Inns of Court.  She is an Officer and Board Member of the Montgomery County Bar Foundation Volunteer Lawyers Program.  She is admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Alabama and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.


Bar Admissions

  • Alabama, September 1983
  • S. District Court Middle District of Alabama
  • S. District Court Northern District of Alabama
  • S. District Court Southern District of Alabama
  • S. Courts of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Legal Education

  • University of Alabama School of Law, J.D. degree 1983

Current and Past Professional Affiliations

  • Alabama Bar Association, charter member of Appellate Practice Section
  • Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, Executive Director- January 2010 – June 2017
  • Amicus CuriaeChairperson for ADLA for 10 years
  • Member of Editorial Board for ADLA’s publication, the Journal
  • American Inns of Court, Honorary Emeritusmember
  • Montgomery County Bar Association
  • Officer and Board Member of Montgomery County Bar Foundation Volunteer Lawyers Program