Elissa Haynes


Atlanta, GA
D 678.996.9068


Loyola University New Orleans College of Law (J.D., 2011)

University of Georgia (BA, 2008)


Elissa Haynes is a Partner in Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP’s Atlanta office, where she is Vice-Chair of the firm’s National Appellate Advocacy section. Elissa’s trial and appellate practice is focused primarily on defending claims involving negligent security, premises liability, personal/catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, and religious institution liability. She has served as both lead and solo counsel in jury trials throughout the state, many of which have ended in defense verdicts. Her background as a former plaintiff’s personal injury attorney provides her with a unique perspective and leverage to successfully resolve even the most complex cases.

As for her appellate practice, Elissa has argued before the Georgia Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals and was part of the first group of attorneys to argue at the Georgia Supreme Court remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Elissa routinely consults on appellate matters and often begins her involvement at the trial court level to perfect the record and maximize chances of an advantageous result in any subsequent appeal. She also serves as Chair of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association’s Amicus Curiae Committee where she is tasked with reviewing amicus requests from GDLA members as well as authoring and submitting briefs on issues that pose particular significance to the defense bar.

Outside of the firm, Elissa serves as President of the State Bar of Georgia’s Young Lawyers Division (“YLD”) and on the State Bar’s Executive Committee. She is also a graduate of the 2016 YLD Leadership Academy and previously served as Chair of the YLD Appellate Admissions and Legislative Affairs Committees. Additionally, Elissa has been recognized as a Georgia Super Lawyer Rising Star from 2019-2022, an award given to only 2.5% of attorneys under the age of 40. She was also selected to the 2021 Fulton County Daily Report’s ‘On the Rise’ Class. which recognizes the state’s top 20 lawyers age 40 and under.

Elissa received her J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and her B.A. from the University of Georgia where she graduated cum laude. In law school, Elissa was an active member of the Moot Court Program, winning first place and the award for “Best Oral Argument” at the Tulane Sports Law Competition and later serving on the Executive Moot Court Board. Elissa was born and raised in Marietta, Georgia and currently resides in Chamblee.

Bar Admissions

All Georgia State Courts

Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals


Supreme Court of the United States

Publications & Engagements
Representative Cases & Clients
  • Davis v. Walmart, Inc., Case No. A22A0182 (April 2022) –  Successfully upheld trial court’s grant of Defendant’s motion to set aside default judgment and motion to dismiss in an appeal involving insufficient corporate service.
  • Rowe Equipment, Inc. v. Terex USA, LLC, 2021 WL 2137599 (11th Cir.) – Successfully defended a global manufacture in an Eleventh Circuit appeal following a defense verdict in the Southern District of Georgia involving Plaintiff’s allegations of improper exclusion of expert witness testimony, the District Court’s grant of Defendant’s Rule 50 motion as to unconscionability of a contract, and failure to give a specific jury charge.
  • Creek House Seafood & Gril, LLC v. Provatas, 258 Ga. App. 727 (2020) – Successfully defended a Savannah restaurant in an appeal involving spoliation sanctions. Briefed and argued the appeal before the Court of Appeals of Georgia which reversed the trial court’s imposition of spoliation sanctions in a wrongful death premises liability case.
  • ABH Corp. et al v. Montgomery, 356 Ga. App. 703 (2020) – Obtained a reversal of trial court’s summary judgment denial in a negligent security case involving an attach in the parking lot of an Atlanta convenience store. The Court of Appeals of Georgia acknowledged that the plaintiff’s own equal knowledge of crime likewise barred his recovery.
  • Alonzo Reid v. Lakenin Morris et al., 309 Ga. 230 (2020) (amicus curiae) – Co-authored amicus brief and successfully argued before the Supreme Court of Georgia on behalf of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association in an appeal challenging the constitutionality of the active tortfeasor limitation in Georgia’s punitive damages statute.
  • Bolton v. Golden Business, Inc., 348 Ga. App. 761 (2019) – Successfully defended a convenience store owner in a negligent security case involving a deadly parking lot shooting. Briefed and argued the appeal before the Court of Appeals of Georgia, which affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment. The Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously denied Appellant’s Petition for Certiorari.
  • In/Ex Systems, Inc. v. Masud, 352 Ga. App. 722 (2019) (amicus curiae) – Reversal of trial court’s denial of Defendant’s summary judgment motion where employee had no knowledge of unsafe condition that caused tire on employee’s vehicle to separate, as re-quired to hold employer vicariously liable. The Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously denied Appellant’s Petition for Certiorari.
  • James Lancaster v. Shumate Mechanical, LLC et al., Case No. A17A1882 (2018) – Served as lead appellate counsel in an appeal affirming the trial court’s exclusion of evidence of Plaintiff’s retirement benefits.

Immediate Past President of the State Bar of Georgia’s Young Lawyer’s Division

Georgia Defense Lawyers Association

  • Amicus Curiae Committee Chair

State Bar of Georgia

  • Executive Committee
  • Formal Advisory Opinion Board (2019-2021)
Awards and Recognition

  • 2023 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America
  • Georgia Super Lawyers Rising Star, Super Lawyers Magazine (2019-2022)  
  • Fulton County Daily Report ‘On the Rise’ (2021)  
Classes/Seminars Taught
  • Anatomy of a Trial – Trial Preparation, Speaker, FDCC Annual Meeting (July 2022)
  • Beyond the Verdict: Preserving Issues for Appeal, DRI Retail & Hospitality Seminar (April 2021) 
  • How to Effectively Present Your Case at Trial Using Trialpad, Trial Advocacy ICLE (Nov. 2019)
  • Preserving Error for Appeal, Litigation: Soup to Nuts CLE (March 2019)