JACKSBORO, TN. (WLAF)- There are times you know what you want to do in life- even if it takes a while to get there.

Celia Ball knew she wanted to be an attorney from a young age, but her life took several detours before becoming an attorney in November 2022.

Ball, a new associate at Jeff Coller’s law office in Jacksboro, joined the practice in June. Her path to get there was not a straight one.

When she was 8-years-old, Ball participated in a mock trial. After that her mind was made up, she wanted to become an attorney. But, at 19-years-old she decided to get married and start a family. Over the years, Ball had three daughters and a few other careers. She worked as a seamstress then as a birth doula. After her divorce, she went back to finish her degree at Eastern Kentucky University. By that time, she had decided to teach middle school. That plan soon changed.

Then “on a whim” she began exploring law schools.

The Duncan School of Law at Lincoln Memorial University quickly became her top pick. The encouragement and support she received from the staff made the difference, she said. After taking the LSAT, the law school entrance exam, she was awarded the Presidential Scholarship to attend her top pick.

Celia Ball

While her practice is in criminal defense, Ball first wanted to practice real estate law. Working in criminal defense offices as she attended law school, Ball changed her mind about her field of practice. And it was her exposure to a trial that did it.

Sitting second chair on an attempted first degree murder and aggravated robbery trial, Ball experienced the judicial process at work first hand.

“It felt like where I was supposed to be,” she said. From that point on everything she did was geared towards a career in criminal defense.

Taking classes to earn her law degree, Ball also stayed busy working at public defender’s offices in Knox and Sevier Counties as well at private law firms.

It was those jobs that helped her make connections she would need after passing the bar.

On the day she was sworn in, Ball received her first case, an appointment in a criminal case.

Striking out and opening her own office, she was soon working in most courts in the area.

“I had to make it work,” she said.

Between working in Anderson, Campbell, Scott and Knox Counties, Ball was keeping a full calendar. “I was pretty content doing my own thing,” she said.

She then met Coller. Wanting to expand his practice, he offered Ball a position. After she accepted it, Ball started with Coller two days later.

“It is the luck of the draw I am here,” she said. “I grew up super poor.”

Her winding path to where she is now has shaped how Ball views her clients. She sees them as people needing help not just as clients.

“I don’t know that I would change a thing,” she said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED 7/20/2023- 6AM)