Ellen C. Carlson

Ellen C. Carlson graduated from Wellesley College in 1970, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Ms. Carlson received her law degree from Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA in 1988.

Ms. Carlson was admitted to the Virginia State Bar in 1988, and to practice in the United States Bankruptcy Court and District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Professional Memberships and Achievements

  • Virginia State Bar
  • Virginia Women Attorneys Association
  • Tidewater Bankruptcy Bar Association (Board)
  • Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Association

Community Activities

  • Greater Pinewell Civic League
    • Vice President 2015-2017
    • President 2008-2010
  • Wellesley College Development Fund
    • Chair, planned giving for Class of 1970


11/1/2016 – Present

  • Bankruptcy representation of debtors, creditors and trustees
  • Family law representation in custody, support and divorce matters
  • Wills, trusts and estates, including guardianship/conservatorship
  • Mediation services

9/1/2010 – 10/31/2016
COMMANDER & CARLSON, Attorneys & Mediators, Norfolk, VA

  • Bankruptcy representation of debtors, creditors and trustees
  • Family law representation in custody, support and divorce matters
  • Mediation services
  • Guardian ad litem services in custody and other matters

7/15/2005 – 8/31/2010
HARBOUR LAW, P.L.C., Norfolk, VA

  • Prepare and file Chapter 7 and 13 cases for debtor clients
  • Represent creditors in bankruptcy cases with respect to dischargeability issues; many of these cases involve former or estranged spouses and have provided significant experience with how bankruptcy and divorce law intersect and affect each other
  • Represent clients in regular and collaborative divorce proceedings, including the evaluation of the clients’ assets and liabilities, negotiation of appropriate agreements for the allocation of those assets and liabilities and evaluation and advice regarding custody and support arrangements, where applicable
  • Mediate (primarily divorce) disputes regularly
  • Other areas of representation included estates, real estate, collections, and corporate (primarily small business focus)

1998 – 7/15/2005

  • Practice law in areas similar to current practice
  • Secured a Fourth Circuit decision barring a debtor’s discharge of his property settlement obligation to his ex-spouse

1996 – 1998
WRIGHT & CARLSON, P.L.L.C., Virginia Beach, VA

  • Practice law in areas similar to current practice

1989 – 1995
Commercial Section, Creditors Rights Practice Group

    • Represent secured creditors, primarily banks and trade creditors, in all chapters, with particular emphasis on preserving collateral and obtaining payment during pendency of cases, developing extensive experience in variety of secured transactions
    • Wrote and obtained confirmation of creditor plan of liquidation which resulted in full payment of bank client with questionably-secured claim, recovery of all counsel fees paid by client and 99%+ payout to unsecured creditors
    • Effected an ex-spouse’s recovery of property and lien interest after commencement of ex-husband’s bankruptcy proceeding as a result of knowledge of the unique interplay between bankruptcy and domestic relations law
    • Pursued effectively for diverse clients a variety of collections actions, including motions for judgment, garnishments and detinue actions on behalf of mobile home financers
    • Obtain approval from Immigration and Naturalization Service of L-1, H-2 and permanent resident petitions
    • Engage in alternative dispute resolution (mediation)

1988 – 1989
Bankruptcy Associate

  • Prepared bankruptcy petitions in Chapter 7 and 11, accompanying clients to meetings of creditors, defending against dischargeability and other complaints, perfecting exemption entitlements and addressing all other issues affecting cases

Ratings and Reviews