J. Elizabeth "Beth" Kellum grew up in the Tuscaloosa County town of Vance. She is the daughter of Peggy and Milton Kellum and has one brother, Brian Kellum. Growing up, Beth and her family were members of Vance Baptist Church. Beth is a product of Alabama's public-school system, graduating from Brookwood High School in 1977. Beth was her high school's representative to Alabama Girls State; she was also named a National Merit Scholar, receiving a four-year scholarship which she used to attend the University of Alabama.
Judge Kellum received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Alabama -- a B.A. cum laude in May 1981, and a J.D. in May 1984. As an undergraduate, she majored in political science and minored in history; she was a Dean's List student and was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. As a result of her interest in government and public service, she worked as a congressional intern in Washington, D.C. in 1978, interning for her Congressman, Walter Flowers -- then the representative from Alabama's Seventh District. In law school she was active in numerous activities, including the SBA Senate, Law Week, and Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity; she also clerked part-time for a local circuit judge. She was awarded the American Jurisprudence prize for Securities Regulation in 1983, and the American Jurisprudence prize for Labor Law in 1984.
Although interested in many aspects of the law, Judge Kellum was particularly drawn to public service. After completing a judicial clerkship, she was hired in 1985 by Attorney General Charles Graddick as an Assistant Attorney General. She worked in the criminal appeals division where she primarily prosecuted appeals before the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Alabama Supreme Court; however, she also handled cases in the United States District Court for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Alabama and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Her work as an Assistant Attorney General led to an offer to become a Staff Attorney for the Court of Criminal Appeals from 1987 until 1990.
Judge Kellum then went into private practice with the Montgomery law firm of Robison & Belser, P.A., working on a wide variety of civil and criminal cases in state and federal courts that dealt with diverse and complex legal issues. While Judge Kellum enjoyed private practice and the challenging cases she worked on, she realized that she had never lost her desire for public service -- a desire that led her back to the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1997 to work as a Senior Staff Attorney for the newly-elected Judge Jean Brown. She worked as a Senior Staff Attorney for the Alabama Supreme Court from 1999 until 2001, before returning to the Court of Criminal Appeals as the Senior Staff Attorney for then newly-elected Judge Kelli Wise. After working with appellate judges on a day-to-day basis, she qualified as a candidate for the Court of Criminal Appeals and was elected to the Court in November 2008.
Judge Kellum is a member of the First Baptist Church of Montgomery. She has served as a docent at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and is a member of a number of professional, civic, and political organizations -- including the Montgomery County Bar Association, Farrah Law Alumni Society, Alabama Bench and Bar Historical Society, League of Women Voters, Federalist Society, Landmarks Foundation of Montgomery, and various Republican organizations. Her hobbies include reading, bridge, traveling, genealogy, and music.