Greg McCollum, Founder and Senior Felony Attorney
Greg McCollum is the managing partner of the Complete Legal Defense Team, located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Complete Legal Defense Team defends the accused who have a lot to lose. Prior to going into private practice, Greg worked for over five years as a felony court prosecutor. He successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases in Horry and Georgetown counties. He has tried cases of every type of crime imaginable, from murder cases to every type of assault, sexual assault, robbery, kidnapping as well as every type of drug case from trafficking to possession.
In 1994, Greg was selected as the first prosecutor for the newly formed centralized DUI Jury Court in Horry County, and served as the prosecuting attorney in Horry County for every highway patrol DUI case made in the greater Myrtle Beach area. As a prosecutor and a defense attorney, Greg has gone to trial in over two hundred cases, including over one hundred DUI trials.
Greg lives in Myrtle Beach with his wife and three children. He is a parishioner of Saint Andrew Catholic Church and former member of the First Methodist Church in Myrtle Beach. He has served on numerous boards and committees including the Grand Strand YMCA, Myrtle Beach area Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Council, the Children’s Museum of South Carolina, the South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and others. He is also a member of the Myrtle Beach Rotary Club. Formerly he coached the Myrtle Beach High School mock trial team and his daughter’s girls’ soccer. Currently, he coaches the St. Andrew Catholic Middle School mock trial team. He serves on the Public Defender Selection Committee and is past chairman of the Horry County Democratic party.
Greg graduated from Clemson University and the University of South Carolina School of law. He grew up in a small town, Easley, South Carolina and lived in New York City for three years working for Columbia Pictures. In 1988 he began practicing criminal law in the Myrtle Beach area as a public defender, and then as a prosecutor, before opening a criminal defense practice. He is recognized as one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the Myrtle Beach area.
Carla M. Schuessler, Chief Operating Officer
Carla M. Schuessler is the Chief Operating Officer at the Complete Legal Defense Team. Prior to joining the Team, Carla spent six years as the Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity of Horry County where she took Habitat from building one house per year to building nine houses per year. Before that, she worked in the legal industry – first in the Chicago office of the Jenner & Block Law Firm as a Project Assistant, and then working as a paralegal for Greg McCollum back when Greg’s law practice was just a two-person operation.
Carla holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science with a Legal Studies Minor from Illinois State University. She also has an extensive background in property & association management, and construction & project management.
Carla has served on several Boards and Committees, and in 2016, she was awarded the prestigious Ann DeBock Leadership Award for her professional, volunteer, and non-profit efforts and accomplishments. Carla was elected in 2018 to serve as the Chairwoman of the of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, making her the fifth female in seventy-five years to hold the position.
Originally from the mid-west, Carla has lived in Myrtle Beach since 1997. She currently lives with her two sons and is a member of Wellspring Church where she volunteers as a youth group leader.
Deni Gibbs, Paralegal
Deni Gibbs has over 28 years of experience working in criminal law prior to joining the Complete Legal Defense Team. She began her career working at the Horry County Solicitor’s Office as a legal assistant, then in 1989 she began working as a paralegal for the Horry County Public Defender.
During the nine years she was employed by the Public Defender, she assisted attorneys on criminal cases ranging from misdemeanors, felonies and death penalty cases. In 1998, she was hired as the Director of Victim Services for the Horry County Sheriff’s Office at J. Reuben Long Detention Center, where she spent the last 18 years of her career. During her first year there, she facilitated the organization of the Victim Services Office and implemented the new laws mandated by the Victims’ Bill of Rights in South Carolina. She served on various legal committees and was certified through the South Carolina Governor’s Office to teach accredited classes to law enforcement on certain criminal law statutes.
Deni also went to graduate school at Liberty University where she earned her Master of Business Administration (MBA), and she went to undergraduate school at Coastal Carolina University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a cognate in Psychology.
Missy McDaniel, Paralegal
Missy McDaniel began her career as a Real Estate paralegal. While she enjoyed the work she did in Real Estate, she eventually realized that she was far more interested in the criminal justice system. A few years later, she transitioned out of Real Estate and into a career in the criminal justice system by taking a job working at the Bond Court at J. Reuben Long Detention Center. From the Bond Court, Missy then moved on to working in Judge Blanton’s office, where she was able to learn about the other side of the arrest system by working with warrants and the court system. She also began working with a local criminal defense attorney and, in his office, branched out into some elements of Family Court. Missy has enjoyed seeing and being a part of multiple stages of the criminal process here in Horry County. Missy is the newest paralegal at the Complete Legal Defense Team.
Samantha Giffin, Staff Writer/Legal Assistant
Samantha Giffin joined the Complete Legal Defense Team as receptionist, but has transitioned into the role of Staff Writer and Legal Assistant. A native of Massachusetts, Samantha is now an honorary southerner, having lived first in Louisiana and now in South Carolina for the last several years. Samantha has master’s degrees in Professional Writing and English/American literature.
Before joining the Complete Legal Defense Team, Samantha worked as an adjunct instructor of English composition for over a decade. In her free time, she focuses on her first loves: reading and writing of fiction and screenplays. Samantha enjoys contributing to our team during the day and having plenty of time for her writing in the evening.
Sarah Ely, Customer Care Assistant
Sarah Ely, originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, graduated from Washington Senior High School. Sarah served two years in the United States Air Force where she was stationed at Sculthorpe Air Force Base in the United Kingdom. She received a top secret United States Government security clearance and worked in the Base Communication Center. Upon leaving the Air Force, she worked as a communications officer for ITT on Vandenburg Air Force Base, Lompoc, California. There she processed military and civilian messages in support of missile, satellites, and space shuttles launches.
Sarah moved to Myrtle Beach in 1994 where she worked briefly with local attorneys while attending college at night. In 1995 Sarah started work with Greg McCollum’s office as a legal assistant. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Coastal Carolina University in 2003. She now serves on the Master Chorale Board of Directors and a member Chicora Rotary. Sarah is a member at St. Andrews Catholic Church and is active in our community with multiple charities. She and Greg are married and have three children.