Dee J. Kelly, founding partner of Kelly Hart & Hallman, was born in Bonham, Texas. He earned his bachelor of arts from Texas Christian University and attended law school at George Washington University. He later received the Distinguished Alumni Award from both universities. In 1994, the Alumni Center at TCU was dedicated in his honor.
Mr. Kelly served 26 months as an Officer in the Air Force during the Korean War. While attending law school in Washington, Mr. Kelly worked in the office of Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, who mentored him in the lessons of service to others. A friend, confidant, and adviser of federal, state, and local officials, Mr. Kelly remains interested in and involved with governmental matters at all levels. In 2012, he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law.
From Washington, Mr. Kelly returned to Fort Worth and began a solo law practice in 1964. In 1979, he formed Kelly, Hart & Hallman, P.C. with Mark L. Hart, Jr. and William P. Hallman, Jr. Mr. Kelly has unmatched experience representing individuals, institutional clients, and municipalities in a broad range of civil litigation matters before state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels. He has litigated matters pertaining to oil and gas, fiduciary duties, breach of contract, defamation, and banking matters. He also assists clients with transactional issues pertaining to corporate and securities and energy matters.
Mr. Kelly’s commitment to service extends to his community and beyond. He has served on the boards of AMR Corporation, SABRE, Inc., Justin Industries, Inc. and Texas Christian University. He was also appointed to serve on the initial board of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas from whom he received the first ever "Champion Award" for outstanding leadership to the State of Texas in the fight against cancer. He currently serves on the board of the Jane and John Justin Foundation, Performing Arts Fort Worth, Inc., the Van Cliburn Foundation, and the Sam Rayburn Foundation. Mr. Kelly formerly served on the board of the University of Texas Law School Foundation, the Center for American and International Law and currently serves on the board of UT Southwestern Moncrief Cancer Center.
Among his many honors, Mr. Kelly has been the recipient of Fort Worth’s Outstanding Citizen Award, Fort Worth’s Outstanding Business Executive, the Horatio Alger Award, and the Blackstone Award, given by the Tarrant County Bar Association, Outstanding 50 Year Lawyer Award by the Texas Bar Foundation and most recently was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Texas Lawyer.
In 1999, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram named Mr. Kelly one of the ten most influential leaders in Tarrant County in the second half of the Twentieth Century.
Mr. Kelly’s family includes his wife, Janice, and three children, Cindy Barnes, Dee Jr., and Craig. He has seven grandchildren.
Affiliations and honors
- Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by Texas Lawyer, 2015
- Recipient of the Outstanding 50 Year Lawyer Award by the Texas Bar Foundation, 2015
- Honorary Doctor of Laws, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law 2012
- Distinguished Alumni, Texas Christian University, 1982
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®., 1990-2016
- Recognized as "Texas Super Lawyer" by Thomson Reuters, published in Texas Monthly magazine
- Selected as a "Top Attorney" by Fort Worth, Texas magazine, 2013-2015
- Fort Worth’s Outstanding Business Executive, 1993
- Texas Christian University named Alumni Center for Dee J. Kelly, 1994
- Horatio Alger Award, 1995
- Recipient, Blackstone Award, Fort Worth Tarrant County Bar Association’s Outstanding Lawyer, 1997
- Named one of the 50 Most Influential Texans by Texas Business, 1997
- Named one of the 10 Most Influential Leaders in Tarrant County in the Second Half of the Century by Fort Worth Star Telegram, 1999
- Fort Worth’s Outstanding Citizen, 2000
- Distinguished Achievement Award, George Washington University, 2001
- Distinguished Citizen of the Year, Longhorn Council of the Boy Scouts of America, 2003
- Honored as a "Top Business-Defense Lawyer" in Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex by Dallas Business Journal, 2006
- The University of Texas Law School Foundation, Board of Trustees, 1983-2006
- The Center for American and International Law, Board of Directors, 1986-2006
- Federal Judiciary Evaluation Committee, 1989-present
- Joint Select Committee on the Judiciary, 1988
- Judicial Selection Task Force, 1995-1996
- Texas Christian University; Board of Trustees, 1971-2006; Executive Committee, 1982-2006
- Sam Rayburn Foundation, Chairman of the Board, 1976-present
- Jane and John Justin Foundation, 2001-present
- Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show, Director, 1986-present
- UT Southwestern Moncrief Cancer Center, Board of Trustees, 1985-present
- AMR (American Airlines), Board of Directors, 1983-2000
- Justin Industries, Inc., Board of Directors, 1986-2000
- The SABRE Holdings, Inc., Board of Directors, 1996-2000
- Horatio Alger Association, Board of Directors, 2001-present
- Performing Arts Fort Worth, Board of Directors, 1994-present
- Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, Board of Directors, 2008-2009
- Texas Bar Foundation, Founding Member
- American Bar Foundation, Fellow
- American Bar Association
- Fort Worth Bar Association
- Tarrant County Bar Association
- George Washington University Law School, LL.B., 1954
- Texas Christian University, B. A., 1950
- State Bar of Texas, 1954