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M A G A Z I N E ®www.AttorneyAtLawMagazine.com
Dee J. Kelly
 Attorney of the Month
Kight L. Higgins
 Mediator ...
elly Hart & Hallman is a law firm rooted in the belief that
it serves the community in which its lawyers work.
Kelly Har...
In 1979, Kelly Hart & Hallman began to handle a wide variety
of business needs for Bass and quickly began amassing other
by the Texas Bar Foundation and Michael McConnell, a former
bankruptcy judge who heads up the bankruptcy and business
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Attorney At Law Magazine - Attorney of the Month

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Dee J. Kelly. Honored to Support His Community. By Amile Wilson. Photography by Shirley Che. Kelly Hart & Hallman is a law firm rooted in the belief that it serves the community in which its lawyers work...

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Attorney At Law Magazine - Attorney of the Month

  1. 1. M A G A Z I N E ®www.AttorneyAtLawMagazine.com Features: Dee J. Kelly  Attorney of the Month Kight L. Higgins  Mediator of the Month Judge Billy Mills  Judicial Profile Association of Attorney-Mediators GREATER FORT WORTH EDITION | PREMIERE 2013 Metro Atlanta | Boston | Metro Detroit Fort Worth | Hampton Roads/SE Virginia | Kentucky Las Vegas | Orange County | Los Angeles County | Greater Miami | Ft. Lauderdale/Palm Beaches | Mississippi Central New Jersey | Greater New Orleans | Greater Phoenix Greater Pittsburgh | Philadelphia | Central Valley California Seattle | Greater Tampa | Minneapolis/St. Paul Also Inside: Mediation John W. Hughes Technology Jeffrey Sanford Economic Consulting Thomas Roney Tips From The Top Stephen L. Tatum
  2. 2. K elly Hart & Hallman is a law firm rooted in the belief that it serves the community in which its lawyers work. Kelly Hart & Hallman doesn’t keep a comprehensive record of the charity work its lawyers perform. There are no giant timecards chronicling hours of community and civic service. Earlier this year, the firm did try to document its effect in the Fort Worth area and those numbers even surprised managing partner, Dee Kelly Jr. In fact, what he found was that hardly a charity, community group or cause exists in the greater Fort Worth area in which Kelly Hart & Hallman lawyers have not made an impact. The firm’s dedication to the community has become a given in the culture of Kelly Hart & Hallman. While Dee Kelly Jr. may think that helping the community should be instinctive, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce took note of the firm’s exceptional service to the community and made it the city’s first law firm to be recognized with the annual Spirit of Enterprise Award. “Lawyers by their nature are individualistic,” explains Dee Kelly Jr., managing partner of Kelly Hart & Hallman. “Creating a culture of service has never been a company policy, but reflects the vision and leadership of our senior partners.” Of course, this level of dedication to the community should be expected by anyone who knows founding partner, Dee J. Kelly, a man whose dedication to his work is matched only by his dedication to the community. Born and raised in Bonham, Texas, he credits his parents for instilling in him a strong code of values, the difference between right and wrong. Founding partner, Dee J. Kelly, has long been the driving force behind the firm’s dedicated work ethic. After graduating from Texas Christian University in 1950, he moved to Washington to work for House Speaker Sam Rayburn and attended George Washington University School of Law. He met Speaker Rayburn when he interviewed him for his high school newspaper. He also volunteered to work on Rayburn’s campaigns. “It was because of Mr. Rayburn that I was able to go to law school,” Kelly says. By the time he was 25 years of age, he had received a degree from TCU, a law degree from George Washington University and spent two years serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Honored to Support His Community By Amile Wilson DeeJ. KellyDeeJ. KellyDeeJ. KellyDeeJ. KellyDeeJ. KellyDeeJ. Kelly Photography by Shirley Che 12 | www.AttorneyAtLawMagazine.com
  3. 3. In 1979, Kelly Hart & Hallman began to handle a wide variety of business needs for Bass and quickly began amassing other clients needing the same service. According to Kelly, they were fortunate to have clients like the Bass family, Anne Marion, John Justin, Kay and Ben Fortson as well as the Moncrief family. It was a very good way to start a law firm. From its humble beginning of seven attorneys to its present size of 142 lawyers, the firm continues to stress service to the community. Dee J. Kelly has received the Golden Deeds Award, which is awarded to an outstanding citizen of the community and the Blackstone Award, the highest award given by the Tarrant County Bar Association. In fact, the Star-Telegram named him as one of the ten most influential citizens in the city of Fort Worth for the first half of this century. Kelly Hart & Hallman strives to be successful without letting that success cloud the root of company culture – service to clients and community. Dee Kelly Jr. says, “Every lawyer has cases they are proud of and cases they remember, but we don’t want to dwell too much on the past. We don’t quantify, we just move forward. Each case is an educational experience and we just press on, always learning so that we can provide the best service possible for our clients. “We built something special and made a difference in people’s lives, that’s really what it’s all about,” says Kelly Jr. Assembling such a caring and hardworking team is itself hard work. But according to Kelly Jr., there is no cookie cutter that fits exactly what the firm is looking for in a new associate. “We look for lawyers withuniquetalentsthat fit our clients’ needs,” he explains. “And we look for people who seem to fit the culture of service that is so important to the way this firm functions.” As part of their team of legal professionals, Kelly Hart & Hallman has true strength in diversity. From young lawyers fresh out of judicial clerkships to former judges, the strength of the firm comes from a solid mixture of experience and innovation. That experience is no more prevalent than with attorneys such as Bob Grable, founding partner and one of the foremost oil and gas practitioners in the state, and Dan Settle, also a founding partner and a principal financial and bond expert in Texas. Other well-known lawyers in the firm include David Keltner, a former justice on the Texas Court of Appeals and John H. Cayce Jr., former chief justice of Texas’ Second Court of Appeals both are co-chairs of the firm’s appellate practice; Marshall Searcy, who recently was chosen as the Outstanding Trial Lawyer in Texas War. When he separated, he was a first lieutenant. After completing law school, Kelly returned to Texas where he took a job as a legal examiner for the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulated the oil and gas industry in Texas. After briefly serving in private practice in Fort Worth, he served as general counsel for W. A. Moncrief and W. A. Moncrief Jr., prominent Texas oil producers, and continued to work on energy, regulatory and business law. He began a solo practice in Fort Worth in 1964. Kelly’s reputation and work ethic made him stand out in the legal world, and caught the eye of Sid Bass, president of Bass Brothers Enterprises. Despite having another law firm on retainer, Bass wanted a local lawyer in Fort Worth and was very clear that he wanted Kelly to be that lawyer. The origination of Kelly Hart & Hallman actually had its beginnings when Sid Bass notified Dee Kelly that he had made an arrangement with Vinson & Elkins in Houston under the terms of which Kelly would continue to be independent and Vinson & Elkins would furnish lawyers to work on the Fort Worth accounts. “I have been, from the very first second, with Kelly Hart & Hallman because I told Dee Kelly he was going to be my lawyer,” Bass says, “But he was a single lawyer without a firm. I needed a tax lawyer, an oil and gas lawyer, a real estate lawyer and a securities lawyer. So, I told him I was going to make a deal between him and Vincent & Elkins, LLP, and that was going to be my law firm.” Mark Hart came to Fort Worth first as an associate of Vinson & Elkins and Bill Hallman came next, also an associate with Vinson & Elkins. The arrangement with V & E lasted until March 1, 1979, when Kelly Hart & Hallman was formed. Bob Grable and Dan Settle were among the original founders along with Mark Hart and Bill Hallman. Pete Geren, former secretary of the army and a member of Congress from Fort Worth, was the firm’s first associate. Dee Kelly, Mark Hart and Bill Hallman enlisted a bright team of young lawyers dedicated to the idea of what the firm could be. Pulling through all-nighters in crammed work conditions, the firm’s founding members struggled to grow the practice. “Back in those days, lawyers didn’t advertise,” Kelly explains. “The only way you grew and got more clients was to develop a reputation for hard work and success.” I love all aspects of the practice of law Premiere 2013 Attorney at Law Magazine® Greater Fort Worth Edition 13
  4. 4. by the Texas Bar Foundation and Michael McConnell, a former bankruptcy judge who heads up the bankruptcy and business reorganization section of the firm, and who is receiving the A. Sherman Christensen Award for his work for the American Inns of Court. While the team of attorneys continues to grow, Dee J. Kelly remains an active part of the firm that established him as a community leader in Fort Worth. Kelly has been a significant supporter of his alma mater TCU, where the alumni center building is named in his honor. He has also supported the Law School at Texas Wesleyan University, which in 2005, named the law school library in his honor. Despitealreadyhavingacareerspanningnearly60years,Kellyhas no plans on retiring any time soon. “I love all aspects of the practice of law,” Kelly says. “I’ll be here practicing as long as I’m healthy.” Carrying on the legacy of one of the 50 most influential Texans may seem daunting, but for the entire staff at Kelly Hart & Hallman, the drive and dedication instilled in them from the top down will always be with them. As will the honor of being able to look out into the Fort Worth community and see a city much better off because of the decades of work by their founding partners, Dee Kelly, Mark Hart and Bill Hallman. At A Glance Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP Wells Fargo Tower 201 Main Street, Suite 2500 Fort Worth, TX 76102 (817) 332-2500 (817) 878-9280 www.KellyHart.com Practice Areas: Administrative / Regulatory Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, Natural Resources Law and Oil & Gas Law Bar Admission: Texas, 1954 Education: • LL.B., George Washington University School of Law, 1954 • B.A., Texas Christian University, 1950 Professional Memberships: • UT Southwestern Moncrief Cancer Center, Board of Trustees • Horatio Alger Association, Board of Directors • Performing Arts Fort Worth, Board of Directors • Texas Bar Foundation, Founding Member • American Bar Foundation, Fellow • American Bar Association • Fort Worth Bar Association • Tarrant County Bar Association Awards: • The Best Lawyers in America, 1990-2013 • Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly Magazine • Fort Worth’s Outstanding Business Executive, 1993 • Horatio Alger Award, 1995 • Fort Worth Tarrant County Bar Association’s Outstanding Lawyer, 1997 • Named one of the 50 Most Influential Texans by Texas Business, 1997 • 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 PhotographybyShirleyChe 14 | www.AttorneyAtLawMagazine.com