Kelly is a partner in the firm’s public law and trial groups. She has extensive experience representing governmental entities and private businesses in high-stakes court proceedings at the trial and appellate levels. Her cases often involve claims for emergency and injunctive relief and attract media attention. In more than 15 years of trial practice, Kelly has successfully handled merger challenges, conspiracy and commercial fraud actions, white collar criminal proceedings, fiduciary duty cases, bidder and contractor disputes, public ordinance and election challenges, Voting Rights Act cases, public bond validation proceedings, contract-with-the-voters cases, ultra vires claims, whistleblower suits, and constitutional litigation. She has been recognized as a Texas Rising Star for five consecutive years and routinely writes and speaks on new developments in the law.
In addition to her active trial practice, Kelly is an involved member of the Houston community. She is a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the Houston Bar Foundation and has been a member of the Alexis De Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Greater Houston for many years. She is a supporter of numerous local initiatives and philanthropic causes and is married to Judge R.K. Sandill of Texas’s 127th Civil District Court.
Public Sector Cases
- Trial counsel for Texas municipality in action alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act in connection with change from single-member city council districts to mixed single-member and at-large system.
- Trial counsel for Texas county in Section 1983 action alleging termination of contract in retaliation for constitutionally protected speech.
- Trial counsel for metropolitan transit system in action alleging violation of contract with voters over building of light rail. Obtained trial court dismissal of all claims.
- Trial and appellate counsel for largest public school system in Texas (7th largest in the nation) in action by community activists seeking to enjoin new school construction based on allegations of improper use of public bond funds. Obtained trial victory on all claims.
- Trial and appellate counsel for third largest county in the United States in action alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act in connection with redistricting of electoral maps for County Commissioners Court. Obtained trial court judgment in favor of county on all claims. Argued matter before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Judgment affirmed in all respects.
- Trial counsel for Houston area sports and community venue district in action by bond insurer to compel increase in rate of taxes imposed as revenue source for outstanding public bonds. Obtained trial court dismissal of all claims.
- Trial and appellate counsel for major Texas city in action under Texas Expedited Declaratory Judgment Act to validate city ordinance adopting increase in water and sewer service rates. Obtained trial court judgment in favor of city; judgment affirmed on appeal.
- Trial and appellate counsel for metropolitan transit system in contract dispute with provider of automated fare system. Matter settled.
- Trial counsel for master limited partnership in Texas lawsuit over all-stock acquisition of affiliated entity in consolidation transaction resulting in combined partnership worth $7.5 billion.
- Trial counsel for the special committee of a publicly traded master limited partnership in a nationwide class action over a proposed merger transaction.
- Trial counsel for the acquirer of a Texas corporation in shareholder derivative litigation alleging breaches of fiduciary duty by the corporation’s board of directors in connection with a $203 million tender offer.
- Trial counsel for a publicly traded waste management company and its board of directors in a nationwide shareholder class action arising from a $525 million merger transaction.
- Trial counsel for the special committee of a publicly traded energy company in a nationwide shareholder class action relating to proposed recapitalization transactions.
- Trial counsel for banking institution in action against former executives for usurpation of corporate opportunities.
- Trial counsel for investment fund manager in action alleging breach of fiduciary duty and negligence in management of Texas limited partnership.
- Trial counsel for Texas general partner in action to dissolve limited partnership.
- Trial counsel for oil refiner and marketer in federal court action by the production subsidiary of the national oil company of Mexico alleging conversion and conspiracy against a number of energy companies in connection with the import, purchase, and sale of natural gas condensate allegedly stolen by Mexican drug cartels.
- Trial and appellate counsel for oil and gas company in federal court action to compel arbitration of dispute over joint operating agreement concerning costs associated with rigs rendered idle by federal moratorium on drilling in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
- Trial and appellate counsel for oil and gas company in federal court action by Ukrainian company relating to dispute over joint development of natural gas fields in Ukraine. Obtained stay of case, pending arbitration in Stockholm, Sweden.
- Counsel for mortgage broker indicted by United States on fourteen counts of criminal conspiracy and wire fraud. Obtained favorable plea agreement under superseding indictment and sentence of five months, plus probation.
- Counsel for energy sector services company in connection with government investigation relating to federal export and trade regulations.
- Counsel for CPA subpoenaed in a series of civil tax cases relating to investments handled by CPA’s former employer, two directors of which were convicted of federal tax evasion.
- Texas Public Information Act (February 3, 2017)
- State and Local Governments Grapple with Challenges of New Limits on Antitrust State Action Immunity (December 1, 2016)
- Guarding The Company Wallet: Trends in Insurance Law Straightline (June 2016)
- Recent Supreme Court Opinions Change the Landscape of Governmental Immunity (April 21, 2016)
- Omnicare Clarifies Standards for Liability for Statements of Opinion Under Section 11 (March 26, 2015)
- United States Supreme Court Round-Up Straightline (October 2014)
- The Roberts Court: Does Business Have Friends in High Places? (October 12, 2013)
- Delaware Supreme Court Reinvigorates the Implied Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing (August 16, 2013)
- The Essentials of E-Discovery (Top Five) Straightline (February 2012)
- Federal District Court Says "No" to Forum Selection Bylaws (March 23, 2011)
- "Rekindling an Old Flame: The Supreme Court Revives Its 'Love Affair With Environmental Litigation,' in Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Environmental Services" 37 Hou. L. Rev. 955 (2000)
- "Education Law: A Primer on Modern Constitutional Issues" State Bar of Texas, Women and the Law Section, CLE (February 2017)
- "Emerging Issues In the Law: Fiduciary Duties" Houston Bar Association CLE (January 2016)
- "The Roberts Court: Does Business Have Friends in High Places?" Association of Corporate Counsel - Houston Chapter (December 19, 2013)
- "Fundamentals of Merger Challenges: Texas and Delaware Corporations," Harris County District Judges' Annual CLE (August 2012)
- Texas Rising Star, Texas Monthly (2012-2016)
- Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
- Commercial Litigation
- Litigation and Dispute Resolution
- Public Law Litigation
- Securities and Shareholder Litigation
- White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement
- JD, 2001, cum laude, University of Houston Law Center, Houston Law Review, Administrative Editor
- 1999, Mickey Leland Public Interest Internship, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
- BA, 1998, Political Science, Mercer University
- Texas 2001
- US District Court for the Southern and Northern Districts of Texas
- US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- US Supreme Court
- US Tax Court
- State Bar of Texas
- Texas Bar Foundation – Fellow
- Houston Bar Foundation – Fellow
- American Bar Association
- Houston Bar Association
- Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit
- National Association of Women Lawyers
- Houston Association of Women Attorneys
- Human Rights Foundation - Federal Club
- Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, 2013 Fellow
- United Way of Greater Houston, Alexis De Tocqueville Society
- River Oaks Elementary School, Shared Decision Making Committee
- United Way Readers in Schools, Weekly Reading Volunteer
- Center For Houston's Future, Spring 2015 Business/Civic Leadership Forum
- Commissioner, Harris County Appraisal District (2014)
- 3/4/2016Andrews Kurth Lawyers Recognized as 2016 Texas Rising Stars
- 3/6/2015Andrews Kurth Lawyers Recognized as 2015 Texas Rising Stars
- 6/2/2014Eleven Andrews Kurth Lawyers Named Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation
- 3/7/2014Andrews Kurth Lawyers Recognized as 2014 Texas Rising Stars
- 3/8/2013Andrews Kurth Lawyers Recognized as 2013 Texas Rising Stars