First Court of Appeals

Justice Evelyn Keyes 
Photo of Justice Evelyn Keyes

Place 4

Justice Evelyn V. Keyes was appointed to the First Court of Appeals by Governor Rick Perry in May 2002. She was elected in November 2002 to the remainder of her predecessor's term and re-elected to six-year terms in 2004, 2010, and 2016. Before joining the First Court, Justice Keyes was a partner in Clements, O'Neill, Pierce, Wilson, and Fulkerson, L.L.P., practicing complex civil litigation. She also served as a Special Assistant Attorney General to then Texas Attorney General John Cornyn. She is a founder of the Court’s undergraduate judicial internship program, which is affiliated with the Judicial Practicum program at Rice University.

Justice Keyes is a member of the Texas State Bar, and, before joining the state bench, the United States Supreme Court Bar, and federal bars for the Southern and Western Districts of Texas and the Fifth Circuit. She is a member of the American Law Institute, an advisor to the ALI Government Ethics Project, and a member of the Members Consultative Group for several projects. She is also a former member of the National Advisory Council of the American Judicature Society and a member of its Ethics Committee and of the successor National Center for State Court Ethics Committee. Justice Keyes is a member of the American Bar Foundation; a life member of the Texas Bar Foundation and Houston Bar Foundation; and a member of the Texas State Bar College. She is a member of the American Bar Association and a former national Chair of its Young Lawyers Division Ethics Committee. She is a member of the Texas State Bar Association, where she served two terms on the Judicial Section Board of Directors and chaired the Section's Ethics Committee and By-laws Committee. She also served on the State Bar's Standing Committee on the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, the State Bar Court Rules Committee, and the 4-H Grievance Committee. She has been appointed to the Judicial Mental Health Commission’s Collaborative Council. She is also a member the Houston Bar Association, where she has served on various committees. Justice Keyes has published several articles in law and legal philosophy and has given a number of presentations on legal and jurisprudential topics. She has also served in many positions on the Executive Committee of the Houston Philosophical Society, including as President and as Chair of the Long-Range Planning Committee

Justice Keyes received her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center. She was Chief Articles Editor of the Houston Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif, the Order of the Barons, and Phi Delta Phi and was awarded the Wall Street Journal Award and a Distinguished Service Award. She served as an intern to the Honorable Carolyn R. King, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She is a former member of the University of Houston Law Alumni Board of Directors and a former and current member of the Law Review Board. In 2014, she was awarded the Law Center’s Public Sector Achievement Award.

Prior to receiving her law degree, Justice Keyes earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Rice University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas, where she was a University Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Fellow. She has returned to Rice to teach Philosophy of Law. Justice Keyes received her B.A. from Sophie Newcomb College, Tulane University, magna cum laude, with honors in English, after spending her junior year abroad in Paris. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Justice Keyes and her husband, David, have four adult children and grandchildren. They are members of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church.