First Court of Appeals

Justice Peter Kelly 
Photo of Justice Peter Kelly

Place 9

Peter was elected to the First Court of Appeals in 2018. Prior to assuming the bench, he was a founding partner of Kelly, Durham & Pittard, L.L.P., an appellate litigation boutique with offices in Houston, Dallas, and Santa Fe. With twenty-eight years of legal experience, Peter was widely regarded as one of the premier advocates in the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas courts of appeals. He is board certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and was one of only twenty-five practitioners appointed by the Texas Supreme Court to serve on its select Advisory Committee, on which he continues to serve as a justice. He has served in leadership capacities in numerous professional organizations, and he is frequently invited to speak on both substantive and procedural issues at continuing legal education programs.

 As volunteer chair of the Amicus Committee of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Peter worked pro bono to ensure that the rights of individuals are not overlooked by the Texas Supreme Court. He worked on behalf of Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (A United Way Agency), Harris County Democratic Party, Harris County Republican Party, League of United Latin American Citizens (Texas), NAACP (Texas Conference), Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, American Board of Trial Advocates-Texas, and the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas.

Peter received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, and his law degree from the University of Texas. His wife, Mary Lawler, is the Executive Director of Avenue Community Development Center; they have one daughter at Bryn Mawr College and one at Tulane University.