Dee Kelly Jr. steps down as leader of Kelly Hart & Hallman

Dee Kelly Jr.
Dee Kelly Jr. Courtesy photo

For the first time since the firm was formed, a Kelly or a Hart will not be running the show at Kelly Hart & Hallman.

Dee Kelly Jr. has stepped down as managing partner of the Fort Worth law firm and was replaced by Marianne Auld, who has served as chairman of the firm’s appellate practice group.

Kelly, 56, who has served as managing partner for 11 years, was in the first year of his third, five-year term when he decided to give up the leadership post. Kelly said he had planned to give up the job last year, but decided to stay with it following the death of his father, Dee Kelly Sr., in October 2015.

Besides Dee Kelly Jr., the firm’s only other managing partner was Mark Hart, who founded the firm in 1979 along with the senior Kelly and Bill Hallman. Auld was elected by the partners to succeed Kelly. She stepped into the post Jan. 1.

“I’ve been thinking about it a while,” Kelly said. “It is bittersweet, but I think it is the right time.”

Kelly said he will have other responsibilities and doesn’t plan to leave the firm.

In a press release, Kelly praised Auld, saying she represents the “best of Kelly Hart.”

“Our firm has seen tremendous growth during the last decade, and I am confident it will continue under Marianne’s leadership,” Kelly said.

As managing partner, Auld will provide strategic leadership and direction as well as manage over 350 employees. The city’s largest law firm, it has offices in Austin, Midland and New Orleans.

Auld graduated from Baylor University School of Law, where she also has been a law professor. She served as a law clerk to U.S. Court of Appeals Justice Thomas Reavey.

Kelly Hart represents some of the city’s top citizens, including members of the Bass family, as well as American Airlines.

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB