Kelly Frels

Past Chair

Trial Lawyer in Public & Private School Litigation, Houston Attorney, Bracewell

Kelly Frels, the firm’s managing partner from 1995 through 2001 and the managing partner of the Houston office from 2001 to 2003, has been an attorney for public and private schools, community colleges, universities and other public bodies for more than 40 years. His current focus is providing counsel in governance, employment, desegregation and other civil rights issues. He also serves as a mediator in education disputes.

Bar/Court Admissions

  • Texas
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 5th and 11th Circuits
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • J.D., The University of Texas School of Law, 1970
  • B.S., Texas State University, 1966


  • Texas Environmental Research Consortium, Chair, Board of Directors, 2006-2013
  • Greater Houston Partnership, Director and Director Emeritus, 1997-present
  • State Bar of Texas, President, 2004-2005
  • Houston Bar Association, President, 1994-1995
  • Texas Center for Legal Ethics, Chair 2009-2010
  • Center for Houston’s Future, Chair 2010-2012


  • Woodward/White, Inc., Best Lawyers, 2008-2016
  • Thomson Reuters, Texas Super Lawyers, 2003-2015
  • National School Boards Association, Council of School Attorneys Chair 1977-1978; Recipient of the initial
  • Chairman’s Award for Lifetime Achievement, 2004
  • School Law Section State Bar of Texas Chair, 1977-1978; Recipient of the initial Kelly Frels Lifetime Achievement Award, 2012
  • Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas Award, 1979
  • Education Law Association President, 1978-1979; Recipient of the McGhehey Award for Lifetime Service, 1991