The Loyalty Factor

Richard Connor 


Just when I thought I had written all I could about attorney Dee J. Kelly his firm up and won the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s top business award. Of course it is important to note that Kelly did not win the award. His firm did. There is more to the firm than one man or, for that matter, one woman these days. The firm has an array of talented women who long ago broke into the ranks of the firm founded by three men: Kelly, Mark Hart and Bill Hallman. The latter two men have great expertise in a number of areas and have been heavily relied upon by the firm’s clients. Both are highly intelligent, personable, and have a personal graciousness sometimes not found among top lawyers. They also have been more than willing to let Kelly be the flag bearer for the firm. His larger than life personality lends itself to a leading role on stage. I know Kelly the best and I wanted to see what I might say about him as his firm received the award this week. Looking at a most recent column I decided to rerun it but realized I left out the most important cog in the wheel of our friendship. It’s called “loyalty.” More than anything else what has bound us together and allowed the friendship to endure is the value we both place in loyalty. To this day we still talk about it often and we wonder if loyalty exists among friends as it once did. We prize it above all else. The firm’s clients will tell you that Kelly epitomizes a sense of loyalty that is often unmatched in business or in friendship. When you need him, he’s there. Two icons in the community passed away this spring: Nancy Lee Bass and Van Cliburn. Kelly was asked to give eulogies at both funerals. What else do you need to know? What greater honor is there from a friend or a friend’s family than to be asked to offer a eulogy at the funeral? That’s not a business connection. That honor derives from personal integrity and loyalty. So, now I believe I’ve said it all and saved the best for last. It’s great to see the firm receive a civic honor from the chamber but it’s equally great in my mind for me to be able to say that although Kelly helped build a wonderful firm, a solid community business partner, and a firm that helps set a standard for giving back to the community, it’s just as nice to say that his and his partners’ sense of loyalty is what really differentiates them from the pack.

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