Kelly Bio

Kelly Petry graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, in 2000, earning both a J.D. and a M.P.Aff. (Master’s in Public Affairs, for the really curious). She went down the road less travelled after law school, with a burgeoning career in the government of the Great State of Texas, first with the Texas Senate and then with the Texas State Auditor’s Office. In the past six years, she is proud to say that she’s learned more about law than she ever learned in law school.

Kelly has been fascinated with government since her first vote in a presidential election, way back in 1992, when Ross Perot ran for President. On a whim, she wrote a letter to Mr. Perot during his campaign because she liked how he brought a little Texas into national politics – “if you see a snake, just kill it – don’t appoint a committee on snakes”. Amazingly, Mr. Perot received her letter, and even more amazingly, invited her to read it to a few thousand people at a campaign rally in Dallas. Following that awesome experience, Kelly – at the time just a freshman at Austin College in Sherman, Texas – took her first class in political science. The rest, as they say, was history.

She had a summer internship in 1994 with the grassroots organization, United We Stand, and created a video to encourage college students to get out and vote. She found out that she loved political science, decided to major in it, and quickly realized that to get a job, she’d need a fancier degree with a bunch of letters behind her name … hence the joint-degree program at the University of Texas.

In her first year, she met this guy from Louisiana who couldn’t stop talking about this thing called a “roux”. She of course had no idea what it was, nor how to make one, but it didn’t stop her from falling for all things Cajun. She even began to put Tabasco on everything she ate. While studying for law exams and writing her master’s thesis, though, she still found herself drawn to government, working an internship at the Public Utility Commission and tutoring for the former director of the Legislative Budget Board, Professor Thomas Keel. Upon graduation, she found herself working for the Texas Senate, in the Office of Engrossing and Enrolling – quite fascinating, since she did not know it existed before she got the job there. She worked an entire legislative session in 2001, providing the initial legal review for every bill filed in the Texas Senate. She also learned how to seriously proofread a document. After the session ended, she got a job as an auditor with the Texas State Auditor’s Office, and began reviewing government programs.

Fast-fowarding to 2003, that guy from Louisiana proposed marriage, even though she still didn’t know how to make a roux, and she happily accepted. Two months later, NASA called her in response to a resume she’d sent and offered her a job at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, and she happily accepted that too. She worked for two years as a program analyst there, basically keeping up with a $300 million contract for the Safety and Mission Assurance division. She and Scott were married in the spring of 2004.

One year later, in the spring of 2005, they welcomed a daughter, and Kelly elected to shift careers and became a “domestic engineer”. That was her grandmother’s phrase for stay-at-home-management, which Kelly did for the next several years. A son was born in 2007 and another son in 2010. In between babies, Kelly did in fact learn how to make a roux and helped Scott brew beer and grow their annual charity fundraiser, “Skotoberfest”. She also kept things interesting by volunteering at their church and school. Apparently, people liked her volunteering because they kept offering her jobs like “Co-Chair of Fall Fiesta Food Court” and “Cubmaster of Pack 730”.

During all this time, she became increasingly fascinated with Scott’s stories about his oil and gas practice - his experiences offshore, the work he was doing at the Railroad Commission, and then in his growing law practice. She was particularly interested in the puzzle-solving area known generally as title examination, and in 2014, when the opportunity arose, she joined Scott in his firm as a practice manager. She really appreciates Scott’s love and support in this, and more than anything for his unwavering belief in her.

She is proud to say that she’s learned more about law since 2014 than she ever learned in law school, and is happy to have returned to the career path. She is continuing her career in domestic engineering, although now that the kids are older, she occasionally finds time to work on perfecting that roux.