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Judge Paul Joseph Kelly, Jr. Invitational Trial Competition

The Judge Paul Joseph Kelly Jr., Invitational Trial Competition was created with the generous assistance of Patrick W. Kelly to honor his brother, Judge Paul Joseph Kelly, Jr., Fordham University School of Law Class of 1967 and current Circuit Court Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Judge Paul J. Kelly, Jr. grew up in Freeport, New York, receiving his B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. After beginning his career in New York City, Judge Kelly moved to New Mexico where he practiced commercial litigation for many years with Hinkle, Cox, Eaton, Coffield and Hensley, eventually founding and managing the firm’s Santa Fe office. Between 1977 and 1981, he also served in the New Mexico State House of Representatives. His public service work included serving as an original member of the New Mexico Public Defender Board, which established the State Public Defender System.

In 1992, President George H. W. Bush appointed Judge Kelly to the Tenth Circuit, where he has maintained a full appellate docket in addition to accepting assignments to preside over trials. His community service extends beyond the law. Since 1983, Judge Kelly has served as a firefighter and emergency medical technician with the Hondo Volunteer Fire Department in the rural area outside Santa Fe.

Judge Kelly has been widely recognized for his achievements, receiving the Professionalism Award of the American Inns of Court for the Tenth Circuit, the Fordham University Law School Lifetime Achievement Award, the University of Notre Dame’s Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2005 Firefighter of the Year Award from the Hondo Fire District.