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Equally comfortable in federal court in Houston and South Texas, Cooke Kelsey focuses his practice on civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense. His experience spans issues as varied as financial fraud, real estate and royalty disputes, federal civil rights class actions, legal malpractice defense, breach of contract claims, and cross-border white collar criminal defense. Whatever the issue, Cooke works hard to achieve great results without ego or fanfare.
Cooke graduated with honors from the Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas-Austin as a National Merit Scholar, and received his law degree from University of Texas Law School as a Dean’s Excellence Scholar. During and after law school, he clerked for Judge Melinda Harmon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District, Judge Jennifer Elrod of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Justice Brett Busby of the Fourteenth Court of Appeals of Texas. As a clerk, Cooke handled over two hundred cases, gaining a uniquely comprehensive perspective on how decisions are made on the other side of the table.
Before law school, Cooke devoted over a decade to public service, engaging in social entrepreneurship ventures. Most notably, he was a key member of the team that launched Music National Service, an education start-up. The program was a public/private partnership with public school systems in six cities. Negotiating agreements for Music National Service sparked Cooke’s interest in law and highlighted how one person can make a significant impact.
AREAS OF SPECIALTY
White Collar Criminal Defense
Real Estate Litigation
University of Texas, BA, 1999
University of Texas, JD, 2014
Law Clerk, Hon. Melinda Harmon, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
Judicial Intern, Hon. Jennifer Elrod, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals; Hon. Brett Busby, Fourteenth Court of Appeals of Texas; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
Board of Directors, Scenic Houston
Ernest E. Smith – Selected Works (State Bar of Texas 2013)
“Drive-By Discovery: Practice Tips For Rule 202 Pre-Suit Petitions,” Texas Lawyer (2016)