Houston Attorney
christian attorney




Kelly Coghlan has been internationally recognized for his work defending prayer in public schools by USA Today, The New York Times, and The American Bar Journal. He is the author of the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act that is now Texas law and has been adopted by other states. AV rated by Martindale Hubble and Named an “Impact Player of the Year” by The Texas Lawyer.
40+ years Legal Experience. AV rated by Martindale Hubble since 1988. Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation; Life Fellow of the Houston Bar Association; Fellow of the State Bar College. Featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Court TV, BBC. In Sante Fe I.S.D. v. Doe, he obtained the first injunction ever issued by a U.S. Federal Court preventing censorship of a student's voluntary public prayer, culminating in a final judgment for the student, and allowing the student, Marian Ward, to pray at all football games. 






           Law School: Juris Doctor - Cum Laude, Southern Methodist University 1975-1978.  Honors: Order of the Coif, Top 4% of Class; First Place Russell Baker Moot Court Competition; Southwestern Law Journal; American Jurisprudence Award in Property II; American Jurisprudence Award in Wills; Phi Delta Phi Legal Honorary Fraternity.

               Undergraduate: B.B.A., Cum Laude, Finance, Southern Methodist University 1971-1975.  Honors: Honor Roll all semesters at S.M.U.; "M" Award (highest student/faculty honor bestowed by S.M.U.); Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges; President Blue Key Senior Men's Honorary; President Cycen Fjdor Senior Men's Honorary; Beta Gamma Sigma Business School Honorary; Founding Charter Officer and member of S.M.U. Student Foundation; Student Senate Jr. & Sr. years; R.A. Jr. & Sr. years; Radar Business School Scholarship Sr. year; Opportunity Foundation Scholarship Jr. & Sr. years; Teacher’s Assistant  in University College; S.M.U. Mustang Band; Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity.

               Pre-College: Eagle Scout; God & Country Award; President Longview High School Student Council; President Longview High School InterClub Council (Presidents of all High School organizations); Honor Roll all semesters; Who's Who Among High School Students in America; National Honor Society; V.P. Rotary Interact Club; Texas Boy's State; President Teen Triangle Club; President Student Council Forest Park Jr. High School.


Licensed:  State Bar of Texas 11/78; United States District Court (Southern District of Texas) 1979; United States Tax Court 1981; United States Court of Appeals (Fifth Circuit) 1981; United States Supreme Court 1984.

Texas Bar Association; Houston Bar Association.

A/V Rated by Martindale-Hubbell 1988-present (rating all American attorneys for legal competency and ethics, A/V being the highest rating in each category); named Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation (2009-present); named Life Fellow of the Houston Bar Foundation (2006-present); Fellow of the College of the State Bar of Texas (2007-present); Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas (2003-present); named to Who's Who In American Law, 2nd, 8th, 13th, 15th, 16th editions, Who's Who in America, 48th-65th editions, Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Who's Who Among Young American Professionals, Who's Who of Emerging Leaders in America, Who’s Who in the World.  Named “Impact Player” of the year by The Texas Lawyer (December, 1999).  Named to Honor Guard of the Alliance Defending Freedom (2007).  Recipient of Alliance Defending Freedom’s Silver Service Award (2010); selected as one of Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers (2013-2016).        


Coghlan & Associates, The Coghlan Law Firm, P.C., January 1, 1989-present.

Dotson, Babcock & Scofield, Equity Partner, July 1984 - January 1, 1989.  Head of General Litigation Group of Litigation/Bankruptcy Section 1987, 1988.  Chairman of Risk Management Committee (drafting and implementation of firm policies and procedures) 1987-88.  Began in-house C.L.E. training program for trial attorneys.  One of three partners in charge of C.L.E. for training of trial attorneys in firm.

Vinson & Elkins, Associate, General Litigation Section, April 1979-July 1984.  First City Tower, Houston, Texas 77002.

Law Clerk to the Honorable Finis E. Cowan, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division 1978-79.  Federal Building, 515 Rusk Ave., Houston, Texas 77002.


Board of Directors K.S.B.J. Educational Foundation 1988-2006 (Vice President 1994-1997, Secretary 1990-1993, Chairman Long Range Planning Committee and "God Listens" Campaign l989-1993); Life Member National Eagle Scout Association; Member American Mensa; Rotary Club of Houston 1988-1998; Steering Committee Palmer Drug Abuse Program 1979-81; Deacon, Second Baptist Church, Houston, 2002-present, teacher and adult volunteer in Jr. High and High School youth programs 1990-present, percussionist in  "R.O.C.K." Band 1990-1997, Teacher in Singles Department 1999-2003, Teacher on High School Beach Retreats 2006-2010; 2004 Ronald Reagan Gold Medal Recipient; 2008 Congressional Medal of Distinction; 2007 Houston Area Pastor Council Faith in Action Award; 2009 CWA (Concerned Woman for America) Family Advocate of the Year Award; Board Council, Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs 2009-2013.


Interviews: NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MS-NBC, Court T.V., British Broadcasting Corporation (B.B.C. Europe and U.S.), Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Debra Duncan Show.

Articles: USA Today (Nov. 16, 1999, 1-A; Mar. 29, 2000, 1-A), Houston Chronicle (Aug. 19, 1999, 25-A; Sept. 3, 1999, 29-A; Sept. 4, 1999, 1-A; Oct. 17, 1999, 1-E; June 21, 2000, 1-A; Ap. 13, 2002, 36-A; May 5, 2003, 15-A), The Dallas Morning News (Nov. 7, 1999, 1-A; Aug. 2, 2000, 27-A; Ap. 13, 2002, 33-A), Texas Lawyer (Sept. 9, 1999, 1; Dec. 20, 1999; June, 2004), The American Bar Association Journal (March, 2000, p. 34), The New York Times (Mar. 30, 2000, A-24), The Washington Post (Mar. 27, 2000, A-2), The Washington Times (March 30, 2000, A-4), World Magazine (Nov. 13, 1999), Longview News-Journal (Sept. 19, 1999, 1-A; Oct. 8, 1999), Amarillo Daily News (Nov. 10, 1999, 1-A), Texas City Sun, (Sept. 4, 1999, 2-A), The Beaumont Enterprise (Sept. 4, 1999, 1-A), Baltimore Sun (Sept. 3, 1999, 3-A), Texas Monthly (Nov. 2000, p.116 following).


Law Review Articles:  Kelly Coghlan, Those Dangerous Student Prayers, 32 St. Mary’s Law 4 at 809-880 (2001). 

  Legislation Authored: Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act / Schoolchildren’s Religious Liberties Act, Texas Education Code, Title 2, Subtitle E, Chapter 25, Subchapter E, Sections 25.151-25.156 (2007-2016).

 Editorials: Houston Chronicle (Schools Don’t Need Prayer Police, March 26, 2000, Outlook 1-C); Houston Chronicle (Schools Never Intended to be ‘Prayer Free’ Zones, May 2, 2002, Outlook 35-A); Houston Chronicle (Shock and Awe of a Resurgence in School Prayer, May 1, 2003, Outlook 33-A); Longview News-Journal (School Boards: Let Students Take Lead in Resolving School Prayer Issue, Ed., 1999, Ed. Page); Longview News-Journal (School Board Silences Students. Why?, Oct. 21, 1999, 3-B);Longview News-Journal (Students Win Prayer Wars in Courts, Mar. 13, 2003, 3-C;), Gilmer Mirror (Will Schools Keep ‘Dissing’ God, May 5, 1999, 4-A), The Sealy News (Students Take Lead in School Prayer Issue, June 4, 1999); The Dallas Morning News (Religion Gets Equal Treatment, Sept. 6, 2007, 15-A); Memorial Examiner (School Prayer? Maybe. Maybe not., Sept. 6, 2007, 5-A);  TACS Today Magazine (About New Act: Religious Students’ Rights Clarified, Oct., 2007, p. 15); Houston Chronicle (HISD Need Not Fear Equal Time for Religious Speech, Oct. 6, 2007, B-9); The Dallas Morning News (Go ahead, Pray,  May 1, 2008); Longview News-Journal (Happy Birthday, Mr. Darwin, Feb. 12, 2009, 2-B); The Dallas Morning News (Evolving Views of Darwin, Students Can Examine ‘Weaknesses’ Without Fear, Feb. 12, 2009, 19-A); Houston Chronicle (Teach Students Weaknesses That Darwin Saw in His Own Theory; Feb. 15, 2009, Outlook E-5).


Guardian ad litem in 25 Texas district court cases for more than 30 children.  In 1992, handled precedent setting case for  permanently brain-damaged 6 year old girl before the Texas Supreme Court in McGough v. First Court of Appeals, 842 S.W.2d 637 (Tex. 1992), obtaining a ruling of first impression holding that the appointment of a guardian ad litem is appropriate at every stage of a case to protect a child, including post-judgment.

Represented 159 Santa Fe I.S.D. students and parents pro bono before the United States Supreme Court as amici curiae in Santa Fe Ind. Sch. Dist. v. Doe.

Represented Marian Ward in Ward v. Santa Fe Indep. Sch. Dist., obtaining the first injunction issued by a federal court protecting a student from being punished for publicly praying in a public school, ultimately obtaining a final judgment for the plaintiff following two appeals in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Author, Model Student Speaker Policies; contributions to U.S. Department of Education’s Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools (2003-2013); policies for school districts; state-wide educational policies and legislation (Texas and other states).


Houston: 713-973-7475
Facsimile: 713-468-8888
Email: kellycoghlan@gmail.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kelly.j.coghlan



©Kelly Coghlan 1994-2022. All rights reserved.