Shelly L. Skeen of BFS Law Group practices complex commercial litigation, representing businesses across the country in commercial litigation disputes in state and federal trial courts, appellate courts and in arbitrations. After graduating magna cum laude from law school, Shelly began her law practice as a Briefing Attorney for a Texas State Appellate Court of Appeals. Shelly has been a certified mediator since 2001, earned a Diploma in International Arbitration, and achieved a “Fellow” designation from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London (CIArb), making her one of less than 475 lawyers in the U.S. holding the Fellow designation. Shelly also handles online free speech, business disparagement and defamation cases as well as probate, guardianship and estate planning for individuals and families, including LGBT individuals and families.
Shelly employs a practical, problem-solving approach to her practice. Shelly believes her client and her client’s priorities come first, and that her first job is to listen to her clients and then provide cost-effective legal advice to resolve their disputes quickly and efficiently.
Shelly has appeared before the United States Supreme Court, appeared and argued successfully before the Texas Supreme Court, appeared and argued before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana, appeared before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Illinois, United States District Courts in Texas, Michigan and Illinois, and several Texas State Appellate Courts.
Shelly has served a Council Member, Vice President, and Chair of a LGBT Law Section for the State Bar of Texas, is the President of the Dallas LGBT Bar Association, and is a former member and board member of nonprofits, including the Legal Aid of Northwest Texas and the Coalition for Aging, LGBT, where she served as the Co-Chair of the Policy & Legislative Advocacy Committee.
Shelly was appointed by the President of the State Bar of Texas to serve a three (3) year term on the State Bar of Texas’ CLE Committee. Shelly is also frequent speaker and author and is adjunct faculty for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy where she teaches trial skills to lawyers. She also teaches the Members program for CIArb.
Shelly is the recipient of the State Bar of Texas’ 2016 Franklin Jones Award for the Best Continuing Legal Education Article as voted by her peers.
Shelly is active in the local community where she performs volunteer work, has taught as an adjunct instructor, mentors for night time law students and high school students and serves as an assistant city prosecutor. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, hiking, and reading.
Shelly has been accepted into an LL.M. program in law and sexuality at UCLA School of Law where she hopes to graduate by May 2018.
- The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London, England
Diploma in International Arbitration
- Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, Fort Worth, Texas
J.D., magna cum laude Law Review, Citation Editor
- Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
ABA Legal Assistant, Certificate in Business Law
- University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
B.A., cum laude (Economics)
- University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
B.A., cum laude (Psychology)
- Phi Beta Kappa
Professional Associations/ Certifications:
- State Bar of Texas, licensed
- Alternative Dispute Resolution Section – Member
- Appellate Law Section – Member
- LGBT Law Section – Past Chair, Past Vice-Chair, Current Council Member Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section – Member
- Dallas Bar Association – Member
- Appellate Section – Member
- Probate, Wills, & Estates Section – Member
- Dallas Diversity Task Force – Member
- Dallas Gay & Lesbian Alliance – PAC Member
- Dallas LGBT Bar Association – President, Past Vice-President, Member
- Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Foundation – Life Fellow and Sustaining Life Fellow
- LGBT Aging Coalition – Board Member & Co-Chair: Policy & Legislative Advocacy Committee
- Legal Aid of Northwest Texas – Board Member
- National LGBT Bar Association – Member
- National LGBT Bar Association – Family Law Institute – Member
- North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce – Member
- The National Mediation Academy, Dallas, Texas
- Certificate as a Certified Mediator and Neutral
- The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London, England, Fellow, FCIArb
- Arbitral Women, The International Network of Women in Dispute Resolution – Member, Former
- The College of the State Bar of Texas – Member
- Attorney Ad Litem Certificate – Renewing
- The State of Texas Continuing Legal Education Committee, Appointed by the President of the State Bar – Member, June 2016 – 2019
Admitted to Practice Before:
The Supreme Court of the United States
The United States Court of Federal Claims
The Supreme Court of Texas
United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Sixth Circuits, and Seventh Circuits
United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Southern Districts of Texas
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
Selected Employment Experience:
Blume, Faulkner & Skeen, PLLC a/k/a BFS Law Group, Member Appellate Law, Arbitration (International & Domestic), Commercial Litigation, Estate Planning & Probate Law, LGBT Law
Ecumenical Mediation Service, Inc., Member and Faculty
ITT Technical Institute, Adjunct Instructor
School of Business and School of Criminal Justice
City of Wylie, Texas, Part Time Assistant Prosecutor (Current)
Shackelford, Melton & McKinley, Associate
Complex Commercial Litigation
Campbell & LeBoeuf, P.C., Associate
Legal Malpractice and Grievance Defense, Complex Commercial Litigation, and Appellate Law
The Sixth District Court of Appeals for the State of Texas, Briefing Attorney
Selected Cases, Speeches and Publications:
2016 Franklin Jones Award, State Bar of Texas, Best Continuing Legal Education Article – “State of Rights Post – Obergefell,” Shelly L. Skeen.
Cause No. 13-0073-CV; In re John Doe a/k/a Trooper, case involving the Free Speech Rights of an Anonymous Online Speaker, Defamation, Business Disparagement and Personal Jurisdiction, before the Texas Supreme Court, Lead Counsel, Oral Argument, Nov. 7, 2013, opinion issued on August 29, 2014, in favor of Trooper, BFS Law Group’s client.
Cause No. 03-16-00231-CV; In re Chris Elliott, case involving the Free Speech Rights of an Anonymous Online Speaker and the Texas Anti-SLAPP Statute, before the Third District Court of Appeals, Austin, Travis County, Texas, Lead Counsel, opinion issued on October 7, 2016, in favor of Mr. Elliott and John Doe 1, BFS Law Group’s client.
Cause No. 13-30103; Doug Welborn, in his official capacity as Clerk of Court of the Nineteenth Judicial District for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, et al. v. The Bank of New York Mellon, et al. and Cause No. 13-50080; El Paso County, Texas, et al. v. Bank of America Corporation, et al.; case involving the rights of County Clerks in Texas and Louisiana against big financial institutions over mortgages, In the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Co-Counsel, Oral Argument, February 5, 2014.
Upcoming Issue: The Marriage Equality Decision in Obergefell v. Hodges: Is it Retroactive? Practical Tips for Practitioners with LGBT Clients, Shelly L. Skeen, Texas Bar Journal.
Upcoming: Online Free Speech, Defamation and Personal Jurisdiction, Shelly L. Skeen, North Dallas Bar Association, Dallas, Texas, rescheduled from February 13, 2017, to November 2017.
Upcoming: Why the Preliminary Conference is Critical and How It Impacts the Arbitration: How To Prepare for and Participate in the Preliminary Conference; Handling Your First (or Next) Arbitration:
Effective Use of Arbitration Course, State Bar of Texas CLE, Course Co-Directors: Trey Bergman & Shelly L. Skeen, and Tres Adami, Panel Discussion, Austin, Texas, November 3, 2017.
Upcoming: Please Pay the Bathroom Bill? Perspectives, Implications and the Impact of Grimm, 2017 CLE Management & Professional Liability Conference, Panel Discussion: Judge Anne Ashby, Shelly L. Skeen, and others, tba, Boston, Massachusetts, July 26, 2017.
Upcoming: Advising Same Sex-Couples on Wills & Estates, Texas State Bar College 19th Annual Summer School, Speaker and Author, July 14, 2017, Galveston, Texas.
Upcoming: Update on Retroactivity and How It Is Playing Out in Texas and Across the Country, State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting CLE, Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation, Lambda Legal and Shelly L. Skeen, BFS Law Group, Dallas, Texas, June 23, 2017.
Upcoming: Estate Planning, First Christian Church Disciples of Christ, Fort Worth, Texas, June 21, 2017.
Upcoming: Marriage Equality: A View from the Plaintiffs, its Implementation, and its Future, Corporate Counsel Section of the Collin County Bar Association; Mark Phariss, Esq., Shelly L. Skeen, Esq., and John Trevino, Jr., Esq., Plano, Texas, June 8, 2017.
Upcoming: Legal Issues facing the LGBT Community, White’s Chapel United Methodist Church, Southlake, Texas, June 3, 2017.
Cyberbullying, 11th Annual Bill of Rights Course: Litigating the Constitution, State Bar of Texas CLE, Austin, Texas, May 26, 2017.
An Evening with the Judges, Judges Roberto Canas, Denise Garcia, Maricela Moore, Tonya Parker, and Ingrid Warren, Moderator, Shelly L. Skeen, Panel Discussion on Best Practices for Lawyers and LGBTQ Issues Facing Courts, Dallas LGBT Bar Association, Dallas Bar Association, Dallas, Texas, April 19, 2017.
State of Rights After the Marriage Equality Decision, PFLAG Dallas, Northaven United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas, April 10, 2017.
LGBT Family Law Marriage Equality-Retroactivity? University of North Texas School of Law, Dallas, Texas, February 22, 2017.
Informal Marriage-When Does it Start? Speaker & Author, The Legal Impact of Marriage Equality, New Frontiers, New Issues, State Bar of Texas CLE, Austin, Texas, December 7, 2016.
Motions Practice In Arbitration – A Guide for Counsel, Mercy McBrayer, Shelly L. Skeen, & Richard D. Faulkner, Just Resolutions, Dispute Resolution Section, American Bar Association, Upcoming Issue.
Unique Legal/Financial Challenges of the Aging LGBT, Moderator, Panel Discussion, Annual Summit on LGBT Aging, University of North Texas, Health Sciences Center, Coalition for Aging, LGBT, Fort Worth, Texas, November 12, 2016.
Life After Obergefell, Panel Discussion, Judge Denise Garcia; Joanna Grossman, Ellen K. Solender Endowed Chair in Women and the Law and Professor of Law at SMU; Natalie Nanasi, Director of the Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women and Assistant Professor of Law at SMU; Shelly L. Skeen, President of the Dallas LGBT Bar Association, & Omar Alaniz, Partner at Baker Botts LLP, Southern Methodist University, October 24, 2016.
Defamation on the Internet and the Anti-Slapp Statute, Shelly L. Skeen and Dave Wishnew, Dallas Bar Association, Dallas, Texas, October 21, 2016.
State of Rights – The Marriage Equality Decision, What it Means for You, your Clients and your Practice; Dallas LGBT Bar Association, Dallas, Texas, October 20, 2016.
State of Rights – The Marriage Equality Decision, What it Means for You, your Clients and your Practice; Northeast Tarrant County Bar Association, Colleyville, Texas, October 18, 2016.
Same Sex Issues: Marriage, Divorce, Property Division, and Property Agreements, Panelist & Author, 42nd Annual Advanced Family Law Course, State Bar of Texas CLE, San Antonio, Texas, August 2, 2016.
Same Sex Issues: SAPCR, Paternity, and Adoption, Panelist & Author, 42nd Annual Advanced Family Law Course, State Bar of Texas CLE, San Antonio, Texas, August 2, 2016.
Property Issues for Heterosexual and Same Sex Spouses: Same Difference?, Karen J. Langsley and Shelly L. Skeen, State Bar of Texas Live Webcast CLE, Austin, Texas, July 28, 2016.
Unique Legal/Financial Challenges of the Aging LGBT, Moderator, Panel Discussion, 2nd Annual Summit on LGBT Aging, Southern Methodist University, Plano Campus, Coalition for Aging, LGBT, Plano, Texas, July 23, 2016.
LGBT Family Law After Obergefell, Moderator, Annual Meeting, State Bar of Texas CLE, Fort Worth, Texas, June 17, 2016.
LGBT Aging: Issues and Laws Affecting LGBT Seniors, Annual Meeting, Barton Poche’ and Shelly L. Skeen, State Bar of Texas CLE, Fort Worth, Texas, June 17, 2016.
State of Rights Post-Obergefell, 10th Annual Bill of Rights Course: Cutting Edge Controversies in Constitutional Law, State Bar of Texas CLE, Austin, Texas, May 27, 2016.
LGBT Law: Obergefell Update, Poverty Law Conference State Bar of Texas CLE, Austin, Texas, April 27, 2016.
Welcome to the Wild Wild West!, Defamation on the Internet, Dallas Area Paralegal Association Dallas Bar Association, Belo Mansion, January 28, 2016.
The Marriage Equality Decision & What It Means to You, The National Federation of Paralegal Professionals, Live National Webinar, December 9, 2015.
The Impact of Marriage Equality on Texas Law, State Bar of Texas, Full Day of CLE, Course Director and Speaker, Obergefell v. Hodges, What It Is and What It Means and LGBT Estate Planning, Financial Planning, and Probate After Obergefell, December 1, 2015.
Welcome to the Wild Wild West!, Defamation on the Internet, Dallas LGBT Bar Association, Dallas, Texas, November 19, 2015.
Welcome to the Wild Wild West!, Defamation on the Internet, Northeast Tarrant County Bar Association, Colleyville, Texas, November 17, 2015.
Resolving Same Sex Issues in the Collaborative Process, 11th Annual Collaborative Law Conference, Global Collaborative Law Council, Dallas Bar Association Collaborative Law Section, State Bar of Texas Collaborative Law Section and Texas Center for Legal Ethics, Dallas, Texas, September 17, 2015.
Embrace the Power of Difference, Panel, State Bar of Texas Leaders Conference, Westin Galleria, Houston, Texas, July 25, 2015.
The Marriage Equality Decision and What it Means for Your Clients, TexasBarCLE, Live Webcast, Co-Course Director and Speaker, Texas Law Center, Austin, Texas, July 22, 2015.
Welcome to the Wild Wild West! Defamation on the Internet, 9th Annual State Bar Bill of Rights Litigating the Constitution Course, Shelly L. Skeen & Robert L. Tobey, Texas Law Center, Austin, Texas, Live and Live Webcast, May 29, 2015.
Diversity Conference, Texas A & M University School of Law, Diversity Student Conference, February 20, 2015.
Fair and Impartial Courts, A Judicial Panel, Hon. Mark S. Cady, Chief Justice Iowa Supreme Court, Hon. J. Woodfin Jones, Chief Justice Third District Court of Appeals for the State of Texas, and Hon. Tonya Parker, Presiding Judge, 116th Civil District Court, Moderator, State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas, June 27, 2014.
The Aftermath of the Fall of DOMA: A Survey of Same-Sex Marriage Cases and What it Means for Us, Texas Minority Attorney Program, Speakers: Shelly L. Skeen and John Trevino, Jr., El Paso, Texas, May 22, 2014.
Legal Ethics: Hot Topics and Current Events, Webcast, National Business Institute, Speakers, James D. Blume & Shelly L. Skeen: Attorney Speech, What Lawyers Can and Cannot Say; Multi-Jurisdictional Practice Ethics; Conflicts of Interest, Attorney’s Fees; Handling Bar Grievances and other Disciplinary Actions; and Confidentiality, Loyalty, and the Attorney Client Privilege, December 31, 2012.
Disclosures: Practical Considerations for Ensuring Arbitrator Impartiality and Independence in Reinsurance Arbitrations, Advanced Forum on Reinsurance Disputes in Litigation and Arbitration, American Conference Institute, New York City, Shelly L. Skeen & Richard D. Faulkner, April 30-May, 1, 2012.
Navigating Arbitration under the FAA and the TAA, Collection Law Seminar, Dallas Bar Association, Shelly L. Skeen and Richard D. Faulkner, November 20, 2008.
Not So Concrete: “Whenever Feasible” and Error Preservation in Broad Form Submissions in the Wake of Casteel, Harris, and Romero, North Dallas Bar Association, 2007, Shelly L. Skeen and Nathan J. Schwartz.
The McMansions are Coming: Professional Liability for Real Estate Professionals in the Wake of New Laws Regulating the McMansions, Professional Liability Underwriting Society Journal, May 2006, pp. 3-4.
Know When to Sue Your Lawyer, Executive Legal Advisor, Jan/Feb 2006, pp. 22-23.
Due Process Denied, Special Report, Legal Malpractice & Grievance Defense, TEXAS LAWYER, Vol. 20, No. 50, Bruce A. Campbell & Shelly L. Skeen, February 14, 2005.
Dangers of Rule 11 Agreements, A Trap for the Unwary, Bruce A. Campbell & Shelly L. Skeen, November 2005.
Can I Lie to You? False Statements, Failures to Disclose and Other Sins Committed in Communicating with Tribunals, Bruce A. Campbell & Shelly L. Skeen, Spring 2005.
City of Sherman v. Henry: Is the Texas Constitutional Right of Privacy Still a Source of Protection for Texas Citizens? Texas Wesleyan Law Review – Fall 1997.
Nita Advocate Designation, 2014
Selected Volunteer Work:
Attorneys Serving the Community, Member – Leadership Level
Past Co-Chair Publicity Committee, Individual Underwriting Committee, and Past Chair and Co-Chair Communications Committee
National Institute of Trial Advocacy – Instructor Trial Skills
The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London, England, Tudor for Member and Fellows Program (designations pending)
University of North Texas, School of Law – Mentor, First Year Night Law Students, 2nd Year
Wylie, Texas Teen Court – Instructor and Mentor
St. Paul’s United Church of Christ
Spending time with family and friends, travel, reading, hiking, biking, golf, tennis