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123rd District Judge LeAnn Kay Rafferty is Joaquin 2018 Cowgirl of the Year


Judge LeAnn Kay Rafferty was born and raised in Joaquin. She still lives there with her husband Matthew, daughters Lila Lawson and Ava Frances, and their Labrador Retriever, Sage. LeAnn, the daughter of Larry and Billie Jean Lawson Kay, is a proud, sixth-generation resident of East Texas. Larry and Billie Jean Kay, who have been happily married for more than 40 years, raised LeAnn and her sister Amanda in the Lone Cedar community of Joaquin.

LeAnn was blessed to grow up with her close-knit family as her role models, including her great grandparents, Floyd and Della Lawson, grandparents Billy and Frances Lawson, and grandparents Fred and Ruth Kay. Family has always been and remains a priority for LeAnn Kay Rafferty. LeAnn Kay Rafferty and her sister Amanda grew up riding horses and competing in youth, high school, college, amateur, and professional rodeos. LeAnn learned at a young age that hard work, determination, and commitment pay off as she earned local, regional, state, and national rodeo championships. These sound principles have served her well both in and out of the legal arena.

LeAnn’s parents instilled in her the importance of education and hard work. Billie Jean Kay graduated from Joaquin High School and then served as a teacher for the Tenaha and Joaquin school districts for over thirty-five years. Larry Kay, who grew up in Huxley, began working in the construction industry after graduating from Joaquin High School. LeAnn’s parents now spend their time raising cattle and teaching Lila and Ava to ride and care for their horses.

After graduating from Joaquin High School, LeAnn Rafferty attended Centenary College of Louisiana and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. After receiving a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Houston Law Center, LeAnn Kay Rafferty served as a briefing attorney for the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas and reviewed trial court judgments and rulings involving both criminal and civil matters. Then, LeAnn joined the Houston office of Tekell, Book, Allen and Morris, LLC, and maintained a personal injury defense, business litigation, and appellate practice throughout state and federal courts. After a number of years with Tekell Book, LeAnn moved home to Shelby County to be near her family. She started practicing law in Center, Texas nearly seven years ago and litigated cases in Texas and Louisiana state and federal courts. LeAnn Rafferty was elected to the office of Judge for the 123rd Judicial District Courts, which include Shelby and Panola Counties, and was sworn into office at the 1885 Historic Shelby County Courthouse Museum.

LeAnn and her husband Matthew are blessed to raise their daughters in a Pineywoods community grounded in strong, conservative East Texas values. LeAnn and her family support and participate in the Shelby County Sheriff’s Posse playday series, the Still Waters Cowboy Church playday series, and the Pineywoods Youth Rodeo Association. LeAnn is a proud member of the National Rifle Association, the American Quarter Horse Association, and a lifelong member of Lone Cedar Missionary Baptist Church.