Justice Michelle M. Keller was elected to an eight-year term as the Supreme Court justice for Northern Kentucky’s 6th Appellate District in November 2014. She had been serving in the role since April 2013, when Gov. Steve Beshear appointed her to fill a vacancy.
She is also chairwoman of the court system’s Technology Governance Committee, a post she has held since January 2011 by appointment of Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr.
Justice Keller was in her seventh year as a Court of Appeals judge when she was appointed as a Supreme Court justice. From January 2007 through February 2012, she served as the Court of Appeals representative on the Judicial Conduct Commission, a post to which her fellow Court of Appeals judges elected her.
Prior to her election to the Court of Appeals, Justice Keller practiced law for 17 years. She has experience as an assistant county attorney and in criminal defense. Her civil practice concentrated in the areas of family law, personal injury and medical-negligence defense. Her clients have included physicians, psychologists and hospitals, and she has extensive trial experience. She has also practiced administrative law, having represented numerous clients before state regulatory and licensure boards. She is chairwoman emeritus of the Kentucky Personnel Board and has served as a hearing officer and member of that board. Justice Keller is licensed to practice law in Kentucky, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky and the United States Supreme Court. She has twice been commended by the Kentucky House of Representatives for her service to the commonwealth.
Justice Keller attended Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law while working as a licensed registered nurse in critical care. She earned her juris doctor from Chase in 1990. As a student at the college, she was an IOLTA scholar. She received the Chase Excellence Award in 2007 and was the recipient of the Chase Exceptional Service Award in 2011.
Additionally, Justice Keller was named a 2012 Outstanding Woman of Northern Kentucky for her commitment to public service and community involvement. She was honored on Law Day in 2013 with the Richard D. Lawrence Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Northern Kentucky Bar Association. After delivering the Law Day address on May 1, 2014, she was honored with the Liberty Bell Award for her service to the Court of Justice.
She has served in various positions for the Northern Kentucky and Kentucky Bar Associations. In 2009, she received the KBA’s Donated Legal Services Award for her commitment to pro bono service and support of the Kentucky legal services organizations. She is a master in the Salmon P. Chase Inn of Court and served as president of the Inn from 2012-2013. She is the Supreme Court representative on the KBA’s CLE Commission.
Justice Keller has served her community through numerous volunteer and board positions. These include service with the Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home, the Northern Kentucky Children’s Advocacy Center, Villa Madonna Academy, Centre College, NKU Salmon P. Chase College of Law, The St. Thomas More Society and the Commonwealth of Kentucky Advisory Council for Medical Assistance.
She is a member of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Judges Advisory Committee for the American Bar Association, a position to which ABA past-president Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III appointed her. She is a fellow of both the ABA and the Kentucky Bar Foundation.
A lifelong Northern Kentuckian, Justice Keller and her husband, Jim, a physician, are the proud parents of two daughters.