Justice Michelle M. Keller was appointed to the Kentucky Supreme Court in April 2013 by Gov. Steve Beshear. She was elected to a full eight-year term on the bench in November 2014. She is also the chairwoman of the court system’s Kentucky Access to Justice Commission.
Prior to her service on the Supreme Court, Justice Keller served as a judge on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, a position to which she was first elected in November 2006. From 2007 to 2012, she served as the Court of Appeals representative on the Judicial Conduct Commission. She was chairwoman of the court system’s Technology Governance Committee from January 2011 to September 2015, having been appointed by Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr.
Justice Keller practiced law for 17 years before taking the bench. She has served as an assistant county attorney and criminal defense attorney. 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. Justice Keller also practiced administrative law, representing 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 U.S. 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. At Chase, Justice Keller was an IOLTA Scholar and earned her juris doctor in 1990. Chase has recognized Justice Keller’s post-graduation achievements, presenting her with the Chase Excellence Award in 2007 and 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 in May 2014, she was honored with the Liberty Bell Award for her service to the state court system.
Justice Keller 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 Kentucky’s legal services organizations. She is a master in the Salmon P. Chase Inn of Court and served as president of the Inn for 2012-13. She is the Supreme Court representative on the KBA Continuing Legal Education Commission and a member of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Judges Advisory Committee for the American Bar Association. Justice Keller is a fellow of 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.