Justice Michelle M. Keller was appointed to the Supreme Court of Kentucky in April 2013 by Governor Steven Beshear after having served as a Kentucky Court of Appeals judge for six years. She was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Justice Wil Schroder, who retired in January, 2013. Justice Keller also serves as chair of the court system’s Technology Governance Committee.
Justice Keller was elected to the Court of Appeals in November, 2006 to serve as judge for Division 1 of the 6th Appellate District. From 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 as Court of Appeals judge, Justice Keller practiced law for 17 years. She has experience both as an assistant county attorney and in criminal defense. Justice Keller’s civil practice concentrated in the areas of family law, personal injury, and medical negligence defense. She is also experienced in 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 for the 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. Justice Keller 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 Chase, 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.
She was honored on Law Day in 2013 with the Richard D. Lawrence Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Northern Kentucky Bar Association, and in 2014 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. She is a master in the Salmon P. Chase Inn of Court and was elected president of the Inn for 2012-13.
Justice Keller has served her community through various volunteer and board positions, including those 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, and the St. Thomas More Society.
She is a member of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Judges Advisory Committee for the American Bar Association, a position to which immediate past-president, Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III, appointed her.
A lifelong Northern Kentuckian, Justice Keller and her husband, Jim, a physician, are the proud parents of two daughters.