National expert on judicial ethics and commercial courts joins National Judicial College

RENO, NV (August 11, 2021) – Keith R. Fisher, lawyer, law professor and nationally known expert on business and commercial courts and legal and judicial ethics, has been named the first Distinguished Fellow of The National Judicial College, the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely attended school for judges.  

Professor Fisher joins the College from the National Center for State Courts, where he served as principal consultant and senior counsel for domestic and international court initiatives. 

NJC President Benes Z. Aldana said, “Keith has achieved great success and is widely known in both the legal profession and academia, most recently in judicial education. He is a polymath, a polyglot and a distinguished fellow in every sense of that title. We are delighted to welcome him to the College.” 

Former NJC Board Chair Peter Bennett, managing partner of The Bennett Law Firm of Portland, Maine, worked with Professor Fisher when Bennett was chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Judicial Independence and on the Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements.  

He said, “Keith is intelligent, always well prepared, a meaningful contributor, and on top of it all, he can be fun. He also respected opposing points of view and knew how to find ways to build consensus, which was not always easy, given the nature of the members of these ABA standing committees.” 

In his new role, Professor Fisher will help plan and produce a variety of new programs, courses and  national conferences for judges on diverse topics, including human trafficking, autonomous vehicles, water litigation, appellate judging, and artificial intelligence. He will continue work on the College’s environmental law initiatives and write articles, grant applications, white papers and other materials.  

One especially important project will be to develop and implement a nationwide judicial leadership and public awareness campaign to combat human trafficking. The campaign will incorporate best practices and recommendations from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking. The Distinguished Fellow position is primarily supported by funding from the Transportation Department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  

An honors graduate of Princeton University and Georgetown University Law Center, Professor Fisher has served as a full-time law professor at several prominent universities.  He served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and was chair of the ABA Business Law Section’s Professional Responsibility Committee. He is the current executive editor for legal opinions and professional responsibility for Business Law Today, the Business Law Section’s magazine, and he is an author of the Lexis-Nexis/Matthew Bender Banking Law Manual, which is updated semiannually.   

He has considerable experience in large law firm practice. At the Washington, D.C., law firm Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells), he worked on Supreme Court of the United States and other appellate matters with E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr. and John Roberts, the current chief justice of the United States.  

He was the principal drafter of the ABA’s amicus curiae briefs to the Supreme Court of the United States in Caperton v. Massey Coal Co. (dealing with the due process ramifications of a judge’s refusal to recuse). And at the National Center for State Courts, one of his roles was to serve as counsel to the amicus committee of the Conference of (state supreme court) Chief Justices.  

Professor Fisher’s published scholarship has appeared in a wide variety of law reviews and anthologies, and some of his writings have won prizes or honoraria or been cited in judicial opinions.  

He also has a degree in music theory and composition and studied as a child at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.  

He had a leading role in the Franco-Swiss docudrama Cleveland vs. Wall Street, about foreclosures that resulted from the subprime mortgage crisis around 2008 (the film was selected for the Cannes Film Festival in 2010).  

He speaks French, Italian, German, Spanish and Greek, and in prior years was an active tournament and correspondence chess player.  

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