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Judge Irene M. Keeley

Presidential Honorary Degree

United States District Judge Irene M. Keeley was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She currently lives in Clarksburg, West Virginia. She received her undergraduate degree from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and a master’s degree from West Virginia University.

Before attending law school, Keeley worked as a secondary education teacher in Harrison County, West Virginia. She received her Juris Doctorate from the WVU College of Law, where she was an Associate Editor of the West Virginia Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Board. 

From 1980-1992, Keeley practiced law with the firm of Steptoe & Johnson, concentrating on litigation and health care law.  In 1992, she was appointed as Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia by President George H. W. Bush. She served as Chief Judge of the Northern District from 2001 to 2008.

A member of the American Bar Association, West Virginia State Bar and the West Virginia Bar Association, Keeley is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the West Virginia Bar Foundation and past chair of the ABA National Conference of Federal Trial Judges.  She served for two years as President of the Federal Judges Association, as well as Chair of the Committee on Criminal Law of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Keeley has served as Chair of the former Board of Advisors of West Virginia University, as a board member and first Vice President of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and as a member of the Visiting Committee of the College of Law. She has been honored as Outstanding Alumna of the Year and as an honorary member of Mountain and has been recognized with both the Order of Vandalia and the College of Law’s Justicia Officium Award. She currently serves on the Blaney House Advisory Committee.