has mediated and arbitrated over a thousand disputes, including those involving commercial contracts, family law, construction contracts, employment law, trade secrets, patent, copyright, trademark, real estate, class actions, administrative law, probate, defamation, professional malpractice, and personal injury claims. He is also a lecturer on trial advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law.
For two years beginning in January 2003, Keel served as Judge of the 345th District Court of Travis County. Before his appointment to the court by the governor, Keel practiced commercial litigation for thirteen years with Baker Botts LLP
in Austin, where he was a partner in the firm's trial department. As an attorney, Keel represented a variety of individual and corporate clients in numerous trials, hearings, mediations, arbitrations, and appeals, including a case before the Supreme Court of the United States in which his client prevailed on a 5-4 vote
Keel is a member of the State Bar of Texas
, the Austin Bar Association
, the Texas Chapter
of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals
, and the Association of Attorney-Mediators
. He is also a Sustaining Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation
, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
, a Founding Life Fellow of the Austin Bar Foundation
, and a master emeritus and former president of the Robert W. Calvert American Inn of Court
. Keel is a member of the Professional Ethics Committee of the State Bar of Texas
, to which the Texas Supreme Court appointed him in June 2009.
Keel is a volunteer and past president of the Dispute Resolution Center
, an independent, non-profit organization that provides dispute resolution services in central Texas, and is an alumnus and former executive committee member of the Texas Lyceum Association
, a bi-partisan, non-profit organization devoted to public policy and developing the next generation of leadership in Texas.
As a lawyer and as a mediator, Keel has been active in Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas
, a non-profit organization that provides legal services to low-income persons. He currently volunteers at the City of Austin's Town Lake Animal Center
as a dog walker and trainer of other volunteers. Keel was a volunteer for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (now known as Learning Ally
) from 2007 to 2010.
In 1995, the governor appointed Keel to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards
, the state agency responsible for setting and enforcing minimum standards for county jails. After confirmation by the Texas Senate, Keel served as a commissioner for seven years.
Keel obtained his B.A. degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin
in 1986. He graduated from UT School of Law
in 1989 with honors. During college, Keel was elected to the Lake Travis ISD
Board of Trustees, where he served until 1988.
In addition to the state courts of Texas, Keel is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States
, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
, and the U.S. District Courts for the Western
Districts of Texas.
Keel was born in Austin in 1964. He is a fifth-generation Austinite and sixth in a family of seven children. His hobbies include running, snow skiing, water skiing, and swimming. Keel is a member of St. Austin Catholic Church.