Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Robert M. Bell
MSA SC 3520-11654


Born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, July 6, 1943.  Attended Dunbar High School, Baltimore, Maryland; Morgan State College, A.B. (history & political science), 1966; Harvard University Law School, J.D., 1969.  Admitted to Maryland Bar, 1969.

Judge, District Court of Maryland, District 1, Baltimore City, 1975-80.  Associate Judge, Baltimore City Circuit Court, 8th Judicial Circuit, 1980-84.  Judge, Court of Special Appeals, 6th Appellate Circuit (Baltimore City), 1984-91.  Chief Judge, Court of Appeals, 6th Appellate Circuit (Baltimore City), since 1996 (Judge, May 16, 1991-July 6, 2013).  Chair, Maryland Judicial Conference, 1996-2013 (chair, judicial council, 2000-13). Member, Executive Committee, 1996-2000, and Judicial Compensation Committee, 1993-2013, Maryland Judicial Conference. Chair, Library Committee, State Law Library, 1996-2013. Member, Judges, Masters and Juvenile Justice Committee, 1996-2013. Chair, Committee on Building Public Trust and Confidence in the Justice System, 1998-99. Chair, Maryland Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, 1998-2001. Chair, Hall of Records Commission, 1998-2013 (member, 1996-2013). Member, State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, 1999-2000. Chair, Technology Oversight Board, 1999-2013. Member, Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, 2000-02. Chair, Public Trust and Confidence Implementation Committee, 2000-13. Chair, Judicial Cabinet, 2000-13. Chair, Advisory Board, Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office, 2001-13. Member, State Commission on Public Safety Technology and Critical Infrastructure, 2002-05; Task Force on Child Welfare System Accountability, 2003-04; Task Force to Study Criminal Offender Monitoring by Global Positioning Systems, 2004-05. Chair, Board of Directors, National Center for State Courts, 2006-07 (board of directors, 2004-05). Board of Directors, Conference of Chief Justices (president, 2006-07; president-elect, 2005-06; 1st vice-president, 2004-05; vice-chair, committee on access to & fairness in the courts, 2005-06). 

Member, National and American Bar Associations; Maryland State Bar Association (judicial administration section; judicial evaluation committee, 1987-), Baltimore City and Monumental City Bar Associations. Member, Legal Aid Society, 1973-75. Board of Directors, Villa Julie College, 1978-85; Sojourner-Douglass College, 1982-91. Chair, Board of Directors, Provident Hospital, 1983-84. Board of Directors, The African-American Community Foundation, 1994-. Board of Visitors, University of Maryland School of Law, 1994-. Board of Trustees, Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2000-. Chair, Board of Directors, Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center (ASTAR), Inc., 2005-. Board of Trustees, American Inns of Court, 2007. Member, Harvard/Radcliffe Club of Maryland. Special Award, Maryland State Bar Association, 1998. Legal Excellence Award for Advancement of Public Service Responsibility, Maryland Bar Foundation, 1999. Rosalyn B. Bell Award, Women's Law Center of Maryland, 1999. Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access, Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, American Bar Association, 2000. Access to Justice Tribute Award, Pro Bono Resource Center, 2001. Maryland Top Leadership in Law Award, Daily Record, 2001. Rita C. Davidson Award, Women's Bar Association of Maryland, 2001. D'Alemberte/Raven Award, Dispute Resolution Section, American Bar Association, 2003. First annual Robert M. Bell Award for Leadership in Public Service, Students for Public Interest, University of Baltimore School of Law, 2004. Medal for Access to Justice, Maryland Legal Services Corporation, 2004. Honorary Board Member, Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, 2005. Baltimore Peacemaker Award, Community Mediation Program, 2005. Special Recognition Award, Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, 2005. Freedom Fighter Award, Frederick County Branch, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 2006. Chief Judge Robert M. Bell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Alternative Dispute Resolution in Maryland, ADR Section, Maryland State Bar Association, 2006. Keys to Access Award, National Center on Dispute Resolution, 2006. Named in 500 Leading Judges in America, The Lawdragon, 2006. Frederick Douglass Award, University of Maryland System, 2006. Award of Excellence, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc., 2008. Light for Children Award, Maryland Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, Inc., 2008. Inductee, Warren E. Burger Society, 2009. Distinguished Service Award, Asian-Pacific American Bar Association of Maryland, 2009. Outstanding Resolution Leadership Award, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 2009. Baltimore City's Living Legal Legends, Baltimore City Bar Association, 2011. Inducted into Hall of Fame, National Bar Association, 2011. William H. Hastie Award (for excellence in legal & judicial scholarship & demonstrated commitment to justice under law), National Bar Association, 2011. Marvin E. Johnson Diversity and Equity Award, Association for Conflict Resolution, 2012. John Marshall Award, American Bar Association Justice Center, 2013. Judge of the Year, Maryland Access to Justice Commission, 2013.

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