Judge John R. Fisher was appointed to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in 2005 by
President George W. Bush.
Judge Fisher, son of the late George and Helen Fisher, was born and raised in Knox County, Ohio,
and graduated from Fredericktown High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum
laude from Harvard College in 1968. He then served as an enlisted man in the U.S. Army, spending one
year in South Vietnam. After his military service, Judge Fisher attended Harvard Law School, receiving his
law degree cum laude in 1974.
Following law school, Judge Fisher clerked for two years for the Honorable Joseph P. Kinneary,
United States District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio. He came to the District of Columbia in 1976
to join the United States Attorney’s Office, serving in a variety of trial, grand jury, and appellate assignments
from 1976 until 1983. Judge Fisher then served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern
District of Ohio from 1983 to 1986. In 1986, he became Of Counsel to the law firm of Vorys, Sater,
Seymour & Pease, in Columbus, Ohio, where he specialized in complex civil litigation.
Judge Fisher returned to Washington, D.C. in 1989 to become Chief of the Appellate Division of
the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, a position he held for over sixteen years.
In this capacity, he supervised criminal appeals in the D.C. Court of Appeals and the United States Court of
Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, managed the work of a forty-five-person division, and briefed
and argued appeals, including sixteen en bane cases before the D.C. Court of Appeals or the D.C. Circuit.
As Chief, Judge Fisher also emphasized the concept of “preventive appellate advocacy” – appellate
attorneys providing advice and guidance to trial lawyers to prevent some troublesome issues from arising on
Judge Fisher has worked on bar committees dealing with the Rules of Professional Conduct. He
served for six years as a member of the D.C. Bar’s Legal Ethics Committee. He also served on the
Advisory Committee on Procedures of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit. He was Treasurer of Washington Farm United Methodist Church for five years.
Judge Fisher has received the Harold Sullivan Award from the Assistant United States Attorneys
Association, a Director’s Award for Executive Achievement from the Director of the Executive Office for
U.S. Attorneys, and the John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement for Handling of Appeals
from the Attorney General of the United States, among other recognition.
Judge Fisher is married to Margaret Fisher, who is an instructional assistant focusing on character
education at an elementary school in Fairfax County. They have two children.