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John W. Fisher, II

2019 Justitia Officium

WVU Law 2019 Justitia Officium Award Winner John W. Fisher II

John W. Fisher, II is the William J. Maier, Jr. Dean Emeritus and Robert M. Steptoe and James D. Steptoe Professor Emeritus of Property Law at West Virginia University. Fisher retired from the WVU College of Law in 2014, leaving a 43-year legacy built on service to the legal profession, the University, the state, and its citizens.

Fisher graduated from Moorefield High School and arrived on WVU’s campus in 1960 to major in history. He earned his J.D. from the College of Law in 1967—Order of the Coif, first in his class and editor-in-chief of the West Virginia Law Review. After law school, Fisher clerked for the Honorable Robert E. Maxwell, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. He then worked in property law for Farmer & Farmer in Morgantown.

In 1971, Fisher left private practice to be an assistant professor at the College of Law. Over the course of his career in legal education, Fisher was a teacher-scholar; an acting dean and an associate dean several times; the executive officer for WVU President E. Gordon Gee (1982-86); and the 15th Dean of the College of Law (1998-2008). He was also a part-time federal magistrate judge for more than 20 years.

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has recognized Fisher as “the state’s foremost authority in the field of property law.” He is a two-time recipient of the Governor’s Distinguished West Virginian Award. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the West Virginia Bar Foundation and a recipient of the West Virginia Bar Association Award of Merit (2007). 

Fisher was selected Professor of the Year by the WVU Law Class of 1996 and he received the 1997 WVU Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award. He is also a recipient of the Mountaineer Week Most Loyal Faculty and Staff Mountaineer Award (1994).

Fisher has been married to Susan Vass since 1964. They have two children, Jennifer and Jay, and three grandchildren, Austin, Emily, and Landon.

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