Meet the NHTSA

Judicial Fellow

Hon. Neil E. Axel, Columbia, MD

Judge Neil Edward Axel, Senior Judge of the District Court of Maryland has been selected as the next American Bar Association Judicial Fellow effective April 1, 2018.  Judge Axel will succeed Judge Earl Penrod who served as Judicial Fellow since 2012.

Although born and raised in New York, Judge Axel has been a Maryland resident throughout his professional career and has lived for the past 39 years in Columbia, Maryland.  He graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration before attending law school at American University’s Washington College of Law. 

Following 22 years in private practice, Judge Axel was appointed to the bench as an Associate Judge of the District Court of Maryland where he has served since 1997.  He retired from full-time service in 2013 but continues to sit as a senior judge throughout Maryland.  From 2005 to 2012, Judge Axel also served as the Judge-In-Charge of Drug and DWI Treatment Court programs and served as Co-Chair of Maryland’s Judicial Conference Committee on Problem Solving Courts.  Among the many other judicial committees on which he has served, Judge Axel served as a member of Maryland’s Special Committee to Review the ABA Revised Code of Judicial Conduct, the Judicial Institute of Maryland and the Commission on Judicial Disabilities’ Judicial Inquiry Board. 

In 2016, Judge Axel received the American Bar Association Judicial Division’s Franklin N. Flaschner Award for Judicial Excellence, Character and Leadership.  In 2005, he was recognized by the Maryland State Bar Association with its Judge Anselm Sodaro Judicial Civility Award presented annually to one judge whose courtroom demeanor best exemplifies the highest ideals of civility and courtesy. 

Judge Axel has been a member of the faculty of the National Judicial College since 2013, and has been actively involved throughout his judicial career as a presenter of judicial education programs in Maryland and nationally.

Judge Axel has been married for 41 years to Valerie Axel and they are the proud parents of two wonderful adult children, and one beautiful granddaughter.