Judith D. Fischer

Associate Professor of Law

Judith D. Fischer's picture

Professor Fischer received her B.A. and M.A. in English from Bradley University and her J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. She then became a partner in a large litigation firm in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. After teaching at the University of Cincinnati and Chapman University, she joined the faculty at the University of Louisville’s Louis D. Brandeis School of Law in 2000. She teaches legal writing and women and the law.

Professor Fischer is an editor of the Legal Writing Prof Blog, where she contributes frequently. She is also the associate executive editor of the Journal of Law and Education and serves on the editorial boards of Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute and Kentucky's Bench and Bar Journal. She has presented programs on legal writing at national conferences and has taught continuing legal education courses in Kentucky, California, and Ohio, and Oregon and lectured at universities in Australia, South Africa, Germany, Finland, and the United Kingdom.

Professor Fischer's scholarship includes articles on legal writing, advocacy, women and the law, and law school teaching. Her book Pleasing the Court: Writing Ethical and Effective Briefs examines professionalism in legal writing through numerous examples of judges' reactions to lawyers' errors. A recent article presents an analysis the U.S. Supreme Court justices' use of gender-neutral language in the 2010 term. Her latest article, an analysis of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style as a resource for lawyers, is forthcoming in the Scribes Journal of Legal Writing.

Courses Taught

Basic Legal Skills

Women and the Law


A Contemporary Take on Strunk and White for Legal Writers, 15 Scribes J. Leg. Writing 127 (2013) 

Be Direct, 77 Bench & B. 32 (July 2013)

The Supreme Court and Gender-Neutral Language: Splitting La Difference, 33 Women's Rights L. Rptr. 218 (Winter/Spring 2012)

Is It Good or Bad to repeat Words?, 77 Bench & B. 23 (Jan. 2013) 

Wrestling with Ethical Issues from the First Day of Class, 26 Second Draft: The Official Magazine of the Legal Writing Institute 16 (Fall 2012)

Book Review, Advocacy to Zealousness: Learning Lawyering Skills from Classic Films, 76 Bench & B. 26 (Sept. 2012)

Gender-Neutral Language in U.S. Courts in Brandeis Meets Gutenberg: German-American Conversations on Law 143 (Deiter Dorr et al. eds, Lang Pubs. 2012)

A Contemporary Take on Strunk and White for Legal Writers, forthcoming, Scribes Journal of Legal Writing

The Supreme Court and Gender-Neutral Language: Splitting La Difference, forthcoming, Women’s Rights Law Reporter

A Rogues’ Gallery of Usage Problems, 76 Bench & B. 32 (July 2012)

Pleasing the Court: Writing Ethical and Effective Briefs (2d ed., Carolina Academic Press 2011)

Incivility in Lawyers' Writing: Judicial Handling of Rambo Run Amok, 50 Washburn L.J. 365 (2011) (special issue on legal writing)

Banishing Writer’s Block
, Bench & B. 32 (July 2011)

Abraham Lincoln as a Legal Writer, 11 Nev. L. J. 82 (2010)

The Straight Scoop on the Passive Voice
, Bench & B. 33 (July 2010)

Got Issues? An Empirical Study about Framing Them, 6 J. A.L.W.D. 1 (2009)

Framing Gender: Federal Appellate Judges' Choices about Gender-Neutral Language, 43 U.S.F. L. Rev. 473 (2009)

Avoid Cliches, Bench & B. 48 (July 2009)

Add Punch to your Writing
, Bench & B. 80 (May 2008)

Texts, Lies, and Changed Positions: Review of The Little Book of Plagiarism (by Richard Posner), 16 Persps.: Teaching Legal Res. & Writing 26 (2007)

Why George Orwell's Ideas about Writing Still Matter for Lawyers, 68 Mont. L. Rev. 129 (2007)

God and Caesar in the Twenty-First Century: What Recent Cases Say about Church-State Relations in England and the United States
, 18 Fla. J. Intl. L. 485 (2006) (with Chloë J. Wallace)

Dismiss Those Sixth-Grade Hobgoblins, Bench & B. 69 (May 2007)

Implications of Recent Research on Student Evaluation of Teaching, 17 Mont. Prof. 11 (Fall 2006)

The Legal Writing Posters at the AALS Conference, AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research Newsletter 4 (Spring 2006)

Avoiding Plagiarism in Legal Documents, Bench & B. 68 (May 2006)

Minding the Gaps in Pornography Law, 10 Nexus: A Journal of Opinion 31 (2005)

Pleasing the Court: Writing Ethical and Effective Briefs (Carolina Academic Press 2005)

Streamline Your Writing, Bench & B. 38 (July 2005)

How Do I Cite . . . ?, Bench & B. 35 (Jan. 2005) (co-author)

Teaching the Law School Curriculum
224, 268, 380, 381 (Steven Friedland & Gerald F. Hess, eds., Carolina Academic Press 2004), contributor

The Role of Ethics in Legal Writing: The Forensic Embroiderer, The Minimalist Wizard, and Other Stories, 9 Scribes J. Leg. Writing 77 (2003-2004)

Public Policy and the Tyranny of the Bottom Line in the Termination of Older Workers, 53 S.C. L. Rev. 211 (2002)



Framing Gender, lecture to Flinders University law faculty, Adelaide, Australia (2008)

Politics and the Ten Commandments in the U.S.: What Will the Supreme Court Do?, lecture to faculty at the University of Leeds, U.K. (2005)

Selected Issues in the U.S. Legal System, course taught at the University of Turku, Finland (2004)

The American Legal System, and Response to Terrorism, lectures at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany (2003)

The American Legal System, Women in the American Legal System, and Tort Duty in the U.S., lectures at University of Natal, South Africa (2002)


 Dean’s Colloquium, Southern Illinois UniversitySchool of Law, featured  speaker: You Could Do Better Than Strunk & White and Gender-Neutral Language in Court Opinions (September 24, 2013)

The Forensic Embroiderer and the Minimalist Wizard as Legal Writers, presentation at Legal Writing Institute Workshop at Northwestern University School of Law (Nov. 2012)

Making Your Appellate Position More Appealing: The Importance of Framing the Issues, presentation at national Appellate Judges Education Institute, New Orleans (Nov. 2012)

Legal Writing, presentation at the Warns Institute, Louisville (June 2012)

Gender-Neutral Language in Supreme Court opinions, presentation at Capital Area Legal Writing Conference, Georgetown U. Law Ctr. (March 2012)

Got issues?, poster presentation at AALS Conference (January 2011)

Writing, presentation at National Association of Appellate Court Attorneys (with Kathy Bean) (July 2010)

Got Issues?, poster presentation at Legal Writing Institute conference (June 2010)

Is It Time for Legal Writing Directors to Step Aside?, panel presentation at  Association of Legal Writing Directors' Conference (July 2009)

Framing Gender, Presentation at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools Conference (July 2008)

Framing Gender, Poster presentation at the Legal Writing Institute Conference (July 2008)

Framing Gender, Presentation to Indiana University School of Law faculty (Feb. 2008)

Student Evaluations: What Empirical Research Reveals, presentation at 2006 Legal Writing Institute Conference (with Melissa Shafer)

Empirical Research on Student Evaluations, poster presentation at AALS Conference (2006)

Getting Great Teaching Evaluations, panel at Association of Legal Writing Directors’ Conference (2005)

What Does It Mean to Teach Students to Think Like Lawyers?, Association of Legal Writing Directors’ Conference (2005) (discussion facilitator)

Student Ratings in Law Schools, presentation at Association of Legal Writing Directors’ Conference (2003)

Roundtable on Scholarship, panel at Association of Legal Writing Directors’ Conference (2003)

University of Texas, Symposium on Approaching the Millennium, Misappropriation of Human Gametic Material and the Tort of Conversion (Mar. 1999)

State and local

Myths about the Law, presentation at Treyton Oak Towers, Louisville (June 2012)

Legal Analysis and Writing
, presentation at Louisville Bar Association’s Summer Law Institute for high school students (June 2011)

Legal Writing, continuing legal education presentation at Kentucky Association of Administrative Adjudicators (May 2011)

Legal Writing, presentation at Kentucky Administrative Law Judges’ training session (April 2011)

Professionalism in Brief Writing, Washington and Oregon Continuing Legal Education Forum, November 10, 2006 (continuing legal education presentation)

Writing Tips for Hearing Officers
, for Kentucky Office of the Attorney General (2005) (continuing legal education presentation)

Top Ten Things Judges Want to See in Briefs, Louisville Bar Association (2004) (continuing legal education presentation)

Kentucky Court of Appeals Appellate Conference, Louisville (2003) (continuing legal education presentation)

Domestic Relations Commissioners’ Seminar, Lexington (2002) (continuing legal education presentation)

Bias in the Profession, Orange County, California District Attorney’s Office (Dec. 1997) (continuing legal education presentation)

Coordinating Writing Courses with Doctrinal Courses, Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference (1997) (panel participant)

Legal Writing Workshop, Cincinnati Bar Association (May 1993) (continuing legal education presentation)

Hereby and Pursuant Are Not Terms of Art: Law Schools and the Plain English Movement, sponsored by the Lawyers' Club of Cincinnati (Feb. 1993) (continuing legal education presentation)

Clear Legal Writing  in Pleadings and Memoranda, presentation to Sixth Circuit meeting of United States Bankruptcy Trustees, Cincinnati (Feb. 1992) (continuing legal education presentation)

California Education of the Bar, Pre-Trial Advocacy (Sept. 1990) (continuing legal education presentation)

University and Community Service

Jouirnal of Law & Education, Associate executive editor, 2011-present

Legal Writing: Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, board of editors, 2006-present

Legal Writing Prof Blog, contributing editor, 2011-present

Kentucky Bench & Bar Journal, editorial committee, 2007-present