Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Faculty Profile

James M. Fischer

James M. Fischer

Professor of Law

J.D., magna cum laude, 1973, Loyola Law School; Member, California State Bar and Bars of the United States Supreme Court, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, United States District Court for the Central District of California

Courses    Publications

Phone: (213) 738-6742
Office: BW425

With the perspective gained from experience in private practice, public service and academia, James Fischer's goal as a law professor is "to enable students to better understand their responsibilities as lawyers, and to be prepared for the tremendous demands that the competent and conscientious practice of law imposes on an individual."

"[I want] to enable students to better understand their responsibilities as lawyers, and to be prepared for the tremendous demands that the competent and conscientious practice of law imposes on an individual."

Professor Fischer began his legal career as a law clerk to Justice Clarke E. Stephens of the California Court of Appeal. He went on to join the firm then known as Beardsley, Hufstedler & Kemble. Appointed to Southwestern's faculty in 1976, Professor Fischer was recognized for his outstanding teaching and contributions to Southwestern and the legal community as the Irwin R. Buchalter Professor of Law in 1993, and as the Irving D. and Florence Rosenberg Professor of Law in 2005.

Active in community and professional organizations, Professor Fischer has served as a special assistant to the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, and as a member of the hearing board for the South Coast Air Quality Management District. For the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), he chaired the Committee on Professional Responsibility and Ethics and led a team of volunteer students in compiling a reference guide on current case law regarding HIV and insurance law for the LACBA Barristers' HIV Law Project. Professor Fischer has held leadership posts in the Property Insurance Committee of the ABA Torts and Insurance Practice Section. He also served on the California State Bar Committees on Professional Responsibility and Conduct, Legal Malpractice Insurance and the Administration of Justice. He is a former member and past president of the board of the North Los Angeles County Regional Center, which serves the developmentally disabled community.


Books and Chapters

UNDERSTANDING REMEDIES, 3rd ed. (LexisNexis, forthcoming 2014)

UNDERSTANDING REMEDIES (Matthew Bender Publishing, 1999)



Accidental or Intentional Tort?: The California Insurance Law Conundrum, 54 SANTA CLARA LAW REVIEW 101 (forthcoming Spring 2014)

Litigation Financing: A Real or Phantom Menace to Lawyer Professional Responsibility, 27 GEORGETOWN JOURNAL OF LEGAL ETHICS (forthcoming Summer 2014)

Does an Insured Have a Duty to Mitigate Damages When the Insurer Breaches?, 20 CONNECTICUT JOURNAL OF INSURANCE LAW 89 (2013)

The Crime-Fraud Exception to Privilege, 41 THE BRIEF 30 (Winter 2012)

Large Law Firm Lateral Hire Conflicts Checking: Professional Duty Meets Actual Practice, 36 JOURNAL OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION 167 (2011)

Ethically Handling the Receipt of Possibly Privileged Information, 1 ST. MARY'S JOURNAL ON LEGAL MALPRACTICE & ETHICS 202 (Symposium Issue; 2011)

What Hath eBay v. MercExchange Wrought? 14 Lewis & Clark LAW REVIEW 555 (Symposium Issue; 2010)

"The Puzzle of the Actual Injury Requirement for Damages," 42 LOYOLA OF LOS ANGELES LAW REVIEW 197 (Symposium Issue; 2008)

The Professional Obligations of Counsel Retained for the Policyholder But Not Subject to Insurer Control, 43 TORT TRIAL AND INSURANCE PRACTICE LAW JOURNAL 173 (Winter 2008)

Insurer-Policyholder Conflicts of Interest and Retained Defense Counsel's Professional Duties, 14 CONNECTICUT INSURANCE LAW JOURNAL 21 (2008)

The Professional Obligation of Cumis Counsel Retained for the Policyholder But Not Subject to Insurer Control, TORT TRIAL & INSURANCE PRACTICE LAW JOURNAL (2007-2008)

The 'Right' to Injunctive Relief for Patent Infringement, 24 SANTA CLARA COMPUTER & HIGH TECHNOLOGY LAW JOURNAL 1 (2007)

External Control Over the American Bar, 19 GEORGETOWN JOURNAL OF LEGAL ETHICS 59 (Winter 2006)

Preliminarily Enjoining Elections: A Tale of Two Ninth Circuit Panels, 41 SAN DIEGO LAW REVIEW 1647 (Fall 2004)

Insurer or Policyholder Control of the Defense and the Duty to Find Settlements, 2 NEVADA LAW JOURNAL 1 (2002)

Discretion and Politics: Ruminations of the Recent Presidential Election, 69 UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI LAW REVIEW 807 (Spring 2001)

Teaching Remedies Versus Learning Remedies, 39 BRANDEIS LAW JOURNAL 575 (Spring 2001)

Plebiscites, the Guaranty Cause, and the Role of the Judiciary, 41 SANTA CLARA LAW REVIEW 973 (2001)

The Doctrine of Reasonable Expectations is Indispensible, If We Only Knew What For? 4 CONNECTICUT INSURANCE LAW JOURNAL 151 (1998)

The Attorney-Client Privilege Meets the Common Interest Arrangement: Protecting Confidences While Exchanging Information for Mutual Gain, 16 THE REVIEW OF LITIGATION 631 (1997)

Insurance Coverage for Mass Exposure Tort Claims: The Debate Over the Appropriate Trigger Rule, 45 DRAKE LAW REVIEW 625 (1997)

Non-Client Standing to Move to Disqualify Counsel for Conflicts of Interest, THE PROFESSIONAL LAWYER (May 1997)

The Presence of Insurance and Legal Allocation of Risk, 2 CONNECTICUT INSURANCE LAW JOURNAL 1 (1996)

Representing Partnerships: Who Is/Are the Client(s)? 26 PACIFIC LAW JOURNAL 961 (1995)

Should Advice of Counsel Constitute a Defense for Insurer Bad Faith?, 72 TEXAS LAW REVIEW 1447 (1994)

Why Are Insurance Contracts Subject to Special Rules of Interpretation? Text Versus Context, 24 ARIZONA STATE LAW JOURNAL 995 (1992) and 42 DEFENSE LAW JOURNAL 385 (1993)

Obtaining Legally Binding and Enforceable Settlement Agreements, 7 COMMERCIAL DAMAGES REPORTER 217 (1992)

Why Can't Lawyers Split Fees? Why Ask Why, Ask When!, 6 GEORGETOWN JOURNAL OF LEGAL ETHICS 1 (1992)

Broadening the Insurer's Duty to Defend: How Gray vs. Zurich Insurance Co. Transformed Liability Insurance into Litigation Insurance, 25 UC DAVIS LAW REVIEW 141 (1991)

Enforcement of Settlements: A Survey, 27 TORT & INSURANCE LAW JOURNAL 82 (1991)

The Exclusion from Insurance Coverage of Losses Caused by Intentional Acts of the Insured: A Policy in Search of Justification, 30 SANTA CLARA LAW REVIEW 95 (Winter 1990)

The Limits of Statutes of Limitation (Special Project: California Statutes of Limitation) 16 SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 1 (1986)

Network 'Early Calls' of Elections: An Analysis of the Legality of Proposals to Keep the Voting Process From Becoming an Academic Exercise, 14 SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 427 (1984)

Ballot Propositions: The Challenge of Direct Democracy to State Constitutional Jurisprudence, 11 HASTINGS CONSTITUTIONAL LAW QUARTERLY 43 (1983)

The Availability of Private Remedies for Acid Rain Damage, 9 ECOLOGY LAW QUARTERLY 429 (1981)

Allocating Decision-making in the Field of Energy Resource Development: Some Questions and Suggestions, 22 ARIZONA LAW REVIEW 785 (1980)

The Concept of Mandatory Jurisdiction, 41 OHIO STATE LAW JOURNAL 861 (1980)

Confidentiality and the Press: Tales of the Confessional, 55 CALIFORNIA STATE BAR JOURNAL 26 (January 1980)

Institutional Competency: Some Reflections on Judicial Activism in the Realm of Forum Allocation Between State and Federal Courts, 34 UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI LAW REVIEW 175 (1980)