December 8, 2011

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Fairman awarded designated professorship

Christopher Fairman

Christopher Fairman

Professor Christopher M. Fairman has been awarded the Alumni Society Designated Professor of Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, as recently announced by Dean Alan C. Michaels.

Fairman is a national expert in civil procedure, legal ethics, and taboo language.

His civil procedure writings on the so-called “heightened pleading” practice have been published in a variety of law journals, including Texas Law Review, Arizona Law Review, and University of California at Davis Law Review. As a leading national expert on heightened pleading, Fairman is critical of requirements by the courts or Congress that force certain types of plaintiffs to say more in their pleadings to stay in court than other litigants.

When current ethical rules for the legal profession prove inadequate, Fairman advocates for new ones that make clear to lawyers, especially those new to practicing, that ethical concerns count. He is a leading voice calling for new ethical rules to cover collaborative law — a growing alternative dispute resolution practice area. His interest in the intersection of attorney ethics and alternative dispute resolution is evident not only in his numerous scholarly writings on the topic, but also in his seminar on ADR Ethics, his participation in symposiums on the subject, and his service as an official observer to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws Drafting Committee on a Collaborative Law Act.

The importance of protecting words — even the four-letter ones — is at the heart of Fairman’s first book, Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting our First Amendment Liberties. Fairman is adamant that the government should keep out of the censorship business: “Words are ideas. If the government can control the words we say, it can also control what we think.”

Fairman is an honor graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. After nine years as a high school history teacher in the public schools in Texas, Fairman returned to the University of Texas School of Law for his J.D. Following graduation, he clerked for Justice J. Woodfin Jones of the Texas Court of Appeals for the Third District and for Judge Fortunato P. Benavides of the United State Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Following his clerkships, Fairman was a practicing litigator in the Dallas office of the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges before joining the Moritz faculty in 2000.

SideBar is a monthly electronic newsletter for Moritz College of Law alumni. Questions regarding this publication should be directed to moritzlawnews@osu.edu.