Karla Fischer

Adjunct Professor


Professor Karla Fischer was dual trained as a lawyer and psychologist, graduating from the University of Illinois in 1992 with a PhD in psychology and a JD Professor Fischer taught at Duke University until 2000, teaching interdisciplinary courses such as Psychology and Law, Legal Intervention in Domestic Violence, Psychology of Women, and Victimology. She has conducted numerous research projects in domestic violence and related issues and has published in both legal journals and social science venues.

For the past 10 years, Professor Fischer has increasingly focused on the application of domestic violence scholarship to legal cases. She has worked with state and federal prosecutors, criminal defense, and civil attorneys, typically serving as an expert witness or consultant in cases that have involved significant psychological issues, such as battered women charged with killing their abusive spouses or other crimes or criminal prosecutions of batterers where victims are reluctant or exhibit behavior that is puzzling to laypersons. Her consultations have assisted prosecutors in convicting domestic violence offenders, facilitated favorable outcomes for battered women defendants, and, on one occasion, resulted in the overturning of a murder conviction for a battered woman defendant whose lawyer was found incompetent for failing to present an effective self defense case.

Professor Fischer conducts workshops and symposia on a wide variety of topics related to domestic violence, including lawyer trainings on working effectively with domestic violence clients, philosophical issues in domestic violence legal intervention, and her experiences and observations of the criminal justice system response to battered women. A last aspect of Professor Fischer’s consulting practice involves policy-relevant research for agencies that serve battered women, encouraging those agencies to use the findings about their clientele and response to improve social and legal services for victims of domestic violence.


PhD, JD University of Illinois


Domestic Violence Clinic