Judge Robert Fairchild

Adjunct Faculty
Primary office:

Robert W. Fairchild is the chief judge of the Seventh Judicial District, Douglas County, Kansas. After graduating from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1973, he entered the private practice of law in Lawrence. He practiced law for 23 years and handled a wide variety of cases. In 1996 he was appointed district judge for the 7th Judicial District and was appointed chief judge in 2002. Since 1991 he has been an adjunct professor at the University of Kansas Law School, teaching alternative dispute resolution and criminal law. He is past chair of the Kansas Supreme Court Advisory Council on Dispute Resolution and has written several articles on alternative dispute resolution. Judge Fairchild has been both a participant in and faculty member for the Institute of Faculty Excellence in Judicial Education of the University of Memphis. He has made more than 60 presentations to lawyers and judges on a variety of topics. He has been a frequent presenter at Kansas judicial conferences and has developed a wrongful convictions program that he has presented to Kansas and Nebraska judges. That program led to his participation in programs on the topic of wrongful convictions at the University of Kansas Law School and at several community organizations.

Courses Taught:
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

Career History

Chief Judge, Seventh Judicial District, Douglas County, Kansas, 2002 - present; District Judge, Division One, Seventh Judicial District, Douglas County, Kansas, 1996 - present; Shareholder and Attorney, Riling, Burkhead, Fairchild, & Nitcher, Chtd., 1973 - 1996.


American Bar Association: Alternative Dispute Resolution Section; Kansas Bar Association; Kansas Bar Foundation; Douglas County Bar Association; Judge Hugh Means Inn of Court. 


J.D., University of Kansas, 1973; B.A. Economics, Texas Tech University, 1970.


Selected Publications


  • "A View From the Bench," ADR Section Newsletter, Kansas Bar Association, November 1996.
  • "Resolving Community Disputes Through Mediation," Kansas Government Journal, December 1996.
  • "Statewide Committee Helps Resolve Fee Disputes," The Journal of the Kansas Bar Association, Vol. 66, No. 8, October 1997.
  • "ADR: The View From the Bench," KU Law magazine, University of Kansas School of Law, Fall 2004, pp 4-6.
  •  “Will the Legal Profession Ever Be the Same? Disappearing Trials & ADR in Kansas",7 Kansas Bar Association Journal 5, 18 (2007), Co-authored with Arthur J. Thompson.


Book Chapter

  • Chapter 20, "Mediation in Kansas Domestic Disputes," in Practitioner's Guide to Kansas Family Law, published by the Kansas Bar Association (1997). 

Selected Presentations

  • Civil Court Judicial Forum, NBI, Topeka, Kansas, May 2015.
  • "Pro Se Litigation: A Challenge for the Judiciary," Kansas Supreme Court training for new judges; Topeka, Kansas, January 2015.
  • "E-filing for Judges," Regional Judicial Training, Hays, Kansas, November 2014.
  • "Search Warrant Update," Regional Judicial Training, Manhattan, Kansas, November 2012.
  • "Admissibility of Technology in Court," Joint Judicial Conference and Kansas Bar Association Annual Meeting, Overland Park, Kansas, June 2012.
  • Bench and Bar Ethics and Professionalism Panel, Joint Judicial Conference and Kansas Bar Association Annual Meeting, Overland Park, Kansas, June 2012.
Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks and treatises
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 34 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,600+ alumni in all 50 states, D.C., and 21 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 20th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 80 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • More than 600 employment interviews at law school, 2014-15
  • 92 percent overall employment rate for Class of 2014 – top 20 percent nationally
  • 23rd: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at nation’s largest law firms
  • #1 in Kansas and Missouri for July 2015 bar exam performance