MenuMenu Image

Jennifer Coffman, Retired Federal District Judge

Jennifer B. Coffman was appointed as United States District Judge for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky on October 22,1993, and elevated to Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Kentucky on October 15, 

2007. The first female to hold either of those positions within the Commonwealth of Kentucky, she retired from the federal district bench on January 9, 2013. Judge Coffman was appointed in 2011 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees requests by the United States national security community for surveillance of suspected foreign intelligence agents. She also retired from this position in January 2013.

Prior to her federal judicial appointment, Judge Coffman was a trial lawyer whose practice focused on the areas of education, employment, and Constitutional law. She was also an Adjunct Instructor of Legal Writing at the University of Kentucky College of Law. She lectured frequently, served on various law-related committees, and chaired the 1992 Kentucky Bar Association Convention. Before attending law school, she taught middle- school English in Virginia and was a reference librarian at the Newport News, Virginia, Public Library and the Margaret I. King Library at the University of Kentucky.

Judge Coffman earned all of her degrees at the University of Kentucky: a Bachelor of Arts (English) in 1969, a Master of Science (Library Science) in 1971, and a Juris Doctor in 1978 from the College of Law, where s

he published two student articles in the Kentucky Law Journal and argued on the National Moot Court Team. Currently she is an Adjunct Instructor at the UK College of Law, where she directs the Judicial Externship Program, facilitates a Visiting Judge initiative, and assists with philanthropic efforts.

Judge Coffman was in the inaugural class of the UK College of Law Alumni Hall of Fame in 1996, and she was named Outstanding Alumnus by the UK College of Communications & Information in 2013-14.  In 2015 she was inducted into the University of Kentucky Hall of Distinguished Alumni.  She has received awards from various organizations, including the Kentucky Bar Association Distinguished Judge and Kentucky Bar Center awards; the Lexington YWCA Women of Achievement Award; and the Equipoise Award for Career/Family Balance from the Lexington chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Her husband, Dr. Wes Coffman, is a retired dentist who is now an Assistant Professor at the UK College of Dentistry. Married since August 16, 1969, they have two children: Will, who lives in Washington, D.C., and is married to Katie Kaufman; and Blair, who lives in Oakland, CA and is married to Tyler Martin.