Monday, June 10, 2013

Getting to Know: James Daily, Ryan Davidson and Law and the Multiverse

I first learned about Law and the Multiverse through a law librarian. He showed me an article in a journal (probably related to law librarianship) about comic books and the law. From a quick glance, I thought it was going to be about some copyright situation. However, when I had the time to read the article, I was intrigued. I thought using comic book storylines in teaching law or at least for us non-lawyers to understand was an interesting approach. So, I started checking their website and purchased their book. Then I had an opportunity to meet them at their NYCC 2012 panel, and now I present to you my interview with James Daily (JD) and Ryan Davidson (RD).

Academic and Career Background

Daily is a 30 year old attorney with a day job at the Stanford University Hoover Institution’s Project on Commercializing Innovation. He has an Undergraduate Degree in Computer Science and Mathematics, a Master Degree in Computer Science AND a Law Degree. Even though he is working as a lawyer, some of his academic knowledge has assisted him on the site and his career. His technical background made it possible for him to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office but has not been pertinent in his comic book hobby. It is because “patent law issues, especially patent application-related issues, rarely come up in comic books.”

The other member of the duo, Davidson, who is 31, has an Undergraduate Degree in Philosophy and History and a Law Degree. He too believes that his academic background has been “immensely valuable” in his law career. Here’s what he had to say about his history and philosophy training:
Law is, in many respects, a rearward-looking profession. Precedent is important. True, things change, but understanding how and why—precisely what a historian does—can be very helpful when trying to apply law to facts. Judges care about the justification for laws and legal arguments, and historical arguments can be very important persuasive tools.

As to philosophy, the ability to quickly and accurately identify which issues are important is incredibly useful. Saves a lot of time and unnecessary effort. Philosophy also trains one to make fine intellectual distinctions, something the law is all about. Working through Aristotles De Interpretatione or Categories is excellent training for the kind of close reading one does with statutes or cases.
In regards to his legal practice and relating it to comic book, besides using his insurance knowledge in relating it to specific comic storylines, his other work is litigation. “Of the two of us, James has done more IP and transactional work, but I’ve done more litigation. As much of what is of most interest to non-lawyers has to do with courtroom practice, my experience there has been valuable.”

© 2013 Linda Thai

Photography by Linda Thai

Stay tune for Part 2 of the Law and the Multiverse interview.

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