Category Archives: interviews and podcasts

Huffington Post Article

Ryan and I and the doctors from Broadcast Thought were interviewed for an article in The Huffington Post on zombies and the insanity defense, which is also part of our presentation at WonderCon tomorrow.  Check it out!

Comedians at Law Podcast

And now for a different kind of legal comic: the Comedians at Law interviewed me for their podcast this week. Check it out!

Our Interview with Mark Waid

We are very excited to present an interview with Mark Waid, the Eisner Award-winning writer of Daredevil and many other excellent comic books (including Kingdom Come and its follow up The Kingdom, both discussed here) as well as the co-founder of digital comics site Thrillbent. We met Mark at New York Comic Con last year and he was gracious enough to let us interview him for Law and the Multiverse.

Law and the Multiverse: As a writer, what parts of the legal process offer the most dramatic potential? What kind of scenes do you most enjoy writing?

Mark Waid: As a writer, it’s the trial itself that offers the most dramatic potential—but as a COMICS writer, it’s actually the LEAST dramatic, because it’s just dialogue and talking heads and people in ordinary street clothes, so I have to keep the actual courtroom stuff in Daredevil to a minimum. That means the real drama—and the scenes I enjoy writing the most—are the ones where Matt Murdock is using his super-senses to assess the claims of his clients, whether by screening their heartbeats and chemical tell-tales to see if they’re being truthful, or by investigating their claims in his super-hero guise.

LatM: Sometimes comics explain away tricky legal issues with fictional laws (e.g. DC’s fictional Twelfth Amendment allowing superheroes to testify in costume). We haven’t seen a lot of that in Daredevil, but are you free to do that? If so, are you ever tempted to, or does it feel like taking the easy way out?

MW: I’m not above using those fictional laws if backed into a corner, but honestly, I worry that it gets a little boring sometimes to work that hard to ground EVERYTHING in reality. A little suspension of disbelief is part and parcel of the entire genre. Remember, if you envision the entirety of the super-hero conceit, all 75 years of it, as an inverted pyramid, it all rests on one point—that a pair of eyeglasses is an effective disguise.

LatM: As an aside: there does not seem to be an explicit, canon explanation of the legal status of intelligent non-humans in the Marvel Universe (e.g. the Skrull). So if you ever wanted to create a fictional law or Supreme Court decision addressing that issue, it would answer a lot of questions for us!

MW: I will be in touch to help get it drafted. That IS a nifty idea.

[Ed. note: gasp!]

LatM: Do you ever see Matt Murdock working in the district attorney’s office? Or would trying to prosecute a villain that he fought as Daredevil be too much of a (personal) conflict of interest?

MW: It seems like too much of a conflict of interest–and it also grates against what I believe to be a huge conceit of the book and of the character, that Matt Murdock fights for the underdog. In fact, if it hasn’t already been done—and I fear that it may have—I’d love to do a story where Matt was forced to DEFEND someone that Daredevil brought down.

LatM: Along those lines: would he take a job at a big firm? Maybe Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg, & Holliway?

MW: Again, underdog. Scrappy li’l underdog. Also, Matt’s billable hours are DEPLORABLE.

LatM: And speaking of GLK&H, will we ever see Matt and Jennifer Walters together in the court room?

MW: I’ve been trying to get to that point for a while now! Still talking to Dan Slott about his thoughts….

LatM: Might we learn more about Murdock’s time at Columbia law school at some point? Possibly meet some of his old classmates?

MW: Yes, absolutely. We’ll be doing more flashback material in Year Three.

LatM: Where did Murdock and Nelson go to college? Did they know each other there? And how did they get from college to law school? Was that something they had planned all along?

MW: I’ve fudged continuity a bit now to establish that Matt and Foggy met in law school. I look forward to your angry letters.

LatM: Do you ever incorporate things from the news or current events into your stories? What’s the process of translating something like that onto the page?

MW: Oh, dear God, do I ever. My Evernote and Pocket files are FULL of those kinds of stories–wrongful termination suits (which begat issues 4-6), stories of cruel and unusual punishment (issue 10.1)…and the entire Omega Drive story arose directly from the Julian Assange charges…every week I see some story of justice gone wrong or someone trying to game the system and I can’t wait to fictionalize it, amp up the stakes a little bit to make it a little more “super-hero-ey,” and throw Matt at it. Illegal geoengineering and anti-bullying mob justice mistakenly targeting the wrong perp and destroying his life are two examples of things I’ve clipped from the web in the last month and will find a use for.

LatM: Which comic book attorney would you rather have for a lawyer: Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, Jennifer Walters, or someone else?

MW: Dude, Matt’s awesome in the courtroom but lousy at research and at keeping reliable hours. Foggy has problems of his own right now. And Jennifer Walters would be great, but she scares me. Give me the Earth-2 Dick Grayson–you can’t get more reliable and forthright than a lawyer who used to be Batman’s partner!


Thanks again to Mark for a great interview.  And as always we look forward to the next issue of Daredevil!

KPCC Air Talk Interview

Last week Ryan and I were interviewed for Air Talk on KPCC.  If you missed that show you can listen to the program here.

KCUR Up to Date Interview

Ryan and I were interviewed on KCUR’s Up to Date today.  If you missed it you can listen to the program online here.

Minnesota Lawyer Interview

Ryan and I were interviewed for JDs Rising, part of Minnesota Lawyer.  Thanks to Michael Goodwin for a great interview!

SciFi Pulse Interview

Ryan and I were interviewed for  Thanks to Nicholas Yanes for a great interview!

Fun Law Blogs

Every year, the American Bar Association Journal ranks the top legal blogs in America, including a category called “For Fun.”  Law and the Multiverse was included in the group for the second year.  Although “fun lawyers” might sound like an oxymoron, this year’s list includes a bunch of great blogs, and we invite you to check out the others if you haven’t seen them before.  After the nominations were announced, the 2012 “For Fun” bloggers decided to interview each other.  Here, for your amusement, is the resulting group interview.

1.  What is your blog about? 

Law and The Multiverse (by James Daily and Ryan Davidson):  Examining comic book characters and stories from a legal perspective. Or alternatively, an excuse to be huge comic book nerds while hopefully teaching people something about the law.

Lowering the Bar (by Kevin Underhill):  The human condition (which currently remains at Threat Level Orange).  Actually, I guess it’s about whatever strikes me as funny, provided I can come up with some connection to the legal system, however remote.  Also, the first letter of each post spells out an important message to future generations, crafted in a complex code of my own devising. This is its true purpose.

The Namby Pamby:  Typically it is the day to day happenings in my law practice. Sometimes I branch out and talk about my favorite sports teams or some topic of the day, but mainly it is me relaying my missteps. And attempting to make them laugh while doing so.

Supreme Court Haiku Reporter (by Keith Jaasma): I take the most important legal issues of the day and completely trivialize them through bad poetry.

Allison Leotta:  I recap and reality-check Law & Order: SVU for what the show gets right and wrong, from my perspective as a former sex-crimes prosecutor.

ZombieLaw (by Joshua Warren): blogs about “zombies” in law and politics (from a cognitive linguistic perspective).


2.  What drew you to writing your blog?  (The big money, right?)

Lowering the Bar: I don’t think I was drawn so much as compelled.

Allison Leotta: Blogging about TV shows’ errors is way more constructive than throwing slippers at the TV.  Also, when my first novel, Law of Attraction, was published, Simon & Schuster told me I “needed a platform.”

S.Ct. Haiku: I had written several law review articles of 40 pages or more and was excited that 300 people downloaded them in a year.  So I thought “what’s the fewest number of words I could write and still call it writing.” Haiku!

Law and the Multiverse:  James started it on a lark after the idea was suggested by a friend over dinner.  Ryan came on board after James posted it to

Namby Pamby:  I started writing during my first year of law school eight years ago as a time waster and as an attempt to make people laugh. I still try to uphold these founding principles in my posts.

ZombieLaw:  I was in an academic group studying “creativity” as regards occupy wall street and #anonymous. Zombies sort of grew out of that.


3.  The ABA says you are “Fun.” And yet you are a lawyer.  Explain.

Law and The Multiverse: We make the law fun by heavily diluting it with comic books and pop culture.  It’s like how gin (kind of gross) and tonic water (definitely gross) combine to make delicious gin & tonic.

ZombieLaw:  Irony.

Allison Leotta:  Airbrushing.

Lowering the Bar: I think I wrote last year that I was proud of the honor despite the contention that being called the “most fun legal blog” was sort of like saying Moe was the smartest Stooge. I guess I would stand by that with the understanding that, just like the other Stooges were smarter than they looked on film (probably), lawyers are actually more “fun” than pop culture would suggest. Or at least there are a lot more lawyers who are in fact fun than non-lawyers might expect.

Namby Pamby:  The law is a lot of fun because of the crazy people that make up the practice. Judges, court personnel, clients, opposing counsel and coworkers all provide great fodder. I try not to take whatever I am doing too seriously, it’s not like I am doctor or something important.

S.Ct. Haiku: Even the ABA makes mistakes.


4.  What subject has sparked the most comments on your blog?

S.Ct. Haiku: The healthcare and immigration cases.  That, and people wondering why I don’t tell more fart jokes.

Law and The Multiverse: We once suggested that Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) was committing fraud by selling pictures of himself as Spider-Man to a newspaper without telling the paper that he was both the photographer and the subject.  People were not happy about it.  It got about 50% more comments than the next highest post.

ZombieLaw: Putin’s zombie gun is pretty popular.

Allison Leotta: Whether men or women commit more sex crimes.  I did a (very scientific) analysis, and found that on SVU roughly 1/3 of the crimes are committed by women – while in real life, only a tiny fraction of sex offenders are female.  Whenever I mention this, someone posts an article about a female perp, and it sparks a big debate.

Namby Pamby:  Usually the things that I write about that are “funny” but things that I don’t find hysterical. It’s the weirdest thing when I find something to be the best I have ever written and I get no comments or twitter mentions but when I feel like I am forcing a post to try and find the funny, people think it is the greatest thing in the world. I try and stay non-partisan and non-controversial, however I did publish an endorsement for president and that got a lot of comments.

Lowering the Bar:  Well, I don’t have comments enabled, but I get lots of email. I’d guess that the most popular topic for emails has been my analyses of the important legal questions surrounding attempts to drive unusual things while intoxicated.


5.  Are there any topics you won’t write about?  If so, write about them here.

Allison Leotta:  Nothing is off-limits. Sodomy, pedophilia, necrophilia, bestiality, amputation fetishes, and vodka tampons have all been featured on SVU episodes, and thus they have all been discussed on my blog.  Thank God my husband understands what I do – otherwise, he might faint if he looked at my Google search history.

Lowering the Bar:  I would avoid making fun of clients, although, strangely, none of my firm’s clients have ever done anything for which they could be mocked or even criticized.  I have written two posts about a woman beating a man with his own prosthetic leg, but I’d avoid a similar story if it were the other way around.  I think everything else is basically fair game.

Namby Pamby:  I try and be safe for all audiences . There are times when I want to clobber someone or sometopic over the head, but that’s not the focus of my blog. When I get inspired (read: pissed off enough) to write something in this arena, I typically submit it to Constitutional Daily and get it published that way. Or I just yell about a lot at home (my fiancée loves this…not.)

ZombieLaw: I do try to stay on topic, but “zombies” are everywhere and law/politics touches everything so pretty much all topics are fair game.  Some recent big zombie stories that I know I have intentionally ignored are the zombie stripper calendar, the walking dead infographic and also I mostly ignored the HALO military training until Senator Coburn reported on it.

S.Ct. Haiku: I try not to focus on the death penalty part of death penalty cases.  Instead I focus on exciting issues like jurisdiction and waiver.

Law and The Multiverse: We really shy away from real-world legal issues and stick to fiction.  We don’t want to say “this guy who dresses up like a superhero and tries to fight crime is probably breaking the law himself” and then get slapped with a defamation suit.  Nor do we want to weigh in on the IP disputes between comic book publishers, writers, and artists.  No matter what side you take you lose; either the publishers hate you or the writers, artists, and fans do.

6.  In a cage match, who would win: Antonin Scalia or Elena Kagan, and why?

Lowering the Bar: Scalia, because if he got in trouble he could just tag his team member, Clarence “Silent Thunder” Thomas, who would be lurking quietly unnoticed in a corner of the cage waiting for just such an opportunity.

ZombieLaw: While surely they both have tiger blood, neither is winning.  It would be one hell of a cock fight but both birds would end up dead with no clear victory.  It’d be like two schizophrenics arguing about who ate the last donut (there’s a hole in this joke).

Law and The Multiverse: Scalia has the height advantage (5’7″ to 5’3″, according to IMDB of all places), and we’re going to guess he has the weight advantage as well. Scalia is a Sicilian who grew up in New Jersey. Kagan grew up on the Upper West Side. We don’t want to stereotype, but let’s face it: Scalia is going to fight dirty. On the other hand, Kagan is 24 years younger.  We’ll call it a draw.

Namby Pamby:  Scalia. He’d drop a verbal tonguelashing and then a vicious cross to knock her out. Besides, her comely appearance doesn’t give the impression of an experienced pugilist.

Allison Leotta: To paraphrase from The Princess Bride, “Never get involved in a land war in Asia or go against a Sicilian when death is on the line.”

S.Ct. Haiku: Scalia.  He appears to have a lower center of gravity.


7.  Where do you find the time to do this?

S.Ct. Haiku: Between the cushions of my sofa.

ZombieLaw: I don’t. I was never here. The zombie did it.

Lowering the Bar: Actually, since I became a partner I’ve been able to force associates to write all my posts for me, so that’s no problem. One of them is actually writing these answers right now. Well, one is dictating, one is typing, and one is giving me a pedicure.

Allison Leotta: While my kids are sleeping (like many working moms).

Namby Pamby:  Usually when I am venting about something that happened at the office. Instead of having a meltdown, I typically just work on a post instead. [Note: No clients have been billed in the making of my jokes]

Law and The Multiverse: James’s day job is in academia.  Ryan may or may not have a time machine.


8.  Now that you’ve hit the big time as a blogger, do you still practice law?  Are you any good at it?

S.Ct. Haiku: I’m confident that I’m America’s Finest Lawyer With A Blog Written Almost Entirely In Haiku.TM

Law and The Multiverse: We’ve been very lucky with a book deal and some other arrangements, but not quite “quit your day job” lucky.  Our clients tell us we’re good lawyers, but like all celebrities we have very fragile egos, so they may just be protecting us.

Namby Pamby:  Yes, I do. I don’t know if I am any good at it. There are so many ups and downs in the practice that I just savor the wins when they come and try to forget the losses as soon as they occur. Besides, I don’t do advertising on my blog to generate revenue and I don’t write for other sites on a pay per post basis any longer. I write for me first and foremost. It’s a creative outlet that I can funnel frustration, inappropriate humor and those “I should have said this” moments.  But if someone wants to start paying me big bucks for writing something, I am definitely listening. (And yes, I’d love to write a book someday)

Allison Leotta: I resigned from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. last June.  Now I just write thrillers … about practicing law.

Lowering the Bar:  Personally I think I’m pretty good at the writing part of it. Whether I “still practice law” depends on who you ask.

ZombieLaw: Yes and yes.  Mostly criminal defense but also other unique individual representation.


9. If you could meet one lawyer, living or dead, and clean his or her bathroom, who would it be?

Law and The Multiverse: Justice Kagan seems like she keeps a tidy house.

ZombieLaw: When you say “clean his or her bathroom,” is that a euphemism?  If not, it should be.  Either way, I guess I would clean Justice Cardozo’s bathroom and try to see how much of that consideration he found before breakfast had come out before lunch.

Lowering the Bar:  Young Abraham Lincoln, because I could then argue that he did not in fact have an actual “bathroom,” just an outhouse, and I therefore had no obligation to clean it. Take that, Lincoln! Clean your own outhouse! You haven’t done jack yet!  Or Old Abraham Lincoln, who by that time had become a saint and therefore very unlikely to generate any waste products.

Allison Leotta:  Sure, Abraham Lincoln — or, better yet, Daniel Day-Lewis playing Abraham Lincoln.

S.Ct. Haiku: I will not be tricked into cleaning anyone else’s bathroom, thank you very much.

Namby Pamby: Jackie Chiles. I don’t really have a good reason, but I figure a fictional lawyer is usually a safe bet.


10. Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about leaving their day jobs and going into writing?

Lowering the Bar: They should all immediately do it, thus opening up more legal jobs for others who will then have an income sufficient to buy all the books we will be cranking out. Everybody wins.

S.Ct. Haiku: If you make ten times as much as I do writing, you’ll have zero dollars.

ZombieLaw: If you were able to get a day job then you should probably try to keep it.  Of course you feel like a zombie… but the cure for zombie condition is not quitting your job – it’s laughter, a pinch of salt and puppies.

Prime-Time Crime:   Keep your day job for now; publishing is an unpredictable place these days. Write first thing in the morning, when you’re fresh.  Write without inhibitions, even if you think the prose is terrible at first.  You can’t be a perfectionist about your first draft.  A lot of writing is editing – let yourself put the words out there so you have something to edit later.

Namby Pamby: Do this only if you are truly committed to it. I find that when I have to force myself to write (like if for a deadline, I get blocked and unfunny). I do this as a diversion and for self-entertainment. I am not sure if I could handle having to put food on the table and pay the mortgage solely by spewing witticisms.

Law and The Multiverse:  Get the money up front.

Jefferson Exchange Interview

Ryan and I were interviewed on Jefferson Exchange on Jefferson Public Radio.  If you missed the show you can listen online here.  Thanks to host Geoffrey Riley for a great interview!

ABA Journal Podcast

Ryan and I were interviewed for the ABA Journal’s podcast.  You can listen to the episode online here.  Thanks to Lee Rawles for a great interview!  Just a reminder: if you haven’t voted for your favorite blogs in the ABA Journal Blawg 100, voting is open until December 21st.