College of Law Deepens Law and Technology Faculty: Professor Dan Traficonte
Dan Traficonte is Associate Professor at Syracuse University College of Law and a faculty affiliate of SU’s Autonomous Systems Policy Institute. In the previous academic year, Professor Traficonte was a Teaching Fellow at Sciences Po Paris, France. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and completed his Ph.D. in Political Economy at MIT, where he was also a research associate on the University’s Work of the Future Task Force. His research sits at the intersection of law, political economy, and innovation, with a particular focus on patents and the role of federal R&D programs and university research in shaping science and technology. He has published his scholarship in the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review as well as the Cardozo Law Review.
Why did you decide to teach law? What courses will you be teaching?
I think teaching law is all about helping students to develop new ways of thinking, which is really gratifying for me as an instructor. In other disciplines, there’s often a pre-set body of material that students have to master, but in law school, I think it’s really more about learning to “think like a lawyer” and hone specific ways of analyzing problems. When I taught law-related classes in the past, the most rewarding part was seeing students come away with some of these new tools. This year I’ll be teaching property and patents and trade secrets, and then adding a course on law and technology starting my second year.
What is the most important aspect of the law that students should know?
I think law students should know how the law can change and what lawyers can do to change it. I think many people encounter the law as this mystifying, rigid system that we’re all subject to and have very little say in. But the law is indeterminate and constantly evolving, and there are so many points of intervention—through direct advocacy, policy work, and other forms of law-related work—that lawyers can take advantage of and use to push the law in directions we want it to go.
What interests do you have outside of teaching and the law?
I’m originally from New England and am a pretty outdoorsy person—I like hiking and biking in the summer and fall, and I also surf in the winter (with a very thick wetsuit) when the waves are good on the East Coast. I like reading sci-fi books and have a habit of endlessly rewatching movies from the 90s. But I spend most of my free time these days hanging out with my wife and our new dog, Ollie.
What are you most looking forward to this year as you join the College of Law?
I’m thrilled to be joining the College of Law this year and exchanging ideas with all my new colleagues and students. As a big college basketball fan, I’m also excited to go to my first game at the Dome!
Alumni Return as Distinguished Guest Lecturers for JDinteractive Program Residencies
More than 11,000 Syracuse College of Law alumni live and work in every state and around the world. Tapping into this resource and global network, the JDinteractive program brought two accomplished alumni, Prashanth (PJ) Jayachandran L’98, G’98, and Richard Levy L’77, onto the teaching staff in 2021- 2022 as Distinguished Guest Lecturers. Teaching advanced residencies this year, they bring a breadth of knowledge and expertise to current students and future Orange lawyers. Jayachandran, who taught twice this year, and Levy will continue to offer their courses on an ongoing basis.
Jayachandran’s class, The Corporate Lawyer in a Sustainable World, provides students with an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the role of modern-day in-house counsel in giving legal and business advice for global corporate sustainability programs, with a focus on responsible sourcing and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Over the past several years, multinational corporations have developed robust corporate sustainability programs. The focus on sustainability initially began as corporate “citizenship,” a recognition that corporations have a vital role to play in promoting and maintaining a sustainable world. In recent years, however, voluntary sustainability initiatives have intersected with increasing global compliance. Corporate sustainability programs mix traditional labor and employment laws, environmental laws, and other global legal structures. This course gives College of Law students early advantages in understanding this complex web of compliance and business viability considerations.
Jayachandran is Chief Supply Chain Counsel for Colgate-Palmolive Company.
Levy’s course, Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights, examines creditors’ remedies under state statutes (e.g., collecting a judgment), the rights of secured and unsecured creditors under state law and the federal Bankruptcy Code, the protections available to individuals and businesses in bankruptcy cases, and the manner in which bankruptcy cases are administered under the Bankruptcy Code and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. Guest lectures of alumni and other speakers, including two United States Bankruptcy Judges and a federal bankruptcy trustee, deliver fresh, timely, and dynamic enhancements to the classroom experience.
Levy is a senior member of the Bankruptcy, Reorganization, and Creditors’ Rights Practice Group at Pryor Cashman LLP in New York City.
New for the 2022-23 Academic Year
In addition to Jayachandran and Levy, this spring will add Ted Pearce L’77 to the JDinteractive Distinguished Guest Lecturers schedule. Pearce’s class, Franchising Law, will teach students the fundamentals of franchise law, as well as evaluate franchise agreements and examine their practical applications to the current franchise business model.
Pearce currently serves as counsel at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Charlotte, NC with a practice primarily focused on franchising and over 30 years of experience as general counsel for iconic brands.