Faculty Profile: Tim Davis

While most law professors don’t start teaching until after they have earned their juris doctorate and have at least a few years practicing law under their belts, Professor Timothy Davis began teaching long before he entered law school.

“I have been a tutor since elementary school, and I tutored younger students and some my own age throughout middle school and high school,” he explained. “At Stanford, I was a member of the Black Students Association, which offered tutoring to elementary children living in Palo Alto (Calif.). As an attorney in Denver, I worked with first-year law students at the University of Denver, School of Law.”

Whether it is in his Contracts, Sales or Sports Law class, Davis views every class as a conversation that creates an opportunity for students to advance their knowledge of the substantive law and their critical thinking skills. “Directing the conversation requires balancing these goals as well as challenging and encouraging students.”

Prior to coming to Wake Forest in 1988, Davis taught for nine years at Southern Methodist University and practiced commercial litigation in Denver after earning his JD from the University of California at Berkeley in 1979.

Academics, according to Davis, allow him to explore the law in ways that he couldn’t when he was practicing law, and the opportunity to interact with students is a bonus.

“I disagree with the criticism some have voiced that far too many law students are only interested in learning the material in order to enhance their chances of obtaining a job following law school. That may be true for some students.  My experience has been, however, that our students are curious and well-rounded with a range of professional and personal interests. I’ve been particularly impressed with our students’ interest in being of service to the larger community.”

Davis, who is the John W. & Ruth H. Turnage Professor of Law, has written articles addressing UCC warranties and serves on the committee that drafts Contracts and Sales questions for the Multi-State Bar Exam.  Davis is best known, however, as one of the nation’s leading sports law experts.  He co-authored a sports law casebook, “The Business of Sports Agents,” serves on the Review Board for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and is a member of the Board of Advisors for the National Sports Law Institute.

In fall 2009, Davis organized a forum, “Sports Update: Title IX,” with the student-organized Sports & Entertainment Law Society. In addition to planning future forums that will address current topics in sports law, Davis is instrumental in organizing next year’s event, “Higher Education, Race and Athletics,”  on the Reynolda campus.  The conference will bring together an interdisciplinary group of sports academics, educators, athletics administrators, student athletes and others who will explore the interplay between race, college sports and higher education. They will address a range of topics such as impact of race on athletic administrative opportunities for racial minorities, stereotypes and identity, and the academic performance of minority athletes.

Three years ago the late Miles Brand of the National Collegiate Athletic Association provided seed money for an NCAA Scholarly Colloquium on College Sports, which is held annually in conjunction with the NCAA Convention, for the top thought leaders in the nation on collegiate athletics. In 2009, Davis was elected to the Colloquium, and he participated in the January 2010 event.