MDI Fellow Feature: James Carey

Written by Carrie McDonald, MDI Journalism Intern

James Carey, J.D., officially joined MDI as a Policy Fellow last September but worked on similar projects focusing on how technology law and policy can advance justice in his previous position as a Justice Fellow at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Technology Law & Policy. 

Carey’s work has largely concentrated on the Civil Justice Data Commons (CJDC), a unique initiative that seeks to gather and securely store civil legal data from courts, legal service providers, and civil law institutions with a focus on consumer debt and eviction cases. This repository is a valuable resource because it allows authorized stakeholders, researchers, and members of the public to securely and efficiently access sensitive data, an essential step in advancing our understanding of the U.S. civil legal system.

Working on the CJDC has been a highlight of Carey’s career. 

“It’s really interesting to be exposed to things that I wasn’t as a lawyer or in law school,” Carey said. “With the work that we do with the Civil Justice Data Commons, a lot of it is data about actual people’s lives and convictions.”

Carey earned his J.D. from Georgetown Law. 

Carey is also involved in starting a new project with Professor Amy O’Hara’s team and Policy Fellow Stephanie Straus, to investigate how MDI’s work on privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) can be applied in education systems, which have a myriad of potential stakeholders wishing to access sensitive data. 

“[This project] raises a lot of interesting questions about who owns that data and who controls it,” Carey said. 

The strong connection and collaboration between data researchers and those more focused on policy and law at MDI is especially valuable, according to Carey.

 “The fact that [Professor O’Hara] and the rest of MDI are excited to consider these legal problems when they are working with the data from the get-go and using strong policy tools around the data, not just the data to inform policy, is exciting,” Carey said.