Meet a legal fellow: Ryan David Jayne

Name: Ryan David Jayne.

Where and when I was born: Waukesha, Wis., on Oct. 23, 1984.

Education: I attended public school in Waukesha through high school, studied philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee during my undergrad years, then attended law school at Lewis & Clark in Portland, Ore.

Family: I’m married to my best friend Colleen, who is a high school science teacher. We are expecting our first child, a daughter, in May. My older brother Ben is an occupational therapist in Los Angeles, and my younger brother Collin is an attorney in Las Vegas. My parents, Brian and Darci, are happily retired and live in rural eastern Wisconsin. They spend most of their time gardening, watching birds and making music.

How I came to work at FFRF: My student group at Lewis & Clark invited Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel to our law school to give a presentation in 2014. After that initial connection, I did a one-semester externship in the spring of 2015, and was offered a legal fellowship when the externship ended.

What I do here: I write letters of complaint, participate in litigation, and do any other lawyerly tasks that come up. I specialize in faith-based funding issues, and in 2015 I coordinated FFRF’s Winter Solstice displays. When I can find time, I bang a bit on the Diane Uhl Concert Grand Steinway piano on the fourth floor.

What I like best about it: I get particularly excited about stopping endorsements of religion in public schools because I think that can have tremendous long-term effects. It’s crucial that our youth rise above the myths and superstitions of their parents’ generation, and the first step in that endeavor is dispelling the illusion in students’ minds that religiosity is ubiquitous in our society.

What gets old about it: Sometimes we have to comb through hundreds of pages of public records to determine if the government is breaking the law, which can get pretty tiring.

I spend a lot of time thinking about: Legal strategies to combat recalcitrant government actors.
I spend little if any time thinking about: Celebrity gossip.

My religious upbringing was: Non-existent. My parents are freethinkers who just never brought up religion because there were plenty of real things to talk about.

My doubts about religion started: As soon as I started to hear details about religion from my classmates, probably around first grade. I assumed no one really believed any of it.

Things I like: Chess, music, cats and food.

Things I smite: Lazy thinking and sloppy writing.

In my golden years: I hope to play in chess tournaments all over the world.

Freedom From Religion Foundation