{ subscribe_url: '/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/law.php' }

An Interview with Conleth Burns, Foreign Law Intern

Today’s interview is with Conleth Burns, a foreign law intern working this summer in the Global Legal Research Directorate (GLRD) of the Law Library of Congress.

Conleth Burns, Foreign Law Intern [photo by Donna Sokol]

Describe your background.

I grew up on a farm in a small rural village called Armoy, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. My mum was a local doctor; my dad was a civil servant. I’ve got one sister and two brothers. I’m really lucky to have grown up in a beautiful place with a strong community where people know and care for each other. I’m in D.C. this summer as a member of the Class of 2017 of the Washington Ireland Programme (WIP). The WIP program, now in its 23rd year, is dedicated to leadership and service. Over 600 students from Ireland have taken part in the program and have come to D.C. for 8 weeks to learn, live, and work.

What is your academic/professional history?

I’ve just finished my first year studying for a BA in Law (Jurisprudence) at the University of Oxford. When I started secondary school at Cross and Passion College, I didn’t want to be a lawyer or go to Oxford. For a while I wanted to be an architect and then a doctor. Getting involved in debating at school really changed my mind and career path. A group of inspiring teachers and mentors at school challenged, inspired, and helped me to aim higher. A free school trip to Oxford turned into an application to study there, then an interview, until finally I was accepted at university there and got the grades. My passion is in public law and that’s where I see the rest of my career progressing.

How would you describe your job to other people?

Every day at the Global Legal Research Center is like a trip around the world. I could start off the day at home researching Irish and British law, writing blogs about the recent elections, or commenting on Supreme Court judgements. In the afternoon, I have found myself researching everything from scuba-diving regulations in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to legal citation systems in Belize. Working in the Global Legal Research Center is like working in the air-traffic control room of the laws of the world. Our job is to monitor all the incoming and outgoing legal flights and landings in the world, and pass this information on to all those interested.

Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?

I wanted to work for an organization that serves everyone: both sides of the aisle, from students in rural Ireland to the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Law Library is serving people and politics by providing both with high quality, objective, innovative, and timely advice. With 2.9 million volumes, the Law Library of Congress is the largest in the world. I wanted to work at the Law Library because it is best placed to help people all over the world navigate their legal questions and challenge.

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library?

I think the fact that the Library accommodates 260 current and former jurisdictions is the most interesting fact I’ve learnt. You can see this physically in the sub-basement of the library, jurisdiction after jurisdiction is housed in the library. Hundreds of years of legislation, regulation, and commentary is preserved and used here to help form legal reasoning across the world. The best thing about this fact is that information from all 260 jurisdictions is requested every day.

What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

I love karaoke. Last week, we had the now annual-WIP Karaoke Party, and it was great fun. I kept hold of the microphone all night, so much so that I had no voice for about 2 days!

On the Shelf – Library Treaties

As we’ve noted in the blog before, the Class K schedule was not completed until the 1960s.  Prior to that, law material was either classified under the old “LAW” scheme or in the JX class. Our serials cataloger, Brian Kuhagen, is working hard to put everything in order under the K schedule.  His latest projects […]

Cornell University Law Library – Pic of the Week

I was in Ithaca, N.Y. recently for a meeting of the Northeast Foreign Law Libraries Cooperative Group (NEFLLCG) hosted by Cornell University Law Library. This group meets semiannually to discuss collection development issues, new acquisitions, and ensure the law collections in the region sufficiently represent foreign jurisdictions. Whenever I attend a conference or meeting, in […]

An Interview with Marie-Philippe Lavoie, Foreign Law Intern

Today’s interview is with Marie-Philippe Lavoie, a foreign law intern with the Global Legal Research Directorate (GLRD). This summer, Marie-Philippe is assisting the GLRD with Canadian law research requests. She is currently completing her LL.M degree in international law at the University of Montreal. Describe your background. I am from the Province of Québec in Canada. I […]

UK Supreme Court rules “Deport first, appeal later” power is unlawful

The following is a guest post by Conleth Burns, a foreign law intern working this summer in the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress. Recently, in the R (Kiarie) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKSC 17 case, the United Kingdom (U.K) Supreme Court issued a decision concerning the ability […]

Attorney Advertising in Germany

On July 14, 1987, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) rendered two decisions that paved the way to allowing attorney advertising in Germany. Nicknamed the “Bastille decisions” because of the date and their ”revolutionary character,” the decisions allowed attorneys for the first time to advertise their services to the public on a regular basis although several […]

Preserving resources from Haiti: On the Shelf

Preserving law sources is one of our top priorities and every day we find ourselves working with different jurisdictions.  In May, as we were working on reclassifying Law-classed materials, our serials cataloger came across some deteriorating issues of the law reports of Haiti, La Gazette du palais: organe juridique.  As a law source, this bimonthly […]