As it is summer, it is official summer intern season. Because there are so many post-secondary education institutions in Washington, D.C. and the greater Washington Metropolitan Area, the Law Library is fortunate to be able to draw from a vast pool of talented people—from all around the globe—looking to gain professional experience and exposure to the world’s largest law library.
We are happy to share with you this week’s interview with Samuel “Sam” Urueta, an intern in the Office of the Law Librarian.
Describe your background.
Just two years ago, I came to D.C. to obtain a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree at Georgetown University Law Center. At present, I am looking forward to an extended stay while I complete the rest of my practical training year.
What is your academic/professional history?
I obtained an undergraduate degree in jurisprudence (JD equivalent) at the Universidad del Rosario (Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, University College of Our Lady of the Rosary), which was founded in 1653, in Bogotá by a Dominican friar—Fray Cristóbal de Torres y Motones.
During my studies at the Faculty of Law, I had the opportunity to intern at the Comisión de la Verdad (Truth Commission) of Colombia. This Commission was created by the Corte Suprema de Justicia de Colombia (Supreme Court of Justice of Colombia) with the aim of investigating the facts surrounding the death of eleven Supreme Court Justices and several dozens of civilians during the siege of the Palace of Justice that took place in 1985, and the assault and retake operation headed by the Colombian Army. The siege was an attack by the M-19 guerrilla group.
During my last year at the Faculty of Law, I was an intern at the Consejo de Estado: Tribunal Supremo de lo Contencioso Administrativo y Cuerpo Supremo Consultivo del Gobierno (Council of State: Supreme Tribunal for Contentious Administrative Matters and the Government’s Supreme Consultative Corpus)—the highest court with administrative jurisdiction of Colombia.
After graduation I worked as an associate in two different law firms. There I assisted partners in the preparation of cases on administrative litigation, as well as electoral and constitutional litigation; government contracts; torts; and local arbitration.
While I was working as an associate in these law firms, I also continued to further my studies in law. I obtained two post-graduate certificates: one in administrative law; and the other in constitutional law. In addition, I worked as a lecturer of administrative law, administrative procedures, and administrative torts at the Universidad del Rosario.
How would you describe your job to other people?
As an intern in the Office of the Law Librarian, I am working on a metatagging project that will facilitate the “findability” of materials on the Law Library’s website. This is a part of a greater initiative by the Library of Congress to improve its “Web Presence” and to better serve its constituents. My contribution will allow users to locate and make use of the Law Library’s products.
Why did you want to work at the (Law) Library of Congress?
The Law Library of Congress offers a unique opportunity to research and work with law materials from all around the world. This access to foreign and local books and databases has helped me to gain a better understanding of the most salient legal systems and many other legal cultures of the world.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?
When I was given a tour of the sub-basement stacks, I realized that the Law Library of Congress has a more comprehensive collection of books on Colombian administrative law and constitutional law than the collections of the law firms where I worked before moving to the U.S. I could even find the books written by my law professors!
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I love watching soccer. While I attended law school, I used to spend my weekends watching four or five matches, which featured teams from soccer leagues like Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Nowadays, I still try to make time to watch one or two games.