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Meet Karin Linhart: A Law Library of Congress Patron

The following is a guest post by Elizabeth Moore, a librarian at the Law Library of Congress.  Karin is our second patron to be interviewed. Alexander Hoffman was the first.

Describe your background.

Karin Linhart was recently here for five weeks in the Law Library of Congress doing research for her post-doctoral thesis.  Karin is a native of Lauda, Germany, but is now living in Würzburg, Germany, where she studied law.

Barbara, Dr. Karin Linhart, Bill, and Alex

What is your academic/professional history?

After finishing university and taking her first state examinations, Karin performed various clerkships including one for the European Commission, one at the Bundesministerium der Justiz in Berlin, and one at a private law firm in Pittsburgh,  where she researched the European approach to internet law.

Karin also received her LL.M. from Duke University School of Law.

Describe your research to other people.

Karin came to the Law Library to work on her post-doctoral thesis for the University of Würzburg.  She is doing a comparative analysis of collective redress mechanisms and came to the United States for research because this country has a long history of recognizing class actions.  She is also including in her thesis other common law countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, as well as many civil law countries from Europe and South America.  She hopes to include Africa and parts of Asia, but acknowledges that she has to work within the limitations of language and access to the materials, especially after she leaves the Library of Congress.

Why research at the Law Library of Congress?

When I asked Karin this question, she gestured to the stacks of books in front of her and said, “Where else could I find material from so many countries?”

Karin used material in the Law Library Reading Room (intro video), particularly to research the common law tradition of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.  She also spent many days in the Global Legal Resource Room, a ready reference collection of foreign materials, where she could find and compare the current civil codes of Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina, Brazil and Chile, to name but a few.

What is something we might have never learned if we didn’t ask?

Karin worked as an intern at the Hague Conference on Private International Law and made contacts there that influenced both her personal and professional life.  One of the U.S. delegates, for example, was a professor from the University of Pittsburgh.  He was responsible for helping her make the connection with the Pittsburgh law firm, which led to her first stay in the United States and ultimately to her studies at Duke.

Karin also made a personal friend at The Hague who worked there as a recording secretary, and with whom she has remained friends ever since.  This friend lives in Washington, D. C. and hosted her during her recent visit here.

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